Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is back in his father’s old stomping grounds, and the Toronto Blue Jays’ slugger hopes he will find his stroke against the Los Angeles Angels on Friday night in Anaheim, Calif.
His father, Vladimir Guerrero, is the only player to enter the Baseball Hall of Fame wearing an Angels cap. He hit 89 of his 449 career home runs at Angel Stadium.
Before Toronto’s 6-3 win over Los Angeles on Thursday, the younger Guerrero had yet to hit a home run at Angel Stadium and was batting just .174 (8 for 46) with one homer in 13 career games vs. the Angels.
Guerrero Jr., however, has struggled against the rest of the league lately as well. He entered Thursday’s game hitting just .240 with two homers in 21 games in May.
Then on Thursday against the Angels, Guerrero hit a curveball from Angels pitcher Shohei Ohtani off the left-field foul pole for a home run.
“He was talking in the dugout that for the first time he feels locked in, like he can see the ball right,” Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said earlier this week.
“I’ve been working very hard all these days,” Guerrero Jr. said. “I feel like the more I’ve worked, the better I’ve been feeling. Every day, more comfortable.”
Right-hander Alek Manoah (5-1, 1.62 ERA) will be on the mound for Toronto on Friday to make his ninth start of the season.
Manoah hasn’t allowed more than two earned runs in any start this season and is coming off his longest outing of the year — eight innings (one run, seven hits) in a 3-1 victory over Cincinnati.
He’s faced the Angels once in his career, getting a victory last season when he held Los Angeles to two runs and five hits in 6 2/3 innings. He struck out 11 in the game.
Los Angeles right-hander Chase Silseth (1-1, 2.61) will make the third start of his career since being called up from Double-A Rocket City (Ala.) on May 13. It’ll be his first chance to pitch against a major league team other than the Oakland Athletics.
Silseth picked up the win after allowing just one hit in six scoreless innings in his first game against Oakland on May 13. He was tagged with a loss his next time out, giving up three runs on six hits — including two homers — and two walks in 4 1/3 innings.
“I’m pretty hard on myself with the lack of execution when I had guys 0-2 or 1-2,” Silseth said of his last trip to the mound. “I ended up walking a guy (despite being ahead in the count 0-2), and that can’t happen. You come up and you live and you learn. I came up and experienced getting hit around; we’ll make a change and a plan to get back in it.”
–Field Level Media