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‘He’s going to be our ace’: Analyzing impact of Blue Jays’ Hyun-Jin Ryu –



TORONTO — Toronto Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins was in the middle of listing the traits he likes most in Hyun-Jin Ryu — command, a varied arsenal, athleticism — when he turned to the South Korean left-hander sitting to his right and addressed him directly.

“You truly are fun to watch play,” Atkins said to Ryu on Friday during the press conference introducing Toronto’s newest arm. “It’s remarkable what you’ve already accomplished and we very much look forward to the success you’re going to bring to this organization.”

Undoubtedly, Ryu’s a very fun pitcher to watch. At six-foot-three and 255 pounds, he’s an imposing presence on the mound yet one who brings a calm composure to competition. And there’s no arguing that he’s accomplished plenty in his seven-season MLB career. He led baseball with a 2.32 ERA last season, finishing second in National League Cy Young voting. And his 2.71 ERA since the beginning of 2017 ranks fourth among the 115 qualified MLB starters over that span.

But just how much success can Atkins and Blue Jays fans look forward to over the next four years of Ryu’s $80-million deal? That’s the unanswerable question in the wake of the largest free agent pitching contract the franchise has ever awarded, and one that will go a long way to determining whether or not the club’s current rebuild is ultimately successful.

“He was going for the Cy Young last year — that tells you everything. We got one of the best pitchers in baseball and we’re going to have a chance to win every time he takes the mound,” said Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo. “He’s going to be our ace.”

That much is certain — but Ryu won’t be a domineering, fastball-heavy ace like the Astros’ Justin Verlander or the Yankees’ Gerrit Cole. Ryu’s change-up is actually his best pitch, and truly one of the best off-speed weapons in the game. It’s also his only plus offering, which is why he threw it more than any other pitch last season.

Meanwhile, the average velocity (90.7 mph) and spin rate (2,084 RPM) on Ryu’s fastball were among the lowest in MLB. Same goes for his cutter. And while his curveball features above-average movement and can generate some swing-and-miss, it isn’t considered a dominant pitch. Ryu isn’t overpowering or out-stuffing anyone.

Rather, he uses sequencing, control and deception to keep hitters off balance and generate soft contact. Think first-pitch curveballs for strikes, change-ups in fastball counts and fastballs with two strikes. He repeats his delivery and maintains his release point exceptionally well, providing few hints as to what’s about to come out of his hand.

Elite command and control of the baseball allow him to manipulate his pitches to move the way he wants on their way to the plate and end up where he wants when they get there. Each of those pitches move differently and at varied rates of speed. That’s where a lot of the soft contact he generates comes from, as he stays off the heart of the plate and keeps the ball away from the barrels of bats.

It’s also why he barely walks anyone, with a 1.3 BB/9 over the past two seasons, the lowest of any MLB starter (minimum of 150 innings) by a significant margin. Ryu just pounds the edges of the zone while his catchers mix and match his offerings well enough to prevent hitters from picking up his patterns.

“Obviously, speed is an important factor. But ever since I was young, I’ve focused on pitching as more than just the fastball,” Ryu said through interpreter Tad Yo. “Because if you throw it down the middle, they’re going to hit it.”

It all makes him awfully difficult to square up. The average exit velocity Ryu allowed in 2019 (85.3 mph) ranked 15th among the 436 MLB pitchers with at least 100 balls put in play against them. It ranked sixth among the 198 that allowed at least 200. And you can keep pushing him up that leaderboard if you keep increasing the sample, because Ryu was one of only 43 pitchers to allow more than 500 balls in play in 2019.

As strikeouts surged across baseball, Ryu’s K/9 actually decreased from 9.7 in 2018 to 8.0 in 2019. He simply allows a lot of contact and it’s non-negotiable that a team field a skilled, reliable defence behind him, lest ground balls squeak through a leaky infield and line drives not be run down.

Ryu’s 48.4 per cent career ground ball rate at least demonstrates he’s getting the type of contact you want half the time, as the prevalence of the infield shift has increased the rate at which ground balls are converted into outs. The Los Angeles Dodgers, Ryu’s old team, utilized a shift behind him 40 per cent of the time last season, well above the league average of 25.6 per cent.

On the left is how the Dodgers positioned fielders behind Ryu when he faced left-handed hitters, and on the right is how they approached right-handers:

Has anyone mentioned Toronto was a bottom-10 team across the board in 2019 by whichever advanced defensive statistic you prefer? It seems relevant.

Now, the Blue Jays are expecting to be better defensively on the infield in 2020, with a trimmed-down Vladimir Guerrero Jr. potentially featuring more range at third base, while Bo Bichette and Cavan Biggio continue to improve at shortstop and second. But the outfield is still a big question mark, particularly in centre, which was primarily covered by the erratic routes of Teoscar Hernandez in 2019.

Montoyo may have to tailor his lineups to Ryu’s tendencies on the days he pitches, playing Randal Grichuk in centre and the recently-signed Travis Shaw, who’s accumulated 26 DRS as a third baseman since 2015, at third in order to minimize the possibility of a defensive disaster. It likely won’t be the same calibre of defence Ryu was accustomed to with the Dodgers, but it’ll have to do.

Of course, Ryu will have to be on the mound for any of that to matter, and staying healthy enough to compete has been a perpetual struggle since his MLB debut in 2013. He missed time due to foot and back injuries that year, before hitting the injured list twice in 2014 with shoulder and glute ailments. Then, in 2015, Ryu revealed he’d been pitching with a torn labrum in his left shoulder for years, and underwent surgery to address the issue. A year later, when he was finally attempting a return to play, shoulder soreness and a groin issue kept him out even longer.

In July, 2016, Ryu made his first MLB appearance in 22 months. It was also his last for some time, as elbow tendinitis derailed his comeback and ultimately required surgery two months later. In 2017, it was adductor, hip, foot and forearm issues limiting Ryu to 126.2 innings; In 2018, a groin strain kept him to 82.1. From 2014 through 2018, Ryu threw 365.2 MLB innings — or 73.1 per year. Even last season, his healthiest since he was a rookie, Ryu still made two brief trips to the injured list due to groin and neck issues.

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Yeah, it’s a lot. And it’s why the Blue Jays are likely expecting something closer to 500 innings from Ryu over the next four season as opposed to 800. Getting 125 innings of elite pitching per season is still worth something, of course. And to the Blue Jays, who ran Ryu through an extensive physical this week, it’s evidently worth $20-million per year.

“There is no free agent signing where you’re not sharing some risk. And we feel like we’ve added an incredible talent to the organization and feel like he’s evolved and learned from his transition as a professional and as a Major League Baseball pitcher,” Atkins said. “We’re confident he’s going to continue to do what he needs to do to stay on the field.”

Still, if he does, it’s hard to expect Ryu to post the same numbers this season as he has over the last two. He’s moving to a more difficult division, in a league with a designated hitter batting once every nine instead of a pitcher, to play in a more hitter-friendly ballpark in front of a worse defence. He’s a year older (Ryu will be 33 on opening day) and threw nearly as many innings last season (182.2) as he did in the four that preceded it (213.2). There is a reason Steamer projects him at 2.9 fWAR after he was worth 4.8 in 2019.

But the only Blue Jays pitcher to post a three-win season since 2017 is Marcus Stroman, who doesn’t play for the team anymore. Even when baking in substantial regression to his recent performance, Ryu is a massive rotation upgrade for a team in desperate need of it. Simply put, when he’s healthy and pitching to his ability, Ryu’s among the most effective starters in baseball. And the price to acquire that rare upside is what the Blue Jays paid.

“We just continue to try to make the organization better. And there will be more opportunities like this one. And there have been opportunities that we’ve missed on,” Atkins said. “But we’ll continue to do that. We’re here for one thing and it’s to win. We’re getting closer to those days.”

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Mega Jackpot: New Jersey Woman Wins $3.5 Million



December 1st of 2021, this day was engraved in stone for Dori B. The New Jersey resident bagged $3.5 million in casino winnings from popular BetMGM casino Borgata. One of the largest payouts issued by online casinos for real money games is the amount. The amount is also many jackpot records for individuals playing MGM Grand Millions of slots in the United States. BetMGM officials issued the check for the $3.5 million on Sunday with huge smiles and commented on the win. The vice president of BetMGM, Mr. Matthew Sunderland, congratulated the lady on her success. He termed it record-breaking since it is one of the highest ever issued by an online casino. The Vice President was enthusiastic and indicated that the company was proud to offer players Life-Changing Prizes! He takes pride in their casino games, terming the MGM Grand Millions slot as an Exclusive Jackpot Network, offering the best wins for the players who want to find the best online casino bonuses. He states that BetMGM cannot wait to continue setting records throughout the U.S.

  • Dori B. Approach to the Jackpot
  • What plans do you have?
  • Popular Wins by BetMGM
  • More about BetMGM

Dori B. Approach to the Jackpot

The winning lady, whose name is Dori B., states that her decision to play the game wasn’t an impulsive one. She says that it stemmed from seeing where the grand prize stood at that moment. in her own words, during the press conference held by BetMGM officials, she said, I just knew it had to hit soon! In the press release, she shows her conviction on the jackpot outcome by saying, And boy did it! Her actual statement read, I thought, ‘Someone is going to hit it, maybe it could be me!

She describes the night she won the jackpot as a regular one for her. Once she took a look at the jackpot and decided it would hit soon, she decided to try her luck. She says that On the night I won, all it took was a $10 spin. She at first didn’t believe that she would be the lucky winner, but she only knew it would hit soon, and someone would scoop those millions. A second later, she was the lucky winner. She states that One second later, I became a millionaire. Now, thanks to the BetMGM and the Borgata online casino, Dori B. is a millionaire. She laughs it out and seriously says ‘and my life has changed forever’.

What Plans Do You Have?

BetMGM has a record of issuing quality game prizes worth millions. Last year, the company awarded another $3.2 million to another gambler in the country. However, what players do with the cash awarded remains their private business. Dori B., however, was proud to share what she thought she would do with her winnings. She states that her newfound fortune will be used through Family Vacations and constant volunteering! Dori B. says that her $3.5 million has made her dream of being a Mega Jackpot Winner come true. What remains is to use the money on family vacations and volunteer work.

Since the world has a comprehensive record of casino winnings, especially with slots games, it is difficult to tell the amount the next winner will collect. Online slot jackpots have delivered $23.6 million to a Finnish player in the past. The player won €17.8 million, equivalent to the $23.6 million. BetMGM is one of the online casinos the Borgata has in New Jersey. The Borgata casino had revenue of $38.8 million back in October. It is the highest amount the casino has ever made since it went live in November of 2013. It joins the record set by New Jersey’s 29 casinos online, which is $127 million in a single month.

Popular Wins by BetMGM

Dori B. isn’t the only famous win ever awarded by BetMGM. Over time, the casino has had opportunities to reward various players with excellent prizes. In 2017, anonymous players received $14 million in BetMGM sports betting after placing a successful wager during the L. A. Dodgers and the Houston Astros match. A famous poker player, Billy Walters, decided to try his luck and bagged $3.5 million with a successful wager during the Super Bowl XLIV. However, amongst all possible wins, the best is Steve Whitley, who managed to win €1.45 million, equivalent to $1,825,274 million back in 2011. Vegas Dave also brought with him $2.5 million. For some people, all these examples give grounds even to think seriously about becoming a professional gambler who even is ready to pay taxes for having gambling as the only income source.

More about BetMGM

New Jersey as a state alone has been a BetMGM stronghold. The company has several online casino brands in the state, generating $341.3 million in October alone. The amount is a testament to the casino brand’s quality of services. Also, it is double the amount made in the past ten months back in 2020, which rendered it in the third position. However, the new revenue generated in October brings the casino to the first position after overthrowing the famous Golden Nugget and Resorts Casino.

Such success is accorded to its branding or marketing and its status as one of the best gaming establishments ranking first in the United States. The casino brand competes with the likes of DraftKings and FanDuel. According to popular casino reviews, BetMGM is the largest online gaming operator. The company and its brand bring in an estimated 32% of the gross gaming revenue in four different states. These include Michigan, West Virginia, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.

But, these aren’t the only states in the United States where players can access BetMGM. Players can also partake in the sports betting section of the website in various forms. These include Virginia, Indiana, Wyoming, Arizona, the District of Columbia, Nevada, Colorado, Iowa, and Tennessee. The gaming platform delivers gambling services of various natures to players allowing them a myriad of opportunities to win.

If you are a gambler who lives in Canada, you can find more information about gambling in B.C. before you start to make your winnings.


BetMGM is a reputable online gaming platform and brand. MGM Resorts International and the MGM Resorts and Entain run this specific online platform as a joint venture. AS a result, players winning from the casino and other sports betting services don’t have to worry about fraudulent activities. With Dori B. carrying her check for $3.5 million and many other winning chances evidenced by people, players can remain assured of their potential winning opportunities while playing at BetMGM!

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Prescott on Cowboys fans throwing debris at refs: 'Credit to them' – theScore



Dak Prescott seemingly applauded the Dallas Cowboys fans who threw debris at officials Sunday after their wild-card loss to the San Francisco 49ers.

The quarterback initially thought spectators were showering Cowboys players with garbage before reporters informed him the trash was intended for the referees.

“Oh, well, credit to them, then,” Prescott said, according to WFAA’s Mike Leslie.

Prescott was offered a chance to clarify his remark at the end of his postgame press conference but chose not to, according to Leslie.

Dallas lost moments before the debris was thrown, as the driving Cowboys failed to spike the ball while the final seconds ticked off the clock. Dallas lined up to snap the ball, but an official bumped into Prescott from behind and couldn’t spot the ball in time.

“The fans felt the same way as us,” Prescott said, according to the Dallas Morning News’ Michael Gehlken. “I guess that’s why the refs took off and got out of there so fast. I think everybody is upset with the way this thing played out.”

Referee Alex Kemp said afterward the officials operated properly and spotted the ball correctly.

Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy was also frustrated by the way the final seconds played out.

“We shouldn’t have had any problem getting the ball spotted there,” he said, per CBS Sports.

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I Watched This Game: Pettersson breaks out in big Canucks win over Capitals – Vancouver Is Awesome



The Vancouver Canucks’ road trip was not going to plan. The Canucks were looking to make a statement against some of the top teams in the NHL, but through three games that statement appeared to be, “These teams are better than we are.”

On Sunday, the Canucks were facing another of the NHL’s best teams, the 7th-in-the-NHL Washington Capitals. They were doing so on the second half of back-to-backs in an afternoon game with one of their best forwards — Conor Garland — out on the NHL’s COVID protocol and with Thatcher Demko playing his fourth game in six nights.

That’s not typically a recipe for success but the Canucks bucked the odds thanks partly to a complete effort from the entire team but, more specifically, thanks to a breakthrough performance from Elias Pettersson.

The team’s franchise forward hasn’t exactly been playing like a franchise forward this season, unless you consider “getting fans’ hopes up and then leaving them bitterly disappointed” as a pretty accurate representation of the Canucks franchise.

Pettersson’s struggles culminated with a game on Saturday against the Carolina Hurricanes where pretty much everything that could go wrong did go wrong. He had some terrible giveaways, accidentally blocked what looked like a sure goal, took a skate to the face, hit the post on his best scoring chance, and snapped his stick in half on another chance, after which he got tripped by the goaltender and went crashing into the boards with no penalty call.

It seemed like there was nowhere to go but up for Pettersson and he went way, way up against the Capitals, scoring two enormous goals to lead the Canucks to the win.

“We don’t have a lot of natural scorers on our team,” said head coach Bruce Boudreau, “Hopefully, it’s not an anomaly or a one-off and he can continue to do this and then that’ll make it an awful lot easier on us.”

Of course, Boudreau had previously said that Pettersson’s game was rounding into form and that the scoring was on its way.

“When you start getting chances — he hit the post last game and he had a couple of breakaways the game before — it was inevitable that he was going to score at some point,” said Boudreau.

Pettersson, for his part, wasn’t worried. 

“I know what I’m capable of,” said Pettersson. “Of course, it’s been tough for me. I’m trying to play my best hockey every game, and it’s been been a slow start.”

With limited media access due to COVID this season, Pettersson hasn’t been grilled by the media about his struggles all that much, so it wasn’t surprising that he was asked about his confidence. At one point, when he was again asked about mental aspect of his struggles, he muttered, “Oh, so it’s just gonna be questions like that.”

That’s a bit of the death-stare Pettersson from earlier in his career popping up and it’s honestly nice to see some of that confident bite back. But also, yeah, it’s going to be questions like that when you go from being a near point-per-game player with strong two-way play and a dominant playoff run under your belt to putting up 19 points in 38 games. 

Pettersson is too good of a player to be kept quiet forever but even the biggest believers in Pettersson had to have their confidence rattled a little bit by his struggles this season. 
Hopefully, this is just the start of a Pettersson renaissance. Frankly, I don’t think there’s any hope of the Canucks beating the odds and making the playoffs unless Pettersson regains his form and becomes the Canucks’ best forward like he has been in the past.

With Pettersson excelling, it was a lot more pleasant when I watched this game.

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  • It should be noted that while the Canucks were playing on the second half of back-to-backs, so were the Capitals. Also, the Canucks were missing Garland due to COVID protocol but the Capitals were missing John Carlson, who is tied for 6th in the NHL among defencemen in scoring, for the same reason. Maybe that all balances out.
  • A big reason for the three-straight losses on this road trip was the power play going 0-for-12 in those three games, so it was great to see them go 2-for-4 tonight. Of course, that was countered by the penalty kill giving up two goals on two Capitals power plays, so you can’t really say that special teams were the difference.
  • Before going 2-for-2 against the Canucks, the Capitals had gone 3-for-33 on the power play in their last 10 games and were 28th in the NHL overall in power play percentage. Despite their firepower up front, the Capitals have had one of the worst power plays in the NHL this season but you wouldn’t know it from Sunday’s game. 
  • “We’re all concerned about the penalty kill,” said Boudreau. “It’s great that you score power play goals and it was largely overdue…but we’ve got to shore up the penalty kill because I’m a big believer that if you can have your special teams in the top 10 in both categories, you’re usually a playoff team and you’re usually a tough team to beat.”
  • Alex Ovechkin opened the scoring with a classic Ovechkin goal: a one-timer from the top of the left faceoff circle. There’s not much shame in giving up a goal like that to Ovechkin — he’s the greatest goalscorer in NHL history for a reason — but it was his third shot attempt from the exact same spot on that power play. Allowing three one-timers from the Ovi spot is like standing around in the open while Steven Seagal ever-so-slowly snipes all of the people around you — eventually, he’s going to get you. 
  • “I wouldn’t look at [Ovechkin] and he was looking right at me and I said, ‘No more,’” said Boudreau. “If he played against me every day, he’d probably have 110 goals a year. He gets up for it. Seriously, if it wasn’t for Demmer — Ovi had, on one shift, he had two great looks on two-on-ones, he had a couple great looks in the third period.”
  • This was an outstanding game by the line of Tanner Pearson, J.T. Miller, and Brock Boeser, particularly in terms of puck possession. When they were on the ice together at 5-on-5, shot attempts were 22-to-8 for the Canucks, as they spent long shifts in the offensive zone. Pearson’s work on the forecheck was phenomenal, repeatedly winning the puck down low below the goal line.
  • The only issue is that line couldn’t put the puck in the net. Pearson had the line’s best chance in the final minute of the first period, as J.T. Miller gave him a wide-open net but his stick was checked at the last second by Capitals defenceman Matt Irwin and his shot was sliding wide before it was cleared away by Aliaksei Protas.
  • Pettersson responded for the Canucks with his own power play goal in the second period. After a stint as the net-front presence on the power play — an interesting experiment that largely failed because the Canucks never play the puck down low on the power play — Pettersson was moved back to the top of the right faceoff circle where he ought to be at the end of Saturday’s game and started there on Sunday. As 38 Special would say to him, “I want you back where you belong.”
  • Pettersson’s goal wasn’t a mirror image of Ovechkin’s — instead of a one-timer blast, Pettersson instead made a patient play to step around the defenceman charging out to take away the shooting lane and whipped the puck off the short-side post and in. Like everything in the frame of a Wes Anderson movie, it was perfectly placed.  
  • A few minutes later, Pettersson made it 2-1 but the goal came after a strong shift by the Miller line that didn’t allow the Capitals to change. That allowed Pettersson and his linemates, Nils Höglander and Bo Horvat to buzz around the offensive zone until a point shot from Oliver Ekman-Larsson created a rebound. Pettersson’s first shot on the rebound was stopped but then he called bank and put the puck off the backside of goaltender Ilya Samsonov and in.
  • Garnet Hathaway had a very stupid game for the Capitals. He took a ridiculously unnecessary penalty for knocking Ekman-Larsson’s helmet off, leading to the Canucks’ game-winning goal but his far worse offence was this elbow to the head of Tyler Motte completely away from the play. Hathaway got a two-minute minor that probably should’ve been a five-minute major and he ought to get a suspension out of it too.
  • Horvat gave the Canucks the 3-1 lead with a fantastic shot from the bumper on the power play. He was helped by the threat of Pettersson’s shot: he just missed the net on a one-timer a moment earlier, so the penalty kill was cheating towards him. That left Horvat a little bit more room for a one-timer of his own that went short side on Samsonov.
  • Miller’s pass on Horvat’s goal deserves another look because Miller didn’t give Horvat another look. He was looking towards Boeser down low the entire time, completely fooling penalty killer Nick Jensen, who swung his stick to block a pass to Boeser that never came, opening up the passing lane to Horvat on the inside.
  • The Capitals mirrored Horvat’s goal with their own power play marker from the bumper. This time, the pass did go down low: Nicklas Backstrom passed to Evgeny Kuznetsov below the goal line, who relayed to Tom Wilson for the finish, with Tyler Myers and Jason Dickinson a step slow to prevent the shot. 
  • While the Canucks gave up two power play goals, they were much stingier defensively at 5-on-5 and they capably closed out the rest of the third period, protecting the one-goal lead until the final minute, when Boeser beat out an icing and centred for a Miller empty-net goal to seal the win, with Pearson getting the second assist. It was a fitting finish for a dominant effort by that line.  


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