The Toronto Blue Jays may have lost on Friday night, but Vladimir Guerrero Jr. still took center stage with one of the greatest high-IQ MLB plays you’ll ever see.
Toronto was visiting the Cincinnati Reds in the first of a three-game series. With a runner on first and one out in the bottom of the seventh inning, Will Benson of the Reds hit a routine popup to the Jays’ star first baseman.
Noticing that Benson wasn’t exactly doing his best to run it out, Guerrero Jr. purposely let the ball drop before executing a heads-up double play:
Because the Reds didn’t have a runner on second base, MLB’s infield fly rule did not apply here. All Benson had to do was get to first base, and Guerrero Jr. would not have been able to perform the inning-ending double play.
Luckily for Benson, his gaffe did not end up costing the Reds. Cincy’s pitching staff threw a shutout against Toronto’s struggling offense, and Christian Encarnacion-Strand hit a walk-off homer in the bottom of the ninth to secure his team a pivotal 1-0 victory.
The 24-year-old Guerrero Jr. is batting .264 this season with 18 homers, 72 RBI and an OPS of .775.
These numbers are well below what expectations for Vladdy Jr., but he can make up for the struggles up to this point by helping the Jays to the postseason. They enter play on Saturday half a game behind the Seattle Mariners for the final wild card spot.
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