St. PETERSBURG, Florida – The morning after the final disappointment in the elimination match for his beloved Toronto Maple Leafs, Jordan Romano struggled to understand his feelings.
said the Blue Jays of Markham, Ont. , at the Tropicana Field Visitors Club: “It’s been hard to get Tampa, a back-to-back champ.” “But it was a good streak, frankly. The boys play hard. It just didn’t go their way.”
This is all too familiar for Maple Leafs, whose season ended with the end of the winner’s stunts streak for an amazing fifth season in a row. Romano, a defender and right winger who played double hockey until he was 17 as a complement to his primary focus on baseball, knows all too well all the tired novels around town.
Too soft in the playoffs. The main players are not winners. Damned privilege.
He has a different view now.
“Playing at this level for two years has taught me how hard it is to win, you know what I mean?” Romano said. “I haven’t been in the qualifiers yet, so I don’t understand that kind of pressure and those games. So, when you’re here, you have a little sympathy because you know how difficult it is. They are a great team. I can see some similarities with us in terms of the level of talent” .
The last part there is important, as chances of winning can quickly get lost within a competitive window, as Maple Leafs discovers. Six years ago they were a brave young group on the rise, pushing the Washington Capitals to six games in the opening round, and now they’re navigating around several new pieces of organizational baggage.
The last part there is important, as chances of winning can quickly get lost within a competitive window, as Maple Leafs discovers. Six years ago they were a brave young group on the rise, pushing the Washington Capitals to six games in the opening round, and now they’re rambling around new bags of organizational baggage.
There is some bigger cautionary tale in that story for the Blue Jays, who failed to build on the previous night’s attack on Sunday, wasting a strong start for Alek Manoah by silencing him at the plate in the 3-0 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays.
Not even the return of George Springer, who missed Saturday 5-1 after injuring his left ankle on Friday night, as the DH made a difference, being suspended for three runs or less for the eighth time in an existing extended period. They lost nine out of 12.
Time and time again, this meant that shooters had little or no margin of error, a burden Manoah ignored.
“I know exactly who’s in the changing room – they just need some kind of regrouping,” he said. “There’s a lot of outside noise at the moment. Stay inside themselves. These guys can blast. We’re just going through a little phase now. This club is going to stay together. It doesn’t matter how well we play, if we don’t win a ball game, it doesn’t matter. But we’ll stay together and you’ll show.” this crime.”
For now, though, the wait is still on, and Manoh, who only allowed three times through his first five rounds, realized that in a sloppy and fateful sixth.
Brandon Lowe’s center single started Rice’s career and Wander Franco followed it up with a single in Reverse that put two people in one situation. But the pivotal moment came on Harold Ramirez’s chopper Matt Chapman treading in front of Bo Pechet into the field but moved aggressively to second base, with the pitch approaching center.
That brought Lowe home with the first inning of the game, another Manoah Wild, and Ji Man Choi punched the ball against the Blue Jays’ defensive shift to make it 3-0 despite not hitting a single stronger shot from the mid-80s in the inning.
Death things were only inflated by paper due to the constant lack of attack, which was designed to take the burden on Blue Jays, but so far it hasn’t. Another byproduct of that might be Chapman, whose third base play has been impressive all season, forcing tougher second-place play to get the number one runner in sixth rather than sure at first.
“I don’t think he was trying to play twice, he was trying to get the guy on second base, he just threw it on the wrong side,” said coach Charlie Montoyo. “You always want the third baseman up front from Shortstop to do that play. It’s just kind of ironic that we have to play clean games because we’re not playing now and that was probably close to being the game there.”
Chapman also had a foul in Game Eight – his first of two fouls since April 14, 2019 with Oakland in Texas. Statcast rates his glove business as producing twice above average, underlining how exotic that day was for him.
Manoah said, “Chapman’s head must be very high. This guy does every game, he’s got every award you can think of, so he’s let him have a bad day. Everything’s fine. We lost a match. We’ll see them many times.” We’ll be better next time.”
Manoah, like Kevin Gossman on Friday, deserved better than that, allowing three strokes to gain one, with four strokes in six. He used his four stitches, a sinker and a nearly interchangeable slide, while he sprayed some changes to the kind of outing that should have led to a win.
Springer went 0 for 4 in his first game, and rushed into position in the third inning he felt he had a chance to go but died on the track. The way he rolled his left ankle on Friday made it look like he might waste some time, but he was ready to hit Sunday and could be in the middle on Monday.
It was a good feeling to be back there after only a day,” said Springer, who added that the fall that led to the sprain “was a good feeling to be back there.” I didn’t really feel like that was happening. I felt it when I sat there for a second. Honestly, it felt like my feet were stuck in the grass, it wasn’t from a fall or anything like that. But I knew I’d be fine.”
After a 2-7 wild ride, the Blue Jays are back home to start an eight-game winning streak outside the American Eastern League, starting with the Seattle Mariners on Monday.
There is no panacea for them at the moment other than the belief that their hitters will advance to the mediocre and implement professional standards. At 18-17, they have a lot of gaps to close and about four-fifths of the season to do so, so perspective is important.
“We expect to win every day. That’s why we’re going to be good. It’s annoying when you don’t get the results you want,” Springer said. “At the same time, understand that things are going to get better. We were almost at the same record as last year at this point (19-16 in 2021). Everyone needs to stay inside, we all have to be better, but stay inside, slow down the game and we’ll see what happens.”
However, the lesson from 2021, when they finished one game post-season, was never far away, and the Blue Jays can’t allow another season of opportunity in the competition window.
Just as the Maple Leafs must find ways to cash in on Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, and the rest of their talented core, the Blue Jays must do the same with Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette and their gang.
At least they don’t have the 1967 burden to contend with.
“If you haven’t won in a long time or you haven’t been in the playoffs in a long time, try not to think about it too much, but it comes in there, like, ‘Hey, this is our time. We need to be the group that gets it done because we haven’t won it for a long time. “This is definitely a real thing,” Romano said. “I don’t think you can just push it aside. Embrace it for what it is and after you embrace it, it shouldn’t have an effect on your playing. You can think about it a bit, but just go and do your work, and if you get it done, do it. If not? It’s Difficult, isn’t it? Because you think about it. It’s not fair, but it is what it is.”
This is so familiar from Maple Leafs’ lament, Blue Jays should avoid making it viable as well.