6ix Takes April 28
1. Aren’t You Vlad It’s a New Era?
The Jays finally made the move to call up the highly esteemed prospect, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. this weekend for their series at home against the Oakland Athletics. The 20-year-old had some extremely high expectations placed on his shoulders going into his first big league appearances and has shown what he can do. He’s gone 2 for 8 (2.50 BA) in the two games to start his career while striking out twice. However, these numbers don’t tell the whole story. In the six balls, he’s put into play, he’s averaged an exit velocity of 94.2 which would place him top 20 in the MLB. For a guy who just turned 20, those are some impressive numbers that back up the hype that surrounds him. That hype has also turned into some really great crowds at the Rogers Centre getting about 10,000 more than their typical home game.
2. Babcock and the Leafs Ousted Again
The Leafs were once again knocked out of the playoffs in a game seven loss to the Boston Bruins on Tuesday night. People are calling for all sorts of changes to be made from the management to coaches or players. It seems no one can really agree to who should shoulder the blame for this teams disappointing early exit but there are cases to be made for all three. Babcock didn’t play his best players enough, Nylander is getting paid way too much for the amount he’s producing and Dubas didn’t get the team enough defensive talent to win. I fall on the side of putting it mainly on Babcock. He didn’t play his best player, Auston Matthews, enough in a do or die game (18:48 TOI). It might not change the score of the game a whole lot but at least you go down swinging with your best guys on the ice rather than playing each line fairly evenly.
3. Raptors Game 1 Curse No More?
The Raptors opened up their second-round series against the Philadelphia 76ers with an emphatic 108-95 win at home. Led by Kawhi Leonard and Pascal Siakam (combined 74 points), the Raptors showed why they’re most people’s picks to move on to the Conference Finals. The game was much more lopsided than the score shows; when the all-bench unit came in to end the game the Raptors lead went from 20 to 13 in just three minutes. The bench as a whole combined for only 10 points yet the Raptors came away with a dominant win. The Sixers had no answer for Kawhi or Siakam and Gasol was able to keep his impressive defensive play going leaving Embiid with only 16 points on 5/18 from the field. The starters showed why the team should be considered as favourites to come out of this series and the East.
4. Jays Are Rolling
The Jays have won 8 of their last 11 games and have managed to win three of their last four series. They now sit only one game under .500 on the season and are still in that third spot in the AL East above the Red Sox and Orioles. Pitching has stayed great giving up four or fewer runs in nine of those 11 games and hitting has skyrocketed from their early season woes with five or more runs in seven. Every team has a hot streak during the season but with Vladdy coming up and adding some extra offence, it might stretch a bit longer than expected. This might be their best run of the season but it’s a good sign for a young team in the rebuilding stage.
5. Raptors Win 4 In a Row
For the first time in franchise history, the Raptors won four playoff game in a row. After losing game one to the Magic, the Raps stepped on the gas and closed out their first-round series quick. They dominated games two through five and instilled a confidence in fans that is rarely felt.
6. Schoemaker out for SEASON
This one is a bit less positive. Matt Schoemaker has been confirmed out for the season after tearing his ACL in a rundown last weekend. Schoemaker was a bright spot in the Jays early season pitching success sporting a 1.57 ERA with three wins in his five starts with the team. It’s a disappointing end to his season but he’s showing his heart for this team as he is still walking from bullpen to dugout before each game with his fellow starters. It sucks that he isn’t going to be able to help out on the field but he’s definitely going to be making an impact off of it.