BJN Radio Ep. 10: A split in Oakland, the Springer Saga, Free Manoah, and more!

There was a lot to talk about after the Blue Jays’ four-game set out west in Oakland.

We recapped the good from the A’s series, including Robbie Ray again not walking anyone and Marcus Semien popping off in his return home, and we talked about the bad, including the injury bug that won’t leave the Blue Jays alone and Steven Matz’s second consecutive rough start.
We also went into a bit of a rant about the puzzling George Springer injury saga. After being told Springer wasn’t playing simply because he needed some rest, the $150 million man is back on the Injured List. Who would have guessed! Why the Blue Jays are being so coy about this whole thing is a mystery and it’s incredibly frustrating.
After that, we talked about the Angels releasing Albert Pujols and how funny it would be if he inexplicably finished off his career as a Blue Jay in Buffalo. Finally, we wrapped things up by talking about Alek Manoah’s amazing Triple-A debut and how he could factor into the team’s plans when the trade deadline comes around.
You can listen to the episode here…

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Nate Pearson fans eight and Austin Martin records first professional hit(s) as minor-league baseball returns

It’s been a looooooooong time since there were minor-league box scores to look at.

All of minor-league ball got wiped last summer due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Rather than Triple-A and Double-A and Rookie Ball and this and that there was only the Taxi Squad and the Alternate Training Site.
But, after a 19-month hiatus, the minors are back, and, with that, we have PROSPECT STATS to look at. Here’s the Good Stuff from Tuesday’s MiLB Opening Day…

Nate Pearson started for the Buffalo-Trenton Thunder Bisons against the Worcester Red Sox and had a pretty impressive return to action. Pearson, who missed virtually all of spring training due to a groin injury, is reportedly working with some changes to his pitching mechanics. It seemed to work quite well for him on Tuesday as he tossed three-and-two-thirds innings, allowing one earned run on four hits and one walk while collecting a whopping eight strikeouts.
Buffalo-Trenton’s bullpen was also very Jays-esque in their 6-1 win. After Pearson left, the relievers (Tyler Saucedo, Kirby Snead, Jeremy Beasley, and Bryan Baker) combined to allow just two hits and two walks over five-and-one-third innings.
Forrest Wall went 2-for-4 and Josh Palacios …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

AHL announces cancellation of Calder Cup Playoffs, 2021-22 schedule plans

The AHL has announced that because of COVID-19 protocols, there will be no Calder Cup Playoffs for the 2021 season. In a statement from the league, it states:
“While we are disappointed that we will not be able to award the Calder Cup this spring, we are grateful to have been able to provide a safe and competitive environment for more than 1,000 players to play AHL hockey and continue their development,” said AHL President and CEO, Scott Howson. “We’re especially thankful for the work done by our athletic trainers, COVID-19 officers and other front-line workers to ensure the health and safety of all of our players and staff throughout the league.”
The Toronto Marlies’ Canadian Division will crown a winner once the season ends, ranking each team by points percentage. First place will receive the Frank S. Mathers Trophy, which has been given out each year to an AHL division or conference champion winner since 1996.
With the Marlies new schedule this season, they will play their remaining 13 games in 20 days starting on May 1st, and ending on May 20th. Toronto sits third in the division with a 10-11-0-1 record.
2021 AHL schedule
The AHL also announced that the Board …

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

Teoscar Hernandez has tested positive for COVID-19, George Springer won’t join Blue Jays on upcoming road trip

There was some good Blue Jays-related injury news earlier today in regards to Nate Pearson, but Charlie Montoyo provided us with some more not-so-good news later on.

First up, Teoscar Hernandez has tested positive for COVID-19. He had been quarantining after coming into contact with somebody who had a positive test last week. Montoyo said that Hernandez started feeling symptoms on Monday but is feeling better today. He’ll be out for at least 10 days, per MLB’s COVID protocol.
The hope, Montoyo says, is that since Hernandez has been isolated from the team since Friday, this situation is limited to just him and that it hasn’t spread to anybody else on the team. We don’t know yet if that’s the case, though.
Next up, George Springer took batting practice on Monday but won’t join the team on their upcoming road trip. After the New York series ends tomorrow, the Blue Jays hit the road to Kansas City, Boston, and Tampa Bay, and don’t play at home again until they face the Nationals on April 27. This would indicate that Springer won’t join the team until then, at the earliest.
Finally, in more positive news, …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

The Chronicles of Rittich: What does Big Save Dave bring to the Leafs?

The Chronicles of Rittich: What does Big Save Dave bring to the Leafs?

Is there any flashier acquisition than a backup goaltender? I mean, it seems like only last year the Leafs picked up a backup goaltender as a throw in when acquiring Kyle Clifford. I can’t quite remember how that worked out.
That’s not to say David Rittich will be the next Jack Campbell. In fact, David Rittich is decidedly not Jack Campbell. For one, he’s younger. He’s also played a lot more, having two seasons already in his career where he’s started the majority of the games for his team. He lacks the upside of Jack Campbell, but his lack of flash and steady presence isn’t a bad 1B to the goaltending tandem for the remainder of this season, and a solid option behind Frederik Andersen in the playoffs as he slips back into the tandem role with Campbell in May. Rittich is a pretty good safety net, and he could be an affordable tandem option with Campbell heading into next season as well, that the Leafs will start auditioning him for.
Big Save Dave by the Numbers
The most important place to start is with dissecting his .904 save percentage, which might be decidedly worse …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Weird Weekend in Dunedin! The bats finally wake up, Tanner Roark gets relegated to the ‘pen, and more!

Has there ever been a more welcomed rain-out in Blue Jays history?

The Blue Jays series with the Angels came to an end early on Sunday when the finale got postponed due to rain. The game will be made up as part of a double-header when Toronto heads out west in August, but the Blue Jays will play as the home team on the road.
Now, look, you generally don’t wish for a Sunday afternoon baseball game to get rained out, but I don’t think many of us wanted to see what happened when Tanner Roark went up against Mike Trout, Shohei Ohtani, and Anthony Rendon. That simply wouldn’t have ended well and the baseball gods spared us.
Also, shortly after it was announced that Sunday’s game would be postponed, we learned that the Blue Jays are activating Robbie Ray from the 10-day Injured List and that be taking Roark’s spot in the rotation.
This news is certainly surprising but in a good way. Roark, as we know, had a nightmare season in 2020 but there was some reason to believe that it was the result of not having a normal spring training to get warmed …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Where do the Toronto Raptors stand in their quest to tank for Cade Cunningham?

Where do the Toronto Raptors stand in their quest to tank for Cade Cunningham?

Right now, there are two kinds of Toronto Raptors fans. On one side, you have those reveling in the club’s recent two-game win streak that featured a historic 53-point blowout and a Gary Trent Jr. buzzer-beater who are excited to see what Khem Birch and Freddie Gillespie can offer. On the other, you have those […]
Where do the Toronto Raptors stand in their quest to tank for Cade Cunningham? – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Ben Fisher / Raptors HQ

Toronto Raptors: 4 takes on Chris Boucher and Canadians in the NBA

Toronto Raptors: 4 takes on Chris Boucher and Canadians in the NBA

There has been a minor undercurrent to this past 10 months of basketball. Only a whisper.  A hum so faint only the most obsessed NBA nerds will be able to pick up on it. One would have to be crazy to recognize the signs. Or Canadian. Toronto Raptors stud Chris Boucher and fellow Canadians in […]
Toronto Raptors: 4 takes on Chris Boucher and Canadians in the NBA – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Avishai Sol / Raptors HQ

Leafs look to keep up hot streak against slumping Flames

If there was ever a game with two teams going in different directions, this is it.
The Toronto Maple Leafs currently find themselves on a 5-0-1 stretch, or as Pierre LeBrun would call it, a “lossless” streak. In fact, the last time the Leafs lost in regulation was against the Flames, and also Frederik Andersen’s last game before his injury. And they haven’t just been getting by during this stretch, they’ve been outright dominating their opponents, with a 62.61% xGF% in that span. The last time the Leafs had a game with less than a 58% xGF% was March 14th against the Ottawa Senators.
The Calgary Flames have not been doing that. After a solid 3-1-1 start after hiring Darryl Sutter, the Flames have gone 2-7 and made it highly unlikely that they get into the playoffs, and extremely disappointing result for a team that was, on paper, the second best in the division. During that nine game stretch, they have a 46.85% xGF%, which definitely won’t cut it. They’ve struggled to find their consistency all season, and it’s a big reason why they’re 16-19-3 on the season.
Will that decide the outcome …

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Author: Scott Maxwell / The Leafs Nation

Canadian Federal Government close to approving reduction in quarantine time for NHL players

I guess there is no doubt that the NHL matters in Canada after this one, as it appears the league has successfully lobbied to reduce the quarantine time for players in advance of the April 12th trade deadline.

Federal government poised to approve a 7-day quarantine with extra testing for NHL players traded from American teams to Canadian teams before the April 12th trade deadline. Government source says all provinces with NHL teams have approved of the measures.
— CBC News Alerts (@CBCAlerts) March 25, 2021

So first off, I can’t imagine anyone else on the other side of the border looking to come into Canada is particularly excited to see this news, but that’s without knowing any of the additional details. There are potentially additional testing requirements, and costs that are being absorbed by the team instead of the government that likely makes this move palatable for them to approve. Given that we’re not a political blog, none of us are epidemiologists, and the details are limited to the tweet above at this point, we’ll hold back any judgement on how this is playing out.
From a hockey perspective, there are numerous benefits to a team like the …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation