Blue Jays can’t solve New York’s bullpen as Yankees win series opener

It seems the Yankees can, in fact, beat teams other than Baltimore, Kansas City, and Detroit.

New York picked up a 3-2 win in Toronto on Monday night in the series opener and stretched their winning streak to 10 games in the process.
Things worth mentioning…
It was yet another game of limp bats for the Blue Jays as the team managed just two runs off of Jordan Montgomery and New York’s bullpen. All of Toronto’s offence came when the team mounted a rally in the fourth inning, as George Springer singled, Bo Bichette drove him in with a double, and Matt Chapman drove in another run with a single. The Blue Jays had plenty of opportunities, but they couldn’t manage to cash in. Bo Bichette and Vladdy Jr. led off the sixth inning with a single and a walk but Lourdes Gurriel killed the rally with a double play. In the eighth, it was Chapman grounding into a double play with Vladdy and Gurriel on first and second.
The bottom of the order almost scored a run late as Tyler Heineman laced a double into right field with Alejandro Kirk on first. As hard as the Locomotive can chug, Kirk obviously isn’t scoring from first unless there’s divine interventio …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

George Springer comes up big against his former team as the Blue Jays take another series from the Astros

Nobody has been able to beat the Blue Jays in a series yet this season.

Other than their four-game split with the Yankees in New York, the Blue Jays have won their series against the Texas Rangers, Oakland A’s, Boston Red Sox twice, and now the Houston Astros twice.
Houston knocked Yusei Kikuchi around and took the first game of this weekend’s series but the Blue Jays bounced back and edged out one-run wins on both Saturday and Sunday thanks to excellent pitching and some clutch homers.
George Springer was the star of the weekend in Toronto as he played a key role in both wins against his former team. Springer hit two solo dingers in Saturday’s 2-1 win and then he made a game-saving catch in right field in the ninth inning of Sunday’s 3-2 win.

— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) May 1, 2022

Why the Astros let this guy walk in free agency is beyond me. But, hey, I’m not complaining.
Things worth mentioning…
As Dusty Baker approaches the 2,000th win of his career as a manager in the big leagues, he praised the Blue Jays, saying that “there’s a good chance somebody is going to come back through here to play playoff baseball.” The Yankees and L.A. Angels are both off to hot starts but the Blue Jays might be the team to beat the American League East. They’re certainly passing their early-season test so far.

The Blue Jays have now played 17 games against teams that made the postseason last year (Boston, Houston and New York).
They are 11-6 in those games and they’re not hitting at all. This team is very, very good.
— Joshua (@JoshuaHowsam) May 1, 2022

Jose Berrios pitched effectively in Saturday’s game, scattering one earned run on seven hits and two walks with five strikeouts over …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Maple Leafs five-game winning streak comes to an end as they lose to the Wild in a shootout

After displaying a beat down on the scoreboard against the Colorado Avalanche Wednesday night, the Toronto Maple Leafs were back on the road to begin a mini road trip in Minnesota to take on the Wild and finish it off tomorrow night in Winnipeg to play the Jets.  Before puck drop, news dropped that Morgan Rielly and Ondrej Kase, who were both game-time decisions, were out for warmups and will indeed play against Minneosta. However, Mitch Marner, who was also a game-time decision, was not out for warmups and he did not end up playing in tonight’s game. Joey Anderson slotted into the lineup for Marner and played on the fourth line, while Wayne Simmonds got promoted to the first line.
The first period started pretty slow for the Maple Leafs with the Wild generating the majority of the scoring chances through the first 10 minutes of play. They didn’t end up getting their first shot on goal until almost halfway through the period with a sharp-angle shot from Pierre Engvall. As the period went on the pace started to pick up a bit as both teams exchanged chances and then Simmonds and Foligno dropped the gloves right in …

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Author: Joseph Zita / The Leafs Nation

The huge risk the Leafs take in shopping one of their defencemen

Being reported by multiple Leafs beat writers is that Toronto is shopping one of their defencemen.
Whether that be Justin Holl, Travis Dermott, or even both of them, I don’t think it’s a logical idea. One of the things the Leafs have echoed for years is why depth brings success. And if you trade one of Holl or Dermott, doesn’t that defeat the purpose of depth?
If you trade either of those players, it leaves a hole. Not one within the lineup, but one if there’s an injury.
I’m sometimes on the side of the player because it’s tough being the odd man out. It’s hard for hockey players to miss games, especially when they know they can be better. Holl is the most prominent example of that.
Eight months ago, the 29-year-old was the key to shutting down Connor McDavid in three-straight games. It wasn’t Jake Muzzin.
I say that only because a lot of people see Holl and think his success is from Muzzin. If he didn’t have the Stanley Cup Champion defender on his left side, Holl wouldn’t be effective. At times I buy it, other times …

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

The Blue Jays are on the verge of a sweep in The Bronx

Remember when the Blue Jays couldn’t beat the Tigers? Neither do I.

Toronto improved its season-high winning streak to seven games with a 6-3 win over the Yankees in New York. They’ve now won the first three games in the series and are on the verge of a four-game sweep.
Seem sorta, kinda familiar?

Thinking about this series from 2015 and everything that happened after it
— Cam Lewis (@cooom) September 9, 2021

The Red Sox also won tonight so we’re now a game-and-a-half behind New York and we’re still two games behind Boston. Tomorrow will represent an opportunity for the Blue Jays to pull within a half-game of the Yankees for a playoff spot.
Yes! Fuck yes! Let’s talk about the good stuff from tonight’s game…
Alek Manoah!
It wasn’t the same as his big league debut, which featured six scoreless innings, but Alek Manoah came out and worked his way through a near quality start tonight, tossing five-and-two-thirds innings while allowing three earned runs, all of which came on a Brett Gardner dinger.
The thing about Manoah’s start that rocked was that the aforementioned Gardner homer came on a rally …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

3 Toronto Raptors players who exceeded expectations in 2020-21

3 Toronto Raptors players who exceeded expectations in 2020-21

On May 25th, 2019, the Toronto Raptors beat the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals en route to winning the coveted Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy. It was a stark contrast to May 10 of this season, just under 2 years late, when the Raptors found out that they were officially eliminated […]
3 Toronto Raptors players who exceeded expectations in 2020-21 – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Shaun Suares / Raptors HQ

Is it time for Rasmus Sandin?

The Leafs just easily beat the Canucks 7-3 with their Thursday night lineup, actually their Thursday night lineup minus Travis Dermott, who was injured in the first. They are sitting at 8-2-1 through 11 games, and essentially the top team in the NHL, so why are we talking about messing around with their roster? The answer can most quickly be explained by the fact that we’re never satisfied Leafs fans and we’re always wanting more, but there is another piece, and that’s the fact that we have a shiny new(-ish) toy that we haven’t taken out of the box this season and we want to know how it plays.
Our own Nick Richard highlighted some of the issues with Sandin’s playing time situation in his Prospect Roundup:
Much has been made of Rasmus Sandin’s place on the depth chart and the fact that one of the Leafs’ top prospects hasn’t played a game in 11 months. In a somewhat curious decision, Sandin wasn’t among the handful of Leafs prospects that were loaned overseas as the organization sought to find ice time for their youngest players when the NHL season was still up …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

The Blue Jays are on pace to go 60-0

Baseball! It’s back! The Blue Jays beat the Rays 6-4 to kick off the 2020 season, so all aboard the hype train!

Things worth mentioning…

Hyun Jin Ryu took the hill for his first-ever start as a Blue Jay and it mostly went very well. Ryu was very ace-like over his first four innings of work, painting corners, mixing speeds, and ultimately coming as advertised. He ran into some problems in the fifth inning, though, as he surrendered a walk and a two-run bomb that resulted in him getting yanked. Ryu’s control was a tad off tonight, but you can probably chalk that up to pitchers not being as sharp as they would usually be after a normal-length spring training.
Pretty much everyone got into the mix offensively, which is exactly what you want to see from this lineup. Everybody reached base at least once, and everybody except for Rowdy Tellez had at least one hit.
The Jays went up 3-0 with a very small-ball-style inning, in which Cavan Biggio reached on a bunt single, Vlad Jr. singled, and Travis Shaw walked before Randal Grichuk, Rowdy Tellez, and Teoscar Hernandez hit back-to-back-to-back sacrifice flies. It seemed …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Leafs recall Korshkov and Marchment ahead of tonight’s game in Buffalo

On the heels of a road back-to-back that saw them beat the Senators last night, the Leafs will head into Buffalo this evening for a tilt with the Sabres. It’s an important game, like all of them at this point, where they can put 6 points between themselves and the 4th place Panthers with a win.
It also looks like, given the proximity to home, the team will use the opportunity to potentially get some fresh legs in the lineup.

The @MapleLeafs have recalled forwards Egor Korshkov and Mason Marchment from the @TorontoMarlies (AHL).
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) February 16, 2020

Then again, both of these guys might just be getting the call to hop up to the big club for a couple days of NHL salary as a reward for their strong play with the Marlies recently. Both have been scoring at a nice clip in the last few AHL games.
But if we want to go into full trade season speculation mode, maybe this signifies the Leafs are working on something and want to have a little insurance in the lineup. Either way, nice to see the team continue to put trust in graduating …

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Author: Ryan Fancey / The Leafs Nation

Game 7 Analysis: The Raptors made the right decisions to fend off the Sixers

The Raptors managed to beat the Philadelphia 76ers in seven games thanks to a truly absurd shot from Kawhi Leonard. Let’s look back at the decisions in Game 7 that led to that moment. So, Kawhi Leonard, huh?
Yeah, I still can’t believe that happened. But a lot needed to go right for the Raptors in Game 7 to even get to that last shot. There have been a few games where enough went wrong that Toronto didn’t have that chance at the end of the game.
Let’s check in on how they got to the finish line in their series with the Philadelphia 76ers in the second round of the NBA Playoffs.

That Embiid Matchup

It’s been a story line all series long. Joel Embiid has been by far the 76ers best player, and defending him with Marc Gasol was going to be absolutely crucial to the Raptors’ success, which became very clear after just one game, in spite of the general success of that game.
In Game 7, Nick Nurse made sure to match Gasol’s minutes directly to Embiid’s, much like in Game 5. And it paid off, keeping the Raptors within striking distance in …

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Author: Daniel Hackett / Raptors HQ