The Blue Jays saw the entire left side of their starting infield exit today’s 7-10 loss against the Guardians with injuries this evening, as shortstop Bo Bichette left the game with right quad tightness while third baseman Matt Chapman departed with right middle finger inflammation, as relayed by The Athletic’s Kaitlyn McGrath.
As things stand, it appears that Chapman’s injury is more serious than Bichette’s. As relayed by MLB.com, manager John Schneider told reporters that both players had been playing through the injuries they were removed over today. Schneider described Bichette’s removal from the game as precautionary. That’s an understandable decision, given the star shortstop just missed a couple of weeks with a right knee injury. Chapman’s ailment, on the other hand, is one Schneider notes that Chapman has been dealing with for “the past couple of weeks” after he jammed the finger while putting away a weight in the weight room. The issue was aggravated during an at-bat today, and Chapman will undergo an MRI to determine the severity of his injury. More details on both players’ situations seem likely to be available tomorrow.
Of course, even a short absence for either player could be devastating for Toronto. With today’s loss against the Guardians, the Jays are now playing .500 ball in July with a 12-12 record. Treading water this month has resulted in their record slipping to 71-60, 2.5 games back of the final AL Wild Card spot and just two games ahead of a Red Sox club they swept earlier in the month. Without Bichette and/or Chapman on the left side of the infield, things could get even more dire as Toronto looks to return to make consecutive playoff appearances for the first time since 2016 and just the third time in the organization’s history.
Both players have been key for the Jays this season. Bichette has been a stable force at the top of the club’s lineup with a .316/.346/.491 slash line in 113 games combined with strong defense at shortstop. Chapman, meanwhile, was the hottest player on the planet for the first six weeks of the season with a 1.004 OPS on May 10. While he’s cooled considerably since then, he remains perhaps the best defensive third baseman in the sport and has the power to be a threat even when in the midst of a slump.
In the event either player needs time off, the club seems likely to turn to a bench consisting of Cavan Biggio, Santiago Espinal, and Davis Schneider. Biggio (90 wRC+) and Espinal (62 wRC+) have both struggled this season but have past success as regulars on their resume, while Schneider has just 40 plate appearances to his name in the majors but has made the most of them by slashing a sensational .424/.525/.848 in a part time role for Toronto this season.