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Luis Severino, Yanks look to shut down Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

Sportsnaut
Mar 25, 2022; Clearwater, Florida, USA; New York Yankees pitcher Luis Severino (40) throws a pitch in the first inning against the Philadelphia Phillies  during spring training at BayCare Ballpark. Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

Vladimir Guerrero Jr.’s 350th career regular-season game resulted in one of his most memorable performances.

The Toronto Blue Jays are curious to see what the sequel to Guerrero’s second career three-homer game looks like, and the host New York Yankees hope to figure out a way to retire the slugger Thursday night when the American League East foes conclude a four-game series.

Toronto is looking to improve to 11-3 in its past 14 visits to Yankee Stadium after Guerrero’s big night on Wednesday in a 6-4 win. He homered twice off Gerrit Cole and connected again off Jonathan Loaisiga, who also gave up the tiebreaking RBI single to George Springer in the seventh inning.

Guerrero’s final two homers occurred after Aaron Hicks stepped on his right finger on a play at first base in the second inning. Guerrero was bloodied but got the finger taped up and stayed in.

“What he did tonight is impressive,” Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said. “I mean, it’s against Cole, one of the best pitchers in baseball. To do what he did and do it again after he’s bleeding? That’s impressive.”

After the game, Guerrero received two stitches. He said his hand felt fine though he expected there might be some soreness for the series finale.

“Amazing,” Toronto starting pitcher Jose Berrios said. “We know what we can expect from Vladdy. He’s a great talent and great ability.”

Guerrero is a major reason for Toronto’s success over the Yankees of late. He is batting .303 (57-for-188) with 11 homers and 32 RBIs in 49 career games against New York while facing them in four different ballparks.

Besides quieting Guerrero’s bat, the Yankees are hoping to score first.

New York has allowed the first run five times in its six games. The Yankees were down by three on Wednesday before the fifth inning, when Anthony Rizzo and Aaron Judge homered on consecutive pitches and DJ LeMahieu hit a game-tying double. Gleyber Torres also homered, but pinch hitter Giancarlo Stanton hit a warning-track flyball in the eighth after Guerrero’s third long ball.

“That was a pretty impressive display from him,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said of Guerrero. “We got beat by obviously a great hitter.”

The Blue Jays will aim for their third win of the series when they hand Kevin Gausman the ball on Thursday for his second start.

In his debut for Toronto, Gausman (0-0, 5.40 ERA) allowed three runs on eight hits in five innings and took a no-decision Saturday against the Texas Rangers.

Gausman is 7-6 with a 3.77 ERA in 24 appearances (18 starts) against the Yankees from his five-plus seasons with the Baltimore Orioles. He is facing the Yankees for the first time since allowing six runs on nine hits in 5 1/3 innings at Baltimore on June 2, 2018.

After Cole could not get Guerrero out, Luis Severino (0-0, 6.00 ERA) will try to do so in his second outing following a long recovery from Tommy John surgery. In his first regular-season start since Sept. 25, 2018, Severino gave up two runs on five hits in three-plus innings in New York’s 4-2 win over the Boston Red Sox on Saturday.

Severino is 5-3 with a 3.71 ERA in 14 career appearances (11 starts) against the Blue Jays. His last start vs. Toronto came on Sept. 22, 2019, when he allowed three hits in five scoreless innings.

–Field Level Media