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Marner has five points, Maple Leafs score eight in win against Hurricanes – NHL.com

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TORONTOMitchell Marner scored twice and had three assists to tie his single-game NHL career high in points, and the Toronto Maple Leafs rallied past the Carolina Hurricanes 8-6 at Scotiabank Arena on Monday.

Marner had two goals and an assist in a span of 59 seconds in the third period, including the tiebreaking goal with eight minutes left.

“Our adrenaline was pumping, heart’s pumping, I’m fired up,” Marner said. “The first was a great pass from [Auston] Matthews, the second was a great play by Tyson [Barrie] to find the open spot and make a move, and the third one, I jumped through and was able to pick it off and get down the ice and score. I don’t think the timeout [after the second] one mattered. You’re just riding the high and feel like you could play forever. I felt like a little kid out there skating around, we knew we could do the job, and it’s a great team win.”

[WATCH: All Hurricanes vs. Maple Leafs highlights]

John Tavares had a goal and two assists, and Matthews, Barrie and Jason Spezza each had a goal and an assist for the Maple Leafs (20-14-4), who have won a season-high five games in a row. Frederik Andersen made 35 saves.

Video: CAR@TOR: Tavares snipes wrister upstairs for PPG

“Probably yeah, that was one of the craziest games I’ve been a part of,” Andersen said. “I don’t have anything that can top that, off the top of my head. I tried to stay as level as I can and worry about what I could control. The only thing I could do is try to make sure I stopped the next puck, and for a rough game, I was able to do that in the third period.” 

Martin Necas had two goals and two assists, and Erik Haula had two goals and an assist for the Hurricanes (22-13-2). Petr Mrazek made 27 saves after replacing James Reimer, who allowed three goals on seven shots in the first period.

Video: CAR@TOR: Haula sets up Necas’ game-tying goal

“Not in a while I haven’t been a part of anything like that. That was a tough game,” Carolina coach Rod Brind’Amour said. “We didn’t come out ready, it wasn’t everyone, but we had a couple guys sleeping, and it cost us. Got back in and we had the game in hand, and then just fell asleep, took a little breath, and against a team with high high-end talent, you can’t do that. It’s another tough lesson. I would have rather lost 8-0 to be honest because we were so bad to start.”

Marner scored at 11:01 of the third to cut the Hurricanes lead to 6-5, and Barrie scored off a pass from Marner to tie the game 6-6 at 11:54. Marner put Toronto up 7-6 six seconds later when he stole the puck and scored on a breakaway at 12:00.

Carolina took a timeout following Barrie’s goal.

Video: CAR@TOR: Barrie backhands puck home to tie game

Pierre Engvall scored into an empty net with 1:40 left to make it 8-6.

The Hurricanes scored three times in 1:04 in the second period to take the lead. They tied it 3-3 at 15:09 after Ryan Dzingel knocked down Morgan Rielly‘s pass in the Maple Leafs zone and got the puck to Haula, who fed Necas for a shot past Andersen from above the right hash marks.

Haula gave Carolina a 4-3 lead at 15:29 after Necas stole Justin Holl‘s pass behind the net and passed to Haula in the slot.

Andrei Svechnikov tipped in a pass from Jordan Staal at 16:13 to put Carolina up 5-3.

Matthews cut the lead to 5-4 at 2:35 of the third, but Haula scored at 5:58 to put the Hurricanes back up by two, 6-4.

Video: CAR@TOR: Matthews rifles Hyman’s dish past Mrazek

The Maple Leafs went up 1-0 30 seconds into the first period when Spezza put in a rebound from the slot.

William Nylander made it 2-0 at 3:40 on the power play when he took a pass from Tavares in the slot and shot between Reimer’s pads.

Tavares scored at 5:10 on the power play to put Toronto up 3-0.

“I don’t really know how to describe that, it was probably really entertaining for people watching but that was brutal,” Haula said. “With Reimer starting who has played [for the Maple Leafs] before, and that’s how we start in front of him, that was quite embarrassing.”

The Hurricanes cut the lead to 3-1 at 13:49 when Brock McGinn took a pass from Brett Pesce on a 2-on-1 while shorthanded and shot past Andersen’s blocker.

Necas made it 3-2 when he deflected Lucas Wallmark‘s shot in the slot on the power play.

 
They said it

“I would have rather lost 8-0 to be honest with you because we were so bad to start and to fight back, you’re basically throwing it away unless you finish it off. Unless you win it, there’s no point in coming back because now we had a couple guys who had really good games, but we had a couple guys who fell asleep in the third. In today’s game, you have to have 20 guys doing it right.” — Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour

“Lots of emotions in the game from our start and we’re feeling great and then it gets away from us. We start to come back in the third and we give it up again so it was a lot of emotions, but I really liked how our team stayed with it and found a way and everybody goes home happy.” — Maple Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe

 
Need to know

Marner’s first five-point game was Feb. 10, 2018, when he had two goals and three assists in a 6-3 win against the Ottawa Senators. … Hurricanes defenseman Jake Gardiner faced the Maple Leafs for the first time since signing a four-year contract with Carolina as an unrestricted free agent Sept. 6. He played the first 551 games of his NHL career with Toronto. … Tavares’ three points in the opening 5:10 set a Maple Leafs record for fastest three points to begin a game. It was the 10th time in his NHL career he had three points in the first period. … Maple Leafs forward Trevor Moore was a late scratch because he was ill. Keefe gave no further update.

What’s next

Red Wings: At the New York Rangers on Friday (7 p.m. ET; MSG, FS-CR, NHL.TV)

Maple Leafs: At the New Jersey Devils on Friday (7 p.m. ET; TVAS, MSG+, SNO, NHL.TV)

Video: Marner, Maple Leafs down Hurricanes in thriller, 8-6 

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Jays lose game one

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Blue Jays 1 Rays 3

What’s a playoff game without controversy?

Matt Shoemaker started. He threw 3 very good innings, 2 soft hit singles with 2 strikeouts. He was cruising.

And they take him out of the game.

I’m a fan of leaving in the pitcher who is doing well. Shoemaker was at 35 pitches. I figured they would give him up to 60ish pitches.

I understand it is a fine line, leave a guy in while he is pitching well, but you never know when that will end, but I figure Matt had another inning in him (at least).

In comes Bob Rae (yeah I know Robbie Ray).

Of course he gives up a triple to the first batter he sees. I say triple but I don’t understand why our outfielders refuse to cutoff a ball before it gets to the wall. I get that it is easier to follow the ball to the wall and pick it up, but that should have been a double. Next year, if we want playoffs again, we need our outfielders making these plays.

After a strikeout, Ray bounced one in the dirt, it went through Danny Jansen and the Rays had a run. I did think that Danny should have blocked it. With a runner on first, you have to do all you can to block pitches in the dirt.

After that, Ray was terrific. 3 innings, just that one hit (the triple), 1 walk, and 5 strikeouts. A terrific outing.

And, if you want to be fair about pulling Shoemaker early, the Jays got 6 innings of 1 run ball from Shoemaker and Ray, you can’t hope for better than that. This was the plan and it went well.

Unfortunately A.J. Cole wasn’t terrific. He gave up up a walk and a home run, while getting just one out. Ryan Borucki got the last two outs of the inning.

Thomas Hatch pitched a quick eighth.


On the offensive side, we had a lot of trouble with Rays starter Blake Snell. He went 5.2, giving up 1 hit, 2 walks and 9 strikeouts. We didn’t get our first hit until Alejandro Kirk singled to lead off the sixth.

We finally got a run in the eight. Rowdy Tellez, pinch-hitting, after missing time on the IL, flared a single into center. Cavan Biggio followed with a double. Rowdy scored on a Bo Bichette sac fly (good thing it was hit deep, Rowdy wasn’t running well). Unfortunately that’s where the scoring ended.

We had a shot in the ninth. Vlad had a long at bat but struck out on a checked swing that when just too far. Lourdes followed with a double, bringing the tying run to the plate. Teoscar went to a 3-1 count, then chased above the strike zone and watched strike three down the middle. Joe Panik followed. He watched a wild pitch, moving the runner to third, but then sliced one not quite hard enough to get over the infield.

We had some good at bats, and some hard hit balls, but they all seemed to find gloves. We have to figure a way to score more than 1 run in the next two games.

Jay of the Day: Shoemaker (.155 WPA)

Source:- Bluebird Banter

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Five takeaways from Toronto Blue Jays’ Game 1 loss to Tampa Bay Rays

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1. Shoemaker yanked early but pitching plan worked

Much was made of the Toronto Blue Jays’ decision to push ace Hyun-Jin Ryu to Game 2 and go with Matt Shoemaker as the Game 1 starter.

It was clear Shoemaker would be limited to some sort of pitch count and on a very short leash if things went awry, but the 34-year-old was brilliant across three frames, throwing 27 of 35 pitches for strikes, allowing just two hits, and keeping the baseball away from the barrel of Tampa Bay Rays hitters.

But three innings would be all Shoemaker would get before he’d be given the hook, throwing 19  fewer than he did in his return from a lat injury on Sept. 21, so it wasn’t a pitch count issue.

To lead off the fourth inning, manager Charlie Montoyo and the front office computers brought in lefty Robbie Ray to face right-handed hitter Randy Arozarena, who came in batting .400 with four home runs in just 20 at-bats against southpaws this season.

Arozarena promptly tripled and would later score on a Ray wild pitch, giving the Rays an early 1-0 lead.

After the game, Montoyo said they didn’t consider leaving Shoemaker in and the reason was Ray has been one of their best pitchers lately.

It was the only hit Ray would allow, but considering the lefty has allowed a 1.012 OPS to righties this season, bringing him in to face Arozarena when Shoemaker was dealing was a curious decision.

Shoemaker seemed to be unhappy in the dugout, and while Montoyo said that the original plan for his starter was one trip through the Rays’ batting order and two innings, the veteran right-hander expressed his competitive disappointment with the early hook, saying he thought he’d go four or five innings, but wasn’t really sure.

“It’s playoff baseball,” Shoemaker said. “Physically, I felt great. I wanted to go seven, eight, nine innings. That’s just how we internally compete. Of course, I wanted to keep going, but I had an idea of the plan, somewhat, going into it.”

Despite that, an overall line of six one-run innings and just three hits allowed from Shoemaker and Ray makes the decision to push Ryu to Wednesday look like a smart one in the grand scheme of things.

2. Bats go cold

While the pitching decision got all of the attention pre-game and most of it early on in-game, as well, it was far from the reason the Jays are in a one-game hole and facing elimination.

The bats, however, were a different story.

Coming into the series, the Jays had quietly put together the seventh-best offence in baseball this season, scoring 5.03 runs per game, one year after finishing 23rd in baseball.

Against Blake Snell, it took until the sixth inning to get a hit, a leadoff single off the bat of 21-year-old DH Alejandro Kirk.

They’d threaten in the eighth inning, but ended up leaving six men on base on the night and could never really solve Snell.

When the Jays’ bats were hot this year, they weren’t chasing as many pitches out of the zone, but that’s exactly what they did Tuesday.

Montoyo’s club struck out 12 times and could only muster one extra-base hit, an eighth-inning double by Cavan Biggio.

3. Snell completely dominant

The 2018 Cy Young winner ended up only going 5.2 innings, but those frames were completely dominant as he carried a no-hitter through five innings.

Coming into the game with a career 2.81 ERA across 13 starts against the Jays, everyone knew it was a tough assignment, but Snell had four pitches working and ended up getting 18 whiffs from Toronto hitters on just 82 pitches.

Snell’s curveball was swung through eight times on just 27 pitches, while the lefty’s four-seam fastball got five whiffs, the changeup got three and his slider got two more.

The 27-year-old didn’t even have his peak velocity, but he could still dial it up close to 97 mph when he needed it.

One of the clear separators between these two AL East teams is the rotation, and what a luxury it is for Rays manager Kevin Cash to be able to follow Snell with 6-foot-8 flamethrower Tyler Glasnow in Game 2 on Wednesday.

It’s not getting any easier for the Jays.

4. Ryu now needed to stave off elimination

When the Jays hatched their plan to have their ace sandwiched between two games that are expected to be heavy bullpen days, they obviously envisioned Ryu taking the mound with a chance to sweep the series in Game 2.

But that won’t be the case, so the Jays will send their $80 million southpaw to the mound to help them try to stave off elimination and force a Game 3 on Thursday at Tropicana Field.

After the season the 33-year-old just put together, the Jays are expecting — and will need — another ace-like performance from Ryu, who posted a 2.69 ERA this season, the lowest single-season mark for a qualified starting pitcher that spent a full season with the Jays since Roy Halladay’s 2.79 mark back in 2009.

Ryu was hands down the club’s MVP this season, accumulating 1.9 fWAR, the most of any player regardless of position, and the Jays went 9-3 in his 12 starts.

Without him, the Jays are not a postseason team.

And if he doesn’t perform Wednesday, the Jays won’t be a postseason team any longer.

5. Wild-card roster features handful of surprises

Through all of the injuries the Jays had to endure this season, the biggest loss in the end may be Jordan Romano’s freak finger injury in late August.

The Jays thought the 27-year-old Markham, Ont., product had a chance to make it back for the postseason, but he was left off Tuesday’s wild-card roster when it was announced.

GM Ross Atkins said Romano is closing in on a return, but the fact he hasn’t pitched in a game since Aug. 29 made them hesitant to throw him into the postseason fire.

If the Jays advance, Romano will likely be available, but that doesn’t help Montoyo match up with the Rays’ power bullpen in this series.

One surprise addition to the wild-card roster was first baseman Rowdy Tellez, who was able to do enough in live BP sessions over the past couple of days to convince Jays’ decision-makers he was ready, and then went out Tuesday in Game 1 and dumped a pinch-hit single into centre field.

With Alejandro Kirk giving Montoyo a DH and pinch-hit option with some pop from the right side, Tellez gives the Jays one from the left side.

One not-so-surprising omission from the roster was veteran right-hander Tanner Roark, who despite a 6.80 ERA this season is still owed $12 million in the final year of the two-year, $24-million deal the Jays gave him last winter.

Source:- TSN

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Blue Jays’ Game 1 loss hinges on lifeless offence, not pitching moves – Sportsnet.ca

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TORONTO – Keep debating the merits of the Toronto Blue Jays’ pitching strategy all you like, but for Game 1, at least, it worked. Matt Shoemaker and Robbie Ray combined for six innings of relatively uneventful one-run ball, and if ace Hyun-Jin Ryu pitches similarly with his team’s season on the line Wednesday everyone will be thrilled.

That isn’t what cost them their first post-season game since 2016, and it won’t be what costs them the series.

Livestream Toronto Blue Jays games all season with Sportsnet NOW. Plus, watch marquee MLB matchups, the post-season and World Series.

The more glaring concern coming out of Tuesday’s 3-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays is the way lefty Blake Snell overpowered Toronto with a fastball that averaged 95.3 mph, and mixed in his secondary weapons to induce 15 swings out of the zone that led to a foul ball or a miss.

Relievers Diego Castillo, Nick Anderson and Pete Fairbanks also got the Blue Jays to chase, and the departure from the more-disciplined approach is something they’ll need to address before stepping in against Tyler Glasnow with win-or-go-home stakes.

Shoemaker, pitching for the first time since throwing three strong innings against the New York Yankees on Sept. 21, shoved right out of the gate, and was so in control that he needed only 35 pitches to skip through three innings on two weak hits.

That’s why he had to be calmed in the dugout when pitching coach Pete Walker and manager Charlie Montoyo told him he was done. He eventually calmed, perhaps when reminded that this is certainly what looked like the club’s predetermined plan, and Ray took over.

The first batter he faced, Randy Arozarena, ripped a leadoff triple, and after a Nate Lowe strikeout, Ray ripped off a full-count slider to Willy Adames for ball four that just barely squirted through catcher Danny Jansen’s legs as he slid over to block it.

The ball rolled away just far enough for Arozarena to scamper home for a 1-0 lead.

Ray settled in from there with two shutout innings and the Rays were held quiet until the seventh, when Joey Wendle worked a one-out walk off A.J. Cole, who served up a middle-middle cutter that Manuel Margot lined over the wall in left.

The Rays got creative with their pitching deployment, too, pulling Snell with two outs in the sixth despite him allowing only one hit and a walk while striking out nine.

Alejandro Kirk led off the sixth with a single, but was stranded by Castillo, who put on a pair with one out in the seventh. That’s when the Rays turned to Anderson, who got Teoscar Hernandez and pinch-hitter Joe Panik to end the threat.

Toronto finally broke through in the eighth, as pinch-hitter Rowdy Tellez – a surprise addition to the post-season roster – singled, Cavan Biggio doubled and Bo Bichette brought Tellez home with a sacrifice fly. Randal Grichuk followed with a liner to Adames at short, placed well by the Rays, for the final out.

Fairbanks triple-digit fastballed his way around a Lourdes Gurriel Jr. double in the ninth to close things out.

The decision to go with the Shoemaker/Ray tandem over Ryu in Game 1 is among the most polarizing in recent Blue Jays playoff history. A good comparable came in Game 4 of the 2015 AL Division Series, when then-manager John Gibbons pulled R.A. Dickey with two out in the fifth and a 7-1 lead over the Texas Rangers, bringing in David Price in a call that locked in Marcus Stroman as the starter in the decisive fifth game.

While few understood that call, before that game Gibbons watched the Kansas City Royals rally from a 6-2 deficit to stave off elimination with a 9-6 win over the Houston Astros, and was determined to not give the Rangers any life.

This time, the Blue Jays were dealing with vastly different circumstances, facing an opponent eight games better than them in the standings and deeper on a number of levels. That prompted the club to holistically examine how to attack a three-game series – a first for Major League Baseball – and they determined that “in this scenario, Game 1 seemed much less significant than in a traditional scenario, significantly different,” Atkins said.

“We viewed the advantage (in) being able to put our most consistent piece in the middle of those potentially 27-plus innings, as we thought through our strategy, with the added benefit of getting an extra day rest for Hyun-Jin Ryu, an extra day of rest for Taijuan Walker, and then giving our bullpen the chance to be its strongest on Game 1 and Game 3.”

That bucks conventional thinking, fuelling the debate. Since the wild-card era began in 1995, teams that win Game 1 are 126-49 in the series, regardless of round or length, which is why Ryu seemed like an automatic, if he didn’t physically need an extra day.

The Blue Jays and Ryu both said that wasn’t the case, but part of their calculations was that an inability to bring the Game 1 starter back again in a best-of-three – as opposed to making two starts in a longer series – minimized some of the incentive. Another factor was that pitching in Game 2 would still allow Ryu to pitch the opener of the division series, should they get that far.

Also, the Blue Jays felt that if the Rays stacked their lineup with left-handed bats against Shoemaker, putting in Ray would force them to surrender platoon advantage against the lefty, or the righty relievers to follow him later.

Cleverly, Rays manager Kevin Cash countered that by only stacking left-handed batters – Yoshi Tsutsugo and Brandon Lowe – in the first two spots of the order, alternating righties and lefties from there. They only made one move during Ray’s three innings – hitting Hunter Renfroe for Tsutsugo in the fifth.

These types of machinations are part of why the Blue Jays hired Montoyo, after first pursuing his staff-mate on the Rays in Rocco Baldelli, who instead opted for the Minnesota Twins’ managerial opening.

Montoyo brought with him a window into the Rays’ highly respected methodology, so perhaps it shouldn’t be surprising that the Blue Jays sought to emulate it.

“That’s one thing I got in every interview I did, it was about the opener and the Rays and the things that they did,” Montoyo said. “So it wasn’t only Ross, it was also with the other teams that (I) interviewed with because credit to the Rays, they’re so creative and what they do is different. At first it looks like, ‘What are they doing?’ But they’re not afraid to take a chance. And that’s what we’re doing here. We’re trying to be creative playing one of the best teams in baseball. That’s why we’re doing what we’re doing.”

In terms of giving themselves a chance, it worked, but in the way it really matters, the final result, there’s going to be little solace in that for the Blue Jays.

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