Baseball is back! MLB and the Players’ Association have agreed to a new CBA

There it is!

After a long, frustrating process, Major League Baseball and the Players’ Association have tentatively agreed to a new Collective Bargaining Agreement…

BREAKING: Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association have reached a tentative agreement on a new labor deal, sources tell ESPN. While it still needs to be ratified by both parties, that is expected to be a formality, and when it is:
Baseball is back.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) March 10, 2022

I’ll update this with information as it comes in…
The off-season will resume tonight as the freeze on trades and signings will be lifted, assuming the new CBA is officially agreed upon.
Spring Training games will start between March 18 and March 20, with players heading down to report to Florida and Arizona immediately.
Opening Day will be on April 7, which, as Mike Wilner points out, is the 45-year anniversary of the Blue Jays’ first-ever game.

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

How Khem Birch has fixed the Toronto Raptors in two key areas

How Khem Birch has fixed the Toronto Raptors in two key areas

It’s been a very frustrating season for the Toronto Raptors this year, to say the least. However, with the acquisition of Khem Birch, it has given this team some hope down the stretch. The Raptors haven’t had the ideal 2020-21 season that they were all hoping for. From being forced to play their home games […]
How Khem Birch has fixed the Toronto Raptors in two key areas – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Joseph Zita / Raptors HQ

Hyun Jin Ryu tosses a gem, Vlad stretches and flashes leather, Rowdy finally smashes a dinger, and the Blue Jays down the Yanks

After a frustrating loss on Monday, the Blue Jays were facing what low-key felt like a must-win game with ace Hyun Jin Ryu taking the mound. And, oh boy, he delivered.

Things worth mentioning…

For the third time this season, Ryu put together a very nice start. The bats actually showed up this time around so he was also able to earn his first win of the season. Ryu went six-and-two-thirds innings, allowing one run (unearned) on four hits and one walk while striking out seven. He’s allowed just four earned runs over 19 innings so far this season. It was impressive to see Ryu just carve up New York’s righty-heavy lineup, especially given the fact they saw him just a couple of weeks ago. The Yanks only managed to put 17 balls in play, and only about half of those balls were hit particularly hard. All told, it was a gem for Ryu, who had New York just totally confused and off-balance all night.

Things got sort of weird pitching-wise after Ryu left the game. David Phelps came in to finish off the seventh inning and then came out for the eighth but got drilled in the back by …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Hyun Jin Ryu the ace shows up as the Blue Jays snap their losing streak

After a trio of frustrating losses capped by an ugly 10-1 spanking, the Blue Jays are finally back in the win column. The pitching showed up on Wednesday, leading the team to a scrappy 2-1 win in Atlanta.

Things worth mentioning…

This was the first time we got to see Hyun Jin Ryu pitch like an ace. In his first two starts as a Blue Jay, Ryu showed some flashes of brilliance, but he ultimately scattered eight earned runs over nine innings as his velocity was down and he didn’t seem to have the feel for his off-speed pitches. On Wednesday, Ryu came back and reminded everyone why he was signed to an $80 million contract. He tossed five shutout innings, collecting eight strikeouts. Ryu’s changeup was absolutely absurd as he got the Braves to whiff 14 times with the pitch. The only somewhat worrying part of Ryu’s outing is that he walked three batters, which is still more than you’d expect from the guy who had the fewest walks-per-nine of anybody in baseball last season.
Beyond Ryu, Toronto’s bullpen was also incredibly impressive. Thomas Hatch allowed a solo homer to …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Tanner Roark’s strong debut leads the Blue Jays to another win in Washington

After a couple of frustrating losses in Tampa Bay, the Blue Jays have bounced right back in Washington, completely shutting down the defending champs in back-to-back wins.

Things worth mentioning…

Tanner Roark made his Blue Jays debut in a familiar setting, going up against his former club as a visitor in Nationals Ballpark for the first time in his career. Though Roark wasn’t a sexy, big-name signing like Hyun Jin Ryu, there’s no doubt that adding him to the back of the rotation is a pretty significant upgrade on some of the guys (Clayton Richard, Edwin Jackson) that the Blue Jays trotted out last season. Roark tossed five innings of one-run balls, scattering three hits, walking none, and collecting five strikeouts. Having your fifth starter give you a chance to win like that is all you can ask for.
After Roark left the game, the Jays had four innings to navigate and a depleted bullpen. But, unlike on Saturday in Tampa Bay, the B squad that came out the ‘pen got the job done without any issue at all. Jacob Waguespack tossed two scoreless frames in his season debut, Wilmer Font tossed a clean …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Five thoughts on last night’s Game 6: 76ers 112, Raptors 101

After a frustrating road effort, we’ll see the Raptors back home on Sunday… for Game 7. I guess we knew it wasn’t going to be easy. But was it wrong to hope that it would be? I really, really didn’t want this series to go seven games.
But, Jimmy Butler and Ben Simmons were magnificent, Joel Embiid had a Kyle Lowry-esque impact without scoring much, Toronto couldn’t keep anyone off the glass and couldn’t hit a shot, and well… that’s how you end up with another lopsided loss in a series that’s had its share of them.
The Raptors Did Not Come to Play
There were a ton of plays last night that you could point to, on both ends, to demonstrate how poorly prepared the Raptors were for this game or with how little urgency they played. But I’d like to point to one play with about 8.5 minutes to go in the game.
Philadelphia is up 22. It’s desperation time for Toronto: That time where you have to make one last push before packing it in for garbage time.
Toronto has possession. Serge Ibaka has a mismatch on Jimmy Butler on the …

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Author: Josh Kern / Raptors HQ

Listen to That’s A Rap #21: Post-Game 3 vs. Sixers Reaction

After a frustrating Game 3 loss to the Sixers, the boys try to assure us that Everything Is Fine with the Raptors. Last I checked, the Raptors only needed one win in Philadelphia to regain home-court advantage. When Kyle Lowry states that Kawhi Leonard needs more help, doesn’t he have a history of bringing his A-game? Hasn’t a season-long worth of games with constant rotational changes – and continued success – afforded this team some leeway that they’ll “figure it out”?
The answers to these questions will have to wait until Sunday, but for now, listen to our latest episode as we dissect Game 3.

On The Latest Episode:
Raptors were treading water with Kawhi on the court… and absolutely sinking when he wasn’t. At least Danny Green started hitting from deep.
In an ironic twist of fate, it’s Kawhi who is managing the Raptors’ load. Passing and assist rates have increased since the trade deadline, but the Raptors fell victim to over-passing and lots of apprehension. If a fire wasn’t lit after Game 2, it certainly is now.
Some missed (groin-related?) calls by the referees created a negative trickle effect. Foul trouble led to slower defensive …

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Author: JayRosales / Raptors HQ

Three Questions from the Raptors ahead of Game 3 vs. the Philadelphia 76ers

After a frustrating loss, we asked Sean Kennedy of Liberty Ballers how the Raptors can rebound against the Philadelphia 76ers in Game 3. After a lacklustre Raptors performance in Game 2, Sean Kennedy of Liberty Ballers picked apart last game for us and offered some advice for Game 3.
*****
Last game, the Raptors appeared lethargic and struggled to make shots right from the get-go. What major changes did the Sixers make to stifle Toronto’s offense, and do you think they’re sustainable?
The main changes the Sixers made defensively included having Ben Simmons be the primary defender on Kawhi Leonard, being more aggressive about sending double teams at Kawhi, and switching the frontcourt matchups with Joel Embiid on Pascal Siakam and Tobias Harris on Marc Gasol. All of those moves should remain in place moving forward. As I mentioned prior to Game 2, Simmons has the best chance of slowing down Kawhi, possessing the length to bother him on shot attempts and the mobility to fight through screens. Much of Toronto’s supporting cast seems hesitant to take the lead offensively, so I’m perfectly fine with getting the ball out of Kawhi’s enormous mitts and forcing other Raptors to make a …

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Author: Dylan Litman / Raptors HQ

Game 2 Turning Point: The Raptors’ bench-heavy lineup gave away its minutes

Game 2 was a frustrating watch for Toronto, with many fans anticipating the team’s mistakes before coach Nick Nurse seemingly did. But a loss is a great reminder that adjustments should never stop in the playoffs. With just a few minutes remaining in the third quarter of Game 2, Toronto found themselves back in the game after a frenetic push to close the gap on a 13-point halftime deficit. They managed to whittle down the difference to just a single point — and then came the mistake that has plagued the Raptors all postseason long.
Nick Nurse pulled three starters out and placed Norman Powell, Serge Ibaka and Fred VanVleet in the game all at once.

VAMOS! pic.twitter.com/YqWCsiV4c9— Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) April 30, 2019

Not only has this kind of substitution killed critical runs and game-shifting momentum for Toronto, it’s proved to be fatal for all three players’ effectiveness and confidence. After a Game 1 win, Fred VanVleet was heard saying he just gave the ball to Pascal Siakam and Kawhi Leonard; that he didn’t want to mess up what they had going. That doesn’t sound like the usually confident Steady Freddy.
For all six of Toronto’s …

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Author: Joel E Stephens / Raptors HQ