Toronto Blue Jays outfielder George Springer knows a thing or two about playing past September.
The three-time all-star is looking for his second World Series title in his first season with the Blue Jays. His first title came in 2017 with the Houston Astros and he also was named World Series MVP. When Springer joined the Blue Jays this season he made an immediate impact and brought that championship mindset with him to the team.
Now that the season is coming to an end, the Blue Jays are fighting to secure a wild card spot in the American League and Springer is playing a big role for the team.
Having a player on your team that has won a title already is very key because they know what it takes to be in that position.
“He’s been there and done that,” Jays shortstop Bo Bichette told the Toronto Sun. “Obviously, he’s had so many big home runs when he was with Houston. He knows how to turn it on in the blink of an eye, which is obviously super important when we’re trying to win big ball games at this time of the year.”
At 31, Springer has gained a lot of experience in the league and can provide a wealth of knowledge to the young players. He’s the perfect fit for the Blue Jays and has shown that his presence on the team is contagious, and definitely in a good way. Despite missing some time during the season due to injuries, Springer is hitting .258 with 17 home runs and 38 RBI through 62 games
It was bad news for Toronto fans when he went down with a sprained knee during a game against the Seattle Mariners on August 14th. His return was earlier than expected and in perfect time for the Blue Jays to make a playoff push.
“I just think everybody feeds off of one another,” Springer said. “We just understand that it’s going to take every single person to get to where we want to go…I know everybody has each other’s backs. We’re all aiming for the same goal and to have everybody playing for that is awesome.”
Blue Jays coach John Schneider has been pleased with the 2017 World Series MVP’s return and knows the caliber of player he’s dealing with.
“The experience he’s had this time of year and in the post-season obviously are big,” Schneider said. “But just having him at the top (of the batting order), seeing pitches, getting on base and the damage potential and all that stuff … it’s great for us and it’s great for the guys behind him.”
Springer made the playoffs his last four seasons in Houston and he’s looking to continuing that streak. His numbers have been impressive during the postseason. He’s got a career batting average of .269 and a .546 slugging percentage in the playoffs.
Marcus Semien was the starter for the American League All-Star team at second base earlier this summer, but this most recent stretch of play may be the best showing in what has been a career year.
Over his last seven games he’s slugging a sick 1.000 with 6 homers and 11 RBI.
Semien has not been stat padding with his numbers either: entering Tuesday, his Blue Jays had won eight of their last 10 games, which included a sweep of the Wild Card hopeful Oakland Athletics. Then they double flexed and grounded the surging Yankees on the back of Semien’s five RBI on Labor Day.
Friday night’s game against the Athletics was one of the wildest games played this season. The Jays trailed 8-2 before a six run eighth inning tied the game. The A’s would respond with two runs in the ninth, but then in the bottom half Semien called game by hitting a three-run home run to the second deck.
I feel when you play this game so hard you realize things about the baseball gods and you tend to believe. For Marcus to come up in that situation at that time in the game to do what he did is wild. I wanted to live in that moment for a bit. that’s all https://t.co/FSEatZcDzs
Fellow MLBbro and Oakland A Tony Kemp stayed on the field long after Semien’s walk-off heroics to watch his on field press conference. Then came Monday afternoon when the Blue Jays went into the Bronx and shut out the Yankees 8-0. Semien got the Day Party started with a solo homer.
What a year Semien is having. After the A’s treated him like damaged goods, he rebounds with one of the greatest statistical seasons by a second baseman in MLB history. How’s that for sticking it to your ex?
Semien is evoking memories of the great Joe Morgan. He’s also having a career year on the defensive side of the ball. He made the switch this season from shortstop to second base for the first time in his nine year career and currently has his highest Defensive WAR at 1.6.
Semien now has a .270 average, 88 RBI, 14 steals and .875 slugging percentage and a Big Bag coming his way this off-season.
On Mookie Betts bobblehead night at Dodger Stadium, the former MVP’s mom threw out the first pitch to start the game against the Atlanta Braves and Mookie completes the night by hitting a homer and blowing her a kiss.
“George is a proven, very professional (hitter) with plate discipline and elite ability to swing at pitches he can drive, so that will be a big add to the lineup for sure,” said Toronto general manager Ross Atkins prior to the game.
For now, Springer will only be a DH for the Jays, while he continues to rehab his knee.
Toronto players and fans are ecstatic to have Springer on the field in any capacity. He could have taken the money and chilled this season. Instead, he returns in time to help Toronto make a late push to the postseason.