Based on the schedule, the Toronto Blue Jays need to make a serious playoff push over the next few weeks.
The inconsistent Blue Jays begin a stretch of five series in a row against teams with losing records this weekend, when they entertain the Cleveland Guardians at Rogers Centre.
The sense or urgency became clear listening to manager John Schneider’s session with the media after Thursday’s loss in Baltimore.
After this stretch, it’s the American League West-leading Texas Rangers followed by five series against AL East foes — and we all know intradivision play has been a challenge for Toronto this season — to finish the season.
Of course, the Blue Jays, whose hitting concerns are well documented, aren’t guaranteed to win just because they have the edge on paper — see the season series section below.
Here is a look at this Blue Jays-Guardians series.
Friday, 7:07 p.m. ET / 4:07 p.m. PT: Toronto RHP Chris Bassitt (12-6, 3.92 ERA) vs. Cleveland RHP Tanner Bibee (9-3, 3.01 ERA)
Saturday, 3:07 p.m. ET / 12:07 p.m. PT: Toronto LHP Hyun Jin Ryu (2-1, 1.89 ERA) vs. Cleveland LHP Logan Allen (6-6, 3.31 ERA)
Sunday, 1:37 p.m. ET / 10:37 a.m. PT: Toronto LHP Yusei Kikuchi (9-4, 3.52 ERA) vs. Cleveland RHP Noah Syndergaard (2-6, 6.42 ERA)
All games on Sportsnet and SN NOW.
Latest on the Blue Jays
The Blue Jays (70-58) completed their season series against the AL-leading Baltimore Orioles with a bad record of 3-10 after losing their final two games of a series at Camden Yards.
Pretty much needing a sweep to have a shot at making a late run at the AL East, the Blue Jays are now a whopping 9.5 games behind the Orioles.
Thursday night’s finale, which started 70 minutes late because of rain, saw the Orioles score two in the fourth to tie it at 2-2 before cashing in three more runs on Blue Jays starter Jose Berrios in the next inning to take a lead they would not relinquish. Baltimore ended up winning, 5-3.
Brandon Belt is holding the hot bat for Toronto, homering twice in the series after putting two over the fence in the previous series finale against Cincinnati.
The Blue Jays are now 1.5 games behind the Houston Astros and Seattle Mariners, who are tied for second in the wild-card race.
Latest on the Guardians
The Guardians (60-68) had a long, unsuccessful day at home on Thursday, losing 6-1 in the completion of a suspended game (the first two innings were played Wednesday) against the Los Angeles Dodgers before falling 9-3 to the same team in the regularly scheduled game.
The Thursday sweep gave the Dodgers a 2-1 series win over a Guardians team that was a seller at the trade deadline despite being in a close race at the time with the Minnesota Twins in the weak AL Central.
The roster subtractions, not surprisingly, haven’t helped. The Guardians are 7-14 in August and have fallen six games behind Minnesota.
Injuries, especially to their starting rotation, have not made things easy for the Guardians, who have ran out four rookies to start for much of the year.
One of those newcomers, Bibee, is in the running for the AL rookie of the year award, though he likely won’t top Orioles slugger Gunnar Henderson.
The young arms have held up relatively well. Offence has been the bigger problem for the Guardians, who are 27th in the 30-team MLB in OPS.
Vlad’s Troubling Power Numbers
Blue Jays star first baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is hitting over .300 the past 15 games, which is good.
What’s not so good is his lack of power.
The Home Run Derby champ has just one homer in August — and that came way back on Aug. 6 — to go with seven RBIs.
With just 18 home runs this year, Guerrero Jr. needs 14 to match last year’s total. He is well back of his career-high 48 in 2021.
Despite all the injuries, the Guardians (60-68) have the fourth-best team ERA in baseball at 3.80. The Blue Jays lead the way at 3.68.
Guardians catcher Bo Naylor, a native of Mississauga, Ont., has had two multi-hit games in his past three outings.
His older brother Josh, Cleveland’s first baseman, has been sidelined with an oblique sprain.
Fellow Canadian Cal Quantrill, a right-hander from Port Hope, Ont., has been out with right shoulder inflammation. He’s scheduled to make a rehab start at triple-A Columbus on Saturday.
Last Call for Francona?
Long-time Guardians manager Terry Francona hinted at retirement after the season this week, meaning this could be his final series in Toronto.
Francona, 64, has scheduled shoulder replacement surgery and plans on having a pair of hernia operations at the end of this season.
The Blue Jays managed to score all of seven runs in four games in Cleveland early this month, yet still managed to split the series.
Kevin Gausman was a winner in a 1-0 shutout victory, while Kikuchi was a loser in a 1-0 defeat during which Bibee went seven shutout innings.
Syndergaard, a 2010 Blue Jays draft pick, held Toronto to one run in 5.2 innings in a 4-3 win in the series finale.
Out Of Town
The teams directly ahead of the Blue Jays in the wild-card race play teams well out of the playoff picture this weekend.
The Mariners entertain the Kansas City Royals, while the Astros are in Detroit to face the Tigers.
The Red Sox, who are two games behind Toronto, host the NL West-leading Dodgers.
The Washington Nationals, tied for last in the NL East, are at Rogers Centre for three games starting Monday.
How to Spot a Trustworthy Online Casino in Canada
Spotting a trustworthy online casino isn’t hard once you know what to look for, but until then, you better hold off on signing up or making a deposit. This quick guide on how to find a reputable online casino will cover five different factors you can evaluate to determine whether or not a casino is trustworthy. While you could just use a site like the trusted source WikiHow that lists the best online casinos Canada, it does help to be able to evaluate the trustworthiness of casinos on your own. Likewise, you shouldn’t believe everything you read on the internet. Casino review sites are a great resource, but it doesn’t hurt to also do a little digging of your own. Without further delay, here’s a quick and easy guide on how to spot a trustworthy online casino.
Checking for Proper Licensing and Regulation
One of the first things you should do when assessing the trustworthiness of the best online casinos Canada is to check for proper licensing and regulation. Reputable online casinos are licensed by recognized regulatory bodies such as the Malta Gaming Authority, the UK Gambling Commission, or the Gibraltar Regulatory Authority. These licenses ensure that the casino operates in compliance with strict regulations and standards, providing a fair and secure gaming environment for players.
Never play at a casino that does not have a license or whose license is unverifiable. The easiest way to verify a license is to head to the licensor’s website and cross-check their registry with the name of the casino you’re looking at. If a license does appear in the registry, always double-check the names and domain names associated with the license. Some scam sites use domains that look similar to real casinos and act as if they are operating under their license. When in doubt, head to the URL listed on the license you find in the registry to be sure that you’re at the right site.
Evaluating the Casino’s Security Measures
Examining the Casino’s Game Selection
Game selection is another important factor to consider when choosing from the best online casinos Canada. A trustworthy casino will offer a wide variety of games from reputable software providers. Look for popular titles from well-known developers such as Microgaming, NetEnt, and Playtech. Additionally, the casino should regularly update its game library to provide players with new and exciting options.
Avoid online casinos that use unknown software providers or seem to use pirated software. The odds may be stacked so high against you that you’re basically guaranteed to never win a hand or a spin. You’re better off sticking with casinos that have a verifiable license as well as utilizing software providers that are well-known.
Verifying the Casino’s Customer Support
Good customer support is essential for a positive online casino experience. A trustworthy casino will have a responsive and knowledgeable support team available to assist you with any queries or concerns. Look for casinos that offer multiple support channels, such as live chat, email, and telephone. Additionally, check for the casino’s operating hours to ensure that support is available when you need it. You should also try and give their customer support a test run. By simply asking their 24/7 Live Chat simple questions about the site, you can get a feel for their response time and overall knowledge. Sites with poor customer service will often take a long time to connect to an agent and be unable to answer even the simplest of queries.
Looking for Fair and Transparent Bonus Terms
Bonuses and promotions are a common feature of online casinos, but it’s important to carefully review the terms and conditions associated with these offers. A trustworthy casino will have fair and transparent bonus terms, clearly outlining the wagering requirements, maximum bet limits, and any other conditions that apply. Avoid casinos that have overly restrictive or confusing bonus terms, as this may indicate a lack of transparency.
In conclusion, when looking for a trustworthy online casino, it’s important to consider factors such as proper licensing and regulation, security measures, game selection, customer support, and bonus terms. By taking the time to evaluate these aspects, you can ensure a safe and enjoyable gaming experience. Remember to always gamble responsibly and set limits for yourself to avoid any potential issues.
Canadiens acquire Tanner Pearson, trade Casey DeSmith to Canucks
A third-round pick in 2025 also goes to Montreal in the deal completed Tuesday.
Pearson hasn’t played since suffering a broken hand last November during a game in Montreal.
Pearson, 31, had one goal and four assists in 14 games last season.
In 590 career games with the Canucks, Pittsburgh Penguins and Los Angeles Kings, Pearson has 133 goals and 139 assists for 272 points.
The Kings picked the Barrie Colts product in the first round (30th overall) of the 2012 NHL Draft.
Pearson is in the final year of a three-year contract with a cap hit of $3.25 million.
DeSmith, 32, has been with the Pittsburgh Penguins since 2017-18. He was acquired by the Canadians in a three-team deal also involving the San Jose Sharks last month.
DeSmith was 15-16-4 with a 3.17 goals-against average and .905 save percentage last season.
In 134 career games, the undrafted DeSmith is 58-44-15 with a 2.81 GAA and .912 save percentage.
DeSmith is on the final year of a two-year deal with a cap hit of $1.8 million.
Blue Jackets GM, president admit fault in Babcock debacle, reveal more red flags
Days after Mike Babcock was accused of inappropriate workplace conduct by podcast host Paul Bissonette — with the retired NHL player claiming Babcock was forcing players to airplay personal photos on television in his office — Columbus Blue Jackets management addressed the debacle in a tense press conference at Nationwide Arena.
“It’s on us. It’s on me…. Sometimes you flat-out make a mistake. We made a mistake,” said Blue Jackets president of hockey ops John Davidson, per Associated Press reporter Stephen Whyno.
“Maybe they were right,” Davidson said of people who were critical of Mike Babcock’s hiring in the first place.
Columbus GM Jarmo Kekalainen, meanwhile. said he apologized to Blue Jackets players this morning for hiring the embattled head coach.
“I believe that Mike Babcock deserved another opportunity to coach,” Kekalainen said. “Obviously that was a mistake and that responsibility’s mine.”
Still, even with the talk of accountability, Kekalainen detailed what should’ve been a red flag: Babcock apparently pulled the same phone stunt he was accused of pulling with his players on the 57-year-old executive.
GM Jarmo Kekalainen said Mike Babcock did the phone thing with him as well. “Personally I had no problem with it but I can see how it might put someone in an uncomfortable situation.”
— Greg Wyshynski (@wyshynski) September 18, 2023
But while Kekalainen stated he doesn’t believe there was any ill intent behind Babcock’s actions, he admitted that some of his players were not comfortable with his methods and that was concerning.
Blue Jackets majority owner John H. McConnell announced in a team-issued statement Monday morning that he does not anticipate further changes to the team’s leadership, erasing speculation that one or both of Kekalainen and Davidson would end up on the chopping block alongside Babcock.
“Additional disruptions would be detrimental to our players and coaches as they prepare for the opening of training camp in two days,” McConnell’s statement read.
To say this story escalated rapidly would be the understatement of the century. Initially, it seemed like it would die quickly after both Babcock and captain Boone Jenner released statements through the team on Wednesday morning refuting the Spittin’ Chiclets host’s version of events.
Both Columbus’ captain and the now-former coach described their encounter as nothing more than a way of sharing snippets of one another’s life in an effort to build a working relationship. During an appearance on the 32 Thoughts Podcast on the same day as Jenner and Babcock condemned Bissonette’s comments, Blue Jackets star winger Johnny Gaudreau gave a similar account to Jenner when asked about his photo-exchange meet-and-greet with Babcock.
But the story didn’t end there, obviously, with Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reporting things changed on Wednesday night when the NHLPA received information that some of the younger Blue Jackets players were uncomfortable with their interactions with Babcock.
Friedman later reported that the information gathered on Wednesday night prompted NHLPA executive director Marty Walsh and assistant executive director Ron Hainsey to begin an investigation before flying out to Columbus and leading what was described as an “intense” meeting.
On Friday, Walsh and Hainsey relayed their findings during a joint meeting with the NHL and NHLPA. Saturday was arguably the quietest day of the scandal in the public eye, according to ESPN’s Greg Wyshinski, because that’s the day Columbus and Babcock started plotting his exit.
By Sunday, the Blue Jackets announced that Babcock had resigned and Pascal Vincent would be taking over as the team’s head coach.
Vincent, 51, had served as the Blue Jackets’ associate coach since the 2021-22 season. Before joining Columbus, Vincent spent 10 seasons with the Winnipeg Jets organization, serving as an NHL assistant for the first half of his tenure before pivoting to head coach of the organization’s AHL affiliate, the Manitoba Moose. Vincent was named AHL Coach Of The Year for the 2017-18 season.
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