Thursday, October 29

Baseball

New Blue Jays ace Ryu struggles in loss to World Series champs
Baseball, MLB, Toronto Blue Jays, Washington Nationals

New Blue Jays ace Ryu struggles in loss to World Series champs

Article content continuedAfter his two outings with the Jays, Ryu’s ERA now sits at 8.00, a far cry from the 2.32 mark he fashioned in a 2019 campaign with the Los Angeles Dodgers, the form that earned him the starting assignment in the All Star Game.“My velo wasn’t as high as I would have liked,” Ryu said on a Zoom call afterwards. “I have to give credit to Nationals hitters. I think they had a good game plan … maybe they were sitting on breaking balls and off speed pitches.”Perhaps even more vexing was the struggles against the Nats, a team he faced twice in 2019 and allowed just one run in 14.2 innings of work. In five career starts in D.C., Ryu had a 2-1 record with a slender 1.35 ERA, a case load that included three scoreless outings.Granted its just two starts but Ryu is working w...
Traikos: Is this Canada’s year to end its Stanley Cup drought?
Baseball, MLB, Toronto Blue Jays

Traikos: Is this Canada’s year to end its Stanley Cup drought?

Article content continuedNow, that’s really unusual.The last time there was this much Canadian content in the post-season was in 1987, well before the Quebec Nordiques moved to Colorado and the Winnipeg Jets were sent to Arizona. The Oilers won their third of five Stanley Cups that year, because they had a Hall of Fame roster led by Wayne Gretzky and Jari Kurri, who finished 1-2 in scoring. They were the best team in the NHL, the only team to win 50 games.This year, the Oilers once again have the top-2 scorers in the league. But that’s where the similarities end. They aren’t the best. No Canadian team is. None of them were good enough to receive a bye into the second round. Some of them — and we’re looking at you, Montreal — shouldn’t even be here.When the regular post-season was halted...
Blue Jays weekend series on hold as two Phillies staff members test positive for COVID-19
Baseball, MLB, Toronto Blue Jays

Blue Jays weekend series on hold as two Phillies staff members test positive for COVID-19

Article contentThey are for the time being a homeless team and now the Blue Jays are even having trouble finding opponents to play.The team learned Thursday afternoon that it will not be travelling to Philadelphia for a three-game weekend series after two Phillies employees tested positive for COVID-19.The Phillies have been inactive since a weekend series against Florida and the subsequent shutdown of the Marlins season after 18 players and personnel tested positive for the virus.The Jays were originally scheduled to open the series in Philadelphia on Friday but MLB intervened and delayed that by a day to make sure Citizen’s Bank Park was deemed safe.That all changed on Thursday with the grim news of Phillies staffers testing positive for the virus, further plunging the MLB season into...
Phenom Pearson sizzles in big league debut as Blue Jays fall in extras
Baseball, MLB, Toronto Blue Jays

Phenom Pearson sizzles in big league debut as Blue Jays fall in extras

Article content continuedAs would be the case with any young player making his major league debut, Pearson was clearly thrilled for the occasion, completing a rapid rise from the start of the 2019 season that saw him pitching for single-A Dunedin.Prior to the outing for the road warrior Jays, Pearson solicited advice from his teammates, who kept it simple.“(They said) let my stuff do what it does,” Pearson said. “The best thing about most debuts at this level is that (hitters) have never seen you.”To Ryu’s point, despite Pearson’s baby face he is an imposing figure on the mound before a ball even leaves his hand. At 6-foot-6, 250 pounds, his quick delivery can be jarring to hitters, especially those who have never seen him.And then there’s the mix of pitches beyond the lethal fastball-s...
SIMMONS: The Family Jones: The bubble boys of the NHL and NBA in Toronto, Edmonton and Orlando.
Baseball, MLB, Toronto Blue Jays

SIMMONS: The Family Jones: The bubble boys of the NHL and NBA in Toronto, Edmonton and Orlando.

Article content continuedWhat did the Jones family do during the months away from the NHL and the NBA? They did what we all did. They watched all the episodes of The Last Dance, the terrific documentary about Michael Jordan and they talked about it a lot.“We’re definitely a sports family,” Amy said. “Seth was here for part of the time and when he was back in Columbus, we were texting about it. All of us, Justin (older brother) too. You know, you watch Michael Jordan, Kobe (Bryant), Tiger (Woods), and they all have the same thing. They’re extremely talented and gifted human beings, but no one outworks them.“If watching that doesn’t motivate you as an athlete to step up your game, I don’t know what will. I was motivated to do more and do better and I’m not a player on any team.”Popeye Jon...
Blue Jays pound Nationals again as Vlad ends HR drought
Baseball, MLB, Toronto Blue Jays

Blue Jays pound Nationals again as Vlad ends HR drought

Article content continuedMinus key regulars Bo Bichette, Randal Grichuk and Travis Shaw, Toronto’s offence still showed some pop. Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo says the team hopes both Bichette and Grichuk only need another day or two off before returning. Shaw is away from the team to deal with a family matter. Starter Chase Anderson is expected to throw live batting practice on Wednesday as he also works his way back.Santiago Espinal, filling for Bichette at shortstop, hit a sharp single in the ninth for his first career hit.MAJESTIC MOUND MATCHUPNate Pearson’s long-awaited major-league debut will be against one of the best pitchers of this generation, Max Scherzer, he of three Cy Young Award wins.Toronto’s top prospect, the flame-throwing right-hander Pearson, will take the mound...
Jays closer Giles heading for second opinion as club holds breath
Baseball, Ken Giles, MLB, Toronto Blue Jays

Jays closer Giles heading for second opinion as club holds breath

Article contentThe Blue Jays are holding their breath and hoping for the best when it comes to the status of closer Ken Giles’ elbow.Manager Charlie Montoyo said Giles, one of the better closers in the game, has a strained right forearm and will get a second opinion on the injury. Elbow issues cost Giles some time last season.Montoyo would not speculate on the seriousness of this new issue. Giles was not throwing as hard as usual in a recent game which the Jays ended up losing after he got two outs in the ninth inning and he later landed on the Injured List.“I like Kenny a lot, he’s one of my favourites,” Montoyo said before Tuesday’s game against the Washington Nationals.“So I’m concerned as a friend for him, not only as a manager. Hopefully it’s only a strain and nothing more than tha...
Closer Giles goes on injured list as Blue Jays await MRI results
Baseball, MLB, Toronto Blue Jays

Closer Giles goes on injured list as Blue Jays await MRI results

Closer Ken Giles (elbow soreness) isn’t closer to returning to the mound.The team, though, has moved Giles to the injured list, a move manager Charlie Montoyo announced during his pre-game availability in Washington via Zoom Monday.An MRI was done, but the team continues to wait on the results.“He didn’t feel that bad,” said Montoyo, who is a big fan of the veteran right-hander.Given that Giles experienced elbow discomfort last season, there is genuine concern hovering over the situation.“Any time it’s an elbow soreness there’s concern about it,’’ added Montoyo.Giles left Sunday’s game in Tampa with two outs. On opening night Friday, the 29-year-old picked up the save. In 2019, Giles had 23 saves.The plan, according to Montoyo moving forward, is to use Anthony Bass in the closer’...
LONGLEY: Blue Jays blow leads in ninth and 10th in gutting loss to Rays
Baseball, MLB, Tampa Bay Rays, Toronto Blue Jays, Vladimir Guerrero

LONGLEY: Blue Jays blow leads in ninth and 10th in gutting loss to Rays

As a big-league manager, Blue Jays’ Charlie Montoyo says he lives by his decisions and has no trouble sleeping at night, even after the most trying of losses.That all may have changed in an inning-and-a-half on Sunday afternoon at Tropicana Field as the Jays blew a two-run lead in the ninth and a one-run advantage again in the 10th, losing 6-5 in a nightmare of an extra-innings verdict that may haunt this team for a while.The loss came in spectacular fashion with a stunningly large range of participants and ruined a chance for the Jays to take a 2-1 confidence-building win in their first series of the season.The grim news reached well beyond the boxscore as well, with two key veteran figures on the team leaving due to injury — centre fielder Randal Grichuk (back) and closer Ken G...
Vlad Jr. to get occasional work as Jays DH
Baseball, MLB, Toronto Blue Jays

Vlad Jr. to get occasional work as Jays DH

Just call him the Saturday special.If it’s the middle game of a weekend series, expect to see Vlad Guerrero Jr. shifting from first base to designated hitter as manager Charlie Montoyo looks to keep his big young star rested.Montoyo revealed his strategy for managing the second-year Jay prior to Saturday’s 4-1 loss to the Rays essentially saying Guerrero will take up the DH spot when the team plays a day game following a night game, the usual Friday-Saturday scheduling.Guerrero had a single in the DH spot on Saturday, his second hit of the young season.As for seeking a mindset for the DH role, Montoyo said Guerrero sought out some of the best to do it — including David Ortiz, Edgar Martinez and Nelson Cruz — for advice.“They all said pretty much the same thing,” Montoyo sai...
Gaviglio collapse leads to latest flop at the Trop in Blue Jays loss
Baseball, MLB, Toronto Blue Jays

Gaviglio collapse leads to latest flop at the Trop in Blue Jays loss

We’ll save the question for just what is an ideal spot for Blue Jays reliever Sam Gaviglio for another day and perhaps a more extensive body of work in 2020.But let’s go with what was pretty much apparent on Saturday afternoon down at Tropicana Field: That the right-hander with a fastball that touches 90 mph when it is really humming, probably isn’t best suited to the eighth inning of a 1-1 ball game.With weary early-season arms in the bullpen drastically limiting his options, Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo took a shot on a pitcher he has had an affinity for in his time with the Jays and trotted Gaviglio out in that high-leverage spot under the St. Pete, Fla., dome.And by doing so, the manager and his hungry young team paid the price.A walk, a balk and a bases-clearing triple ...
SIMMONS: The new NHL is a bubble of silence, secrets and Sgt. Schultz
Baseball, Basketball, Hockey, NHL

SIMMONS: The new NHL is a bubble of silence, secrets and Sgt. Schultz

In maybe the greatest personal comeback story in hockey history, Mario Lemieux returned to the Pittsburgh Penguins in March of 1993 after being diagnosed with cancer.He played the final 20 games of that season after undergoing treatments for Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. He scored 30 goals in those 20 games, 56 points in all. Crazy, crazy numbers. And after carrying the Stanley Cup the previous two seasons, Lemieux was awarded with the Hart and Masterton Trophies in 1993.His chilling story resonates today almost as much as it did 27 years ago, when Sports Illustrated did a cover that read: “Man and Superman.” And the numbers today seem even more remarkable over time — with one giant difference: In today’s NHL, with commissioner Gary Bettman in charge of the hockey politburo, you wouldn’t k...