The Jays won’t be able to Catch the Yankees for the Division Lead, but not all hope is lost

Despite the huge comeback, the series told us a lot about where the Jays stand.

First and foremost, I don’t think there’s a shot in hell that the team catches the Yankees. The Bronx Bombers are already 11 games ahead and it’s only June 20th. It sucks to say, but it’s all but impossible.
How large is the gap?:
Heading into the season, I thought New York was definitely a playoff team, but not as good as the Jays. However, I’ve been proven wrong. You can say “their schedule is easy”, but the Yankees are currently 20-8 against .500 teams. The Jays are 17-20.
If we’re being completely honest with ourselves, the Yankees are winning the games they need to, the Jays are not.
Let’s take you back to June 8th, where the Jays played the Kansas City Royals. After overcoming a quick 3-0 hole, the Jays proceeded to lose the game 8-4. Then they proceeded to lose the game the following Saturday to the Tigers. Then they dropped two to the lowly Orioles.
If a team is sub .500 against teams that have a winning record, you cannot drop this many games to bad teams.
Sadly, the Yankees are just a better built team. While the two teams’ offenses are comparable (the Yankees have scored 340 runs, the Jays have scored 301), they do not compare in terms of pitching.
While Toronto’s starter ERA of 3.64 ranks the 7th best in the MLB, the Yankees starters almost giv …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

BJN Radio – Ep. 85: The Trash Birds, an ode to Hyun Jin Ryu, Shohei Ohtani speculation, and more!

That’s absolutely not how you’d like for a series with the Baltimore Orioles to go.

We had this week circled on the calendar for quite some time as the Trash Birds came to town for the first time this season but the Orioles put up a good fight and wound up taking two of four. Next up, we have the New York Yankees, who are on pace to win 121 games this season. Fun stuff!
On this episode of BJN Radio, we talked about Hyun Jin Ryu’s career as a Blue Jay possibly being over, who the team could look to acquire before the trade deadline, and whether a Shohei Ohtani trade is possible.
You can listen to the episode here…
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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

With the 78th overall pick, the Blue Jays could select…

In the fourth edition of this series, we’ll look at who the Jays could pick with their 78th overall.

The Jays received this pick due to Robbie Ray signing with the Seattle Mariners, as they extended a qualifying offer to Ray.
After winning the 2021 AL Cy Young award, Ray has struggled with the Mariners to say the least. In 77.2 innings pitched, he has posted an ERA of 4.52 (up from 2.84), a FIP of 4.59 (up from 3.69), a BB/9 of 3.24 (up from 2.42) and a K/9 of 9.39 (down from 11.54).
The Blue Jays went out and signed Kevin Gausman, who has produced better numbers, without forfeiting a pick. This is just a masterclass of front officing from Ross Atkins and Mark Shapiro.
Let’s look at who they could draft with the compensation pick next month:
Sal Stewart:
Starting off with a high school third baseman, we have 18-year-old Sal Stewart.
Committed to Vanderbilt, the young third baseman has a fantastic bat and is considered one of the best pure high school hitters, according to MLB Pipeline.

Sal Stewart (2022 FL) using the whole field today as he follows up a deep PS bomb with a oppo 2B here. Advanced hitter with a heavy barrel; Soph World MVP last week. #AnchorDown commit. pic.twitter.com/nNWN8KJDbZ
— Vinnie Cervino (@vcervinoPG) October 4, 2019

He’s a right handed batter with plenty of raw power, but scouts believe that as he continues to age, the hit tool will come around as well.
His arm and fielding work perfectly at third base, but some wonder if he’ll be able to stick there moving forward, as the 6’3, 215 pound Stewart is a rather slow runner, which may lead to range issues at third base.
Here a …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

Pre-Series Notes: Vladdy vs. Ohtani, Cavan Biggio joins the Taxi Squad, and more!

We’ve got ourselves a star-studded series coming up this weekend.

The Blue Jays are in Anaheim to face the Angels and the series will get kicked off on Friday with Shohei Ohtani, last year’s American League MVP, taking the mound against last year’s AL MVP runner-up, Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
Also, if you’re looking to watch the Friday game on TV like normal, you won’t be able to, as it’s being streamed exclusively on Apple TV as part of their Friday Night Baseball package.
Ohtani is having a bit of a down year with the bat compared to what he did last year, but the team is being led by Mike Trout, who’s back to being Mike Trout after an injury-riddled 2021 season. The best hitter on the team, oddly enough, isn’t Ohtani or Trout, it’s *checks notes* … Taylor Ward?
Through 30 games this year, Ward has slashed an absurd .270/.481/.713 line, as his slugging percentage is higher than the OPS of .693 he had in 159 games coming into this season.
The Angels are among the best teams offensively, as they rank fifth in baseball in runs per game, but the thing that’s different about this team than in previous years is the fact they’ve been getting good pitching, as they rank just ahead of the Blue Jays with a 3.45 team ER …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Pre-Series Notes: Vladdy vs. Ohtani (on Apple TV), Cavan Biggio joins the Taxi Squad, and more!

We’ve got ourselves a star-studded series coming up this weekend.

The Blue Jays are in Anaheim to face the Angels and the series will get kicked off on Friday with Shohei Ohtani, last year’s American League MVP, taking the mound against last year’s AL MVP runner-up, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. If you’re looking to watch the game on TV like normal, you won’t be able to, as it’s being streamed exclusively on Apple TV as part of their Friday Night Baseball package.
Ohtani is having a bit of a down year with the bat compared to what he did last year, but the team is being led by Mike Trout, who’s back to being Mike Trout after an injury-riddled 2021 season. The best hitter on the team, oddly enough, isn’t Ohtani or Trout, it’s *checks notes* … Taylor Ward?
Through 30 games this year, Ward has slashed an absurd .270/.481/.713 line, as his slugging percentage is higher than the OPS of .693 he had in 159 games coming into this season.
The Angels are among the best teams offensively, as they rank fifth in baseball in runs per game, but the thing that’s different about this team than in previous years is the fact they’ve been getting good pitching, as they rank just ahead of the Blue Jays with a 3.45 team …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

BJN Radio – Ep. 78: The 2016 team comparison, Joey Votto’s successful finale in Toronto, and more!

It was another series win that left a sour aftertaste.

As they did with Seattle, the Blue Jays took the first two games against a weak opponent and then came up short with a chance to pull off a sweep.
In the post-Reds series episode of BJN Radio, we gave praise to Hyun Hin Ryu for another good start, questioned whether it was right for Charlie Montoyo to not give Alek Manoah the ninth inning, and looked at Bo Bichette’s low-key hot streak in the month of May. We also talked about the handful of guys who aren’t hitting and wondered how long such cold streaks can possibly continue.
We also talked about Joey Votto playing likely his last game in Toronto, barring a trade, and talked about whether we root for Canadian players when they go up against the Blue Jays.
You can listen to the episode here…

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Pre-Series Notes: Robbie Ray isn’t scheduled to start for the Mariners as they head to Toronto

Another series loss, this time to the Rays in Tampa, has the Blue Jays at 18-17 for the season.

When you take a step back and look at the big picture, it isn’t all too surprising the Blue Jays have a mediocre record in mid-May given the schedule they’ve had early on. That said, I also wouldn’t blame anybody for being uninspired by this group right now, especially based on how they’ve played against the Yankees and Rays, the teams they’re competing with for the American League East.
Next up, the Blue Jays will face a handful of teams they might be competing with for wild-card spots down the road. They’ll face the Chicago White Sox and Minnesota Twins later in May and will kick things off by hosting the Seattle Mariners.
The Mariners are also off to a disappointing start this year. After bullshitting their way to a 90-72 record due largely to an absurd record in one-run games, but after signing the reigning AL Cy Young winner in the off-season, the Mariners came into 2022 with legitimate playoff aspirations.
So far not as good as Seattle is 16-19 on the season.
Like the Blue Jays, Seattle started off quite well but they’ve gone cold since the start of May. They held an 11-6 record after sweeping the R …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Is it time to break up Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner?

Heading into Game 5, the series between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Tampa Bay Lightning is exactly where many expected it to be: tied 2-2 coming back to Toronto.
There has been plenty to take away from the first four games of the series, but one of the biggest points of interest coming out of the two games in Tampa Bay is the dominance of the Alex Killorn, Brayden Point, and Anthony Cirelli unit. That line, along with the pairing of Victor Hedman and Erik Cernak, were matched against the Maple Leafs top line of Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner, and quite simply smothered them.
In Game 4, Matthews and Marner generated just one shot attempt against Tampa Bay’s shutdown unit. Despite the Maple Leafs win in Game 3, it was much of the same story, with Matthews and Marner coming in at a sub-30 per cent Corsi-for against Killorn, Point, and Cirelli.
With Toronto’s top line being shut down by Tampa’s matchup line and the Leafs failing to generate much at 5v5 from their second line, that begs the question: Is it time to break up Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner?
We haven’t seen Matthews play with William Nylander or Marner play with John Tavares for any significant amo …

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Author: Kyle Cushman / The Leafs Nation

Game #4 Recap: Lightning overwhelm the Leafs 7-3 to tie the series

After the Leafs took the 2-1 series lead in Game 3 on Friday, they had to know that the Lightning would come back fighting hard in Game 4 last night. Perhaps that fear and anticipation was a self-fulfilling prophecy, as the Lightning wiped the floor with Toronto as they did in Game 2.
When the Lightning got to the early lead, it felt almost like fate. The Leafs were meant to lose this one, badly, to charge them up for Game 5 at home (or so I hope, at least). Here was the first one, a one-time clapper from Steven Stamkos:

Stamkos gets one going fast! #StanleyCup | #GoBolts pic.twitter.com/8OQrscoOWg
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) May 8, 2022

The misfortune continued from there and, since this is The Leafs Nation, I’ll spare you having to scroll through all of the gifs of the Lightning goals that eventually put them up 5-0, and then 7-3 with the two empy netters.
As the Leafs won Game 3 with just 3 goals past Andrei Vasilevskiy, the Lightning beat Jack Campbell for 5 in the first two periods and their other 2 were on an empty net. Erik Kallgren came into the game in relief of Campbell to re-energize the team, and stopped all 8 shots he faced.
And just like they had in Game 2, the Leafs were able to get a few consolation goals. Meaningless for this game, but a reminder that you can score against this team, and something to carry into the next game. The Leafs again scored 3 on one of the best playoff goalies around in Vasilevskiy, but it wasn’t enough.
Here were the two goals scored by the previously goal-less William Nylander:

William Nylander gets the Leafs pic.twitter.com/tUmqMZcrbo
— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) May 9, 2022

Another one for Willy!
Nylander and Tavares combine for the @MapleLeafs 2nd of the night
pic.twitter.com/qChERoajh4
— Hockey Night in Canada (@hockeynight) May 9, 2022

Jake Muzzin got a third one with a beautiful point shot:

Jake Muzzin gets a shot through traffic pic.twitter.com/7JSFcMf5hZ
— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) May 9, 2022

Last night’s loss was a disappointing effort, but it’s part of a …

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Author: Ryan Hobart / The Leafs Nation

Pre-Series Notes: Teoscar Hernandez is likely to return as the Blue Jays head to Cleveland

Fresh off of their first series loss of the season, the Blue Jays will head to Cleveland to face a team that didn’t make the playoffs in 2021 for the first time in two weeks.

Cleveland is 11-13 on the season, tied for second in the hilariously bad Central Division with the Chicago White Sox. Looking at the Guardians’ wins this season, a good chunk of them have come against weak opponents. They split a four-gamer with Kansas City, they swept a two-game set with the Reds, and they swept both the White Sox and A’s. The White Sox are really the only strong team in there and they aren’t anywhere close to rolling yet. On the flip side, Cleveland was swept by the Yankees, Angels, and Giants.
While Cleveland is generally known to be a team with elite pitching and a limp offence, that hasn’t been the case this year. The Guardians are below league average with a 3.91 ERA and they’re fifth in baseball in runs per game with 4.62. Jose Ramirez is leading the way with a .318/.419/.659 slash line and seven homers, but Cleveland has four more players (Owen Miller, Josh Naylor, Andres Gimenez, and Steven Kwan) who are batting .325 or higher.
One of the advantages Toro …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation