Major League Baseball will apparently use bubble cities for the playoffs

Following the lead of the NHL and the NBA, Major League Baseball is reportedly planning to use bubble cities for the playoffs this fall.

Per Jeff Passan, the plan is for American League teams to play in Los Angeles and San Diego, while the National League teams will play in Arlington and Houston. It isn’t specified whether the Los Angeles park will be Angels Stadium or Dodger Stadium, but I would guess the latter given that the goal here seems to be avoiding anybody having home-field advantage.
This makes a lot of sense as MLB surely wants to avoid any kind of outbreak of COVID-19 happening during the playoffs when there isn’t any room for error. The NHL and NBA have done an excellent job executing their playoffs in bubble environments, so there’s a clear lead here for MLB to follow.
The best part about this for the Blue Jays? No possibility of playing a playoff game at The Trop!

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Scott’s Thoughts: The Leafs stepped up, can they finish the job?

To end my last column, I said that the blown lead only coming in Game 3 provided the Leafs with an opportunity to step up and prove to us and themselves that this team was different.
With Game 7 against Boston in 2013, it was over for the Leafs, that was it. They didn’t get that second opportunity to prove themselves until four months later with an entirely different team.
The difference is that it isn’t over for this Leafs team. They have a chance tonight, and if they play it well, they have another one on Sunday. This is where they prove to themselves and to everybody that they have what it takes.
They have an opportunity with their backs against the wall to step up, and overcome this heartbreak. Or, they’ll sit back, let the Blue Jackets beat them in Game 4, and it’s over.
The choice is theirs.
And for a while, it looked like it was the latter. While the Leafs weren’t getting dominated in the game as far as possession goes (it was pretty even in the first, and the Leafs dominated the second, even when you factor in …

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Author: Scott Maxwell / The Leafs Nation

The Curse of The Trop continues as the Blue Jays lose another heartbreaking game

A 4-2 lead with two outs in the ninth inning. Seems easy enough. Not when you’re playing at The House of Horrors. Nothing can ever be easy there.

Things worth mentioning…

There’s a lot to talk about after that game. Where to begin?!
I’ll start off with the good stuff, like how we ended up in the ninth inning with a lead. Thomas Hatch made his first-career start and looked much better than a guy who was traded for a few innings of David Phelps. Hatch went two-and-a-third, allowing just two walks while picking up three strikeouts. After that, Anthony Kay came into the game and went two-and-a-third, allowing just one run, which came when Ji-Man Choi smacked a solo homer (from the right side of the plate, amazingly). All told, the piggyback duo of Hatch and Kay was excellent.
All of Toronto’s offence came in the sixth inning when the team exploded for four runs on six consecutive hits. Randal Grichuk singled, Teoscar Hernandez singled, Danny Jansen singled, Brandon Drury singled, Lourdes Gurriel singled, and then Bo Bichette singled. It was an interesting change of scenery for a …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

The Curse of The Top continues as the Blue Jays lose another heartbreaking game

A 4-2 lead with two outs in the ninth inning. Seems easy enough. Not when you’re playing at The House of Horrors. Nothing can ever be easy there.

Things worth mentioning…

There’s a lot to talk about after that game. Where to begin?!
I’ll start off with the good stuff, like how we ended up in the ninth inning with a lead. Thomas Hatch made his first-career start and looked much better than a guy who was traded for a few innings of David Phelps. Hatch went two-and-a-third, allowing just two walks while picking up three strikeouts. After that, Anthony Kay came into the game and went two-and-a-third, allowing just one run, which came when Ji-Man Choi smacked a solo homer (from the right side of the plate, amazingly). All told, the piggyback duo of Hatch and Kay was excellent.
All of Toronto’s offence came in the sixth inning when the team exploded for four runs on six consecutive hits. Randal Grichuk singled, Teoscar Hernandez singled, Danny Jansen singled, Brandon Drury singled, Lourdes Gurriel singled, and then Bo Bichette singled. It was an interesting change of scenery for a …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Grades from Toronto Raptors’ Close Win Over 15th Seed Hawks

      The Toronto Raptors nearly blew a 21-point lead, but Norman Powell’s big fourth quarter helped lift the visitors to a 122-117 win over the Atlanta Hawks at State Farm Arena. Now, the grades following win no. 29: A complete mismatch on paper, Monday’s game was everything but in practice, as the Toronto […]
Grades from Toronto Raptors’ Close Win Over 15th Seed Hawks – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Jordan Skuse / Raptors HQ

Daily Duce: Shapiro talks pitching market, Anthopolous gets himself in trouble, and more!

Daily???!!!

Mark Shapiro appeared on Sportsnet 590’s Lead Off with Ashley, Ziggy and Scotty Mac on Thursday morning to talk about a handful of off-season related topics. I’m going to focus on a couple of things that are interesting in regards to getting an idea of how the front office plans to tackle free agency this winter.
SN: Looking at the 2020 iterations of our Toronto Blue Jays, there’s under $40 million committed to payroll as of now. So I need to know… What’s your best offer for Gerrit Cole going to be?
Shapiro: He’s certainly a very rare talent to be available in free agency. Almost every team out there is looking for starting pitching, which is not surprising, and certainly, every team could use a No. 1 starter. We’re going to have to be aggressive on every level of the free-agent starting pitcher landscape. We recognize that as players go into the situation, they have all the things that are important to them, they look at geography, how that aligns with their personal situation, their family, they look at spring training, and where that location is, they look at the competitiveness of team, they look at …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Game 1 Turning Point: Kawhi and Pascal stop the Warriors’ run before it even happens

No lead ever feels safe against the Golden State Warriors, but the Raptors held onto theirs last night, as Kawhi Leonard and Pascal Siakam combined to quell a late Warriors run. It gets said over and over again, yet can’t be stressed enough: when you play against the Golden State Warriors no lead feels safe. It feels like sitting in a room with a time bomb, like sprinting along the edge of a precipice, a constant sense of dread hangs over any game in which the Warriors trail.
We’ve seen it too many times, if your offense goes cold the Warriors will get out and run, piling on points in increments of three. Suddenly your lead has gone from 11 to two in less than two minutes, and then the best shooter in NBA history, now feeling himself, stops just past the logo in semi-transition. We’ve seen it so many times that it feels inevitable. A team builds a lead by making enough shots to keep the Warriors out of transition, then they blink once, go cold only briefly, and they’re dead.
Everyone was waiting for it to happen last night:

what we know is the warriors …

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Author: Jacob M. Mack / Raptors HQ

Raptors look to end series against Milwaukee in Game 6: Preview, start time, and more

With a 3-2 lead in the series, Toronto looks to win four games in a row against the Bucks and clinch their first NBA Finals birth in franchise history. Much like everyone on NBA Twitter during the summer of 2018, I had my notifications on for Adrian Wojnarowski. In those days, questions were flying everywhere — who wins the LeBron sweepstakes? DeMarcus Cousins signed with who? Paul George is re-upping with the Thunder for how many more years? All these compelling stories made for a great off-season. But for myself, it was just a way to forget about Toronto’s disappointment once again.
A team that had just come off a 59-win season and finished first in the conference had been swept for the second consecutive year in the second round by LeBron James and the Cavaliers. So when Woj dropped the bomb at 4:23 in the morning that changed the Raptors franchise forever, I was speechless.

Toronto is close to a deal to acquire Spurs All-Star Kawhi Leonard, league sources tell @ChrisBHaynes and me. Trade package includes DeMar DeRozan, league sources tell ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 18, 2018

After the Game 5 win in Milwaukee on Thursday Night, I lost my words again. Every …

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Author: Zakaria Abdulle / Raptors HQ

Game 4 Turning Point: Raptors fend off Bucks’ run thanks to divine bench play

After the Bucks cut the lead to seven late in the third, Raptors fans were expecting a close outcome. Instead, the bench continued to save the game as Playoff Powell nailed a critical three to extend his team’s lead. From the tip, fans were treated to an energetic performance in Game 4 from all eight members of the Raptors’ regular rotation. It was the type of rare (of late) collective play that gives the city hope of the team actually pulling this thing off. Norman Powell and his legendary alter-ego Playoff Powell showed up once again, and with Kawhi Leonard less than 100 percent, the team needed every bit of the heroics.
After leading by ten at halftime, the Raptors came out of the gates fast in the third quarter, pushing the lead to 14 points after Marc Gasol canned a triple. Of course, then the Bucks made their move, upping their defensive intensity and taking open looks without fear. Milwaukee went on a lightning quick 7-0 run in just under a minute of game time, and Toronto braced for a fight.
The difference hung around seven points until about the four minute mark of the third, with Toronto seemingly clinging to …

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Author: Joel E Stephens / Raptors HQ

Raptors vs. 76ers Game 2 Thread: Updates, TV info, and more

With a 1-0 lead, the Raptors have shown they’re not messing around. But will the Sixers punch back in Game 2? We’ll find out tonight. Now, let’s watch. We don’t have to belabour this point, but we will: the Raptors are in control of their second round series against the Sixers thanks to dominant Game 1 performance. To say this sudden surge of confidence in the team is unfamiliar is a bit of an understatement. Me personally, I haven’t felt this good about a second round Game 2 for Toronto since 2001 (which just happened to also be against Philly, but I digress).
So what can the Raptors expect from the Sixers? This morning we saw All-Star centre Joel Embiid’s status shift from questionable to probable thanks to an attack of gastroenteritis — this, after all the drama surrounding his somewhat injured knee. We also got some kind of promise from Ben Simmons to play with… more anger, I guess? That’s something to be mindful of in Toronto.

— Ben Simmons (@BenSimmons25) April 29, 2019

Not much as changed for the Raptors. They’re still at near full strength (with only OG Anunoby still sidelined), and have to feel pretty good …

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Author: Daniel Reynolds / Raptors HQ