The owner of The Hockey News dropped the gloves Wednesday after a tweet from TSN’s Bob McKenzie implied the publication was suspending operations amid the coronavirus crisis.
McKenzie, who is known as TSN’s “hockey insider” and is a former editor of the publication, tweeted Wednesday morning: “Sadly, it’s my understanding that staff at The Hockey News has [sic] been laid off. I have a lot of friends there so thinking of them and hoping for the best for them.” Hundreds retweeted the message and many readers expressed grave sadness at the apparent news.
But Graeme Roustan, whose Roustan Media Ltd. purchased The Hockey News in 2018, told McKenzie in a series of tweets that, while some staff have in fact temporarily been laid off, the publication was still pumping out breaking hockey news and features. He said McKenzie should “clean up or delete your Tweet. Your choice of words is causing mass confusion.”
When McKenzie replied that, “My tweet is not inaccurate,” Roustan accused him of irresponsibly publishing “damaging incomplete info.” McKenzie later issued a tweet clarifying that the Hockey News was still publishing, but he did not delete his initial tweet, which continued to garner mournful reactions.
In an interview with The Globe and Mail, Roustan acknowledged that he had laid off eight of 20 staff members last Friday, in what he hoped would be a one-week pause. “However, as things develop, we will re-evaluate on a week-by-week basis, for those that are currently on the temporary layoff.”
“There’s just so much information that’s happening on an hour-by-hour basis on the COVID-19 virus, and how many other businesses they’re shutting down,” he said. “It’s just a wave of data and information coming at me.”
The Hockey News is one of many sports-oriented outlets in the grip of existential crises while sports are halted around the globe. Rogers Sportsnet halted all live in-house TV production on Monday, and the employment fate of scores of freelance production staff at both Sportsnet and TSN is up in the air.
Sports-talk radio over the past week, in the wake of the shutdowns of the NBA, NHL, MLB, MLS, and other leagues, is as likely to veer from cooking and movies to celebrity crushes as it is to land on shopworn tales of long-ago rookie triumphs and tribulations, retailed by self-isolating veterans calling in to studios from their homes.
“I believe that our readers are completely aware of the current situation,” Roustan said, “so there is no surprise to anyone that there’s very little hockey to report on.” Nevertheless, he said his staff were continuing to update TheHockeyNews.com. “We have as many people working on stories right now as it makes sense to.” He added that the outlet also has a stable of freelancers who are contributing content.
“The commitment that I have made to our readers is that we will continually post stories and update them as much as possible at TheHockeyNews.com, and we will keep them completely informed as to whatever developments are out there. But to try to guesstimate when hockey is coming back, or if there’s going to be a playoffs or a draft this year? I’m not the guy, and I have no visibility on that whatsoever.”
Roustan, who said TheHockeyNews.com usually attracts about two million unique visitors a month, and the outlet’s podcasts “generate over 100,000 listeners,” said the hit to his business “is probably quite similar to the hit that any NHL team, any other business out there that’s related to hockey – or any industry whatsoever.”
He said that the coronavirus crisis had more permanently affected his other sports publication, The Curling News, which Roustan Media purchased last fall.
“Because of the current situation, I’ve made the decision to take The Curling News to an all-digital platform, starting most likely next season,” he said. He had been considering transforming the monthly newsprint publication into a glossy magazine, but ultimately determined the investment would be better spent on a switch to digital. “That’s the future.”
Schneider: 'Everything is on the table' for struggling Kikuchi – TSN
Toronto Blue Jays interim manager John Schneider said Monday the team is weighing their options when it comes to struggling starter Yusei Kikuchi.
Kikuchi saw his record drop to 4-7 on the season with Monday’s 7-3 loss to the Baltimore Orioles, in which he allowed six runs – three earned – in 3 1/3 innings of work. The 31-year-old is winless in his past three starts and has a 5.25 ERA through 20 games this season.
“Everything’s on the table right now,” Schneider said, per MLB.com. “We just want him to continue to focus on the things he’s working on. But having options and having other guys that can step into roles is a good thing. And we’ll figure that out in the next couple days.”
Kikuchi spent three weeks on the injured list last month with a neck strain. He delivered a strong outing in his return in July 28 against the Tigers, allowing one run and two hits over five innings, and held the Tampa Bay Rays to two runs in four innings on Aug. 3, but has allowed 11 runs over his past two starts.
“There are a few things that we’ve been working on, trying to figure out what’s good and what’s bad,” Kikuchi said through an interpreter after Monday’s loss. “I feel like we’re just caught in between the ups and downs right now.”
Schneider was non-committal on what changes the team could make to help Kikuchi find his way.
“There’s always a scenario for everything,” Schneider said. “Off-days play into it; performance plays into it. It’s a welcome addition to have (Ross) Stripling back and I love what Mitch White has done as well. You can go a variety of different ways. We’re just going to continue to keep our options open.”
The Blue Jays dropped to 61-53 with Monday’s loss and now sit tied with the Tampa Bay Rays for the second wild-card spot, a game and a half ahead of the Orioles, who they will play again on Tuesday and Wednesday.
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Orioles vs Blue Jays Odds, Picks, & Predictions Today — Zero Value on Blue Birds – Covers
The Orioles have been a thorn in the Blue Jays’ sides all season. As such, even with Alek Manoah on the mound, Toronto at -235 is simply too steep to offer any value. We’re pivoting to focus more on the total in what could be a low-scoring clash.
The Baltimore Orioles moved to 9-4 in the month of August with a 7-3 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays on Monday night.
In Tuesday night’s matchup, Toronto looks for revenge as Alek Manoah battles Dean Kremer on the mound.
This is an important series in a crowded AL playoff race. Toronto is currently tied with the Tampa Bay Rays for the second Wild Card, leaving Baltimore 1.5 games back.
Check out our MLB picks and predictions for the Baltimore Orioles and Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday, August 16.
Orioles vs Blue Jays odds
This odds widget represents the best odds available for each betting market from regulated sportsbooks.
The Blue Jays opened -215, but money has come on them and widened the line, which currently resides between -213 and -235, with most books closer to the latter. As for the total, both 8.5 and 9 are available at the time of this writing.
Orioles vs Blue Jays predictions
Picks made on 8/16/2022 at 8:00 a.m. ET.
Click on each pick to jump to the full analysis.
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Orioles vs Blue Jays game info
• Location: Rogers Centre, Toronto, ON
• Date: Tuesday, August 16, 2022
• First pitch: 7:07 p.m. ET
• TV: MASN, Sportsnet
Orioles vs Blue Jays betting preview
Dean Kremer (4-4, 3.70 ERA): In Kremer’s first extended stay in the show, he compiled an ugly 7.55 ERA across 13 starts in 2021. It’s safe to say things have gone better for the right-hander this go around as indicated by his 3.69 ERA. His 4.87 xERA is a concern and his 6.4% barrel rate is too high to trust considering he pitches to contact.
Alek Manoah (12-5, 2.56 ERA): Toronto found a good one in Manoah. Despite being just 24 years old, he’s been one of the better pitchers in MLB this season. His 2.56 ERA is fantastic, although his 3.44 xERA does indicate that some regression might be incoming. His strikeout rate (22.4%) is down over five percentage points from last season, but he’s countered that by lowering his walk rate by three percentage points to 5.6%.
Be sure to monitor the gametime conditions with our MLB weather info.
Betting trend to know
Toronto is 9-2 in its last 11 games on astroturf. Find more MLB betting trends for Orioles vs. Blue Jays
Orioles vs Blue Jays picks and predictions
Our side and total predictions are based upon our analysis of the line and total in this game. Our best bet is our favorite pick across all markets.
With these teams so close in the AL East and Wild Card standings, it’s fair to question whether or not this line is too wide. After all, these divisional foes have played seven times this season and Baltimore has won five times — yet the Orioles are a significant +195 underdog at most books.
The pitching discrepancy is the most likely answer. Manoah has been fantastic, compiling a 2.56 ERA, while Kremer’s 4.87 xERA and 6.4% barrel rate don’t instill much confidence.
Still, Manoah has faced the Orioles twice in 2022 and his team is 1-1 during those games. He tossed a beautiful one-hit, seven-strikeout, blanking of the Orioles back on June 13, but allowed three earned on eight hits across only five innings in a no-decision in his most recent outing, which Toronto lost 6-5.
Ultimately, it’s hard to not give Toronto a significant edge in starting pitching. The Blue Jays are 13-9 in Manoah’s starts this season, which includes a 6-2 record at home.
As for the lineups, Toronto ranks fifth in wRC+ this season while Baltimore checks in at 20th. The roles have been almost perfectly reversed in the month of August, however, as Baltimore ranks fifth in wRC+ and Toronto ranks 21st.
The Orioles have been hot, going 25-11 in their last 36 games overall. This seems like a favorable spot for them as they’ve had success against Toronto this season and are 9-2 in their last 11 during Game 2 of a series and 5-0 in their last five Tuesday games.
The Blue Jays have been cold, going 1-5 in their last six overall. The line is not justified in my opinion, so I’ll side with the Orioles against the moneyline as it represents better value.
Prediction: Orioles moneyline (+195 at bet365)
Covers MLB betting analysis
If you played the Under in every game that these two starting pitchers appeared in during the 2022 season, you would’ve made a nice profit. The Orioles are 8-4 to the Under in Kremer’s 12 starts while the Blue Jays are 14-8 to the Under when Manoah is on the bump.
Baltimore has been hot at the plate, ranking fifth in both wOBA and wRC+ since the calendar flipped to June. Manoah has been fantastic this season, and it’s difficult to project the Orioles for an offensive explosion when facing a pitcher who has allowed just a 3.8% barrel rate this season.
Toronto’s lineup has gone through hot and cold stretches this season. It’s a potent lineup that can look very dangerous when things are clicking. The Blue Jays are in the midst of a cold spell, however, ranking 19th in wOBA and 21st in wRC+ in August.
Toronto is 9-2 to the Under in its last 11 games on astroturf and the Under has been a good play at the Rogers Centre during this cold spell, cashing in seven of the Blue Jays’ last nine home games.
Both of these starting pitchers have trended toward the Under this season, and I’ll bet on that to continue Tuesday night.
Prediction: Under 9 (-120 at DraftKings)
I’m rocking with the Under as Tuesday’s Best Bet between the Orioles and Blue Jays.
Baltimore’s bats have been hot, but a matchup against Manoah is nothing to scoff at. The youngster has been terrific this season, posting a 2.56 ERA and 3.8% barrel rate. Toronto is 14-8 to the Under in games that he starts.
Meanwhile, Toronto’s lineup has gone cold, and though Kremer may not be a household name, the Orioles have gone 8-4 to the Under across his 12 starts.
Some books are posting a total of 8.5 but 9 is available in a few spots, so I’m grabbing that number and riding with Under 9 as the best bet.
Pick: Under 9 (-120 at DraftKings)
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