Pre-Series Notes: Hyun Jin Ryu is apparently set to return as the Blue Jays head to The Trop

Times are difficult for the Blue Jays right now.

They’ve now dropped four games in a row and seven of their last nine after getting swept in a two-game series in New York. Things don’t get any easier as the Blue Jays now head down to Tampa Bay to face the Rays in the House of Horrors.
Last season, the Blue Jays went 8-11 against the Rays, but, surprisingly, they were a modest 4-5 at The Trop. Also, the Rays aren’t exactly rolling along at their best right now, as they dropped a three-game set with the Los Angeles Angels in which lost one game 11-3 and they got no-hit in another.

What a moment!
A no-hitter for Reid Detmers!
(MLB x @budweiserusa) pic.twitter.com/UZ9ohyejRd
— MLB (@MLB) May 11, 2022

The head-to-head…
Kevin Gausman vs Drew Rasmussen
Kevin Gausman will open up the series for the Blue Jays. As we all know, Gausman has been excellent this season, as he’s allowed just nine earned runs over the course of 38 innings. He also hasn’t gone up against the Rays since all the way back in 2018, and, given the roster turnover the Rays have, nobody on the current team other than Kevin Kiermaier and Ji-Man Choi was around then.
Going for the Rays will be Drew Rasmussen, who has a 2.89 ERA over the course of six starts. Rasmussen actually had a difficult start to his season, going four, five, and three innings in his first three outings, but has settled in since, as he’s allowed two earned runs in his last three starts. The Blue Jays saw Rasmussen three times last season and he combined to allow two earned runs over 12 innings.
Hyun Jin Ryu vs Ryan Yarborough 
Charlie Montoyo said on Tuesday that Hyun Jin Ryu is on track to make his return to the team on Saturday afte …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Maple Leafs may reunite John Tavares and William Nylander on the second line for the playoffs

Although there were times when the duo of John Tavares and William Nylander have struggled to score at even strength this season, Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe let it be known on Thursday that he was looking at possibly reuniting the skilled forwards on the team’s second line for at least one look before the playoffs begin.
“We’re looking that way here now but we’ll see who is available to us,” Keefe said following the team’s first full practice since Apr. 15. “We’ve got (Michael) Bunting, we’ve got (Ondrej) Kase and all these (injury) things that do impact the lineup that do impact some of the decision I might make.”
During Tuesday’s 3-0 win against the Detroit Red Wings, Keefe reunited the pair after Tavares initially started the game with Nick Robertson, who was called up for the contest earlier in the day on an emergency basis.
Tavares with Nylander has always been Keefe’s preferred second line duo, but there have been moments this season that forced change.
First there was the 2-4-1 slump to start the season. That forced Keefe to shake things up offensively by swapping Marner and Nylander to play with different centres. Once the ship was righted on that front, Nylander and Tavares ska …

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Author: David Alter / The Leafs Nation

3 Canadians for Toronto Raptors fans to watch in March Madness

3 Canadians for Toronto Raptors fans to watch in March Madness

As we prepare ourselves for one of the most exciting times in basketball, Toronto Raptors fans have to keep track of the brightest stars from our side of the northern border. NBA Draft Classes in, and this year is no exception. The Raptors still have a second-round pick that could be used to bring in […]
3 Canadians for Toronto Raptors fans to watch in March Madness – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Avishai Sol / Raptors HQ

Whether it’s to showcase or to embrace depth, the rumours around Leafs defense being available aren’t going away

It was exciting times in Leafs land as the insiders swarmed around the idea that the Leafs were making one of Travis Dermott or Justin Holl available for trade, that seemed to quickly dry up and the Leafs are left with the reality of balancing seven healthy defensemen in their lineup.
While trades are fun, another thing that is fun is always making sure you have capable players on your blueline, and that seems to be the reality of the Leafs right now. While there are rightfully concerns about the play of Justin Holl, and the idea of having Travis Dermott on the top pairing with Morgan Rielly might not have sat right with everyone, the Leafs are probably better off sticking with the full complement of defenders for now, especially if a trade followed by an injury could result in a reliance on someone like Carl Dahlstrom, who hasn’t really inspired much confidence at the NHL level.
A big part of the issue with the trade seems to be the lack of willing partners for the Leafs. Understandably there are a lot of question marks with acquiring a defenseman that is being shopped, especially from the Leafs. If …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Whether it’s to showcase or to embrace depth, the rumours around Leafs defense being available are going away

It was exciting times in Leafs land as the insiders swarmed around the idea that the Leafs were making one of Travis Dermott or Justin Holl available for trade, that seemed to quickly dry up and the Leafs are left with the reality of balancing seven healthy defensemen in their lineup.
While trades are fun, another thing that is fun is always making sure you have capable players on your blueline, and that seems to be the reality of the Leafs right now. While there are rightfully concerns about the play of Justin Holl, and the idea of having Travis Dermott on the top pairing with Morgan Rielly might not have sat right with everyone, the Leafs are probably better off sticking with the full complement of defenders for now, especially if a trade followed by an injury could result in a reliance on someone like Carl Dahlstrom, who hasn’t really inspired much confidence at the NHL level.
A big part of the issue with the trade seems to be the lack of willing partners for the Leafs. Understandably there are a lot of question marks with acquiring a defenseman that is being shopped, especially from the Leafs. If …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Toronto Raptors: 5 most important games in team history

Toronto Raptors: 5 most important games in team history

Tough times ahead. While the Toronto Raptors have lately enjoyed by far the most successful era in team history, this past season along with the foreseeable future is likely to take a downturn. The 2021-22 Raptors have plenty going for them, but as far as historic games go, we may have to wait a while. […]
Toronto Raptors: 5 most important games in team history – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Avishai Sol / Raptors HQ

Bad times at The Trop, the Kiermaier thing, an out-of-town scoreboard update, and more!

Chaos, bad times, and excitement to leave — that pretty much sums up your normal week at The Trop.

After taking two of three from the Rays last week in Toronto, the Blue Jays travelled down to Tampa Bay for a rematch with the American League East leaders. Things didn’t go well at all and the Blue Jays now sit out of a playoff spot.
Robbie Ray’s tough start
Robbie Ray started the first game on Monday with a legitimate opportunity to lock up the American League Cy Young award.
On Sunday, Gerrit Cole got knocked around by Cleveland, pushing his ERA for the season from 2.75 to 3.03. With a good start against Tampa, anything similar to his dominant one in last week’s series finale against the Rays, and the Cy Young would have been all his.
Unfortunately, Ray wasn’t able to capitalize on the opportunity. He laboured through four-and-two-thirds innings and scattered three earned runs on seven hits and two walks. It was far from a disastrous outing, but it didn’t move the needle in the Cy Young race.
The truly frustrating part of this game came in the ninth inning.
The Blue Jays entered the …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

BJN Radio – Ep. 46: A statement against the Rays, Charlie Discourse, and more!

The good times keep rolling!

After sweeping Oakland and New York and then scoring 1000 runs over Baltimore in a four-game set, the Blue Jays returned home to face a big test — the American League-leading Tampa Bay Rays.
And it went really well, as the Blue Jays took two of three in the series, including a commanding win on Monday night. I was joined by our good pal BK to take about the series, which featured amazingly good starting pitching, the slaying of the Ryan Yarborough Dragon, and some positive vibes when it came to George Springer’s health.
We also dove into some Charlie Discourse, as Montoyo made a puzzling decision on Tuesday night late in the game that pissed a lot of people off. Is Charlie Montoyo the guy who’s going to lead this team to glory? I mean, he’s got a good chance of winning Manager of the Year, right?
Finally, we looked ahead to the upcoming series against the Minnesota Twins!
You can listen to the episode here…

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

It looks like Julian Merryweather will be joining the Blue Jays soon

The good times keep rolling!

As we’re all still riding high from this weekend’s sweep of Oakland, news has come out that Julian Merryweather is with the team in Toronto. There’s no word yet on what’s happening or if he’s been activated, but that’s obviously a good sign.

Julian Merryweather just walked onto the field so safe to say he’s up with the #BlueJays
— Kaitlyn McGrath (@kaitlyncmcgrath) September 6, 2021

Merryweather has had a pair of appearances for the Bisons during his rehab assignment. On Friday, he tossed a scoreless frame, and then on Sunday, he got tagged for a couple of earned runs while recording just one out. Given the fact he pitched yesterday, you’d assume he won’t be activated for Monday’s matinee game with the Yankees.
Getting Merryweather and Nate Pearson back around the same time is a huge win for the Blue Jays bullpen. Jordan Romano has pitched a lot and looks gassed and the same goes for Trevor Richards and Adam Cimber. There aren’t many consistent options back there right now, so let’s hope either, or, ideally, both of Merryweather and Pearson can be difference makers …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

BJN Radio – Ep. 28: Burn down The Trop, Robbie Ray’s next contract, the Nelson Cruz rumour, and more!

As usual, times at The Top weren’t the best.

The Blue Jays’ bats went limp on Friday and Saturday but they managed to avoid being swept by the Rays thanks to Robbie Ray throwing a seven-inning one-hitter on Sunday. The team is now heading into the All-Star break with a good-not-great 45-42 record, so there’s plenty of work to be done in the second half.
We talked on this episode about Ray’s excellent season and what it means for his next contract, the interesting rumour that the Blue Jays have ticked tired on slugger Nelson Cruz, the early returns from the couple of bullpen trades the front office has made over the past few weeks, and what to expect from the upcoming draft.
You can listen to the episode here…

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation