The Julian Merryweather era has come to an end

We’ll always have those two saves in April of 2021.

The Toronto Blue Jays designated Julian Merryweather for assignment last week in order to make room on the 40-man roster for the newly-signed Brandon Belt. On Tuesday, the team announced that Merryweather had been claimed by the Chicago Cubs…

ROSTER MOVES:
🔹 RHP Julian Merryweather has been claimed off waivers by the Cubs
🔹 RHP Junior Fernández has been assigned outright to Triple-A pic.twitter.com/F2bdTV3n4p
— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) January 17, 2023

Merryweather was acquired back in October of 2018 as the Player To Be Named Later from when Josh Donaldson has been traded to Cleveland a couple of months earlier. At that time, Merryweather was a bit of a mystery as he hadn’t pitched since the 2018 season.
After missing virtually all of the 2019 season, Merryweather finally appeared in 2020. He made eight appearances for the Blue Jays in the pandemic season, posting a 4.15 ERA over 13 innings while racking up 15 strikeouts.
By the time 2021 rolled around, the narrative around Merryweather had shifted from ‘Is he even a real guy?’ to ‘This guy is the closer of the future.’ 
On Opening Day, Merryweather came in for the 10th inning to protect the Blue Jays’ 3-2 lead over the New York Yankees and he struck out the side. A couple of days later, he was brought in for the ninth inning with the Blue Jays up by a score of 3-1, and he struck out two Yankees en route to another save.

Unfortunately, things peaked there for Merryweather. He made two more appearances in April and went on the Injured List with an oblique strain. He didn’t ret …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Trading up for Thompson twins in 2023 draft may fix Raptors offensive woes

Trading up for Thompson twins in 2023 draft may fix Raptors offensive woes

The Toronto Raptors are always thinking about the NBA Draft, but fans need to prepare for the possibility of this team getting dispatched in the play-in tournament and ending up with a lottery pick. While this would be immeasurably disappointing, Toronto needs to recognize how much a young scoring talent is needed. The NBA has […]
Trading up for Thompson twins in 2023 draft may fix Raptors offensive woes – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Maple Leafs dominate Penguins on Hockey Night: Leafs Rundown

Maple Leafs dominate Penguins on Hockey Night: Leafs Rundown

It feels like games against the Penguins are always slightly cursed, but this one worked out pretty well. The Leafs kept the pressure on the Penguins, earning a 4-1 win.
From that first early goal on, the Leafs were healthily in charge of this game. Here are some thoughts on the game.
Behind The Net
No, not the ancient, now defunct stats website. This is to do with the success Toronto had tonight forcing the Penguins defenders to face the wrong way. Twice they capitalized with a pass behind them that scored on Casey DeSmith. First on goal #2 by Pontus Holmberg, and again on goal #3 by William Nylander:

PONTUS HOLMBERG 🚨
WHAT A SHOT! TOP CORNER! pic.twitter.com/T3x8A8IOAQ
— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) November 27, 2022

WILLIAM NYLANDER 🚨
IT’S 3-0! pic.twitter.com/UP2bygPzcb
— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) November 27, 2022

Källgren performance
The Swedish 3rd string goalie has been filling in with the Leafs a lot this season, with injuries to both Matt Murray and Ilya Samsonov. It’s not often that the 3rd stringer has the most starts, 2 months into the season, but with his 9th start for the Maple Leafs tonight, Källgren has that strange honour.
The netminder has only had 2 “quality starts”, plus a third excellent performance in relief against Boston; the remainder have been well below average. This 1-goal-against performance Pittsburgh is definitely a boon to his season stats. He did only face [SHOTS HOW MANY???] in this one, but this is an undeniable success.
No defenders, no problem
With 3 of the Leafs’ apparent top 4 defenders out on injured reserve at the moment, it would be expected that the team would struggle defensively. And certainly, the team’s shooting stats have taken a hit in that regard. In the last 2 games, the Leafs allowed a lot more even strength shot attempts against than normal, ~63 per 60 minutes, versus ~53 per 60 minutes for the previous 20 games. That’s a small sample to be sure …

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Author: Ryan Hobart / The Leafs Nation

Leafs left with the easy task of naming Keith Petruzzelli the starter for Saturday night

Leafs left with the easy task of naming Keith Petruzzelli the starter for Saturday night

It seemed like it always should have been Petruzzelli’s game and one that was confidently announced a week ago so his family had time to shuttle to Toronto for his NHL debut, but if there was any doubt about who should be getting the start, it should be cleared up by this recent insight from Sheldon Keefe:

Keefe says Matt Murray will not play tomorrow. They will make that decision of who starts tomorrow. @BodogCA @RinkWideTOR
— David Alter (@dalter) November 12, 2022

While the Leafs have historically shied away from the idea of having their goaltenders make NHL debuts on Saturday night nationally broadcast home games, this one hits a little different than the standard fare. For one, there really doesn’t seem to be much of a choice, but we’ll get into that later. There’s also the fact that this is a game against the Vancouver Canucks. The 4-7-3 Vancouver Canucks that seem to be hanging on by a thread. It’s not a bad opponent to line an inexperienced goaltender up against, and in that sense it couldn’t have worked out any better.
It also seems that no one is delusional enough to believe that Petruzzelli will be making his case for a Leafs job tonight either. This is about as one and done as it gets. Good or bad, by Tuesday Keith will be riding a bus with the Marlies, and the Leafs will at least feel comfortable enough with Matt Murray wearing a ball cap f …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Top 5 European-born players in Toronto Raptors franchise history

Top 5 European-born players in Toronto Raptors franchise history

The Toronto Raptors have always been a franchise that looks to all corners of the globe in order to put together the best 15-man roster possible. Toronto has been a haven for some of the best African and European talent in the world who wish to ply their trade in North America. Toronto’s roster at […]
Top 5 European-born players in Toronto Raptors franchise history – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ