TORONTO — This is the time when experience becomes pivotal.
With over 28,000 fans in the stands and their season on the line, the Toronto Blue Jays didn’t need anyone to tell them Tuesday’s game against the New York Yankees was a big one.
A young team, hungry to prove itself, walked onto the field at Rogers Centre two games back of a wild-card spot with a chance to make up for it against a direct rival in the Yankees. But it was New York’s cold-blooded discipline that prevailed in the end.
“It wasn’t so much us,” said Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo after his team’s 7-2 loss on Tuesday. “Their bullpen did a good job. Those arms are coming out of there and they’re good pitchers.”
The Yankees acted like they’d been here before from the very first pitch. They didn’t budge when Bo Bichette drove in George Springer to give the Jays an early lead in the first, or when their starter, Jameson Taillon, was forced to exit the game with an aggravated ankle injury just 2.1 innings in.
New York’s pitchers — six of them in total — allowed just three hits, while its offence combined for 11, twice coming back from one-run deficits and keeping their cool until the right opportunity presented itself.
“All these games are going to be very important,” said left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu after his start on Tuesday. “I’m going to prepare for my last start of the season and I hope that our players are going to compete and do their best until the very end.”
In a game that looked like a nail-biter until the seventh frame, it seemed like luck just wasn’t on the Toronto pitcher’s side after dealing with neck issues last week. Ryu was solid, though far from spectacular. His velocity was up, but Ryu struggled to find his command, much to the benefit of Aaron Judge, who took advantage of a hanging sinker and crushed a solo shot in the third inning.
“I was able to execute my pitches tonight better than I was in previous outings,” Ryu said after the game. “Overall I felt pretty good. … Today, I came in and I wasn’t really thinking about how many innings I was going to throw or how many pitches I was going to throw. I just wanted to focus hitter by hitter, and that’s what I tried to do today.”
Ryu’s second earned run was the definition of a blip. With Gio Urshela at third, Anthony Rizzo sliced up a good pitch to right field for a single. Corey Dickerson had Urshela beat on the throw to home plate, but the ball hit the Yankees baserunner and deflected away, allowing him to score easily.
That ended Ryu’s night, as he left with 4.2 innings pitched, six hits allowed, three earned runs, a walk and three strikeouts.
“It’s not really something that pitchers can control,” Ryu said of that strange RBI single to Rizzo. “It was a very frustrating hit, especially since it led to runs and gave up the lead. I think I can speak for all pitchers when I say that it was a very frustrating hit.”
Bo Bichette’s night may serve as a micro illustration of the entire Blue Jays season: Flashes of genius sprinkled by youthful yet costly mistakes. Bichette finished the game with two singles and an RBI, but a bad out at third base as he tried to advance on a wild pitch stained his otherwise great performance.
After a heads-up jump that allowed him to advance from first to second on a wild pitch by Clay Holmes, Bichette thought he had enough to go from second to third when Holmes had yet another errant throw. But Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez was faster, quickly recovering and sending the ball over to DJ LeMahieu, who tagged Bichette just in time to get an out call on the field.
After a lengthy review, as the Rogers Centre crowd pleaded for an overturn, umpire Brian Knight announced the call was upheld. Instead of a man in scoring position with the game very much within reach, the Blue Jays suddenly had nobody on and two out.
That New York made it 6-2 the very next inning didn’t help at all.
Giancarlo Stanton, an 11-year MLB veteran and former National League MVP, was the one who blew it wide open for New York. Stanton kept his cool through a two-out, 2-2 count until he found a pitch to hit, sending it 421 feet off Trevor Richards for a three-run homer and a 6-2 Yankees lead in the seventh.
Richards certainly wasn’t to blame for it, as Stanton’s homer came off a well-placed, down-and-away changeup. The Yankees slugger is simply that good.
“I don’t know how you can hit a ball like that,” said Montoyo. “Richards has been good. You gotta give Stanton credit for that.”
Urshela added a solo shot of his own off Anthony Castro in the ninth to seal the Yankees win when several of the available seats had already been emptied by disappointed Jays fans.
Lourdes Gurriel Jr. returned to Toronto’s lineup after suffering a hand injury against the Minnesota Twins on Sep. 24. Still unable to play defence, Gurriel Jr. took the DH spot, with George Springer at centerfield and newly reinstated Cavan Biggio emerging as a bench option for Toronto’s outfield.
The gut-wrenching loss severely diminishes the Blue Jays’ chances of reaching a wild-card spot, even with the Red Sox’s 4-2 loss to the Baltimore Orioles. Toronto now sits one game back of Boston, while the Yankees — now three up on the Blue Jays — assume the top position in the American League wild-card race with five games left in the season.
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Astros' Garcia to start Game 6 of ALCS against Red Sox – Sportsnet.ca
Garcia started Game 2 and gave up a grand slam in the first inning before leaving with no outs in the second because of discomfort in his right knee. Manager Dusty Baker announced Thursday that Garcia would get the ball for Game 6 and said the Astros are confident the problem is behind Garcia and he’ll be 100% healthy for Friday’s start.
The Astros fell behind 2-1 in the series after two big wins by the Red Sox. But they rode their powerful offence to consecutive victories in the last two games to take the series lead and move within a win of advancing to the World Series for the second time in three seasons.
The Astros won the championship in 2017, a crown tainted by the team’s sign-stealing scandal, before losing to the Washington Nationals in seven games in the 2019 World Series.
The Red Sox previously announced that Nathan Eovaldi would start Game 6. Eovaldi got the win in a solid Game 2 start but was charged with the loss in Game 4 after giving up the go-ahead runs after coming in with the game tied in the ninth.
The Astros got eight terrific innings from Framber Valdez in a 9-1 win in Game 5. The performance gave Houston’s taxed bullpen a much-needed break after relievers pitched 29 1/3 innings combined through the first four games.
Baker said Jake Odorizzi would be available for long relief Friday if needed. Odorizzi threw 82 pitches in four innings in Game 2 after taking over following the injury to Garcia.
Baker also said rookie center fielder Jake Meyers, who hasn’t played this series after injuring his shoulder in the final game of the ALDS, probably wouldn’t return to the lineup in this series. He said Meyers could pinch-run or pinch-hit but isn’t ready to return to the field. Fellow rookies Chas McCormick and rookie Jose Siri have filled in at center against the Red Sox.
Houston is without ace Lance McCullers Jr. for this series because of a flexor pronator muscle strain in his right arm. Baker said Thursday that McCullers still hasn’t resumed throwing, so it’s unclear if he would be available to return if the Astros were to advance.
If necessary, Game 7 would be Saturday night in Houston.
NFL Prop Picks For Browns vs. Broncos: Bet This Donovan Peoples-Jones Over/Under On Thursday Night Football – The Action Network
Jason Miller/Getty Images. Pictured: Donovan Peoples-Jones #11 of the Cleveland Browns celebrates after a touchdown
Sean Koerner, our Director of Predictive Analytics, is highlighting his favorite player prop for every primetime game throughout the 2021 season. He has a 428-326-6 (56%) all-time record on NFL bets he’s tracked in the Action app.
Broncos-Browns Prop Bet
Donovan Peoples-Jones Under 2.5 Receptions
Editor’s Note: Now that Odell Beckham Jr. is officially active, Browns player props are off the board at most books.
Peoples-Jones has been on fire over the past two weeks, posting lines of 5/70/0 & 4/101/2 against the Chargers and Cardinals, respectively. However, I believe it’s time to “sell high” on him as he’s due for some regression.
He’s caught a ridiculous 86.7% of his targets this season despite seeing an aDot of 15.7. Players with an aDot that high typically average a catch rate in the 57-60% range.
There are a few other reasons why my projections are lower for him compared to the market:
- Case Keenum is starting in place of Baker Mayfield tonight. Peoples-Jones has shown great chemistry with Mayfield over the past couple of games. The QB change seems like a setback for him.
- Weather could be a factor tonight. Steady winds of approximately 20 mph are expected with the possibility of some occasional rain. That would (in theory) negatively impact a high-aDot player like Peoples-Jones.
- Jarvis Landry is making his return from IR. He should be Keenum’s main target tonight, while the TE group should also see an increase in target share after a season-low five targets as a group last week. I also expect RB/WR Demetric Felton to have an expanded role tonight and he has been heavily targeted (37.5% of routes run) when on the field this season.
I’m projecting DPJ for 2.3 receptions tonight with a median projection of 31.5 receiving yards (market is currently at 38.5) — I’d give this under about a 60% chance of hitting. He’s the type of player who could clear his yardage prop on a couple of deep catches, so the safer play here is to take the under for his receptions, especially since we are getting + money. I would bet this down to -105.
Pick: Donovan Peoples-Jones Under 2.5 Receptions (+115) at BetMGM
Canadiens fans welcome Kotkaniemi back to Montreal with boos, vulgar chant – Yahoo Canada Sports
The Carolina Hurricanes were in Montreal on Thursday night to face the Canadiens at the Bell Centre, marking the return of Jesperi Kotkaniemi, who was at the centre of petty off-season drama after signing an offer sheet with the Canes.
In true hockey fashion, the Bell Centre crowd greeted the 21-year-old with boos and taunting chants.
The Canadiens acknowledged the former third-overall pick by displaying him on the jumbotron, which in turn sparked another wave of disapproval from the near-sellout crowd.
It was Kotkaniemi who got the last laugh, though, tipping in a goal in the third period for his first point with the Hurricanes — much to the delight of Hockey Twitter. Carolina ended up walking away with the 4-1 victory, keeping Montreal winless on the season.
The native of Pori, Finland appeared in 171 games for the Habs over three seasons, scoring 22 goals and notching 40 assists. He also registered 12 points in 29 playoff games, including five goals in Montreal’s run to the Stanley Cup Final last season.
Carolina tendered an offer sheet to Kotkaniemi in late August, offering a one-year contract at $6.1 million. Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin chose not to match, and Montreal received a first- and third-round pick as compensation.
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