Pre-Series Notes: The shorthanded Rays roll into Toronto for a five-game set with the Blue Jays

As a result of the lockout pushing the start of the season back and Major League Baseball not wanting to go deeper into October and November, teams will be playing some scheduled double-headers in order to squeeze all 162 games into the calendar.

For the Blue Jays, this results in two different five-game series with the Tampa Bay Rays. This one will feature a double-header on Saturday and then there’ll be another five-game set in mid-September with a double-header also on Saturday. Thankfully, both of these are being played in Toronto, as it would be unethical to make somebody play five games in four days at The Trop.
Anyways, the Rays roll into town hobbling through injuries, as catcher Mike Zunino, infielder Brandon Lowe, and centre fielder Kevin Kiermaier are on the 10-day Injured List while pitchers Tyler Glasnow, Pete Paribanks, Drew Rasmussen, J.P. Feyereisen, Nick Anderson, Andrew Kitteridge, and JT Chargois are all on the shelf.
The Rays will also be leaving a pair of arms, Brooks Raley and Ryan Thompson, in Tampa because they aren’t vaccinated…

Relievers Brooks Raley and Ryan Thompson will not be joining #Rays in Toronto for 5-game series due to the vaccination requirement. Will be placed on restricted list (no pay, service time), can be replaced on active roster. Several options under consideration at AAA Durham
— Marc Topkin (@TBTimes_Rays) June 29, 2022

Raley is a big loss to Tampa’s …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Reports suggest Spencer Carbery could still be behind Maple Leafs bench next season

The special teams specialist could likely be back behind the Maple Leafs bench next season.
If you haven’t been reading up on what’s going around the hockey world (other than the Avalanche winning the Stanley Cup), then you might not know that Maple Leafs assistant coach Spencer Carbery was interviewing for a head coaching gig.
Last week on the 32 Thoughts podcast, Elliotte Friedman reported that the 40-year-old was among a number of coaches in the running to become the Boston Bruins’ next head coach.
From Friedman on the 32 Thoughts Podcast:
“I think in Boston, it’s going to be someone a bit fresher. It’s going to be (Jim) Montgomery or it’s going to be (Jay) Leach, or it’s going to be (David) Quinn, I’ve heard Vellucci’s name in there, Spencer Carbery. You know, Spencer Carbery is an interesting one because I forgot this — that when Toronto hired Carbery — the Maple Leafs were already down the road, and I think Boston tried to talk to him. And it was just a situation where it was too far gone.”
But after the Bruins did a number of interviews throughout the week, it looks like Carbery didn’t make the cut.

As usual, @JoeyMacHockey is all over it. Wanted to add: Believe this was Vellucci’s second interview as part of the process.
Sounds like the finalists for #NHLBruins are Davi …

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

Raptors championship odds: Toronto viewed as extreme long-shot

Raptors championship odds: Toronto viewed as extreme long-shot

The Toronto Raptors are officially back in business, as Nick Nurse and Masai Ujiri brought this team back to the postseason following their brief stint in the lottery. 48 wins and a No. 5 seed constitutes a fairly successful year. Ujiri now has to scale his operation and enter the next phase of building a […]
Raptors championship odds: Toronto viewed as extreme long-shot – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

It looks like Hyun Jin Ryu is going to be out for a while

The results are back on Hyun Jin Ryu and it doesn’t sound good.

The Blue Jays placed the veteran lefty on the 15-day Injured List ahead of Thursday’s game with the White Sox with what was said to be left forearm inflammation. Ryu went for more tests and an MRI revealed that he’s dealing with a forearm strain and left elbow inflammation.
It seems this injury will keep Ryu on the shelf longer than last time. According to Keegan Matheson, Ryu will miss “multiple weeks” and the Blue Jays are still consulting with additional doctors to figure out what’s going on.

Hyun Jin Ryu’s MRI revealed a forearm strain and elbow inflammation.
He’ll be down for multiple weeks. The #BlueJays are still evaluating and consulting with additional doctors at this point.
— Keegan Matheson (@KeeganMatheson) June 3, 2022

This is an unfortunate break as Ryu had looked quite good after his first IL stint. He started off the season with a pair of awful starts, went on the IL with Left Arm Shittyness, and came back and posted a 2.29 ERA over the course of four starts, his best run since the first half of the 2021 season.
But before his outing against the Sox on Wednesday, word came out that Ryu was dealing with an arm issue and the Blue Jays would be watching him closely. Ryu wound up only going four innings in that start before getting lifted for Ross Stripling.
It’s difficult to say exactly what’ll happen, but when you’re hearing things like “forearm strain” and “elbow inflammation,” that generally isn’t a good sign as those terms tend to be synonymous with Tommy John surgery. Let’s hope that isn’t the case, as going through Tommy John would knock the 35-year-old out for the rest of this season and perhaps all of next season as well.
There’s certainly a ch …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Toronto Blue Jays place Hyun-Jin Ryu on 15-day IL

Hyun-jin Ryu is back on the injured list.

The Jays placed the lefty pitcher there Thursday afternoon not long before opening pitch against the White Sox.
According to the Jays, Ryu is on the shelf after experiencing inflammation in his left forearm. Wednesday night, Ryu was yanked from the game after pitching four innings due to the inflammation.
To bring in another arm, the Jays selected RHP Jeremy Beasley to the Major League roster.
This isn’t the first time his arm has caused some issues this year. In April and May, he missed 24 games because of soreness.
Ryu has started six games this year, going 2-0 with a 5.33 ERA, a 4.97 xERA and a 4.81 FIP. His struggles to start the year are noticeable. After he returned from his initial IL stint, things started to turn around for him. In three starts against the Tampa Bay Rays, Cincinnati Reds and the LA Angels, he posted a 1.72 ERA.
Thankfully for the Jays, they haven’t had to rely on him to be great this season. The emergence of Alek Manoah as a Cy Young contender, as well as Kevin Gausman’s hot start to the season, has helped off set things in the Jays’ rotation this year.
Ryu will be eligible to return June 17th.
Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at zach@oilersnation.com.
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Author: Zach Laing / Blue Jays Nation

The Leafs aren’t in cap hell, but some creativity is still required if they want to improve

The phrase thrown around a lot is “run it back.” That’s not an entirely bad idea given the success the Leafs had in the regular season, and the first round was not the physical mismatch of past postseasons. You could probably play that Lightning and Leafs series 100 times and not be surprised to have both teams walk away with 50 wins. The Leafs weren’t bad and there isn’t a need for a complete overhaul.
Running it back becomes a fantasy versus reality when you look at the cap situation. Of the 23 roster regulars at the end of the season, 10 of the players need new contracts. Some players like Jason Spezza, Colin Blackwell, and Ondrej Kase aren’t going to break the bank. Others like Ilya Lyubushkin or arguably the three previously mentioned players are ones that you might be comfortable seeing the Leafs move on from, and in reality, the Leafs are going to find a way of unloading Petr Mrazek’s contract, we just don’t know how yet and a buyout keeps a bit of extra money hitting the cap, not to mention the fact that it opens up another pricier position to fill because it’s doubtful that even “Run it back” e …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

BJN Radio – Ep. 75: Ranting about the umps, ranting about the bats, ranting about Yankee Stadium, and more!

Take me back to April! May has been awful!!!

After not dropping a single series in April, the Blue Jays have now dropped back-to-back-to-back series in May, as they were swept in a little two-game set in New York.
In this episode of BJN Radio, we talked about the Bad Times In The Bronx, including Yimi Garcia inexplicably getting tossed after plunking Josh Donaldson in the first game, Jordan Romano’s implosion in the ninth, and the overarching struggles of the bats to come up with clutch hits. We also fielded comments from the audience in which listeners sent us their biggest reasons for concern about this team and we replied with whether or not we’re also worried about said things.
In order to not be entirely doom and gloom, we talked about some good stuff, such as Bo Bichette possibly heating up at the plate and, randomly, Kevin Gausman being great. Finally, we looked ahead to the series in Tampa Bay, the last place a struggling team wants to be.
You can listen to the episode here…

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Bluelines: The last non-elimination game of the series

The Leafs are back home, and thankfully the final minutes of Game Four provided a lot of hope for their return. They aren’t the team that was getting shelled 5-0. They are now the team that rallied to 5-2 and picked up another in between a pair of empty net goals. It’s progress, but another reminder that Tampa is not a team that will let up.
The return home means the Leafs are the favourite again
The Leafs Moneyline tonight is -131, with the Lightning at +110. Still putting both teams fairly close, as they should be. The Leafs going back to having the last line change should hopefully maximize what the Leafs can get out of the Kampf line, and have Brodie and Muzzin on the ice at the right times.
Believing in John Tavares
There’s something to be said for home ice, and ideally, the Leafs take advantage of it by having the Lightning match to the Matthews line, the Kampf line matching to the Stamkos line, and freeing up John Tavares to play against some bottom-six competition with a pair of hot hands in Mikheyev and Kerfoot. The challenge might be establishing a cycle without William Nylander, but if this group can set up, Tavares has a good chance for a down low reward. A goal from J …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Maple Leafs vs. Lightning: The goaltending factor

Maple Leafs vs. Lightning: The goaltending factor

Leafs Nation has been going back and forth over the last few weeks about the pros and cons of playing the Tampa Bay Lightning or Boston Bruins in the first round of the NHL playoffs, but the one area where you could say the Lightning look scarier than the Bruins, even if the numbers from this season don’t fully agree, is in between the pipes.
Now that we know the Leafs will be playing the Lightning, let’s compare their starting goaltending situation versus the Leafs.
Tampa Bay – Andrei Vasileskiy
By his exemplary standards, Andrei Vasilevskiy had a slightly-down year in 2021-22, but one which would still be considered above average among his peers. Vasilevskiy finished the year with the eleventh-best save percentage (0.916) and sixth-best goals saved above expectation per 60 (+0.28) in all situations among goaltenders with at least 2000 minutes played.
Most goaltenders would trade their soul for these numbers, but they were actually down from his 0.924 save percentage and +0.31 GSAx/60 last season: results which garnered him second place in Vezina Trophy voting. Vasilevskiy followed up his formidable regular season campaign in 2020-21 by posting an insane 0.937 save percentage in the playoffs, guiding the Lightning to their second-straight Stanley Cup and earning himself the Conn Smythe trophy …

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Author: Mark Norman / The Leafs Nation

Jordan Groshans played for Low-A Dunedin on Thursday and is expected to join Triple-A Buffalo next week

One of the Toronto Blue Jays’ top prospects is back on the field.

Jordan Groshans joined the Low-A Dunedin Blue Jays for a rehab assignment on Thursday and, in his first regular-season game of 2022, went 1-for-3 with a double and a walk. Here’s a video of Groshan’s double from Geoff Pontes of Baseball America…

Jordan Groshans the Blue Jays #4 prospect was on a rehab assignment last night in Dunedin. Here’s a double he hit to the wall w/ an exit velocity of 102.9 mph. #NextLevel pic.twitter.com/z7xXeUpw7N
— Geoff Pontes (@GeoffPontesBA) April 22, 2022

Groshans made a few appearances for the Blue Jays in spring training, going 1-for-7 with a double over four games, but suffered an injury that ultimately delayed the start of his season.
Injuries have been an issue for Groshans ever since the Blue Jays selected him with the No. 12 overall pick in the 2018 draft.
He was dominating Low-A with the Lansing Lugnuts in his first full professional season in 2019 but suffered a foot injury that would wind up ending his season in May. After spending 2020 at the team’s Alternate Training Site, Groshans’ 2021 season was limited to 75 games as he dealt with a back issue in May and he also wound up missing all but one game in September.
While the sample size is small because of these injuries, Groshans has hit very well in the minors. Last season, he slashed a .291/.367/.450 line with Double-A New Hampshire with seven homers and 23 doubles.
According to Shi Davidi, the plan for Groshans is to have what’s essentially a rehab assignm …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation