Blueprint for Beating the Tampa Bay Rays

Its official the Blue Jays will play Tampa Bay in the Wild Card round. Tampa Bay was the class of the American League in this shortened season. They went 40-20 to lead the AL finishing just three games behind the Dodgers for the MLB lead. The Blue Jays went 32-28 taking the second wild card.
The Blue Jays enter this series as heavy underdogs, but there is a way they can win this series.
The official rotation for the Blue Jays hasn’t been announced yet but it seems likely that Taijuan Walker will start Game 1 instead of Hyun-Jin Ryu. It’s been speculated that he perhaps asked the Blue Jays to give him an extra day of rest.
This actually can work in the Blue Jays favour. They get their ace fully rested and in a situation he is comfortable with and having Walker pitch Game 1 isn’t the worst thing.
For one Walker’s primary pitch is a four-seam fastball. It averages 93.2 mph, with 2143 rpm of spin, per Baseball Savant. Batters hit just .156 off the pitch the 14th lowest in the league among pitchers who faced at least 50 batters. He gets whiffs on it 23.1% of the time. It’ …

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Author: Paul Berthelot / Blue Jays Nation

The Blue Jays’ winning streak reaches six after a gritty win at The Trop

After squeaking out an extra-innings win in Tampa on Friday, the Blue Jays have extended their winning streak to six games.

Before this stretch, their longest winning streak of the season was two, and winning back-to-back games was something they had only done once. You have to go all the way back to July of 2016 to find the last time the Blue Jays have been on this long of a winning streak.
Good times!
Things worth mentioning…

We’ll start off with arguably the best defensive play we’ve seen so far this season. In the first inning, with the Rays already up 1-0, Lourdes Gurriel saved a run by throwing an absolute cannon from left field to nab Yandy Diaz at home. It was reminiscent of the legendary throw by Yoenis Cespedes back in Oakland a few years ago.

Good Lourdes, @yunitogurriel has a CANNON pic.twitter.com/0LXSoC0vnY
— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) August 21, 2020

Shortly after that, we got back-to-back dingers from Teoscar and Vlad, the latter of which was an insane line-drive that was just launched over the fence. Imagine if there were fans in the audience for this? Vlad hit that ball 115.9 …

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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

The Lightning just got dealt a huge blow

The Tampa Bay Lightning will be without one of their best players for the remainder of the regular season and into the playoffs, as Steve Stamkos has been sidelined for six-to-eight weeks after undergoing surgery to repair a core muscle.

Tampa announces that Steven Stamkos will undergo a surgery on Monday to repair a core muscle injury. He’s out 6 to 8 weeks.
— John Shannon (@JShannonhl) February 29, 2020

This is obviously a huge blow for the Lightning. Stamkos ranks second on the team in both goals with 29 and points with 66. Losing him will leave a gaping hole in their offence, especially on the power-play, where his one-time shot represents a lethal weapon for the team.
On the flip side, while you obviously never, ever cheer for injuries, this could be a pretty big break for the Leafs, who seem poised to meet Tampa in the first round of the playoffs. As of right now, the Leafs have a four-point lead on Florida for the third seed in the Atlantic Division. They’re nine points behind Tampa for the second spot, so catching them before the end of the season is incredibly unlikely. Tampa is also seven points behind Boston at this …

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Author: Cam Lewis / The Leafs Nation

We’re talking Tampa Montreal Expo Rays again

The Tampa Bay Rays took down the seemingly-unbeatable juggernaut known as the Houston Astros on Monday afternoon, extending their playoff lives another day.

The big story after the game wasn’t Charlie Morton shutting down his former club over five strong innings. It also wasn’t the Rays’ bats exploding off of Houston’s massive trade deadline acquisition Zack Grenkie. It was the people in the stands.
The headline from the New York Times about Monday’s game was fairly damning of Tampa Bay’s situation. It read… Rays Top the Astros and, for Once, Fill Their Stadium. 
32,251 fans showed up at Tropicana Field to watch the Rays take down the Astros. The team had to increase stadium capacity by rolling up the tarps in the upper levels in order to fulfill an increased demand from fans for Game 3. The Rays plan to remove more tarps to increase stadium capacity to 40,000 if the team manages to advance to the American League Championship Series.
This represented the largest crowd the Rays have seen in over three years. Back in 2016, the Rays decided to add the tarps to the upper levels and shrink stadium capacity in order to create a more intimate …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Marcus Stroman has been traded to the Mets

According to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times, who is currently at the Rogers Centre covering the final game of the series against the Blue Jays, Marcus Stroman has been traded to the New York Mets.

Some chatter going around Rogers Centre – UNCONFIRMED – that #BlueJays have traded Stroman to #Mets. That’s all I’ve got.
— Marc Topkin (@TBTimes_Rays) July 28, 2019

Stroman, 28, was linked to the Mets when Ken Rosenthal put out a weird tweet and scenario that would see other starter trade chip Noah Syndergaard going to the San Diego Padres. Then would see the Mets using some of those assets acquired from the Padres for Stroman from Toronto.
Topkin got the first hit, but later Jon Morosi and Jeff Passan has confirmed the trade.
Details to follow.

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Author: Thomas Williams / Blue Jays Nation