Stat of the Day: Vladdy keeps going yard

May 17th, 2021

MLB.com is keeping track of a Stat of the Day for the Blue Jays this season, highlighting a unique, interesting or fun nugget from each game.

May 16: Blue Jays 10, Phillies 8 -- Vlad Jr. homers in 3 straight
A crucial insurance run for the Blue Jays on Sunday also carried some weight with Vladimir Guerrero Jr., as his eighth-inning solo shot marked his third consecutive game with a home run -- something he hadn't done before in his career. Guerrero Jr. has hit a lot of balls well to the opposite field, but this time he yanked a changeup to left, clearing the seats with ease.

May 15: Blue Jays 4, Phillies 0 -- Interleague Play dominance
Interleague Play has been kind to the Blue Jays this year, including a pair of three-game sweeps over Atlanta. The win over the Phillies moved the Blue Jays to 8-2 in Interleague Play this season, and they have a good history in Interleague games, too. Vladimir Guerrero Jr.'s home run in the first inning was the 603rd hit by a Blue Jays batter all-time in Interleague Play, the most of any MLB team. The White Sox, with 563, trail in second.

May 14: Phillies 5, Blue Jays 1 -- Defense continues to shine
In 2020, defense was an adventure for the Blue Jays. At times, it could be written off as having young players who were still developing, but it often reached a point that it was a clear weakness. The Blue Jays made run prevention a top priority this offseason, and recently, their team defense has been much better. Friday marked the club's seventh consecutive game without an error, extending its season high, and its .995 fielding percentage since April 25 was the best in MLB entering play on Friday. Part of this comes from new players, like Marcus Semien at second base, but also from some internal development. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is a great example at first base, as he's looked significantly more comfortable this season and has saved his infielders from multiple errors with his good hands.

May 13: Blue Jays 8, Braves 4 -- Semien streaks on
Marcus Semien has been a rock lately, and with two hits Thursday, he extended his on-base streak to 20 games. Entering play Thursday, only the Yankees' Gio Urshela (20) and the Rangers' Nate Lowe (24) had streaks as long as Semien's. Now hitting .271 with an .806 OPS, Semien has also chipped in some stolen bases and been steady defensively, but his bat is more important than ever given the absence of George Springer, who's on the IL again with a right quad strain. Getting on base is the name of the game in the leadoff spot, which Semien knows well, and he's doing it again in May.

May 12: Blue Jays 4, Braves 1 -- Road warriors
The Blue Jays are living life on the road in many ways this season, opening in Dunedin, Fla., at their Spring Training home of TD Ballpark before moving to Buffalo's Sahlen Field on June 1. On top of that, the Blue Jays have already played 24 road games, the most in Major League Baseball. They've managed a 12-12 record on the road so far while managing multiple injuries to their pitching staff and lineup, but they'll be looking forward to getting back to Dunedin following this series in Atlanta. Later this week, the Blue Jays will play 10 straight games at TD Ballpark against the Phillies, Red Sox and Rays.

May 11: Blue Jays 5, Braves 3 -- Ray's 10 K's break a streak
Robbie Ray has been racking up the strikeouts recently for the Blue Jays, the result of his fastball velocity reaching heights he hasn't touched since 2017 and his curveball having one of the highest whiff rates in baseball. Ray struck out 10 Atlanta hitters, which was the first time he has cracked double digits since joining the Blue Jays at the 2020 Trade Deadline and the first time that any Blue Jays pitchers has reached double digits since Aaron Sanchez struck out 10 Rays batters on July 28, 2019. The club record for strikeouts in a single game still belongs to Roger Clemens with 18 back in 1998.

May 9: Astros 7, Blue Jays 4 -- Search for consistency continues
Due to injuries and just plain old struggles, the Blue Jays have already had to use 12 starters this season, which is the most of any team in the Majors (the Rays are second with 11). Nate Pearson was No. 12 on Sunday, succeeding Hyun Jin Ryu, Robbie Ray, Steven Matz, T.J. Zeuch, Tanner Roark, Ross Stripling, Tommy Milone, Anthony Kay, Trent Thornton, Travis Bergen and David Phelps. Given the lack of consistency, it may not be surprising that Toronto's starters rank last in the Majors in innings pitched (144.0).

May 8: Blue Jays 8, Astros 4 -- 3 games, 3 homers for Jansen
Danny Jansen's 0-for-35 slump ended just days ago, but the catcher is trying to put it in the distant past by continuing to hit home runs. On Saturday, Jansen homered in a third consecutive game, becoming just the third Blue Jays catcher to do so on multiple occasions (joining Russell Martin and Ernie Whitt). For a cherry on top, Jansen's 448-foot homer was the longest of his career -- by 16 feet!

May 7: Astros 10, Blue Jays 4 -- Stripling's 'dad strength'
Blue Jays starter Ross Stripling was reaching into the top end of his velocity vs. the Astros, at one point peaking at 95.6 mph. That's the fourth-fastest pitch he's thrown in his career, behind a trio from 2017. Stripling said he's been doing some new strength training, and over the offseason he added a long-toss program with the intent of adding some velocity that he could sustain deeper into games. Stripling also suggested this might be his newfound "dad strength," as he and his wife welcomed their first child just prior to Spring Training.

May 6: Blue Jays 10, Athletics 4 -- Cutter success
Tyler Chatwood and Trent Thornton have both been key pieces of the Blue Jays' bullpen in 2021: Chatwood as a high-leverage arm and Thornton as a multi-inning reliever who can pitch in a variety of roles. Both have leaned on their great cutters this season. And it's been working.

Chatwood ranks seventh among qualified pitchers (10 PA or more throwing a cutter) with a .118 opponent average against the pitch, while Thornton is close behind (13th) with a .143 opponent average. The Blue Jays' bullpen has been one of the best in baseball and these right-handers are two reasons why.

May 5: Blue Jays 9, A's 4 -- Blue Jays' fastest runners
If you were asked for the Blue Jays' fastest runner through the first five weeks of the season, would you guess Cavan Biggio? The 26-year-old certainly isn't thought of as a burner, but his average sprint speed of 28.3 feet per second is tied with Marcus Semien for the best on the roster. A benchmark of 30 feet per second is considered "elite" speed, so while the Blue Jays don't quite reach that level, their athleticism across the board has clearly improved over the past few seasons. Biggio is one of the smartest baserunners in the organization, too, which has helped him open his Major League career a perfect 20-for-20 on stolen base attempts.

May 4: A's 4, Blue Jays 1 -- Quiet nights rare for Vlad Jr.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. failed to reach base for just the second time this season on Tuesday night in Oakland. It's becoming the ultimate rarity for one of the game's best all-around hitters through the first five weeks of the season, as the 22-year-old still leads the league by having reached base 57 times through his first 28 games, ahead of even Mike Trout. Guerrero is hitting everything, but his 22 walks are the secret power behind his fantastic start at the plate. Guerrero's power is special, but coming up through the Minor Leagues as the No. 1 prospect in baseball, Guerrero walked more than he struck out, just like he's doing now.

May 3: A's 5, Blue Jays 4 -- Vlad Jr. hitting lasers
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is hitting everything hard this season. In the loss, Guerrero lasered hits with exit velocities of 110.2 mph (a third-inning single) and 110.4 mph (an eighth-inning double), per Statcast, giving him 16 balls hit harder than 110 mph this season. That ranks second in the Majors behind only the Yankees' Giancarlo Stanton, who has 21. Guerrero has also walked 22 times in 27 games as he rediscovers the all-around offensive form that made him the former No. 1 prospect in baseball.

May 2: Blue Jays 7, Braves 2 -- Jansen snaps hitless streak
The month of April was not kind to Danny Jansen, who hit just .044. It was beginning to look like Alejandro Kirk would eat into Jansen's playing time, before Kirk went down with an injury Saturday. But Jansen finally broke his 0-for-35 streak with an RBI single against Atlanta. That saved Jansen from making the wrong kind of history, as 0-for-35 tied him with Ed Sprague Jr. (1994) for the longest hitless streak in Blue Jays history.

May 1: Blue Jays 6, Braves 5 (10 innings) -- Springer's 470-foot HR
George Springer officially arrived in the walk-off win over Atlanta, belting two home runs. His second was the highlight of the night, though -- a no-doubter that soared 470 feet over the left-field wall at TD Ballpark and out of the stadium altogether. It was Springer's fourth-longest home run since Statcast began to measure distances in 2015, and also the fourth-longest home run by any Blue Jays hitter in that same timeframe. Only Randal Grichuk (471), Edwin Encarnación (471) and Justin Smoak (474) have gone deeper, but with Springer just three games into his six-year, $150 million deal, he's got plenty of time to climb to the top of that list.