Blue Jays: Will Gurriel Jr. and Espinal Be Healthy for the Playoffs?
Injuries are part of the game. It’s part of sports in general. It doesn’t matter how hard you train in the off-season and during the regular season; at some point, injuries can catch up to you. Not everyone can be an Iron Man like Cal Ripken Jr. We will never know when the Baseball Gods will tap you on the shoulder and say, “It’s time to go” or “You can’t play right now.” In the case of the Blue Jays, it comes at the wrong time because of two productive hitters: Lourdes Gurriel Jr and Santiago Espinal. Will Gurriel Jr and Espinal Be Healthy for the Playoffs?
Espinal suffered an oblique injury against the Philadelphia Phillies, and was placed on the 10-day injured list because of this injury. The 27-year-old hasn’t played a game since September 21. There’s a possibility that he might return sometime during the Wild Card series, but it’s a tricky situation. The same thing has been said about Lourdes Gurriel Jr. The outfielder went to the injury list when he suffered a left hamstring strain in the series against the Baltimore Orioles when he tried to beat out a ground ball to reach safely at first base. Gurriel Jr. hasn’t played since September 27th, but he could be back for the Wild Card series as well if the Blue Jays believe he’s ready to help them win.
We need to keep a few things in mind something when it comes to injuries. When an athlete makes a return from an injury, they won’t produce at a 100% level or will feel 100% comfortable right away, at least most of the time. It takes a couple of games to get back into regular form. If you’re the Blue Jays, it’s a concern because it’s a high possibility that you won’t get many contributions from Gurriel Jr. and Espinal.
The Blue Jays will take the Seattle Mariners in the Wild Card series. If you read what I wrote in the past, then it’s no secret that this is the matchup that I wanted to see. Now, it’s a reality. Yes, the Mariners have had their number this regular season, but the postseason is a brand new ball game. The Blue Jays must rise above the occasion and show the world that Canada’s team is a force to be reckoned with. The Mariners are one of the most dangerous teams entering the playoffs in the American League and we can’t underestimate them due to a lack of playoff experience.
Blue Hays have a loaded offence, but if Gurriel Jr. and Espinal can somehow surprise us by producing some critical hits for this team, then it’s going to be a long series for the Mariners.
Espinal finished the regular season hitting .267 with seven homers and 51 RBI, while Gurriel Jr hit .291 with five homers and 52 RBI.
The Blue Jays will start the Wild Card series on Friday against the Mariners. Alex Manoah will start Game 1 against Luis Castillo.