The Toronto Blue Jays’ abysmal road trip came to a fitting end in Sunday’s loss to the Seattle Mariners – thanks in part to a bloop, a blast, and a broken glove.
Things began to go awry in the fifth inning of the contest, when Toronto held a 4-1 lead. After Sam Haggerty grounded the ball back to Blue Jays reliever David Phelps, the pitcher then fired the ball home for the second out of the inning. From there, catcher Gabriel Moreno delivered a strike to first base that would’ve quickly capped off the double play — if only Vladimir Guerrero Jr.’s glove had cooperated.
Moreno’s heater instead shot straight through Guerrero Jr.’s leather and onto the field. The first baseman could only look down at his mitt in disbelief as another Mariners run scored en route to a 6-5 win and four-game sweep.
The one-in-a-million play was all too familiar to Guerrero Jr., who had to trash a glove earlier this season after a near-identical event. When facing off against the Baltimore Orioles on June 13, the 23-year-old attempted to catch a long throw from third baseman Santiago Espinal, only to see the ball whizz through the webbing of his mitt.
“That changed the game,” Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said of Sunday’s misfortune. “And that’s just tough frigging luck. I’ve seen it twice now all this year, and it usually doesn’t happen to the same guy twice. But it happened.”
The Blue Jays’ hapless defeat wrapped up a dreadful road trip, in which they went 1-6 against the Oakland Athletics and Mariners. Their recent ten-game stretch has seen them lose all but one game and fall out of the final wild-card position, in favor of Seattle.
“This whole road trip, it’s a little bit of Murphy’s Law,” Phelps said. “If something can go wrong, it has.”
Amid struggles, Toronto currently sits in fourth place in the AL East, only two games above the last-place Baltimore Orioles, and a staggering 16.5 games behind the Yankees for the lead. The Blue Jays will host the Phillies for a two-game series beginning Tuesday, followed by the Royals for a four-game stretch starting Thursday before the All-Star break.
Let’s hope Guerrero Jr. will resolve his glove’s issues in time.