TLN Three Stars: Matthews and the Leafs handily defeat the Canucks

Another day, another Leafs victory.
Toronto came into this game looking to further cement their spot atop the North Division while the Canucks were trying desperately to squeak into the playoffs. The game proved to be an exciting affair, but only for one of those teams.
Tanner Pearson opened the scoring off a faceoff from a bad angle and they rode that momentum by piling up the shots. Sheldon Keefe did not like what he was seeing and gave his captain a long talk about the play and what should have been done differently.
It seemed to have paid off as the Leafs soon with Auston Matthews finishing off a nice feed from Mitch Marner off the rush to even things up. Early in the second, Marner stole the puck to set up Matthews’ 38th goal of the season and put his team in front for the rest of the game. Things started to balance out as both teams traded chances and kept the score close, but that all changed in the third period.
It started off with Adam Brooks getting a piece of Justin Holl’s shot from the point that Thatcher Demko had little shot of stopping. Then …

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Author: Michael Mazzei / The Leafs Nation

A big first inning on Tyler Glasnow leads the Blue Jays to a win at The Trop

A slumping offence going into a game against a guy with a 0.73 ERA? Seems like it’s going to be a bad time, right? Nope! The Blue Jays spanked Tyler Glasnow for a four-run first inning and hung on to beat the Rays by a score of 5-3.

Things worth mentioning…

Just about all of Toronto’s offence came in the first inning. Glasnow struck the first two guys he faced out but then Vlad Jr. kept the inning going with a single. After that, Rowdy Tellez drove him in with a double, Randal Grichuk drew a walk, and then Marcus Semien clubbed a three-run bomb to centre field. Glasnow allowed twice as many runs in the first inning of Friday’s game than he had in 24 2/3 innings coming into the game. It looked like Glasnow was going to mow the Blue Jays down based on the first couple of at-bats. It’s amazing how quickly things can change…

That’s a 13 pitch, 0 run inning if Vladdy’s grounder is like 5 feet left. What a sport.
— bk (@_bkuh_) April 23, 2021

Steven Matz was solid on Friday, though he had to compensate for some ugly defence behind him. The Blue Jays made three errors …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Blue Jays Nation Radio Ep. 6: The bullpen comes up huge in a two-game split at Fenway

The Blue Jays rolled into Fenway and earned a split in their mini, two-game series with the Red Sox this week.

All things considered, given Toronto’s wealth of injuries and how well the Red Sox had been playing early on, earning a split here is a pretty good outcome. The Blue Jays limited the Red Hot Sox bats to just eight runs over the two games, impressive given Boston came into the series with the best offence in baseball.
We talked on this post-series podcast about the team’s unlikely hero, the bullpen, the one-two punch of Bo and Vlad absolutely mashing, the team’s challenges with defence, particularly Lourdes Gurriel and Cavan Biggio, and what the lineup should look like when George Springer and Teoscar Hernandez return.
We also looked ahead to the looming three-game series at The House of Horrors with the Rays. Tampa is also dealing with a wealth of pitching injuries but they’re starting to find their stride offensively. This is a big series for the Blue Jays but they have their best three arms, Hyun Jin Ryu, Steven Matz, and Robbie Ray going.
You can listen to the episode here…

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Toronto Raptors: Yuta Watanabe signing an NBA deal speaks to his fit long-term

Toronto Raptors: Yuta Watanabe signing an NBA deal speaks to his fit long-term

Coming into the season, no one really knew what to make of Toronto Raptors two-way player Yuta Watanabe. He could defend some yes, but what position was he best served at? Furthermore, was he going to evolve his offensive game? Watanabe didn’t get off to the greatest start, but he soon found a foothold in […]
Toronto Raptors: Yuta Watanabe signing an NBA deal speaks to his fit long-term – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Kahfeel Buchanan / Raptors HQ

Blue Jays Nation Radio Ep. 5: Bad times in Kansas City? What else is new?!?

The Blue Jays rolled into Kauffman Stadium, a place of shadows, darkness, and sadness, and had their momentum squashed.

After completing an exciting series win over the New York Yankees that was capped by a Bo Bichette walk-off dinger, the Blue Jays had themselves an opportunity to start climbing up the American League East ladder with a four-game set against the thoroughly mediocre Royals. That didn’t happen as the team dropped three of four.
We talked about the downs from the series, of which there were multiple, such as the stagnant offence, Randal Grichuk’s suddenly stone-cold bat, and Charlie Montoyo’s puzzling bullpen management. But we also managed to find some positives, such as Steven Matz’ killing it, Vlad Jr. arriving, and what appears to be the impending return/debut of George Springer.
We also took a look ahead to the upcoming two-game set with the Red Sox at Fenway. Boston has been weirdly good this year. Is it a mirage? Or should we be worried about some weird, 2013-level stuff from them?
You can listen to the episode here…

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

How did the Leafs do at the Trade Deadline? — Staturday Weekly Column #15

Going into the Trade Deadline this year, the Leafs appeared to be singly focused on getting a depth middle six winger. However, it slowly came to light that, despite a lack of cap space, they had their sights set on a number of different roster improvements.
At the end of the day, Toronto added two forwards, one defender, and one goaltender, whose averaged annual salaries are a combined $11.95M, but costing the Leafs only $6.45M against the cap. To add such value for such a good financial cost, Dubas had to pay some draft pick premiums, but no assets that the Leafs couldn’t afford to spend.
This post will dig into the statistics of each of the acquired players, and figure out just what they add to this already powerful Toronto team.
The Columbus Duo
Interestingly, the Leafs made two separate trades with the Columbus Blue Jackets for injured defensive forwards. THe first was Riley Nash, and the second was Nick Foligno. As the biggest acquisition the Leafs made, Foligno carries with him a certain expectation to really move the needle when it comes to the Leafs’ success this season. As an energetic middle-six winger, Foligno will drive opponents …

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Author: Ryan Hobart / The Leafs Nation

Toronto Raptors: Fans still have plenty of reasons to cheer amid rough season

Toronto Raptors: Fans still have plenty of reasons to cheer amid rough season

The turning point in the Toronto Raptors‘ rise into a perennial playoff contender, 59-win team and eventual NBA champion came back in 2013, which means there’s an entire newer generation of Raptor fans who only know of success and meaningful runs leading up and into the postseason. Even as Toronto sits right behind the spiraling […]
Toronto Raptors: Fans still have plenty of reasons to cheer amid rough season – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Ben Fisher / Raptors HQ

The Trade Deadline, the Expansion Draft, and the Leafs

The Trade Deadline, the Expansion Draft, and the Leafs

One of the overblown narratives heading into the trade deadline is the impact of the expansion draft. There seems to be a belief that teams like the Leafs will only look at rental players because of the burden of having to protect that new asset or to pay a ransom to Seattle in order to keep them from selecting players they’d prefer to keep. Frankly, that’s Future Dubas’ problem, and I trust him to handle it quite well. And additionally, is it the concern that we think it is?
Who’s going to be protected?
Well, I’m willing to be that the Leafs will protect Marner, Nylander, and Matthews. Probably Muzzin, and Brodie as well, and Jack Campbell hasn’t done anything that would discourage the Leafs from protecting him either. John Tavares has a no movement clause, so as much as there might be some temptation to see if the Kraken would select him, that’s not a possibility. There’s also Morgan Rielly, who absolutely won’t be traded at the deadline, but could possibly be a player the Leafs entertain trading prior to the expansion draft. If they don’t, you better believe he’ …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

The bats don’t show up and the Blue Jays lose the rubber match

When you come into a game against a guy with a 135.00 ERA, you expect to score some runs. That didn’t happen. The Blue Jays lose the rubber match by a score of 2-1 and now sit at 3-3 on the season.

Things worth mentioning…

Hyun Jin Ryu got the start today and wound up with an incredibly unfortunate loss. He went seven innings, allowing two earned runs on seven hits and zero walks while picking up seven strikeouts. The only damage he really allowed was a solo dinger in the second inning and then the Rangers scored another run that inning largely because Vlad Jr. couldn’t scoop a ball at first. Long story short, Ryu pitched very well and didn’t deserve to have an L hung next to his name.
The only offence the Blue Jays mustered came when Marcus Semien smashed a solo dinger off of Matt Bush in the eighth inning. Otherwise, it was a limp day for the bats. Cavan Biggio had a great chance to bust things open with the bases loaded and one out but he grounded into a double play. Rowdy Tellez came up in the ninth inning with Joe Panik …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Toronto Raptors: Lakers beatdown serves as a brutal reminder that this isn’t a playoff team

Toronto Raptors: Lakers beatdown serves as a brutal reminder that this isn’t a playoff team

The Toronto Raptors came into their game against the Los Angeles Lakers feeling good for the first time in what feels like forever. Not only did they demolish the Golden State Warriors, but they won at the buzzer against the Washington Wizards just a night ago. With no LeBron James or Anthony Davis for the […]
Toronto Raptors: Lakers beatdown serves as a brutal reminder that this isn’t a playoff team – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ