Yankees must clinch in Vladimir Guerrero Jr.’s ‘House’ after celebration
Given the chance to pitch around Aaron Judge and go lefty-lefty against Anthony Rizzo in the top of the ninth, the Blue Jays gladly played the (bummer) strategic card and took advantage of the matchup.
Given the chance to similarly avoid Vladimir Guerrero Jr. after recording the first two outs of the bottom of the 10th, the Yankees declined to do … anything, really, and the Jays’ star deposited Clarke Schmidt’s first pitch into left field for a game-winning single.
That was the difference in Monday’s ballgame, another in an ever-increasing line of games featuring a boisterous Guerrero celebration at the Yankees’ expense.
The sequel to the much-tweeted-about sweep-avoiding split/fist pump combo in mid-May, Guerrero Jr. ran around the diamond Monday night, repeatedly pointing to the ground and signaling that this was “[His] House.”
And it is! It’s most definitely his house. But the veracity of that statement doesn’t change the fact that a team-wide walk-off celebration led by a near-constant thorn in the Yankees’ side will only motivate them further to take care of business on Tuesday night.
Yankees want to clinch in Toronto, aka Vladimir Guerrero Jr’s house
The Toronto Blue Jays have plenty left to play for, too. In fact, each of these three games is more important to them than to the Yankees. New York’s magic number to clinch the AL East sits at two, meaning even if they’re swept north of the border (please, no), they must only win two of their final seven games against Baltimore and Texas to control their own destiny.
The Jays, on the other hand, are two games up in the loss column on the final Wild Card spot. They’re an obvious favorite to get the job done, but that qualifies as a razor-thin margin, especially with Seattle’s weak upcoming schedule (Oakland, Texas, Detroit).
Every win is canonically necessary for the Jays. On Monday, the Yankees didn’t seem to be approaching things quite the same way. Their offense shut down after an Isiah Kiner-Falefa home run in the second inning, and given the chance to strategically avoid Vlad Jr., they seemingly opted to pitch to him out of some overarching need to “see what happens.” The intentional walk was obvious. The only argument in favor of pitching to the Jays’ star was … well, they wanted it less.
Now, that switch must flip. The sooner the Yankees end this chase, and the simpler the process behind clinching the East, the better. Watch Jr.’s celebration on loop if you have to. Winning in his house to officially knock Toronto into the Wild Card race would be sweeter today than it was yesterday.