#1 goal. 8-19-4 – Leafs by jinshuiqian0713 02.01.2020 01:01

TORONTO – Dustin McGowan badly wants to succeed in whats likely his last chance to be a regular big league starting pitcher. He badly wants to erase the doubts about the health of his three times surgically-repaired right shoulder. He wants, once and for all, to eliminate the too-good-to-be-true cloud that hovers over his unlikely story. After yet another all-too-brief outing, four innings plus three batters in Wednesday nights 10-8 loss to the Orioles, McGowan admitted that hes wearing out sooner than hed like. "Maybe a little bit," said McGowan when asked if he feels fatigued. "I do seem at 60 pitches, I kind of seem to be falling backwards a little bit, I guess you could say. But I feel good, my arm feels great, its just sometimes it seems like the ball is not coming out quite right after 60, 65 pitches." Theres some positive in there with that negative. His arm, he insists, is healthy. Hes pleased with how he feels when hes pitching. Hes encouraged with his bounce back in the days after an outing. The problem, it seems, relates to a lack of stamina. "The body just feels like it runs out of steam a little bit," said McGowan. "I shouldnt be feeling that, I should be at the point where I can go 90-100, especially the way my arm feels. It feels great." Pressed further, McGowan didnt deny hes had thoughts about giving up his starters spot and returning to the bullpen. "You think about that, but right now Im planning on being a starter and Ive got to get past that hurdle sometime," he said. His unlikely return to the rotation aside, its important to put McGowans issues in context. While hed openly mused about taking one more shot at being a starter as far back as last September, and general manager Alex Anthopoulos was supportive of McGowans winter efforts to stretch out, there wasnt a realistic expectation hed be leaving the bullpen. McGowan found a home there last season, posting a 2.45 ERA in 25 appearances and showing the stuff of a late-inning, high leverage, shut down reliever. Then this year, toward the end of spring training, the Blue Jays fell just short in the pursuit of free agent right-hander Ervin Santana. There was a spot to fill behind R.A. Dickey, Drew Hutchison, Mark Buehrle and Brandon Morrow. J.A. Happ dealt with back inflammation and pancaked with four awful Grapefruit League starts, resulting in a season-starting stint on the disabled list. Marcus Stroman was inconsistent and started the year with the Triple-A Buffalo Bisons. Aaron Sanchez, whose repertoire has Blue Jays personnel frothing, is working at Double-A New Hampshire and his innings are being monitored early in the season. Esmil Rogers and Todd Redmond are best suited for long relief, which left McGowan as the best option. This despite the fact he suffered through a bout with a nasty stomach virus in early March, which docked about a week off his spring training schedule and pushed back efforts to get him multiple-inning appearances. "It could be," said McGowan of whether his shorter than expected spring has caught up with him. "We sped it up a lot, usually you wouldnt increase that much that fast, but we had to and we did it. Ive just got to find a way. Theres a way, Ive just got to get it past that hurdle." Whats still unclear is how long the Blue Jays are willing to give him. Stroman is off to a fine start with the Bisons, posting a 2.18 ERA, 1.355 WHIP and 26 strikeouts against six walks in three starts. His time is coming. So is Sanchezs, eventually. Could it be sooner rather than later? A Relievers Approach The Blue Jays entered Wednesdays action a Top-10 team in relief innings pitched. Relievers have hurled 67 2/3 innings so far this season, getting on average about 10 outs per game. The bullpen is its own world, made up of pitchers who take different approaches to getting ready and staying fresh in case theyre called on to appear in games on consecutive days. Take Brett Cecil, a closer during his sophomore year at the University of Maryland in 2006. By the time he debuted in the big leagues in 2009, he was a starter. Cecil won a career-high 15 games in 2010, then had a mysterious drop in velocity on his fastball, struggled, and has since revived his career as a left-handed relief specialist. "Its just kind of an everyday thing about how I feel," said Cecil of a days preparation. "Whether Im off that day, whether Im going to throw that day; it just all depends on the night before, the two nights before, what Ive done. If I need to stretch, I stretch. If I need to lift, I go lift." Cecil is being careful early in the season after experiencing elbow pain late last year. He made a career-high 60 appearances before being shut down in mid-September. The games he could handle but as a former starter, Cecil was learning how to prepare for relief work. Hes got a better handle on the demands this season. "I wasnt sure how to police myself being a reliever so the days that I felt like throwing a flat ground, I would throw a flat ground," said Cecil. "Did I really need it? No." Cecil believes its easier on the arm to be a starter. You pitch every fifth day, working through a rest, treatment, throwing regimen in-between starts. In relief, you could pitch on back-to-back days and then sit for a number of games. There are periods of consistent work, every other day. Its unpredictable. If a reliever has a two-pitch outing, like Cecil did on Friday night in Cleveland, it counts as a days work so when he throws again on Saturday, as he did against the Indians, hes not available for Sunday. "Thats one of those things that people dont see," said Cecil. "We as bullpen guys dont get a chance to gradually warm up. Its, youve got to get on the mound and throw and youve got to get hot in a very short amount of time. It puts a lot of stress on the arm." Closer Sergio Santos didnt appear in Tuesday nights win over the Orioles but with the game tied 3-3 in the bottom of the eighth, he was warming up to pitch the ninth. Its not an appearance in Santos stats line but it is a day of work. "I had two days off plus an off day so it was technically three days off," said Santos. "It was fine for me to get off the mound and I threw maybe eight to 10 pitches. Just something to where I was sharp enough that if the inning were to end, Id be able to go out and do my job and if it didnt, then it was just a day of a little bit more than a flat ground." Santos is less concerned about a day like Tuesday in April but come July and August, the dog days of summer, relievers become more concerned with "saving their bullets." That is, throw when needed and to stay ready; just dont throw any more than whats required. Bullpen coach Bob Stanley charts pitches thrown and keeps track of each relievers throwing schedule. Guys have different warmup routines. Santos likes eight to 12 pitches off the mound before entering a game. Cecil likes 15 to 20, throwing the final five at maximum capacity. If hes rushed, hell factor in the eight pitches he gets on the game mound. "Some guys warm up with an intensity that matches almost the game and can be harder," said Santos. "Some guys take it a little lighter when theyre warming up." Dillon Maples Jersey . -- Slugger Jose Abreu, All-Star left-hander Chris Sale and closer Matt Lindstrom are on the disabled list. Shawon Dunston Jersey .C. - Nick Merkley and Damon Severson each had a goal and two assists as the Kelowna Rockets downed the visiting Seattle Thunderbirds 6-3 on Saturday in Western Hockey League playoff action. http://www.customcubsjersey.com/custom-r...large-990n.html. Louis and Ryan Kesler have demanded to be traded. Albert Almora Jr. Jersey . The defending champions sent their preliminary list to FIFA on Tuesday, with coach Vicente del Bosque to announce the final 23-man squad on May 25. Costa is set to lead the attack in his native Brazil, with Atletico Madrid teammate David Villa and Chelseas Fernando Torres also included, while David de Gea replaces injured goalkeeper Victor Valdes. Todd Hundley Jersey . Cleary also had two assists and Patrick Eaves added two goals for the Red Wings, who also ousted Phoenix in seven games during the first round of the 2010 postseason. Todd Bertuzzi had a goal and an assist for Detroit, which got a goal apiece from Tomas Holmstrom and Niklas Kronwall and suffered no shortage of offense despite the absences of Henrik Zetterberg and Johan Franzen.NEWARK – The Maple Leafs are teetering on the edge of another late season collapse. Five straight losses (and six in the past seven) now dot the schedule – matching their longest skid of the year – after they fell again in New Jersey on Sunday night, topped 3-2 by Cory Schneider and the Devils. Playoff fortunes that once appeared secure have slipped into a more precarious state with a troubling tumble in the past week. All-too-recently fighting for second spot in the Atlantic division, Toronto has fallen to the edge of the playoffs, now in the second wild card position – mere inches ahead of Washington and Columbus – with only nine games to play. “The bottom line,” said head coach Randy Carlyle after the latest loss, “is its a results-orientated sport and we have to find a way to stop the bleeding here and do everything in our power to regroup with this hockey club and get them playing to a higher level.” If not playing entirely badly these days, the Leafs are doing just enough to lose, be it through sluggish starts, highly visible defensive breakdowns, and ordinary goaltending. On this night they fell behind for the seventh straight game, allowed a pair of goals via odd-man rush and breakaway, and had their backup goaltender struggle again to come up with a timely save. “I dont think were playing that bad,” said Phil Kessel, who scored his 36th of the year in defeat, crashing into the goal-post in doing so. “[But] its a tough stretch Ill tell you that much.” Tough stretch, indeed. It was only 11 days earlier, after James Reimer stole victory in Los Angeles, that the Leafs appeared in prime position for their second straight playoff spring. They sat three points up on the Lightning and Canadiens, 10 on the Capitals, nine on the Red Wings, seven on the Flyers, and six on the Rangers and Blue Jackets. Five of the seven has since passed them over, only Columbus and Washington trailing – just barely, mind you, with games in hand. Its been a remarkable spiral in a very short window, different in that way from the infamous 18-wheeler collapse of 2012 which cost Ron Wilson his job. The Leafs couldnt emerge unscathed from that storm, but can they find a way out of this one? Pressure is building, time is ticking, and the race is kicking into high gear with the Blues, Flyers and Wings all on deck in the coming week. Concern was evident as they exited the visitors dressing room, one by one at Prudential Center, keen to the reality of whats at stake. “We lost five in a row here right so its building here,” said Kessel of the pressure. “Obviously we need some wins.” Five Points 1. The Struggle Continues His confidence all but shattered at this point, Reimer was yanked for the sixth time this season. He yielded three goals on 10 shots, his save percentage in relief of the injured Jonathan Bernier dipping to .889 in six appearances. The 26-year-old has not won a start in more than two months (Jan. 21). Of that sunken confidence, Reimer concurred. “Its never high after a loss obviously and getting pulled,” he said. “[But] as crazy as it sounds I know Im becoming a better goalie and obviously a better person.” Ever the optimist, Reimer explained why. “Its been a ton of adversity in many different forms,” he said. “And so when you can weather it and keep your chin up you just get better.” Appearing in just his fifth NHL game, Drew MacIntyre stopped all 14 shots he faced in place of Reimer. Where that leaves the Leafs crease with St. Louis on deck is unclear. Carlyle didnt know if Bernier (groin) would be available for the Tuesday affair. If hes not for the sixth straight game, its not hard to envision MacIntyre getting his first NHL start. 2. Finger Pointing The Leafs have been a poor defensive team all year, requiring fantastic goaltending most nights from Bernier to have success. Theyve not gotten such heroics in relief with Reimer. His days in Toronto soon to be numbered, Reimer could not fend off an odd-man rush late in the opening frame – Morgan Rielly caught up ice, Nazem Kadri stuck on a bad line change – beaten glove-side by Damien Brunner. Faked out by Patrik Elias when he snuck behind the defence on the second Devils goal, Reimer then yielded a late squeaker that ultimately drove the hook from Carlyle. “We havent helped him out one bit,” said Tyler Bozak, charged in his defence of Reimer. “Obviously its easy to pick on the goalie when things are going bad for a team. But its a team game. We win and lose as a team. We havent been playing near well enough to win games. It hasnt been him at all.” “Usually in this type of playoff atmosphere youve got to find a way to knuckle down and play a tighter brand of defensive hockey,” Carlyle ssaid.dddddddddddd“We seem to be able to give up those opportunities early and then we seem to tighten up as the game goes on.” 3. Season Gone Wrong Just a night before his first game back in New Jersey as a member of the Leafs, David Clarkson barely saw the ice. He played just eight minutes and 54 seconds in the 4-3 loss to Montreal, his lowest total (save for injury) since Nov. 5, 2010. A season gone wrong has seen no signs of let-up for the 29-year-old, who left the Devils last summer for a seven-year deal with the Leafs worth more than $36 million. From suspension to injuries to suspension to struggles to find a role, Clarkson has had few, if any, positives this season. “The way this years gone I could never imagine it,” said Clarkson, before facing his former team. His four goals and 10 points are matched by Dave Bolland, who missed nearly five months with an ankle injury, and Troy Bodie, who has garnered half the ice-time in 13 fewer games. Barring an unforeseeable late season surge, Clarkson would set career-lows in goals, points and shooting percentage (he missed 21 games) – his previous low for points coming in the 2010-11 season when he posted just 18 in 82 games, including only two on the power-play. And if there is one similarity to that year in Jersey to his first in Toronto its the power-play and his opportunity on it. When Clarkson exploded for 45 goals and 70 points in the two seasons which preceded his signing in Toronto he did so in large part because of the power-play. About a third of his production came that way in fact, the Mimico native totaling 14 power-play goals (31 per cent of the total) and 24 power-play points (34 per cent). His ice-time had not surprisingly sky-rocketed from where it had been previously (up to nearly four minutes per game a year ago). This season, that opportunity has tumbled back downward. Buried behind the more skilled likes of Kessel, van Riemsdyk, Bozak, Kadri, Lupul and Raymond, Clarkson has rarely seen the power-play – about 54 minutes total – and thusly has just two points from it. Combine that with a considerable drop in shot attempts and shooting percentage, far less crash and bang and an unending search for a clear-cut role and the season has simply evolved into a nightmare for the former Devil. He played 10 minutes on this night, stuck without a point for the 22nd time in the past 24 games. 4. Falling Behind When Brunner beat Reimer he gave the Devils a 1-0 lead and handed the Leafs their seventh straight deficit to start a game. They fell behind 2-0 for the fifth time in those seven games when Elias snuck by Rielly at the Toronto blue-line before faking out Reimer on the breakaway goal. Sluggish starts continue to be a problem for the Leafs. “Weve been playing from behind a lot lately and just been running out of time I guess you could say,” said Bozak. “Gotta have better starts and try and get a lead early.” The Leafs are now 8-19-4 when they trail after a period and 11-23-4 when their opponent scores first. Bozak and Kessel scored to slice the 3-0 deficit to one, but like their failed comebacks in each of the previous four losses, it was not enough. “Theres no easy way when youre down three on the road to think that youre going to consistently come back in the hockey game,” said Carlyle. 5. JVR Accountability Speaking after the game, James van Riemsdyk made sure to shoulder some of the blame personally for the Leafs failings. Though he had five shots and multiple opportunities on Schneider in a career-high 26 minutes, van Riemsdyk failed to score for the 10th time in the past 11 games. “Its my job to score goals and obviously right now its not good enough,” he said unprovoked on the subject. “Were not winning games, Im not scoring goals, and Ill have to be better.” Stats-Pack 1-6-0 – Leafs record in their past seven games. 7 – Consecutive games in which the Leafs allowed the first goal. 8-19-4 – Leafs record this season when trailing after the first period. 1 – Goal for James van Riemsdyk in the past 11 games. 10:00 – Ice-time for David Clarkson in his first game back to New Jersey. 26:14 – Ice-time for van Riemsdyk, a career-high. 36 – Goals for Phil Kessel, one off matching a career-high. .889 – Save percentage for James Reimer in place of Jonathan Bernier (six appearances). Special Teams Capsule PP: 1-4 Season: 20.8% (T-3rd) PK: 2-2 Season: 78.7% (28th) Quote of the Night “I think everyones just got to relax a little bit and give him some breathing space because we know James is a great goaltender.” - Nazem Kadri, on recent criticism of James Reimer. Up Next The Leafs return home to face one of the leagues top teams with the Blues visiting the ACC on Tuesday. ' ' '

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