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The Toronto Blue Jays have been very impressive in the first week of Major League Baseball and are looking like a playoff-bound team if the regular schedule actually finishes.
The Jays are 3-4 but could be 5-2 despite being without shortstop Bo Bichette and centre-fielder Randy Grichuk for three games.
Toronto’s young flame-throwing rookie Nate Pearson made his debut on Wednesday against Washington ace Max Scherzer and both dominated. It’s only early, but the Blue Jays pitching staff has been good and, from what I’ve seen, they have the best group of starters in the league. Aside from Pearson, who looks like a cinch for rookie-of-the-year honours, Toronto has highly touted lefty Hyun-jin Ryu, who led the National League in 2019 with a 2.32 ERA while with the L.A. Dodgers, up-and-coming Trent Thornton and Thomas Hatch and let’s not forget
Matt Shoemaker, the ace of the staff before he got hurt last season.
What I also like about the Blue Jays is they are sound and solid up the middle, which is a feature of championship clubs. They have catchers Danny Jansen and Reese McGuire, who can hit and play solid defence; a middle infield of talented Bichette and Cavan Biggio and centre-fielder Grichuk, plus a better than average attack with the likes of Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Teoscar Hernandez, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Rowdy Tellez.
The Jays may not be as good as the New York Yankees, but they are young and entertaining and close to Tampa Bay in talent, plus better than Boston and Baltimore. This edition of the Jays are an AL Wild Card contender, take it from The Prophet.
The NHL playoffs begin today, but it is hard for me to think of hockey when The Guardian Gold Cup and Saucer is just around the corner.
The Toronto Maple Leafs play Columbus Sunday and the Blue Jackets are a tough club to play against, an in-your-face, tough forechecking club with grit – just the type of club the Maple Leafs have trouble against. The Blue Jackets don’t score much but they are among the top five in goals against, the key to Stanley Cup playoff success.
Leafs’ fans are all excited about their 4-2 exhibition win over sad-sack Montreal Canadiens, who are arguably the weakest of all the teams still playing, so let’s not get carried away. The Canadiens play tonight against Pittsburgh, but unless somebody kidnaps Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, the Habs have no chance in this series.
I am certain soccer fans on the Island are thrilled with the Canadian Premier League moving to P.E.I. to play their season.
The eight teams will be under tight protocols with each team having a floor at The Delta on the waterfront. The soccer people in Canada got it right, “The Delta Bubble” will work.
If it’s OK with Dr. Heather Morrison, it’s OK with me.
Live harness racing continues tonight at Red Shores at the Charlottetown Driving Park with an 11-dash card getting underway at 6 p.m. and it’s our first chance to see Truro track record-holder Yankee Osborne in action.
The Neil McInnis-driven pacer went gate-to-wire in a sizzling 1:52 to win the Lindsay Cup and tonight he leaves from Post 6 in the $3,100 Race 11 feature.
One of the latest harness racing stars to emerge locally is Cowboy Logic, who has the rail tonight in Race 5. He had his win streak snapped the other night via disqualification, an iffy call in my opinion, but his owners took it in stride. Longtime fans and Tory supporters Mo McCabe, Angus and John Birt, plus Gerard Ellsworth, share ownership with trainer Harold Shepherd and they’ve been on a high since Cowboy blasted onto the stage with an easy 1.56 score. I am told that the boys tried to name the horse Tory Commander or Premier King only to learn that once a horse races his name cannot be changed. Can he win tonight, I think so.
In action up country, the Dream Maker series started earlier this week at Mohawk and Island Beach Boy (by SomeBeachsomewhere) impressed in winning a $20,000 test in 1:52:1 for owners Ian Smith of Charlottetown and Island native Arnold Hagen.
Sintra (Jody Jamieson) is the favourite in tonight’s $36,000 top class at Mohawk. The Adios goes this afternoon at The Meadows, and the picture has changed with the scratch of Papi Rob Hanover, who appears to have suffered a broken coffin bone. Papi Rob was a top contender for the North America Cup.
The $200,000 Battle of Waterloo goes Monday afternoon at Grand River where Springbridge Duel, Candy Trader and Better Sun loom as favourites. James MacDonald handles Cantstoplying from Post 4.
Fred MacDonald's column appears every Saturday in The Guardian. He can be reached at [email protected].
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