The Blue Jays are now in last in the American League East after being swept by the Orioles

The Blue Jays’ 10-game homestand started out well but wound up being a disaster.

They swept the Atlanta Braves last weekend to kick things off and then dropped three of four games to the New York Yankees. And then the Baltimore Orioles rolled into town and pulled off a sweep with back-to-back extra-innings wins.
The 8-3 loss on Sunday was a heartbreaker just like on Saturday. The Orioles pulled ahead with a run in the 10th inning but Whit Merrifield kept the game alive in the bottom half with an RBI single. In the top of the 11th, Baltimore then went ahead and exploded with five runs.

No Orioles trash bin image this weekend. The Blue Jays are the Trash Birds until further notice
— Blue Jays Nation (@thejaysnation) May 21, 2023

Things worth mentioning…

Kevin Gausman did his part to help the Blue Jays avoid the sweep. He tossed a season-high eight innings and scattered just two earned runs against his former club. Nate Pearson came into the game and tossed a scoreless ninth inning and allowed an unearned run in the top of the 10th. The five runs in the 11th were all charged to Yimi Garcia, who was pitching his fourth game in five days.
The frustrating part of this game was that the Blue Jays had plenty of chances but they were miserable with runners in scoring position. They had runners on first and third in the first inning and couldn’t push one across, they had two different double plays kill rallies, and they managed just one run when the middle of the order came up in the seventh inning with the bases loaded and only one out.

6-for-63 with RISP over the last six games and people blaming the bullpen. #Bluejays
— Mike Wilner (@Wilnernes …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Blue Jays squander a chance to win in the eighth inning, as they fall 6-5 to the Baltimore Orioles

Well, that’s not what you like to see.

The Jays have now lost five of their last six games, as well as losing 12 of their last 19 games. Not what you want to see in the ultra competitive American League East.
With that being said, let’s look at the Blue Jays Nation’s Player of the Game, as well as things worth mentioning.
Blue Jays Nation’s Player of the Game: Santiago Espinal
As you may know, Santiago Espinal has had a rough start to the 2023 season. Coming into Saturday’s game, he was slashing .171/.237/.229 with one homer and a wRC+ of 31. He also had a -0.4 fWAR, down from a 2.3 fWAR in 2022.

Santiago Espinal’s double
— Brennan Delaney (@Brennan_L_D) May 20, 2023

Saturday’s game was a good start to righting his season, as he went three for three in the game, along with a stolen base. After the game, he raised his slash line to .205/.266/.274, along with a 52 wRC+.
Sadly, he was pulled from the game while stealing second due to right hamstring discomfort. It’s too be seen if Espinal will land on the injured list, but it sucks to see someone who was struggling to have a good game, just to end up injured.

UPDATE: INF Santiago Espinal left today’s game with right hamstring discomfort.
— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) May 20, 2023

Things worth mentioning:
Alek Manoah had his first good start in a while. The 25-year-old had a line of 5.2 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 5 K, 1 BB. However, both earned runs were rather lucky, as a line drive was hit to George Springer, who missed the ball, giving the batter a triple with no outs. The second earned run came on a wall scraping homer, which barely went out, as the Blue Jays …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

Nick Cousins plays hero in overtime as Panthers take the series in 5: Game Highlights

Well, Florida pulled off the upset, knocking out the Leafs in just five games. Sergei Bobrovsky was excellent again stopping 50 of the 52 shots he faced in the win. Toronto scored just two goals in each of their last seven games. Below are the highlights from the game.
On an early powerplay for Florida Joseph Woll made a pair of saves to keep the game scoreless…

Woll keeps the door closed on the penalty kill. 😱
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) May 12, 2023

The Leafs nearly killed it off but Aaron Ekblad beat Woll from the point with five seconds left on the McCabe penalty…

Ekblad quiets the crowd early in Game 5. 🤫
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) May 12, 2023

Late in the first Carter Verhaeghe doubled the lead. Timothy Liljegren fumbled a bouncing puck and Anthony Duclair set up Verhaeghe for a one-timer…

Verhaeghe with a rocket! 🚀
Carter wires one past Woll to double the Panthers lead in the first period.
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) May 12, 2023

Toronto came looking to get back into it in the second period. John Tavares created a couple of chances off the forecheck here…

Tavares forces a turnover and gets a pair of chances on Bobrovsky
— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) May 13, 2023

Nearly halfway through the game Morgan Rielly finally got the Leafs on the board. His long shot deflected off the panthers defender and past Sergei Bobrovsky…

— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) May 13, 2023

Toronto looked to have tied the game late in the second. Rielly drove the net and jammed the puck under Bobrovsky. The play was called no goal on the ice and there wasn’t enough evidence to overturn the call…

Morgan Rielly jams the puck on the net, but it is called no goal and confirmed after a video review by the Situation Room in Toronto.
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) May 13, 2023

With less than five minutes remaining in their season William Nylander saved the day with a beautiful goal. He beat Bobrosvky short side off the rush to tie the game…

— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) May 13, 2023

Sloppy play in the defensive zone nearly ended this game in regulation. …

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Author: Scott Ony / The Leafs Nation

3 X-factors for the Maple Leafs heading into their second round matchup against the Panthers

Well, they actually did it. The Toronto Maple Leafs actually did the thing.
As we all know by now, the Maple Leafs defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning in game 6 of the Eastern Conference Quarter-Finals to advance to the second round for the first time in 19 – yes – 19 years!
As Chris Cuthbert said during the game-winning goal scored by John Tavares in overtime, they finally caught lightning in a bottle and broke the 19-year curse. What a brilliant call by Cuthbert.
Now, with the first round finished, it’s time to go through three other x-factors for the Maple Leafs as they begin their second-round series against the Florida Panthers tonight.
1. Special Teams
Special teams are such an easy choice in any series, but given how both of these teams’ special teams performed in their first-round matchups, Toronto could benefit from this if they get things going on both units.
For their first-round series against Tampa Bay, I said Toronto’s penalty kill could be an x-factor for them and although their penalty kill wasn’t lockdown like it was against the Lightning in the regular season, they still limited Tampa Bay to just five power-play goals in 21 attempts (76.1% PK) with four of them coming in game one alone when the Lightning wen …

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Author: Joseph Zita / The Leafs Nation

The Core Four erupts as the Leafs answer the bell in Game 2: Muzzy’s Muzings

Well, that’s one way to silence the critics.
In Game 1, it was Tampa who administered the ass-whooping. Suffice it is to say, Toronto returned the favour in a big way in Game 2 on Thursday night at Scotiabank Arena.
John Tavares notched his first career Stanley Cup Playoff hat trick as the Leafs hammered the Bolts 7-2 to even up their best-of-7 series at one game apiece.
Weirdly, this one took on many of the same characteristics as the opener, except the roles were reversed. Mitch Marner’s first of two on the night kicked off the scoring just 47 seconds in. After that, Toronto would add two more to lead 3-0 after one.
Meantime, it was a monster night for the Core Four. John Tavares (three goals), Mitch Marner (two goals, one assist), William Nylander (one goal, one assist) and Auston Matthews (two assists) combined for 10 points. Not to be outdone, Morgan Rielly tied the Leafs franchise record among defenders with four points – all assists – in a playoff game.
Furthermore, Toronto went 2-for-7 on the power play, Tampa went 0-for-2. In total, the two teams combined for 74 penalty minutes on the night, many of which came with the game well out of hand.
Ilya Samsonov made 19 stops fo …

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Author: Nick Alberga / The Leafs Nation

3 Eastern Conference playoff free agents Raptors must watch

3 Eastern Conference playoff free agents Raptors must watch

The Toronto Raptors are likely well aware of the fact that they won’t be able to compete for a championship if they keep their team together as currently constructed. As such, the 2023 offseason promises to be one of the biggest in recent memory for the squad. The Raptors have their eye fixed firmly on […]
3 Eastern Conference playoff free agents Raptors must watch – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Mike Luciano / Raptors HQ

Kevin Gausman pitched a quality start, Blue Jays fail to capitalize on their 10 walks, as Toronto falls 4-1 to the Cardinals

Well, that game was especially brutal.

The Blue Jays lost 4-1 to the St. Louis Cardinals on Saturday afternoon, but the score wasn’t particularly brutal. It was because the Blue Jays probably should have won that game. Let’s look at today’s player of the game, as well as things worth mentioning.
Blue Jays Nation’s player of the game: Kevin Gausman
While Gausman technically allowed three runs, none were earned. On top of that, he struck out seven batters, while allowing just one walk.
Gausman’s splitter is his best pitch, but his other two pitches aren’t talked about enough. His fastball, which averages in the mid-90s generated 4 whiffs (30 total swings), while his slider generated three whiffs on four total swings.
In total, Gausman had 10 swings and misses, which was a game-high.

His second strikeout comes on an 85.1 mph splitter.
— Brennan Delaney (@Brennan_L_D) April 1, 2023

Things worth mentioning:
The Blue Jays couldn’t capitalize on walks, which in the end sunk them. Despite reaching base seven different times in the first three innings (six walks, one hit batter), the Jays only registered three hits all game, being no-hit until the seventh. Saturday afternoon was a far cry from their 19 hits and going 5-16 with runners in scoring position on Thursday.
Matt Chapman made an uncharacteristic error that eventually sunk the Blue Jays. He struggled to transfer the ball from his glove to his hand and then rushed the throw to first base. On the next play, he attempted to throw his glove at the ball on a ground ball down the left field line. Check that out in the clip below.

Matt Chapman just tossed his glove at the ball lol
— Brennan Delaney (@Brennan_L_D) April 1, 2023

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. accounted for three of the ten Blue Jays w …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

Roster moves galore, as Jay Jackson gets his release, Nate Pearson optioned to Triple-A, and more!

Well, the Blue Jays’ bullpen depth just got a bit weaker.

On Saturday afternoon, it was announced by Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith that reliever Jay Jackson was granted his release, as he would not be added to the roster.

Jay Jackson, who impressed in #BlueJays camp with a 95-96 m.p.h. fastball & hard slider, is now a free agent per source.
The Jays had until noon ET today to add him to the roster. They declined to do so, which meant granting Jackson his release instead.
— Ben Nicholson-Smith (@bnicholsonsmith) March 25, 2023

The 35-year-old righty pitched 9.1 innings with the Blue Jays and didn’t allow a single run. Moreover, he had 14 strikeouts facing just 37 batters for a 37.8 K%.

Here’s his second strikeout of the game on an 85.7 mph slider.
— Brennan Delaney (@Brennan_L_D) March 20, 2023

It’s easy to say that a team will add Jackson to their 26-man roster, as he has major league experience and pitched well this sring.
Blue Jays roster cuts:
If Mitch White is to hit the injured list to start the season, it had appeared that spot would either go to Zach Pop or Nate Pearson. Well today, we got our answer as Pearson was optioned to the minor leagues.
That doesn’t mean Pearson won’t play a role with the 2023 Blue Jays. The 26-year-old flame-throwing right-handed pitcher struck out 13 batters in 8.1 innings pitched, and has a 3.24 ERA. This came after pure dominance in the Dominican Winter League over the winter. Pearson’s talent has never been in question, but if he can stay healthy, that’d be a huge boost for the Jays.

In this outing, Nate Pearson showed why he’s more than just a flame throwing pitcher.
Yes, he hit 101 mph to get his only strikeout, but look at the knuckle curve (second clip), or even his two sliders for whiffs.
If he can stay healthy, he’ll be fantastic.#BlueJays
— Brennan Delaney (@Brennan_L_D) March 2, 2023

Nate Pearson wasn’t the only pitcher optioned, as Zach Thompson, Trent Thornton, and Thomas Hatch were …

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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

Ricky Tiedemann threw a bullpen session on Sunday after being shut down with shoulder soreness

Well, Blue Jays fans got some good news on Sunday!

According to, Ricky Tiedemann threw a bullpen on Sunday and apparently felt good. Last week, it was reported that Tiedemann had soreness in his pitching shoulder, which had shut him down for a few days.

Left shoulder soreness for Ricky Tiedemann. Shut down for a couple of days but expects him to throw a side Wednesday per Schneider #BlueJays
— Hazel Mae (@thehazelmae) March 13, 2023

It’s also worth noting that Tiedemann was cut in the first wave of cuts, meaning that the young pitcher will start his season in the minor leagues, likely with the Double-A New Hampshire Fisher Cats.
The 20-year-old left-handed pitcher is the Blue Jays’ consensus top prospect, with multiple publications such as MLB Pipeline, Baseball America, Fangraphs, Prospects Live, and several other sites awarding him the number one spot.

Here’s every single pitch from Ricky Tiedemann (@TiedemannRicky3)’s afternoon.
I’m going to say it right now. This man is going to win multiple Cy Young awards.#BlueJays
— Brennan Delaney (@Brennan_L_D) February 28, 2023

And for good reason, pitching mainly as a 19-year-old in 2022, he had a 2.17 ERA in 78.2 innings pitched at Low-A, High-A, and Double-A. Here’s to another good season that could potentially propel him to a top-10 position on lists, and potentially make it to the big leagues.
Other notes from the article:
Mitch White hasn’t pitched yet this spring, but that looks likely to change this upcoming week. While it may not be in a spring training game, it will be a game scenario, unlike the bullpen sessions he has recently had.
It’s also worth noting that the Jays made their second wave of cuts on March 18. Pitchers Adrián Hernández and Casey Lawrence, as well as first baseman Rainer Núñez, were all sent to minor league game on Saturday afternoon.
As always, you can follow me on Twitter and Instagram @Brennan_L_D.


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Author: Brennan Delaney / Blue Jays Nation

2023 Rival Preview: Bobby Witt Jr. and other youngsters look to bring the Royals back to life

Over the next few weeks, we’ll look at each American League team and discuss their 2022 season, their offseason moves, and their 2023 outlook. 

2022 Season Recap…
Kansas City’s 2022 reminded me a lot of the 2019 Toronto Blue Jays — a mix of veterans and young players, with no legitimate expectations for the season. While I am in no way comparing the talent of the two teams (because the Jays definitely win that category), the overall goal of the year was that the young studs needed to get their feet wet in the MLB.
They were able to accomplish that, although it did come with its hardships, as the Royals finished 65-97 and fifth place in the AL Central. Since their World Series title in 2015, the Royals have finished third place or below each season in their division.
Last season featured the much-anticipated debut of 3B Bobby Witt Jr., who was a top-10 prospect in all of baseball entering the year. Witt was thrown into the fire from the jump, as then-manager Mike Matheny had him batting second on Opening Day. Witt answered the call; his RBI double in the bottom of the 8th gave Kansas City the lead for good, leading the Royals to a 3-1 win over the Guardians to open the season.

Bobby Witt Jr. the hero in his debut with the go ahead RBI for the #royals #OpeningDay pic …

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Author: Evan Stack / Blue Jays Nation