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Blue Jays journey to west coast trying to capitalize on tailwind of momentum


TORONTO — You most likely don’t even do not forget that there was a time when the west coast highway journey was an actual “factor” for groups within the east.

Or not less than appeared that approach.

Firing a supervisor? Do it on the coast and use the time distinction to regulate headlines. Fearful in regards to the wheels falling off your division lead? Multiply that by a thousand as soon as the chartered flight cleared the desert. Heck: I’ve labored at two newspapers the place one of many largest points in taking a hatchet to the journey budge was the concern that you simply’d “miss out on one thing” by not going to the coast with the ball membership.

This was earlier than the web and 24-hour sports activities channels – , approach the hell again within the late ’80s when that journey to Cali was vital for the well-being of your beat reporter. The attractive factor was that after your newspaper went to print – once more, earlier than the web – there was nothing you might do if the entire workforce went to hell. The workforce bus may crash. Didn’t matter. You weren’t going to get scooped; you didn’t even have to write down it till the morning as a result of it wouldn’t see the sunshine of day till the subsequent day’s fish-wrap was printed.

Sundown Strip? Frolic Room? Viper Membership? Right here we come, straight by means of to breakfast adopted by a visit to the seashore after which a sleep. God, I cherished west coast journeys.

Now, I’m not penning this to scare anyone forward of Tuesday’s first sport of the Blue Jays’ west coast journey. Removed from it.

I imply, stuff can change fairly rapidly however the method wherein the Blue Jays gained three of 4 video games in opposition to the Boston Crimson Sox – to recap: a 12-4 win wherein they’d a nine-run fifth inning to come back again from a 2-0 deficit with Nathan Eovaldi on the mound; a 1-0 walk-off win in opposition to Matt Barnes after being held to 1 hit within the first sport of a double-header; and Sunday’s 9-8 comeback with 5 runs within the seventh and eighth innings. George Springer’s three-run dwelling run, once more off Barnes, felt like some type of second we’ll be re-visiting within the fall.

I don’t know if I’ve been round a workforce with as a lot of a tailwind as this one.

Making me really feel even higher was this snippet of data from’s Mike Petriello, a frequent contributor to Blue Jays Central: since July 1, Blue Jays relievers have had the fewest high-leverage plate appearances within the majors, which is good when it’s the shakiest a part of your workforce. Who knew when common supervisor Ross Atkins was speaking about run prevention that he meant bullpen look prevention?

As for Springer? I don’t know if the Canine Days of August is a factor anymore – yeah, that’s type of an previous newspaper narrative, too – but it surely certain appeared to me this weekend as if Vladimir Guerrero, Jr., and Bo Bichette wanted just a little respite. Bichette was overwhelmed up within the doubleheader; showing to harm his wrist diving for a grounder and fouling pitches off every shin. Vladdy had already been given a break day by supervisor Charlie Montoyo after taking part in each sport for the reason that pandemic started, however there was nonetheless a raggedness to a few of his at-bats.

This isn’t a 60-game dash prefer it was in 2020; that is 162 video games, with all the additional journey and fouled-off pitches and strain factors. Enter Springer, American League Participant of the Week for the previous two weeks at exactly the time his workforce wanted him.

Look, there may be stuff we are able to’t fear about and might’t foresee. The New York Yankees and Boston Crimson Sox supplied proof this weekend with gamers resembling Anthony Rizzo, Gary Sanchez and J.D. Martinez lacking time on the COVID-19 injured checklist. Martinez missed each video games of the doubleheader earlier than being activated for Sunday’s sport. Not like the Crimson Sox, the Yankees – and, within the Nationwide League, the Milwaukee Brewers – have had gamers miss vital chunks of time attributable to COVID-19 points.

Mercifully or, not less than, fortunately, the Blue Jays have so far as we all know had only one participant go on the COVID-19 IL for 10 days: Teoscar Hernandez, in mid-April. They’d two gamers, Ryan Borucki and Lourdes Gurriel, Jr., go on the COVID-19 IL for a few days with vaccination unintended effects.

Some guys are out for 10 days. Some for one. Some for 2. In order neighborhood service or thereabouts, I reached out to the commissioner’s workplace. Vice-president of Communications Michael Teevan walked me by means of it.

Usually, gamers are out for not less than 10 days after testing constructive,” Teevan stated in an e-mail. “We’ve had just a few circumstances the place absolutely vaccinated and asymptomatic gamers who examined constructive have been cleared by the Joint Committee to come back again ahead of 10 days, based mostly on adverse exams, however that’s been uncommon.

“Vaccinated gamers don’t miss time from having to quarantine as a detailed contact. Unvaccinated gamers do miss time – seven days – from having been a detailed contact.

“The COVID IL will not be reserved for gamers who check constructive. The COVID IL can be utilized whereas contact tracing is going on or for gamers who’re being evaluated by symptomatic. So if a participant tells a coach that he has signs, the membership can put him on the COVID IL till they’ve readability on his standing.”

And there you go. Clip and save, as we used to say.

Most of us understand the concept behind any vaccine is that whereas it doesn’t stop you from contacting a virus or passing it on, it does mitigate the results of the sickness. Promised by means of collective bargaining is that groups whose on-field personnel have a vaccination price of 85 per cent or extra can get pleasure from relaxed protocols within the clubhouse, dugout and elsewhere. That’s one carrot that applies to the workforce as an entire.

Individually, the carrot for gamers who must be coaxed by one thing greater than merely preserving themselves and others secure, is that vaccinated gamers have extra avenues off the IL than non-vaxxed gamers.

Translation: groups with fewer vaccinated gamers have and certain will discover themselves at a aggressive benefit. Both approach, the virus gonna virus and as one trade supply informed me this weekend the susceptibility to breakthrough COVID of gamers who’ve had the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is one thing they’re keeping track of. Not having J.D. Martinez for 2 video games in August is one factor; Not having him for the ultimate two video games of the common season? Or Video games 1 and a pair of of the Division Sequence? Fairly one other.

So there’s a lot to play for in these subsequent seven weeks – loads for everyone. Stuff we all know; stuff we don’t know. Since baseball gamers have had simpler entry to vaccinations than the remainder of us – they had been bringing it to them in March, for god’s sake – it will stand to purpose that these gamers who aren’t but vaccinated gained’t be vaccinated.

If COVID circumstances develop, the guess right here is we’ll see dialogue about resurrecting a post-season bubble, which no one desires, particularly the Blue Jays, who’ve rapidly acclimated themselves to dwelling with a rising sense that possibly/probably one thing particular is cooking. God-speed, fellas. Could that stay a tailwind and never a headwind.

Jeff Blair hosts Baseball Central with Kevin Barker from 5-7 p.m. ET on Sportsnet 590/The Fan


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