Blue Jays Babble
The Minnesota Twins were in Toronto for a three-game series last weekend. The Twins won the opener on Friday night, but the Blue Jays recovered for wins on Saturday and Sunday to maintain their standing in the wild card race.
The Blue Jays headed out to Tampa Bay for a three-game series against the Rays that didn’t go quite as swimmingly as the Jays had hoped.
The series opened with a 6-4 loss that featured some controversy. In the 6th inning, Rays hitter Kevin Kiermaier slid into home plate, where he was tagged out by Catcher Alejandro Kirk. On the play, a card that contained the Jays pitching game plan was shaken loose from Kirk’s wristband and fell to the ground. It was collected by Kiermaier and delivered to his own dugout. The Jays reportedly sent the bat boy to retrieve the card, but he was denied. The “finders keepers, losers weepers” principle applies here, apparently.
Toronto sent Alek Manoah to the mound for game 2 on Tuesday. Prior to the game, Rays manager Kevin Cash apologized to Jays manager Charlie Montoya for the pitching card fiasco and it seemed to do the trick in settling things down, at least for the short term. There were no incidents, Manoah battled, and the Jays won 4-2.
But then tempers flared in Game 3. Ross Stripling started for the Blue Birds and dug himself a significant hole early that they never recovered from. Down 7-1 to start the eighth, relief pitcher Ryan Borucki fired his first pitch straight into the back of Kevin Kiermaier. Much shouting and arm waving and chest puffing followed, and Borucki was ejected. With the win the Rays clinched a post-season berth.
There is no love lost between these two. If the Jays can make their way into the post-season, it is conceivable they will face the Rays again in an emotionally charged playoff atmosphere.
We can only hope with fingers and toes crossed.
Week 7 in the CFL saw the end of a drought, a snoozer, a lonely placekicker, and a defense clinic.
The Saskatchewan Roughriders ended a touchdown drought in a Friday night home game against the Toronto Argonauts. The men in green had not scored a touchdown since August 21st but pulled off three in a 30-16 win. The Hamilton Tiger-Cats and Calgary Stampeders scored just nine points between them in the first half on Friday night, but it was Hamilton that held out for the 23-17 win.
On Saturday evening in Montreal the Alouettes lost to the BC Lions with a score of 27-18. The Als struggled offensively and were only able to collect points via the field goal as Kicker David Cote converted on six attempts. His 18 points were not enough to fetch the win. In the other Saturday game, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers won their fourth straight with a 37-22 score over the Elks in Edmonton. The defence was the story in this one with Defensive Back Dee Alford making two interceptions for two touchdowns.
The Ottawa Redblacks enjoyed a bye week.
Next week we’ll size up where the teams stand with half of the season in the record books.
Wednesday was the first day of fall, and to mark the event NHL teams opened their training camps.
The first day of camp is dedicated to medicals. Jack Eichel reported to Buffalo Sabres camp for his medical and was not cleared to play. Eichel had hoped that by now he would have recovered from spinal surgery and be reporting to camp in another city.
But the stalemate continues between the player and the team with Eichel wanting disc replacement surgery and the team preferring disc fusion. GM Kevyn Adams confirmed Eichel’s captaincy would be removed. There has been no surgery, and no trade, and nobody is happy.
In Montreal, Habs fans were surprised to see Shea Weber’s name on the camp roster. He reportedly had his medical last week and is not available to play. He should be moved to LTIR to start the season. GM Marc Bergevin confirmed they will not name a captain in Weber’s absence.
Those recalling the Tampa Bay Lightning cap shenanigans last season are wondering if the Habs are planning a similar coup and will bring Weber back for the playoffs. Others are skeptical the Habs can even make the playoffs this season.
Toronto Maple Leaf John Tavares spoke to media on Wednesday, Sept. 22, and confirmed his recovery from the concussion he suffered in a playoff game against the Habs that ended his season. He is expected to be ready for camp.
As of press deadline, teams were scrambling to tie up loose ends of business. Several noteworthy restricted free agents (RFAs) needed new contracts and we saw some movement.
Rasmus Dahlin re-signed in Buffalo in time for camp, and last year’s Calder Cup Winner Kirill Kaprizov was inked to a five-year, $45 million contract by the Minnesota Wild.
A couple of Canadian teams are down to the wire to sign important RFAs.
Brady Tkachuk and the Ottawa Senators have not yet agreed to terms and in Vancouver, the Canucks have Elias Pettersson and Quinn Hughes who remain unsigned. GM Jim Benning confirmed they would not be available for training camp but that he believed the sides were not too far apart.
Pre-season games get under way on Saturday. The Montreal Canadiens will be at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto to face the Leafs.
Ahhhhh… hockey is back!
Lori Bennett is a social worker, policy professional, recreation softball player and coach, and newbie ukulele-ist. A Newfoundlander living in Toronto, Lori loves a good hockey chat, just as long as it remains respectful. Find her on twitter as @lori10habs.