1 stud and 1 dud as Scottie Barnes, Raptors run over Blazers

1 stud and 1 dud as Scottie Barnes, Raptors run over Blazers

Scottie Barnes and the Toronto Raptors went through quite a taxing week. The increased volume of trade rumors and polarization of the fanbase amid some poor play from starters has made the environment around the team very edgy. A matinee against Damian Lillard’s Portland Trail Blazers isn’t ideal for getting on track. Calling this performance a game […]
1 stud and 1 dud as Scottie Barnes, Raptors run over Blazers – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

What are the causes of the Leafs’ overtime struggles and how to fix them

What are the causes of the Leafs’ overtime struggles and how to fix them

1-6.
That is the Leafs’ record in overtime through the first 26 games of the 2022-23 season. It has them ranked 29th in the NHL and ahead of only the Flyers, Coyotes, and Stars (all three of whom have gone winless in the extra frame).
Here is another number of significance: five. That is how far back the Leafs sit behind the Bruins for first place in the Atlantic Division at the time of writing. While it is true that Boston has two games in hand and could easily widen the gap, the fact that Toronto is within striking range of catching the red-hot Bruins is a testament to how well the Leafs have done since a mediocre start to the campaign.
If the Leafs had half of their overtime results go in their favour, they would only sit one point back of Boston. Had they gotten lucky and gone undefeated after 60 minutes, they would be two points ahead of the Bruins. Instead, it has now been over a month since the last time Toronto emerged victorious after 60 minutes, with their most recent victory coming against the Stars on October 20th.
All of this is to say that the Leafs need to change their fortunes in the extra frame and fast because it is costing them critical points that could make the difference between playing a Wild Card team or having a rematch against the Lightning.
Speaki …

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Author: Michael Mazzei / The Leafs Nation

End of season comparison: Yusei Kikuchi to Steven Matz, a tale of change and qualifying offers

We’ve run through all the good comparisons, and now we’re left with Yusei Kikuchi and Steven Matz. Yay.

So yeah, getting this out of the way quickly, neither of these guys had a good season… sort of. It took a change mid-season to help them perform better.
Unlike the other three articles in the series, there are no prospects in this article. However, there should have been, but we’ll get to that. Here’s the background.
Background:
The Blue Jays traded three prospects, Sean Reid-Foley, Yennsy Diaz, and Josh Winckowski for Steven Matz on January 28th, 2021. The lefty had a solid season in 2021 with the Blue Jays and cashed in during the 2021-22 off-season, signing a four-year, $44 million contract with the St.Louis Cardinals.
Yusei Kikuchi spent three seasons with the Mariners, positing “meh” statistics with the team, before signing a three-year deal with the Blue Jays worth $36 million.
Steven Matz’s 2021:
Looking at Matz’s 2021 first, he finished the season with a 3.82 ERA and 3.79 FIP in 150.2 innings pitched. While his 22.3 K% was about average, he had a solid 6.6 BB% which meant he let runners get a free pass.
It was a fairly streaky season for the then 30-year-old lefty. At some point, he looked like it could be his best year, while he got lit up at other points. Overall, it was a solid season where he posted pretty good numbers for a guy who was penciled in as the fifth starter.
Unlike the other two free agents we’ve covered, Mat …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

The Blue Jays just got shut down by Dean Kremer and have now lost five consecutive games with the Baltimore Orioles

The nightmare continues. The Blue Jays continue to go through a poor slump, as they dropped another game to the Baltimore Orioles 4-2.

Last night, it was Kyle Bradish, and, as you can tell by the headline, the Blue Jays had a lot of fits with Dean Kremer, the Orioles starting pitcher tonight. Yes, this is the same Dean Kremer who, before tonight, had an 11.32 career ERA against Toronto (per @JGoldberg12 on Twitter). Sounds like the perfect recipe for coming out of a slump, eh? Nope.
Kremer gave up a 2-run homer in the first inning from Vladimir Guerrero Jr., but after that, he put up zeros for the rest of his outing. Kremer threw seven innings, allowing seven hits, two runs, one walk and striking out six. Oof.

Last year if you’d told me Dean Kremer would twirl 7 innings in a game with crucial postseason implications, I’d have said you’re crazy pic.twitter.com/KbDoQ2seSH
— District Orioles (@DistrictOrioles) August 17, 2022

Guerrero’s home run came after George Springer’s leadoff single in the 1st inning. Vladdy hit an absolute seed to the Blue Jays’ bullpen to give Toronto an early 2-0 lead. It was the first time the Jays scored first in a game since August 7th at Minnesota.
Despite the good start, tonight’s game was once again littered with missed opportunities. The Jays would look to add more to the scoreboard in the 3rd inning, as they worked the bases loaded with one out against Kremer by way of a Vladdy single, Lourdes Gurriel Jr. double, and an Alejandro Kirk walk. Unfortunately, Matt Chapman grounded into an inning-ending double play to kill the momentum.
Another critical …

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Author: Evan Stack / Blue Jays Nation

MLB Draft Day 3, live article – Blue Jays selections, analysis and more!

This is the last day of our three day Christmas in July.
 
Rounds 11 through 20 is taking place today, and it’s my favourite day. To be truthful, I’m a sucker for those late round pickups that turn into top prospects for the organization. There’s a story to tell about them, such as Damiano Palmegiani who was picked in the 14th round in 2021.
Or take Spencer Horwitz for example, a lefty first baseman chosen in the 24th round. That round doesn’t even exist anymore, yet the 24-year-old has become one of the better prospects in the organization in my opinion.
If you missed the first day draft, here are the links for each of their four picks from that day:
The Toronto Blue Jays select Brandon Barriera with the 23rd overall pick
The Toronto Blue Jays select Josh Kasevich with the 60th overall pick
The Toronto Blue Jays select Tucker Toman with the 77th overall pick
The Toronto Blue Jays select Cade Doughty with the 78th overall pick
Yesterday, the Jays had seven selections in rounds 3 through 10, which you could read more about here:
MLB Draft Day 2, live article – Blue Jays selections, analysis, and more!
I think the Jays did a pretty good job picking up prospects with upside. My two favourite selections were Alan Roden and Peyton Williams.
Alan Roden is a 22-year-old corner outfielder and first baseman. He is a contact hitter with only eight strikeouts and 29 walks in 242 plate appearances. He has excellent exit velocities and could hit around 20 homers if all goes right. Not just that, but he’s a left-handed batter, something the Jays desperately need. I could see him starting his pro career in Dunedin, but a High A start seems likely either this season or next.
Peyton Williams is a 6’5, 255 lb first baseman. Slugger? Surprisingly no. While he hits dingers and has incredible exit velocities, some of the best in the draft, he is a line drive hitter with a spray approach. In his collegiate career with the University of Iowa, he has 77 walks and 83 strikeouts in 492 plate appearance …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation