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TORONTO – The first-place Blue Jays hit the halfway mark of the season with 45 wins and a two-game lead on Baltimore in the Amer

in The Scene 03.02.2018 07:50
von jokergreen0220 • Modernist | 497 Beiträge

TORONTO – The first-place Blue Jays hit the halfway mark of the season with 45 wins and a two-game lead on Baltimore in the American League East, territory unfamiliar to a franchise still waiting for its first playoff game since October 23, 1993, the night Joe Carter walked off Mitch Williams into World Series lore. Blake Bortles Jersey . "Im proud of the way the guys played," said manager John Gibbons. "It was kind of a so-so start and we kicked it in there in the month of May and put ourselves in a good position. Now, you know, we just need to do that again in the second half or even improve on that but Im very, very happy with the effort and the way the guys have been playing baseball. Its that simple." You wont find a Mission Accomplished banner hanging in the clubhouse. The expectation is much greater. "Has it met it yet? No," said Casey Janssen. "Our expectation is to make the playoffs and win the World Series and were not there yet. Weve got a long way to go. I think everyone believed we could be this type of team but were not throwing a party yet, we know that. We know theres a ton of talent here and its the AL East so anything can happen." Despite a recent downturn in offensive production, through 81 games Toronto continues to sit in the top seven of most major categories. The club sits first in the majors with 104 home runs. Its fourth with a .262 batting average and .331 on-base percentage. The on-base plus slugging percentage of .767 ranks third and its 272 walks are seventh. The most pleasant surprise and biggest disappointment reside on the same spot: the pitchers mound. The pleasant surprise: Blue Jays starters lead the American League with 35 wins (a number not reached until the 135th game last season) and the staff ERA of 3.87 is best in the AL East. The biggest disappointment: the bullpen, the ray of sunshine in a stormy 2013 season, has compiled baseballs fourth-worst ERA (4.48). Its a target for improvement. "I think there are some times when weve got to be better in the bullpen," said Gibbons. "Weve got to shore that up a little bit. Its like anything, consistency over the whole pitching staff and hopefully you stay healthy enough." The Blue Jays have been fortunate to remain relatively healthy, dealing with injuries theyve been able to cover. Maicer Izturis was a backup infielder. Brandon Morrow wasnt pitching well when he got hurt. Colby Rasmus missed 33 games with a hamstring strain and the Jays got by with an Anthony Gose-Kevin Pillar platoon in centerfield. The medical staff is now doing the dance with Jose Bautista as he deals with a hamstring problem, which could be made worse if rushed. Bautista will run sprints on Saturday morning and depending on how he feels, could be available to at least pinch hit on the weekend. QUIET TIME FOR JANSSEN Wondering where closer Casey Janssen has been these days? Hes around. He just hasnt pitched much due to a lack of save opportunities. Since notching his 12th save of the season on June 15 in Baltimore, Janssen has appeared twice. He mopped up the epic, 14-9 comeback win on June 20 in Cincinnati. He threw the ninth inning of a 6-6 game against the Yankees on June 24 and got the win when the Blue Jays walked off. It can be difficult for relievers when they go through a period without consistent work. "I feel like saves come in bunches at times," said Janssen. "You get opportunities to pitch maybe in a lopsided game one way or another if it gets to be too long. Sometimes there are times when you dont get in but you get up. Im one of those guys that always has relied on my command and I guess it comes a little more natural to me than others." Janssen has 12 saves in 14 opportunities this season. "Sometimes the rest is good, knowing that the tough stretch is going to come at some point," said Janssen. Expect Janssen to get into a game before the weekend is over, regardless of whether Toronto has a lead of three or less. Janssen speaks to pitching coach Pete Walker about his schedule, who relays the message to manager John Gibbons. If Janssen goes four or five days without action his arms reaction to its diminished workload becomes less predictable. "You wonder if your arms going to be a little cranky or if its going to be super fresh," said Janssen. "Sometimes you feel great when you get the rest and sometimes youre kind of knocking the dust off a little bit." Remember that Janssen had an abbreviated spring training thanks to stiffness in the back of his pitching shoulder. He didnt appear in a Grapefruit League game until the final week of March. Then, in Montreal, he strained his left oblique and didnt make his season debut until May 12. Its been a build for Janssen, who anticipates being able to pitch on three consecutive days, if needed, as the importance of each game ramps up. "I feel like Id love to do it and Id love to have the opportunity to do it," said Janssen. "I think a lot of those three in a rows depend on how the first two went and the stress level of those innings. My goal is to be able to pitch in every opportunity possible, especially as the season gets further along and as this division and the race gets tight and everything like that." Dede Westbrook Jersey . Spencer Abbott and Trevor Smith scored third-period goals erasing a 2-1 deficit giving Toronto a late 3-2 lead. Earl Watford Jersey .28 mph. Logano will start on the front row next to Penske Ford teammate Brad Keselowski, who came in second Friday at 193.099. The Penske drivers swept the top two spots for the second straight race, reversing their qualifying finish in Phoenix a week ago. http://www.jaguarsfansclub.com/Black-Yannick-Ngakoue-Jaguars-Jersey.html?cat=928 . Spezza scored a power-play goal with 5 minutes left and Stephane Da Costa had the other two goals to lead the Ottawa Senators to a 3-2 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday night. After a somewhat calm first round against the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Montreal Canadiens are gearing up for what is expected to be an intense second round matchup against the Original Six rival Boston Bruins. The Habs have won three of the four meetings against the Bruins this season but that doesnt mean much for the Habs. "They have so much playoff experience," said Canadiens forward Daniel Briere. "The Bruins have been to the Stanley Cup Finals twice in the past three years; winning once and losing to the Chicago Blackhawks last season. They are a team that knows what it takes to win. " Emotions are expected to play a key role in this series and the team that does a better job keeping them in check could possibly be the one that comes out on top. "Coming into this series, Im sure that is something we are going to talk a lot about," Briiere added. Brandon Allen Jersey. "We need to be good at controlling our emotions and I expect the Bruins to do the same." The Canadiens have been able to get under the Bruins skin this season and forced them to play their style of game, but what has worked in the regular season doesnt automatically mean it will have the same result in the postseason. "The playoffs are a completely different game; we know we have a great challenge ahead of us. Were going to have to fight for everything," Josh Gorges told the media on Sunday. Now that the Canadiens know who theyll be facing in the second round, Michel Therrien has made a slight change to his line up at practice, opting to put the now healthy Travis Moen on the fourth line and replacing rookie Michael Bournival; a move to bring in more veteran presence against a very experienced Bruins team. Cheap NFL Jerseys Wholesale Jerseys Wholesale NFL Jerseys Jerseys From China Wholesale NFL Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys Cheap Jerseys ' ' '

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