Yankees clinch playoff spot with win over Blue Jays

TORONTO (AP) — The New York Yankees returned to the playoffs after a one-year absence, clinching no worse the a wild card with a 5-1 win over the Toronto Blue Jays on Saturday behind Greg Bird’s three-run homer.

Sonny Gray (10-11) allowed one run and four hits in six innings as the Yankees won for the 11th time in 14 games and at 86-68 matched their season high of 18 games over .500. New York celebrated its 53rd postseason berth in a low-key manner on the field after former-Yankee Rob Refsnyder hit a game-ending groundout off Aroldis Chapman, then sprayed bubbly in the visitors’ clubhouse.

Unless New York overcomes Boston’s four-game lead the AL East, the Yankees would play in the AL wild card game on Oct. 3, most likely against Minnesota. New York lost the wild card matchup to Houston 3-0 at home two years ago and has not won a postseason game since Derek Jeter broke an ankle in the 2012 AL Championship Series opener against Detroit.

Minnesota started the night with a 3 1/2-game lead over Texas for the second wild card and has been eliminated by the Yankees in four of its last five postseason appearances.

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Source:: Sportsnet.ca

Joe Biagini debate rages on after outing vs. Yankees

TORONTO – A question the Toronto Blue Jays will take into the off-season without definitively answering is what exactly Joe Biagini is as a starter. He’s demonstrated, tantalizingly, an ability to dominate at times, the way he did twice against the Baltimore Orioles this month. On the flip side, there are enough bullpen-sapping duds on his log to make you wonder whether the gems are actually the outlier.

Where the evaluation lands carries major implications on the team’s winter plans, which is why the five innings of three-run ball Biagini delivered in Saturday’s 5-1 loss to the post-season-bound New York Yankees is an intriguing entry into the discussion.

The right-hander was overpowering his first time through the lineup but really battled through the second, working around a double and a walk in the fourth inning thanks to a line-drive double play before Greg Bird followed a pair of walks in the fifth by lashing a first-pitch cutter over the wall in right field.

Biagini then walked Todd Frazier and only escaped the frame when Brett Gardner lined out to Ryan Goins at short and doubled off Frazier. That was it.

While still a marked improvement over his last start, when he failed to emerge from a second inning in which the Minnesota Twins pinned six runs, four earned on him, Saturday’s outing won’t help tip the scales since people on both sides of the debate can point to different things to support their view.

Using his four-seamer 54 times out of 74 pitches, he stuffed a tough lineup, allowing minimal hard contact for the first three innings, surrendering only a Chase Headley single. He struck out both Brett Gardner and Aaron Judge to open the game. That plays. But once the Yankees had seen …read more

Source:: Sportsnet.ca

Brad Rock: Dear Rudy, Jazz fans have some questions

To: Rudy Gobert

From: Joe Jazz Fan

Dear Rudy,

Hi there, Mr. Gobert. I’m Joe from Murray, and I’m writing on behalf of Jazz fans everywhere, speaking for them, too. I’m just passing this information along, so please don’t blame the messenger.

Let me say out front that I love your bodaciousness. Love it. The way you tried to get up and walk off the court after hyperextending your knee in the playoffs? That was flat-out John Wayneish. Then after two games on the mend, you scored in double figures in seven of the next eight.

I’ve known Marines that weren’t that tough.

I also liked the way you played it cool when Mr. Indecision took his Xbox to Boston. A lot of my friends got all panicky, with the Jazz now missing their leading scorer. Your response was to video yourself, grooving to music and wearing a look that said, “So what’s your point?”

Now the 2017-18 season looms and the question I’m posing is what happens next? (Asking for a friend.) Starting Monday, it gets real around here. That’s the first day of training camp. In theory, you guys will work your hearts out and everyone will pull together and the whole will exceed the sum of its parts. But then along come Curry and Durant and Westbrook and LBJ, and then you’re just an under-talented team in a star league.

So I’m wondering, what if the Jazz actually need Ricky Rubio to shoot? The man hasn’t made consecutive 3-pointers since “High School Musical” was big. What if the ball is in his hands for the final tick and he doesn’t dish?

When Rubio says “across the pond,” he’s not referencing the distance between America and Europe. He’s referring to the distance between the 3-point line and the rim. It’s that remote to him. Maybe his range …read more

Source:: Deseret News – Sports News