Blue Jays drop series finale as Manoah struggles
The season still hasn’t clicked for Alek Manoah.
The Toronto Blue Jays right-hander had a phenomenal sophomore season last year, finishing with a 2.24 earned-run average and third in American League Cy Young Award voting. But in 2023, outside of one outing, Manoah has yet to hit his stride.
That continued in the Blue Jays’ 8-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays on Sunday at the Rogers Centre, where Manoah went 4 2/3 innings and gave up seven runs in an unsteady start.
The loss spoiled the Jays’ hopes of sweeping the Rays, who entered the weekend series as the hottest team in the majors. Tampa Bay started the season on a 13-game winning streak, tying the record for the best start to a season in the modern era, before Toronto beat Tampa on Friday and Saturday.
On Sunday, Manoah struggled from the moment he stepped on the mound. His first pitch sailed into first baseman Yandy Diaz’s back. He walked the next batter, gave up a single, then walked designated hitter Wander Franco with the bases loaded to force in a run, all without recording an out.
“They kicked my butt,” Manoah said. “I’m here right now and I’m going to keep fighting my way out. That’s all I know how to do and that’s what this team needs from me.”
Sunday’s start was the latest in a string of rough outings for the 25-year-old. Manoah gave up five runs and didn’t finish the fourth inning on opening day in St. Louis, then shut down the Kansas City Royals with seven runless innings on April 5.
Then after a three-run, five-walk start in the home opener on April 11, Manoah gave up the most runs of his major-league career on Sunday and tied his career high in hits allowed.
“I’m not going back to the drawing board. I felt good out there,” Manoah said, explaining that he had some sharp pitches and good velocity, despite missing his location in a few at-bats.
Manoah pitched around a handful of baserunners in the middle innings, then struck out the first two batters in the fifth, but the inning quickly fell apart. Centre fielder Josh Lowe brought in a run with a double and, two batters later, catcher Christian Bethancourt delivered the death blow.
His three-run homer gave the Rays a 7-1 lead and knocked Manoah out of the game one batter later.
Manoah shot through the minor leagues and dominated the majors from the moment he arrived. Now he’s encountered a road block.
“It’s going to happen at any point in time, I think in anybody’s career,” Jays manager John Schneider said. “You got all the confidence in the world in that dude to really dig down, dig deep. He’s one of the best competitors in the game. You go through it, you learn from it, you get better.”
Offensively, the Blue Jays were up against lefty Shane McClanahan, who gave up three runs total in his first three starts of the season, all of which the Rays won. In 2022, he used his fastball, second-fastest among American League starters, and effective changeup to post a 2.54 ERA.
Toronto’s limited offence came in its first three at-bats. Designated hitter George Springer walked, then shortstop Bo Bichette hit a single. First baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. hit another single to drive Springer in.
McClanahan proceeded to shut Toronto down. He retired the next 11 batters in order and allowed only two more hits before leaving the game at the end of the sixth.
The one-run performance was only Toronto’s third time in 16 games scoring fewer than two runs. Entering Sunday, the Blue Jays led the majors with a team batting average of .282.
“Our approach early was good,” Schneider said. “[McClanahan] had a really good mix going. It was starting soft then finishing with a fastball.”
With their first home stand of the season now finished, the Blue Jays will travel to face the reigning World Series champion Houston Astros on Monday evening. Opening the series is righty Kevin Gausman, who has been Toronto’s most reliable starter this season by a wide margin – he’s allowed just three runs and three walks while striking out 25.
While the Astros have started the year slowly at 7-8, Schneider said he isn’t putting stock into their early season results.
Manoah won’t start again until Toronto’s series against the New York Yankees over the weekend. He’ll have time to address what hasn’t been working.
“I just need to go out there and start throwing some punches instead of wearing them,” Manoah said.
Sail Canada says coach Lisa Ross was fired for financial reasons, not because she was pregnant – The Globe and Mail
Lisa Ross wants her job back.
The two-time Olympic sailor for Canada was named to the national sailing team’s coaching staff three years ago.
Nine days after telling Sail Canada in March that she was pregnant and would take maternity leave later this year, Ross was fired.
Ross was in Andora, Italy, where she’d been coaching Canadian sailors at the European championship. She was about to head to Spain for more competitions and training camps.
The 46-year-old from Mahone Bay, N.S., said that during the March 17 video call with Sail Canada’s chief executive officer Don Adams and high-performance director Mike Milner, she was told to pack her bags and return to Canada.
“It was strange and shocking,” Ross told The Canadian Press. “It was a five-minute phone call where I was fired, basically, without cause.
“I was in Europe. I was in the middle of a planned six-week trip.”
Sail Canada said lack of money, and not Ross’s pregnancy, was the reason for her firing.
“Sail Canada terminated Lisa Ross’s contract for financial reasons which had nothing to do with Lisa Ross being pregnant,” the organization said in a statement to The Canadian Press.
“Discussions and the decision to terminate Lisa Ross’s contract took place well before she verbally informed Sail Canada High Performance Director that she was pregnant.”
Sail Canada said Ross’s salary was supported by Sport Canada Gender Equity funding, which was eliminated at the end of the 2021-2022 fiscal year.
“Sail Canada was able to maintain Lisa Ross’s position in the next fiscal year through the Return to Sport funding program but, unfortunately, that funding is no longer available in 2023-2024,” the organization said.
Ross’s annual salary was $80,000. The federal government renewed its funding for gender equity in sport in October with a commitment of $25.3-million over three years.
“This is not available at present but we have been informed it may be some time in the future,” Sail Canada said in a statement. “We do not know if female coaching will be part of the areas of funding.
Sail Canada said it made its decision to fire Ross “because of financial reasons based on the information available at the time of budget finalization.”
“With the 2023-2024 Olympic season fast approaching, and in order for Sail Canada to prioritize Olympic hopefuls and maintain a balanced budget, Sail Canada has to make drastic cuts to its High Performance budget.”
Sail Canada said it sought a Nova Scotia labour lawyer’s advice on Feb. 21 to vet the decision to dismiss Ross.
Ross departed for Europe at the end of February and had no inkling that her job was on the chopping block until she was sacked March 17.
“I just would have liked the opportunity, if funding was the issue, to visit any possibility of ensuring that I can continue in my role as one of the more senior coaches on the staff,” Ross said.
Sail Canada said it waited until after the European championship March 10-17 to fire her “so that it would not become a distraction for the athletes.”
Ross was the only woman on Sail Canada’s technical staff of a high-performance director and coaches.
Since her dismissal, Rosie Chapman was hired on a contract basis.
Chapman is partially subsidized by athletes and costs 20 per cent of a full-time salary, Sail Canada said.
Ross competed for Canada in 2004 in Athens in women’s three-person keelboat and 2008 in Beijing in women’s dinghy.
She coached laser sailor Brenda Bowskill at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Ross was named the Canadian sailing team’s development coach in 2020, but she coached the senior men’s laser team that year.
Ross didn’t coach at Tokyo’s Olympics in 2021. She was on maternity leave with her second child.
She was coaching the 49er FX women’s development team when she was fired. Her third child is due Sept. 1.
She’d planned to continue coaching until August when she could no longer fly.
Ross intended to be back with the athletes in time for January’s world championship and to help prepare them for the 2024 Olympics in Paris. She says she communicated that plan to Sail Canada the day she told the organization she was pregnant.
Milner replied that same day: “You should also know Rosie and I have been talking on and off for more than a year on joining our team and I think this is a great opportunity for the girls while you are on mat leave.”
Milner also wrote in that e-mail to Ross that his “initial thought” would be to have Chapman become the international coach after April’s Princess Sofia or Hyeres regattas “and focus you on domestic training.”
Ross has filed claims with Nova Scotia’s Labour Standards Board and Human Rights Commission, but has not sued Sail Canada.
“I’m not asking for a massive amount of money,” Ross said. “I’m asking for my job back.”
The World Sailing Trust recently launched a half-dozen recommendations under an initiative called Project Juno to “support better maternity policies in sailing.”
While Sail Canada insists her pregnancy did not cost Ross her job, it says the organization has pregnancy and parental leave policy “that is in keeping with the Ontario Employment Standards Act” and also subject to Sport Canada’s Athletes Assistance Program policies and procedures.
Ross says she has never seen that policy.
She hasn’t filed a complaint with the Office of the Sport Integrity Commissioner (OSIC), which was established almost a year ago to administer Canadian sport’s universal code of conduct. Sail Canada is a signatory to OSIC.
“I want my job back, so I want to focus on that,” Ross said. “I want to be a part of the sport system that I’ve been a part of since I was 17.
“I went to my first Pan Am Games when I was 17. It’s been a scary process to go through, just even with my relationship with Sail Canada because that’s been a huge part of my life and I want that to continue.”
Jubilant Latvians given national holiday after shock ice hockey win over USA
Latvians woke up to go to work Monday morning, only to find they didn’t have to. Their parliament had met at midnight to declare a holiday after the national ice hockey team chalked up its best result at the world championship.
Latvia, where hockey is hugely popular, co-hosted the men’s championship with Finland, and the country’s 4-3 overtime victory over the United States for the bronze medal on Sunday was greeted with jubilation.
A plane bringing the team home from Finland flew at low altitude over central Riga on Monday to greet thousands of fans who had gathered to welcome the squad.
At quarter to midnight on Sunday, members of parliament, sporting red-and-white national team jerseys, convened for a 10-minute session to unanimously declare the holiday.
It was “to strengthen the fact of significant success of Latvian athletes in the social memory of the society,” according to the bill’s sponsors.
The bill was introduced by a smiling member of parliament with her face painted in the colors of the national flag. Another giggled while trying to read out the names of absent parliamentarians, to laughter from many in the hall. There was an ovation from everyone present after the final vote.
But as dawn broke, there was confusion about who was working and who was not. Court hearings were canceled and schools and universities were closed, but national exams for high school students went ahead, with staff paid at holiday rates. Several hospitals chose to stay open to honor doctor appointments.
Businesses found themselves in some disarray, with Aigars Rostovskis, the president of the Latvian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, telling public broadcaster LSM: “It will be chaos for many.”
Canada won the gold medal, the team’s record 28th world title, by defeating Germany 5-2 on Sunday.
Kamloops Blazers rout Peterborough Petes 10-2 in Memorial Cup – ESPN – ESPN India
KAMLOOPS, British Columbia — Logan Stankoven had a goal and four assists, Connor Levis had a goal and two assists and the Kamloops Blazers routed the Ontario Hockey League champion Peterborough Petes 10-2 in the Memorial Cup on Sunday.
The win came after Kamloops defenseman Kyle Masters was taken off the ice on a stretcher after he was hit and fell backward into the corner boards with less than seven minutes remaining. There was no immediate word on Masters’ condition.
Ryan Michael, Fraser Minten, Ashton Ferster, Matthew Seminoff, Dylan Sydor, Jakub Demek, Matthew Seminoff and Ryan Hofer each scored goals for the Blazers, who bounced back from an 8-3 loss to the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League champion Quebec Remparts on Friday night.
Caedan Bankier and Olen Zellweger also added two assists each for the Blazers, who scored four power-play goals and improved to 1-1 in the four-team, 10-day tournament.
Peterborough dropped to 0-2 and must beat Quebec on Tuesday to advance.
Sail Canada says coach Lisa Ross was fired for financial reasons, not because she was pregnant – The Globe and Mail
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