#1

one player he is concerned about is Nikolai Kulem

in Share With Other Members Sun Dec 08, 2019 9:07 pm
by sakura698 • 1.170 Posts

TORONTO The first-place Blue Jays hit the halfway mark of the season with 45 wins and a two-game lead on Baltimore in the American League East, territory unfamiliar to a franchise still waiting for its first playoff game since October 23, 1993, the night Joe Carter walked off Mitch Williams into World Series lore. Ben Simmons Jersey . "Im proud of the way the guys played," said manager John Gibbons. "It was kind of a so-so start and we kicked it in there in the month of May and put ourselves in a good position. Now, you know, we just need to do that again in the second half or even improve on that but Im very, very happy with the effort and the way the guys have been playing baseball. Its that simple." You wont find a Mission Accomplished banner hanging in the clubhouse. The expectation is much greater. "Has it met it yet? No," said Casey Janssen. "Our expectation is to make the playoffs and win the World Series and were not there yet. Weve got a long way to go. I think everyone believed we could be this type of team but were not throwing a party yet, we know that. We know theres a ton of talent here and its the AL East so anything can happen." Despite a recent downturn in offensive production, through 81 games Toronto continues to sit in the top seven of most major categories. The club sits first in the majors with 104 home runs. Its fourth with a .262 batting average and .331 on-base percentage. The on-base plus slugging percentage of .767 ranks third and its 272 walks are seventh. The most pleasant surprise and biggest disappointment reside on the same spot: the pitchers mound. The pleasant surprise: Blue Jays starters lead the American League with 35 wins (a number not reached until the 135th game last season) and the staff ERA of 3.87 is best in the AL East. The biggest disappointment: the bullpen, the ray of sunshine in a stormy 2013 season, has compiled baseballs fourth-worst ERA (4.48). Its a target for improvement. "I think there are some times when weve got to be better in the bullpen," said Gibbons. "Weve got to shore that up a little bit. Its like anything, consistency over the whole pitching staff and hopefully you stay healthy enough." The Blue Jays have been fortunate to remain relatively healthy, dealing with injuries theyve been able to cover. Maicer Izturis was a backup infielder. Brandon Morrow wasnt pitching well when he got hurt. Colby Rasmus missed 33 games with a hamstring strain and the Jays got by with an Anthony Gose-Kevin Pillar platoon in centerfield. The medical staff is now doing the dance with Jose Bautista as he deals with a hamstring problem, which could be made worse if rushed. Bautista will run sprints on Saturday morning and depending on how he feels, could be available to at least pinch hit on the weekend. QUIET TIME FOR JANSSEN Wondering where closer Casey Janssen has been these days? Hes around. He just hasnt pitched much due to a lack of save opportunities. Since notching his 12th save of the season on June 15 in Baltimore, Janssen has appeared twice. He mopped up the epic, 14-9 comeback win on June 20 in Cincinnati. He threw the ninth inning of a 6-6 game against the Yankees on June 24 and got the win when the Blue Jays walked off. It can be difficult for relievers when they go through a period without consistent work. "I feel like saves come in bunches at times," said Janssen. "You get opportunities to pitch maybe in a lopsided game one way or another if it gets to be too long. Sometimes there are times when you dont get in but you get up. Im one of those guys that always has relied on my command and I guess it comes a little more natural to me than others." Janssen has 12 saves in 14 opportunities this season. "Sometimes the rest is good, knowing that the tough stretch is going to come at some point," said Janssen. Expect Janssen to get into a game before the weekend is over, regardless of whether Toronto has a lead of three or less. Janssen speaks to pitching coach Pete Walker about his schedule, who relays the message to manager John Gibbons. If Janssen goes four or five days without action his arms reaction to its diminished workload becomes less predictable. "You wonder if your arms going to be a little cranky or if its going to be super fresh," said Janssen. "Sometimes you feel great when you get the rest and sometimes youre kind of knocking the dust off a little bit." Remember that Janssen had an abbreviated spring training thanks to stiffness in the back of his pitching shoulder. He didnt appear in a Grapefruit League game until the final week of March. Then, in Montreal, he strained his left oblique and didnt make his season debut until May 12. Its been a build for Janssen, who anticipates being able to pitch on three consecutive days, if needed, as the importance of each game ramps up. "I feel like Id love to do it and Id love to have the opportunity to do it," said Janssen. "I think a lot of those three in a rows depend on how the first two went and the stress level of those innings. My goal is to be able to pitch in every opportunity possible, especially as the season gets further along and as this division and the race gets tight and everything like that." Lavoy Allen Jersey .2 million deal for the upcoming season with right-hander Garrett Richards.The person spoke on condition of anonymity Saturday because the announcement hadnt been made. Markelle Fultz Jersey . According to a report from ESPN, sources said Manuels college coach Jimbo Fisher told teams he didnt think Manuel had the tools to be an NFL starter. https://www.cheap76ers.com/ . Some will say that Martin is too sensitive while others will say that it is part of the way football is in the locker room. But to have to absorb what was said to him for any rational and intelligent person is too much.TORONTO -- The Maple Leafs boast a predominantly Canadian roster with 20 players holding Canadian passports; however, many are struggling when it comes to deciding who to cheer for come Fridays semifinal of mens hockey at the Olympics, which features Leafs teammates Phil Kessel and James van Reimsdyk against the Canadians. The Leafs were back on the ice Wednesday following an 10-day break. It apparently wasnt long enough, as Team Canadas 2-1 win over Latvia didnt conclude before the Leafs began practice. "I was thinking we might get a little delay, but it was nice to get out there," said Tyler Bozak of watching Wednesdays game." Bozak, a native of Regina, Sask., centres a line of Kessel and van Riemsdyk. He also shares an apartment with Kessel in Toronto. He has been in touch with his linemates during the break. "Theyre enjoying it, they said everythings great," said Bozak. "The village is nice, theyre meeting lots of new people and having fun. Theyre winning lots of games and playing really well." When asked who hed be cheering for in Fridays rematch of the 2010 gold medal game, Bozak appeared on the fence. "Its going to be an exciting game to watch for sure. I really cant make any predictions," he said. "I dont knowa the U.S. has been playing great. Canadas kind of snuck by with a few wins, but every games different and it should be a fun one to watch. "I just hope Phil and JVR play really well and maybe Canada wins, I dont know." Nazem Kadri, who spent his break along with Bozak and Frazer McLaren in the Caribbean, isnt sure of Canadas chances. "I want to say Canada, but to be honest, I think the U.S. looks a little bit better," said the London, Ont. native. "In tournaments like these, its all about one game, one period swing where that could be the difference." Sudbury, Ont. native, Randy Carlyle admitted cheering for Canada isnt as easy as it may appear. "I wish our players all the success in the world and I think its important for us to never lose sight of the fact that youre part of a team, but agaain, I am Canadian," said Carlyle, who spent his break in California. Clarence Weatherspoon Jersey. "There is things pulling at your heart strings in different directions thats for sure." Kessel has been the talk of the tournament leading the way with five goals and eight points heading in to Fridays game. He was also the topic de jour at the Leafs practice facility in Etobicoke Wednesday. When asked if Kessel, who is second behind just Alexander Ovechkin in regular season scoring with 31 goals, has put himself amongst the best players in the NHL, Carlyle was quick to pump the breaks. "Thats a big statement for anybody to come out and proclaim on any player. It takes a longer period of time than just five years (or) six years," Carlyle said. "Hes not a one-dimensional player as people described him previously. Hes a guy who still has some things that wed like him to stop doing, but hes become more of a two-way player." Kadri, who according to Carlyle returned with the best-looking tan on the team, isnt surprised at Kessels success in Sochi. "I think we all knew Phil was going to achieve more especially on that big ice," he said. "Not too many players in the league can skate with him so. Phil does a great job finding areas to get open." Carlyle admitted one player he is concerned about is Nikolai Kulemin. Kulemin was part of the Russian team, which fell 3-1 to Finland in the quarter-finals. "Nobody asks questions about how youre going to feel about Nikolai Kulemin coming back and thats a tough one," said Carlyle. "Host country and the way their tournament unravelled. "Hes part of our hockey club and weve got to find a way to build him back up and get him going again." Notes: Injured forwards David Bolland (foot), Peter Holland (lace bite), Carter Ashton (hand) and Trevor Smith (undisclosed) were all participants in Wednesdays 50 minute skate at the MasterCard Centre. Once Bolland, Smith and Ashton return from injured reserved, the Leafs will have 25 players on their active roster and will require some moves. ' ' '

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