Patience was the key in the Blue Jays’ big win in St. Louis

That was a cathartic experience.

For weeks runs have been seemingly impossible to come by as the Blue Jays have inexplicably performed like a bottom-of-the-pack club offensively. On Tuesday night, the bats finally exploded. Danny Jansen homered, George Springer tripled, Vladdy homered, and Danny Jansen homered again as the Blue Jays scored eight runs in a route over the Cardinals.

For those that missed last night’s Jays game it was basically this pic.twitter.com/7Fv8Bp4K14
— Andrew Stoeten (@AndrewStoeten) May 25, 2022

While the homers are the things that stand out, the key to Toronto’s bats finally coming alive was patience. The Blue Jays walked eight times, a stark contrast to what they’ve been doing otherwise this season as they came into Tuesday night’s game ranked 22nd in baseball in terms of total walks. They also only struck out four times, which is much more in line with the 2021 team, which struck out less than anybody in baseball.
Now, it should be pointed out that Jordan Hicks, St. Louis’ starter, is a pitcher who struggles with command, so that obviously helped the Blue Jays in their endeavour to take more pitches than usual, but they also drew three walks off of Miles Mikolas on Monday, and he’s a pitcher who has walked just 1.8 batters per nine over the course of his career.
Laying off on pitches outside of the zone and demanding Hicks challenge them is ultimately what resulted in the Blue Jays hitting three homers and scoring eight runs…

The #BlueJays got some big hits and homers, but tonight’s offensive outburst was powered by smart swing decisions.
While Jordan Hicks was all over the place, Toronto kept their swings …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Top prospects Orelvis Martinez and Gabriel Moreno among the 15 Blue Jays sent to minor-league camp

With Opening Day less than two weeks away, the Blue Jays have started to make some cuts.

The team sent 15 players down to minor-league camp on Monday. Eight of them are 40-man roster players who were optioned and the other seven are non-roster invitees.
Optioned: Hagen Danner, Bowden Francis, Thomas Hatch, Leo Jimenez, Anthony Kay, Otto Lopez, Gabriel Moreno, Josh Palacios.
Reassigned: Chris Bec, Maximo Castillo, Adrian Hernandez, Casey Lawrence, Orelvis Martinez, Fitz Stadler, Chavez Young.
The headliners here, of course, are Orelvis Martinez and Gabriel Moreno, who currently rank as the organization’s top prospects on most lists.
Martinez was incredibly impressive during Grapefruit play, going 4-for-13 with a pair of dingers, while Moreno hasn’t yet seen any game action because of a visa issue. Since he’s only 20 years old and isn’t on the 40-man, there was never any chance that Martinez would crack the Blue Jays, but since Moreno was added to the roster over the winter ahead of the Rule 5 Draft, there was some thought he could steal a spot.
The Blue Jays will likely roll with three catchers (Danny Jansen, Reese McGuire, and Alejandro Kirk), so Moreno will get plenty of time behind the plate for the Triple-A Buffalo Bisons off the hop. Martinez’s spring showing was so good that he could start the sea …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Assessing the Leafs’ trade chips ahead of the deadline

The trade deadline is now less than two weeks away and not only are the Leafs expected to be buyers, but they also have multiple needs to address before then.
Most of the discussion has been centered around which players the Leafs might be able to bring into the fold before March 21st but nothing comes without a price. The Leafs may not have a top-five or even top-10 prospect pool and they’ve traded away their fair share of picks in recent years but they have also drafted well and managed to maintain some valuable trade capital.
As management continues to work the phones and fans dream about potential big-time additions to the roster, let’s take a look at what the Leafs could offer up in an effort to solidify their lineup.
Tier One
The Leafs’ most valuable trade chips are also the pieces they will be most hesitant to include in a trade. If the Leafs do end up moving on from one of these assets, it will most likely be for an impact acquisition with term remaining on their contract rather than a traditional rental.
Matthew …

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Author: Nick Richard / The Leafs Nation

First Look at Potential Blue Jays Farm Rosters: Dobule-A New Hampshire Fisher Cats

Following up on last week’s look at the potential Buffalo roster, it goes without saying that the nature of such things is that there are fuzzy lines between the rosters, and assumptions about one naturally affects those made about another, but I’m saying it anyway.

The Fisher Cats roster currently carries 17 names, albeit at least three of which I fully expect to end up in Buffalo. Still, there are more in-house options to sift through here than there was last week.
As we start with the rotation, two names command our attention first…
Luis Quinones, who’s 24, has posted really impressive strikeout numbers throughout his career (13.82 K/9 on his career, 12.44 in his 8 AA starts in 2021), and at no point have opponents been able to average more than .190 against him. On the other hand,  his walk rate tempers our excitement (6.75 on his career, 6.44 in AA). IF he came in this spring and showed dramatically better control he’d have a shot at AAA, but otherwise, he’ll come back here and try to figure it out as others have had to in the past. Ultimately he may end up in relief, but not yet.
The other name is Elvis Luciano. Still just 22, injuries limited him to just 12 starts in 2021 and AA was a regressive assignment, his year in the majors notwithstanding, given his previous MiLB work in 2018 was in …

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Author: Tammy Rainey / Blue Jays Nation

Dreger says no one is pushing Jake Muzzin to return to the Maple Leafs’ lineup

We’re just under two weeks away from the NHL trade deadline and the Maple Leafs will soon need an answer on Jake Muzzin.
The 33-year-old is going through his second concussion this season, which could have him out for the next few weeks, or until the playoffs begin on May 2nd.
On Monday morning, TSN’s Darren Dreger spoke on First up about Muzzin, the Maple Leafs, and the fact that they won’t be pushing the 33-year-old back.
“One thing I know is that there is no one pushing Jake Muzzin to get back into the lineup, right? Everybody is super sensitive, including Jake, to the fact that he’s had back-to-back head injuries. The first one took him a month to recover from, so there is no guarantee that this one is going to take at least a month, and if the symptoms are lingering, as mild as they may or may not be, then I’m sure that again, his agent, Joe Resnick and the Toronto Maple Leafs will say ‘Muzz, you need to sit on the sidelines. You need to get healthy, you need to make this right.’”
Going through a concussion isn’t like any other injury. There’s broken bones, pulled muscles, and torn ligaments, but those heal. They may not heal 100% to allow yo …

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

Raptors Game Tonight: Raptors vs Hornets Odds, Starting Lineup, Injury Report, Predictions, TV Channel for Feb. 25

Raptors Game Tonight: Raptors vs Hornets Odds, Starting Lineup, Injury Report, Predictions, TV Channel for Feb. 25

After nearly two weeks off following the All-Star festivities, the Toronto Raptors are ready to resume their grueling push towards the postseason. The latest Raptors odds have them starting the second half hot against a team they have had some success against this year. Toronto will start this stretch off in North Carolina against LaMelo […]
Raptors Game Tonight: Raptors vs Hornets Odds, Starting Lineup, Injury Report, Predictions, TV Channel for Feb. 25 – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

The goaltender market will be active this summer, the Leafs can hedge their bets until then

Two weeks ago on a Saturday night version of 32 Thoughts, it was reported that there have been teams expressing interest in obtaining the services of Petr Mrazek from the Leafs. This came at a time when Leafs fans weren’t feeling particularly warm to Mrazek, and the idea of selling if they could was the resounding feeling at the time.
The fact that Mrazek has a pretty satisfactory stretch of hockey going now, and the questions continue to linger both about Jack Campbell’s contract and how much of a workload Campbell can handle, has quelled some of the calls to trade Mrazek. That’s probably a good thing, because the Leafs having two solid goaltending options was the philosophy that Kyle Dubas planned for this season, and one he deserves to see play out.
While this might be closing a door at the trade deadline to offload $3.8M for other areas of need, and to potentially acquire other assets in the process, there isn’t any reason to believe that the market will cool by the summer. A quick look at the state of tandems over the summer shows that it is a fairly limited free agent market, and that is something that could strongly be working ag …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Alter: Leafs “don’t have a whole lot of bullets in the chamber“

Alter: Leafs “don’t have a whole lot of bullets in the chamber“

With six weeks remaining until the NHL trade deadline, Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas isn’t in any particular rush to add depth to his team.
In fact, this week may be the first chance he gets to see what a fully healthy lineup can do against some tough competition.
Jake Muzzin is the only injured player on the club right now and although it’s unlikely he plays on Monday against the Carolina Hurricanes, his return appears to be imminent after missing the last six games with a concussion.
So while many feel a depth defenceman is Toronto’s biggest need, that could change between now and the Mar. 21 deadline.
“I want to take as much time as we possibly have to find out what exactly it is we need. I have my opinions and they change all the time,” Dubas said following his team’s practice on Sunday. “We probably don’t have a whole lot of bullets in the chamber here. We’re going to have to pick and choose as we set our sights.”
Last season, the Leafs made a plethora of deals at the deadline without giving up any everyday players on their roster. They loaded up on depth at all positions in exchange for draft picks. The most notable …

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Author: David Alter / The Leafs Nation

Timothy Liljegren is going to be fine, just give him some time

There has been quite a lot of talk in the past few weeks about the Leafs needing to make an upgrade with their defensive unit. The cries for an upgrade grew louder when the Leafs went through a six-game stretch where they blew 3-1 leads on four separate occasions.
Regardless of what was the root cause of the unfortunate set of matches to begin 2022, what remains are remenants of old habits rearing their ugly head and fears creeping up in the minds of the fanbase that the same mistakes of years past will once again occur come playoff time. This has led fans to resort to placing the blame for this string of lacklustre play on one or two players.
One player that has been at the ire of fans lately has been Timothy Liljegren, who got his first taste of top-four minutes and looked inexperienced in his new role. While there are legitimate reasons to be critical of his play over the past few weeks, one thing that gets overlooked is that he has only played 36 career NHL games to date. Some growing pains were to be expected when he was thrust into uncharted territory because of Jake Muzzin and Justin Holl missin …

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Author: Michael Mazzei / The Leafs Nation

The Leafs’ revised schedule for February finally dropped

Weeks after the Omicron variant wreaked havoc on the 2021-22 NHL season, the revised schedule for the teams impacted has finally been released.

February Schedule #LeafsForever pic.twitter.com/xjru2A5E5z
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) January 19, 2022

Altogether, the Leafs had eight games that originally were supposed to take place in late December and early January get pushed to the initially planned Olympic break.
As a result of these changes to the schedule, the afternoon game that was supposed to be held on December 23 will now be on a Saturday night. Beyond that, the other seven games will be held at their originally scheduled times.
One fascinating note in the revised schedule is that despite the games being pushed back, the Leafs only get one back-to-back where they play in Montreal on February 21 and Columbus on February 22.
The Leafs also reported that their game against the Devils on January 31st and match against the Red Wings on April 26 will now start at 7:30 p.m. EST.
How many fans will be allowed into Scotiabank Arena remains a mystery since the Ontario government has yet to loosen the restriction on the 1000 capacity limit for indoor arenas. The Leafs’ next home game is scheduled for January 26 when they host the Ducks.
In all, the NHL rescheduled 98 games for all of the teams and still plans to finish the season on April 29.
Here is a full breakdown of the revised schedule:


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Author: Michael Mazzei / The Leafs Nation