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Matz strikes out 9, Jays beat Rangers – Bluebird Banter



Blue Jays 6 Rangers 2

There are few things better than a Jays win over the Rangers. I’ll be happy for the rest of the day, despite my computer betting ‘at the shop’ and me typing this out on a little tiny keyboard.

Steven Matz was terrific. I’m ready to put Pete Walker on the ‘Level of Excellence’. Matz pitched into the seventh inning (just one batter, but I thought he could go longer, he looked strong, but no reason to push him in his first start, up by 5), allowed just 2 hits, and 1 walk in 6.1 innings with 9 strikeouts. He had one slightly shaky inning but came out much better the next inning.

And the bats had a good day. 7 hits and 4 walks, as well as 4 hit batters (I was a bit worried when Vlad got hit on the hand, I could see 6 weeks on the IL, but thankfully it looks like he’s ok). We could have had more offense, but plate umpire Jansen Visconti’s strike zone had a very casual relationship with the rulebook version. We had a couple of guys struck out on balls well off the plate.

We scored:

  • 1 in the first: A walk and singles from Bo Bichette and Vlad.
  • 3 in the second: Marcus Semien and Cavan Biggio had back-to-back home runs in the second inning.
  • 1 in the sixth: Vlad and Rowdy were hit by pitches and Randal Grichuk drove in Vlad with a single.
  • 1 in the seventh: Biggio walks (for his second time in the game, he may be out of his mini-slump). Bo became our third hit batter by Kyle Cody. Cavan scored when a Teoscar Hernandez ground ball went through Rangers 3B Charlie Culberson (who had a tough day).

Our bullpen did the job again.

Tyler Chatwood got four outs, giving up 2 hits.

Tim Mayze got Joey Gallo out with 2 on, a rather important at-bat, after a Bo ‘error’ on a bad bounce grounder.

Dolis made the bottom of the ninth take forever but got out of it. He gave up a run with a hit batter and a fly ball double that Randal almost caught at the wall. It was in his glove but popped out. Likely should have had it. Dolis just have it, so far this year. He did get 3 strikeouts.

Danny Jansen came out of the game after taking a foul ball in the thigh. He is day to day, Montoyo tells us.

Jays of the Day: Matz (.278 WPA), Semien (.133, 2 for 4, 2 RBI, I think I have a new favorite) and Grichuk (.096, 2 for 3, walk). And let’s give honorable mention to Cavan (1 for 3, home runs, 2 walks).

No one had the suckage number. Jonathan Davis had the low mark. -.080, and he was caught stealing third. So he earned the award, but we won, and I’m happy, let’s spare him.

Tomorrow’s game is an evening game, 8:00 Eastern.

We had 850 comments in the GameThread. Takiar led us to victory.

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UEFA threaten to ban breakaway clubs from all competitions



By Simon Evans

MANCHESTER, England (Reuters) – European soccer‘s governing body UEFA has warned clubs linked to a breakaway Super League that they face being banned from domestic and international competitions if they set up a rival to the Champions League.

In a joint statement–statement-by-uefa-english-fa-rfef-figc-premier-league-laliga-le with Spanish, English and Italian leagues and federations, UEFA said it will consider “all measures”, including the courts and bans from domestic leagues, in opposition to plans for a breakaway competition.

UEFA said it had learnt that clubs from those countries “may be planning to announce their creation of a closed, so-called Super League”.

“If this were to happen, we wish to reiterate that we….(and) also FIFA and all our member associations – will remain united in our efforts to stop this cynical project, a project that is founded on the self-interest of a few clubs at a time when society needs solidarity more than ever,” UEFA said.

“We will consider all measures available to us, at all levels, both judicial and sporting in order to prevent this happening. Football is based on open competitions and sporting merit; it cannot be any other way,” the statement added.

In January, FIFA had said that a breakaway league would not be recognised and that “any club or player involved in such a competition would as a consequence not be allowed to participate in any competition organised by FIFA or their respective confederation” – meaning players would be banned from the World Cup.

Sunday’s UEFA statement said: “The clubs concerned will be banned from playing in any other competition at domestic, European or world level, and their players could be denied the opportunity to represent their national teams.

“We thank those clubs in other countries, especially the French and German clubs, who have refused to sign up to this. We call on all lovers of football, supporters and politicians, to join us in fighting against such a project if it were to be announced. This persistent self-interest of a few has been going on for too long. Enough is enough.”


(Reporting by Simon Evans, editing by Ed Osmond and Christian Radnedge)

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Netherlands and Poland seal narrow Billie Jean King Cup playoff wins



(Reuters) – The Netherlands and Poland both needed deciding doubles wins to battle through their Billie Jean King Cup playoffs on Saturday but Britain, Italy and Canada all enjoyed easier passages.

In Den Bosch, the Dutch were without world number 11 Kiki Bertens for the second day because of injury and found themselves trailing China 2-1 after Wang Xiyu beat Lesley Kerkhove in Saturday’s opening singles.

But Aranxta Rus beat Wang Xinyu to level the tie and then teamed up with Demi Schuurs to defeat Zhang Shuai and Zu Yifan to send the hosts through.

It was equally tight in Poland where the hosts were pushed to the brink by Brazil.

Brazil’s Carolina Meligeni Alves took the tie into a deciding doubles with a win over Katarzyna Kawa but the Poles prevailed 3-2 as Kawa and Magdalena Frech came back from a set down to beat Meligeni Alves and Luisa Stefani.

Kazakhstan also won a deciding rubber to see off Argentina.

Britain led 2-0 overnight against Mexico in London but Marcela Zacarias beat Heather Watson to keep alive the tie.

Katie Boulter proved too strong for Giuliana Olmos though to clinch the tie for the hosts.

Italy beat Romania 3-1 while Canada‘s teenager Leylah Annie Fernandez sealed her country’s path as she gave her side an unassailable 3-0 lead over Serbia thanks to a three-set win over Nina Stojanovic.

Ukraine eased past Japan 4-0 while Anastasija Sevastova secured Latvia’s 3-1 victory over India.

The eight winners move forward to next year’s qualifying round where they will hope to reach the 2022 Billie Jean King Cup Finals.

The old Fed Cup was re-branded last year and named after the American great and 12-times Grand Slam singles champion who won the inaugural tournament nearly 60 years ago.

This year’s 12-team Finals were postponed because of the pandemic and a new date has yet to be finalised.


(Reporting by Martyn Herman; editing by Clare Fallon)

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Motor racing-Canadian Grand Prix cancelled for second year



(Reuters) -The Canadian Grand Prix scheduled for June 13 at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal has been cancelled for the second year in a row, CBC Radio reported on Thursday although Formula One said discussions remained ongoing.

With the spread of new COVID-19 variants and Canada battling to contain a third wave of the virus, Montreal public health authorities concluded that even if run behind closed doors without spectators the risks were too high, reported the CBC.

F1 officials, according to the CBC, wanted to bypass the mandatory 14-day quarantine for the hundreds of staff, crew members and drivers and rely on private medical staff and have the entire operation run in a bubble.

The race is scheduled to follow on immediately from Azerbaijan, whose grand prix is scheduled for June 6 in Baku and is due to go ahead after also being cancelled last year.

“We are continuing our discussions with the promoter in Canada and have no further comment,” an F1 spokesperson told Reuters.

The Autosport website quoted a spokesperson for the Canadian promoter as saying the radio report referred to “a document of recommendations from public health.

“We as an organisation have not had confirmation from our public health officials and won’t comment until we get an official confirmation.”

Canada, with some of the world’s toughest travel rules, obliges its citizens and residents arriving from abroad to self-isolate for 14 days.

International arrivals are required to quarantine for up to three days in a hotel.

One of Canada‘s biggest sporting events, it would mark the second consecutive year the grand prix has been removed from the F1 schedule due to the spread of COVID-19.

Media reports have suggested Turkey is on standby to be slotted in as Canada‘s replacement.

The Istanbul circuit is logistically convenient for freight coming from Baku and was brought in last year also at short notice to bolster a calendar ravaged by the pandemic.

(Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto/Alan Baldwin in London; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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