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no stranger to mounting postse
Posted on 5:45pm Aug 17, 2017
CHICAGO – Less than three hours before first pitch, holding court with the media in his cramped office at U. Enrique Hernandez Jersey .S. Cellular Field, manager John Gibbons reclined in his office chair, picked up his lineup card and smirked. "Looks much better, dont it? Looks much better." Edwin Encarnacion was back after a 33-game absence with a strained right quadriceps. His return came two games and three days after Adam Linds, who missed 28 games with a fractured right foot. Now is the time. Now is the time for the Blue Jays to emerge from a funk which has seen the club go 3-9, scoring only 30 runs in the clubs first 12 games of August. The bodies you see are the bodies they will have the rest of the way, barring injury. There will be additions, if not a waiver claim or an unforeseen trade, come September 1 when the rosters expand to as many as 40 players. Ryan Goins, optioned out when Lind returned and Anthony Gose, whos Buffalo bound to make room for Encarnacion, will certainly be back. There will be others, too, including possibly left-handed pitching prospect Daniel Norris, whos climbed each step of the ladder and is throwing lights-out baseball with the Bisons. The key is Encarnacion. That he missed one day short of six weeks and still sits tied for seventh in baseballs home run race, with 26 and having only just been passed by the Cubs Anthony Rizzo and the Angels Mike Trout, is an indication of the season hes having. So are his career highs in OPS (.959) and OPS+ (162). The slugger hit a first-pitch grand slam in his first at-bat for Buffalo on Wednesday night. "I was surprised the way I was seeing the pitches, Ive been seeing the pitches good in the four games in the Minor Leagues," said Encarnacion. "I was thinking it was going to be different with my timing and I saw the ball good right now and my timing is good. Well see now, here." Encarnacion started Friday nights game as the designated hitter. He said hes ready to play first base. Im almost 100 per cent. Im just going to take a couple of more days to be 100 per cent but Im ready to play," he said. "I dont feel any pain right now, I played four games down there and I feel great, no problem." "Hell have to play a little bit of first base, but when hes running hell be guarded a little bit," said Gibbons. "Cant do anything stupid." The Jays entered Fridays play three games back of Seattle and Detroit for the American Leagues second wild card spot. Toronto must sweep the White Sox in order to avoid losing ground on any individual day this weekend because the Mariners are visiting the Tigers. "Weve got a chance," said Lind. "Were definitely good enough to be in the playoffs, but that doesnt mean anything, youve got to go out and win games." Lind, who along with Casey Janssen has been a Blue Jay since 2006, was asked why he thought this team could give him his first crack at playoff ball.  "We were in first place for a couple of months," said Lind. "Some things fell apart but thats going to happen over the course of a season this long but were solid everywhere. Good staff, good bullpen, good lineup. We dont really have a great piece to anything but were solid across the board. Usually when that happens youre good enough to make the playoffs." The decision to send out Gose is three-fold: first, hes gone to Buffalo on option, which means he can be recalled in 10 days. Hes an outfielder and after Ryan Goins was sent out, the Jays had Gose and Reimold and only one backup infielder. Also, if one considered struggling Juan Francisco a candidate to be sent out, hed first have to clear irrevocable waivers. By keeping him on the 40-man roster, the Jays assure a full allotment of inventory come September 1. Gibbons acknowledged the threat of Franciscos power coming off the bench is worth it to keep him in the fold. "I will say the last couple weeks hes had his struggles," said Gibbons. "But hes also thrown some decent at-bats together. We need him to get going, too, theres no question about that. (With EE & Lind coming back) we can slide him down a little bit and hope he catches a few of em." If the Blue Jays are to be playing meaningful games in a month, they must salvage this road trip in its final two legs, Chicago and Milwaukee. As far as the lineup goes, what you see is what you get from here on out. Youre about to find out if its good enough. Howie Kendrick Jersey . Each day, TSN.ca provides the latest rumours, reports and speculation from around the NHL beat. Defensive Depth TSN Hockey Insider Pierre LeBrun is reporting the Toronto Maple Leafs have considerable interest in unrestricted free-agent defenceman Dan Boyle. Sandy Koufax Dodgers Jersey . The game had many controversial incidents that, upon closer inspection, were not as controversial as many believed. The Formations Toronto FC lined up in its usual 4-4-2 formation, with Nick Hagglund slotting in at right fullback and Bradley Orr at centreback in place of the injured Mark Bloom and Steven Caldwell, respectively.The St. Louis Blues will try to put the defending Stanley Cup champions on the ropes when they visit the Chicago Blackhawks for Game 3 of the Western Conference quarterfinals on Monday. The team will be without David Backes however, after the Blues captain left Game 2 early in the third period after a hit from Blackhawks defenceman Brent Seabrook. Patrik Berglund will take Backes spot in the lineup. St. Louis has jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series thanks to a pair of victories on home ice. Both games have gone beyond regulation, with the Blues beating Chicago 4-3 in triple overtime on Thursday before taking Saturdays OT battle by the same score. The Blackhawks won their second Stanley Cup title in four years in 2013, but the reigning champs need to turn things around on home ice in Games 3 and 4 or they could face an early exit from this springs postseason. Chicago did lose in the opening round in consecutive seasons after winning the Cup in 2010. Chicago had an excellent opportunity to tie the series on Saturday, as the Blackhawks overcame an early 2-0 deficit in Game 2 to grab a 3-2 edge in the third period. However, Vladimir Tarasenkos power-play goal tied the game with just 6.4 seconds remaining in regulation and Barret Jackman scored 5:50 into OT to hand St. Louis a 2-0 lead in the series. The Blues now have a commanding hold on the best-of-seven series heading into Mondays Game 3, though Blues goaltender Ryan Miller said he knows its been a lot closer than that. "The way these games have gone, you have to respect the fact that Chicago was a shot away in both of these games, too," said Miller. "Thats the weird part about hockey." Chicago snapped a lengthy shutout streak by Miller to get back in Saturdays game. But after three Chicago Blackhawks defensemen scored three straight goals against Miller, one of them took a series-changing penalty that the Blues exploited for the comeback victory. Brent Seabrooks charging major due to a check against Blues center David Backes led to Tarasenkos tying goal in the closing seconds of the third period. Millers shutout streak of 119 minutes and 27 seconds since allowing three goals on seven shots in the first period of Game 1 was snapped when Duncan Keith scored with 2:35 left in the second period to get the Blackhawks on the board. Seabrook and Michal Rozsival then beat Miller 1:45 apart in the third period to give the Blackhawks the 3-2 lead, but Chicago was later done in by Seabrooks game misconduct with 4:51 left iin regulation. Brett Anderson Jersey. Skating near full speed, Seabrook checked Backes in the face with his right shoulder, sending him head-first into the corner boards and sparking a scrum between the teams as Backes tried to get back on his feet. The St. Louis captain left the game after the hit and did not return. The fallout from the hit continues into Mondays game, as Backes status for Game 3 is up in the air. Seabrook, meanwhile, was suspended three games for the illegal check and defenseman Nick Leddy expects to enter Chicagos lineup in his absence. Initially it appeared Chicago may survive Seabrooks penalty and win Game 2. The Blackhawks killed off an initial 46-second 5-on-3 and were seconds from escaping with the win before Tarasenko beat Corey Crawford to the near side with a long shot from above the right circle. "Youre right there -- six seconds away," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "The other game was tough losing it with a buck and change (left) but today was brutal." The Blues converted only one of their nine power-play opportunities in the game, but they made that one goal count. After the break, Jackmans winner from the left boards squirted in between Crawfords legs with Max Lapierre creating a screen in front. Chris Porter and Kevin Shattenkirk scored first-period goals to give the Blues the early lead. Miller ended with 25 saves. "The way these games have gone, you have to respect the fact that Chicago was a shot away in both of these games, too," said Miller. "Thats the weird part about hockey." Crawford stopped 27 shots in the loss for the Blackhawks, who have received five of their six goals in the series from defensemen. Chicago hopes to regroup at the United Center, where it posted an impressive 27-7-7 record this season. That included a 2-0-1 record against the Blues during the five-game season series. The Blackhawks, of course, are no stranger to mounting postseason comebacks. Chicago trailed Boston 2-1 in the Cup Finals a year ago before winning three straight to take the series and also overcame a 3-1 deficit to eliminate Detroit in the 2013 Western Conference semifinals. Game 4 of this series is scheduled for Wednesday at the United Center. In addition to Backes, the Blues also could be without forwards Patrik Berglund (sprained shoulder) and Brenden Morrow (bruised foot) on Monday. Berglund has yet to play in this series and expects to be out again in Game 3, while Morrow sat out Game 2 and is questionable for this evenings test. 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