SportsRosie DiManno: The young Blue Jays are out to launch

09:41  18 august  2019
09:41  18 august  2019 Source:   thestar.com

Rosie DiManno: Andreescu set for Rogers Cup relaunch — with a twist

Rosie DiManno: Andreescu set for Rogers Cup relaunch — with a twist “Everyone’s starting to know my name.” Bianca Andreescu. And the face too, which is now featured in the promo blitz for the Rogers Cup. The female face of women’s tennis in Canada as the not-so-old guard has been overtaken and eclipsed by a teenager. Old and new will clash on Tuesday in the all-Canadian opening-round headliner match between Andreescu and Genie Bouchard. Andreescu unleashed a hoot when those names flashed at the tournament draw Friday afternoon. “That’s a shocker,’’ the 19-year-old laughed. “Basically the only two Canadians in the draw.” Not quite. Leylah Annie Fernandez from Laval, Que. earned a wild-card entry — as did Bouchard, for that matter.

In a record-smashing season for home runs around the majors, Bo Bichette and the Blue Jays have measured up in that department, changing the manager’s whole approach, Rosie DiManno writes.

Opinion | Rosie DiManno : Blue Jays ’ late-inning thunder drowns out trade talk — briefly. One of those young players — eagerly anticipated shortstop Bo Bichette — will be joining the Jays in Kansas City on Monday Rosie DiManno is a columnist based in Toronto covering sports and current affairs.

Rosie DiManno: The young Blue Jays are out to launch© Mark Blinch Rookie Bo Bichette has been punishing baseballs to all fields. In a season when homers are flying at a record rate, the Jays have been keeping pace in that regard.

“A no-hitter is a classic work of art, a shutout is a beautiful painting, stealing bases and the hit-and-run are ballet movements. But … there is nothing so beautiful as the arc a baseball makes when it soars out of the ballpark.’’

— Ted Williams

Belted 521 of them, tied for 20th all-time. Including a 502-footer that reached the 33rd row of the bleachers at Fenway — and crashed through the straw hat worn by one Joseph A. Boucher. Who grumbled afterwards: “How far away must one sit to be safe in this park?”

Watch: Blue Jays' Fisher hit in face by ball after botched catch

Watch: Blue Jays' Fisher hit in face by ball after botched catch Derek Fisher flubs a routine fly ball and gets hit in the face. #BlueJays pic.twitter.com/q99HYoQX2W — Gannon Barnes (@shrewdcanadian) August 3, 2019 Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Derek Fisher was forced to leave Saturday's game against the Baltimore Orioles in the first inning after getting hit in the face by a routine fly ball in right field. Fisher, who was acquired from the Houston Astros at the trade deadline, was charged with his first error of the season on the play. The Blue Jays announced that Fisher suffered a facial contusion. He was then taken to hospital for a CT scan. "He just missed it," said manager Charlie Montoyo, according to Sportsnet's Shi Davidi.

Rosie DiManno is a columnist who writes about current affairs and sports. Rosie DiManno is a columnist who writes about current affairs and sports. Location : Toronto. Two-thirds of this home’s staff walked out once COVID-19 hit. So Dr. Jane Philpott — yes, that one — put on her scrubs.

By Rosie DiMannoColumnist. USA!” on Saturday, reminder that for some the Blue Jays remain build-a-wall aliens to America’s national pastime, despite twice What’s not in the least bit amusing and now cause for considerable concern is that the Jays are two-in-the-hole in their American League

The slider that Bo Bichette cranked into left-centre at Rogers Centre in the fifth inning on Saturday afternoon travelled 409 feet — his fifth round-tripper in 19 games — was certainly a thing of beauty. Almost as pretty as he is.

“He kept throwing me fastballs that looked like they were going to hit my shin and then coming back over and hitting the corners,” the 21-year-old said afterwards of his at-bat against Seattle reliever Taylor Guilbeau, making his major league debut. “Honestly, he made a pretty good pitch that last pitch but I was able to stay inside it and wait long enough.’’

None of the rookie’s home runs have been cheap shots, though some have certainly perplexed outfielders, the way they just kept on going after looking like fly-ball outs.

Rosie DiManno: Williams and Osaka arrive for Rogers Cup in very different places

Rosie DiManno: Williams and Osaka arrive for Rogers Cup in very different places Serena Williams looks tired and sounds passively disengaged. Putting herself out there, though, on the eve of the Rogers Cup tournament for the obligatory media chat. Except there’s not a single question the living legend hasn’t been asked before, or answered before. And, with practice over, she’d so obviously much rather revert to mum mode. “It’s just been such an addition to my life as a person and as a professional tennis player,” Williams says of motherhood. “I have different priorities. I schedule my life around my daughter. It’s cool because I always have something really spectacular to look forward to, whether I’m winning or whether I lose the match.

If that were the Blue Jays saying so, there might be reason for suspicion. Management has played fast and loose with injury disclosures — apparently drawing a line between “liar, liar, pants on fire” and “don’t tell” withholding. Rosie DiManno is a columnist based in Toronto covering sports and current affairs.

By Rosie DiMannoColumnist. Out -hit 13-2, only Devon Travis leading off the game with a double and Dioner Navarro with a single in the seventh managing to solve Alex Cobb, like he was Enigma I The Jays could get themselves right-side-up again starting Thursday against the lowly Los Angeles Angels.

“Obviously there are parts that are easier to hit home runs at,” continued Bichette, who’s hammered his long balls both pulling and the other way. “For me, it’s more if I hit it good, it’s going to go out. I hit that one good.’’

So did catcher Reese McGuire, with his leadoff homer in the seventh. Both were solo shots and to no avail as the Jays were edged 4-3 by the Mariners. But you take your thrills where you find them and these Jays, who were supposed to play more little ball this year — that was the view, anyway, coming out of spring training — have been laying on the lumber, like slugging teams of yore.

“Managing is about making an adjustment,’’ Charlie Montoyo had observed pre-game. “Almost everybody in the lineup can go deep. So now I don’t push the envelope. I let ’em hit because everybody likes to have a three-run homer. And we’ve been doing it for the last month and a half.”

Indeed, the Jays have whacked 112 home runs since June 16, second-most in the majors behind the Yankees, as of this writing.

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Rosie DiManno . Quite the same Wikipedia. Just better. DiManno is author of several books, including Glory Jays : Canada's World Series Champions, a 1993 book about The Toronto Blue Jays ' World Series-winning season,[4] Rosie and the Leafs, a 2000 book about the Toronto Maple Leafs,[5]

Back to the mound, the Blue Jays having failed to do anything with the opportunities they’d scrabbled off Baltimore starter Dylan Bundy, including a reversed out call at first base and Kevin Pillar standing 90 feet from home in the opening frame with none out . But that’s been the perplexing tenor of these Jays

Loads of fun. But that stat would mean more if baseball wasn’t going homer crazy: 5,139 as of start of play Saturday, on pace for a historically gobsmacking 6,857 over a full-season 2019 — by far exceeding the record of 5,693 set in 2000, during the steroid era.

Pitchers hate it, naturally. Some, such as Houston’s Justin Verlander, have been quite vocal about their suspicions that something’s hinky. Juiced, like.

“I’ve seen some balls that, the way they come off the bat sometimes, when you think it’s just a meaningful fly ball, then it goes 400 feet,” said Jays closer Ken Giles, “I don’t really have a theory. Either players are getting stronger, maybe bats are getting a little bit harder, or the ball could be manipulated.”

What Giles and many other pitchers have noticed is that there’s less consistency among balls when they come out of the box. “Maybe two are the same, not like they were five years ago when I broke into the league. Some bigger, some smaller. Higher laces.

“I can’t really say much because I don’t have any proof. We can speak our minds as much as we want but it’s not going to change anything right now about balls going farther. Hit and miss, I guess. For me, it feels like Russian roulette.”

Rosie DiManno: Serena Williams had been hoping to face Bianca Andreescu. Game on

Rosie DiManno: Serena Williams had been hoping to face Bianca Andreescu. Game on Serena Williams won her first title on the women’s tour on Feb. 28, 1999. More than two decades ago. 

By Rosie DiMannoColumnist. But while they were sleeping in the wee hours of Saturday morning, the Blue Jays had clinched a wild-card berth. Toronto got two more runs in the third, added another pair in the fourth. Bautista closed out the big-bop offence in the eighth with his second jack of the

And the Blue Jays are down a couple of pints in their starting rotation. It was always sketchy, how they’d Most pleasing was the four- out major-league launch by Elvis Luciano, Toronto’s teenage Rule 5 pickup. At just 19, the Dominican became the youngest pitcher in team history when he entered proceedings in Rosie DiManno is a columnist based in Toronto covering sports and current affairs.

With so many young arms on the Toronto pitching staff, few can reach for comparisons with previous years, at least at the big league level.

“From 2016, yeah,” said reliever Derek Law. “I couldn’t tell you the difference, but it’s definitely different. If you hold them in both hands, just looking at them. I thought maybe the size, but could be the laces are more wound tight. They seem to be going a little further this year.

“If you make a mistake now, you’re less likely to get away with it. Before it was the warning track, now it’s 10 rows deep.”

In fact, MLB has more or less admitted there’s something weird afoot, less drag on the balls, which may account for the onslaught of home runs. One theory, arising from scientific experiments conducted last year, is that the centring of the “pill” — the cork substance in the middle of the ball, which is wrapped in yarn — might have been adjusted at the point of production by Rawlings. (The balls are made in Costa Rica.) Or the 108 stitches are smoother, more difficult for pitchers to grip.

Commissioner Rob Manfred has claimed otherwise. “They (Rawlings) haven’t changed their process in any meaningful way,” he said in June. “They haven’t changed their materials.”

He outright rejected that the Lords of Baseball have deliberately had the balls altered to satisfy the public’s thirst for jacks. “Baseball has done nothing, given no direction for an alteration in the baseball,” he told the Baseball Writers Association of American at the all-star game. “The biggest flaw in that logic is that baseball somehow wants more home runs. If you sat in an owners’ meeting and listened to people talk about the way our game is being played, that is not the sentiment among the owners for whom I work. There is no desire on the part of ownership to increase the number of home runs in the game.”

Rosie DiManno: Waiving goodbye to Freddy Galvis hits several Blue Jays hard

Rosie DiManno: Waiving goodbye to Freddy Galvis hits several Blue Jays hard I will miss the jetés, the mid-air pivots, the flying dreads. The shortstopping without bounds that was Freddy Galvis. Sheesh, that sounds like an obituary. And Galvis is very much with us still, just not with us. Galvis was claimed off waivers Monday afternoon by the Cincinnati Reds. Packed up and hasta la vista, gone before reporters descended. Had made his goodbyes with teammates. In a season that was just about unwatchable, at least until the young’uns started kicking the doors open, Galvis was both entertaining and quite good at his job, having clocked in at 349 consecutive games, longest active streak going, until April 24.

Still and yet. They’re crushing it, moonshots galore. Fifteen teams are on pace to beat their franchise records, led by the Minnesota Twins which have already surpassed their best tally of 225 in 1963.

Another intriguing statistic: According to data crunched by Baseball Prospectus, the Jays are ripping a higher percentage of runs via homers than any other team in the majors this season: 54.18 per cent. It’s called the “Guillen Number’’ and, in fact, teams from 2019 occupy nine of the top 14 spots, out of 2,925 collated. Toronto is No. 1, No. 2 (2010) and No. 8 (2017).

Of course the Jays didn’t make the playoffs in 2010 and 2017 and they certainly won’t in 2019. So maybe it doesn’t translate into quantifiable success.

Juiced or not, hitters most assuredly don’t want to be told that it’s about the ball and not them.

“Guys are throwing harder than ever and throwing more off-speed than ever,’’ said Justin Smoak, who’s sitting at 19 home runs. “The harder a guy throws, harder the ball’s going to come off the bat. The more you spin it, the further the ball’s going to fly.

“The balls feel the same to me. But I’m not a pitcher.”

Going … going … gone.

Rosie DiManno is a columnist based in Toronto covering sports and current affairs. Follow her on Twitter: @rdimanno

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