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The Weekend Preview

The Jays were swept in Baltimore last September

So, maybe my predictions weren’t that off in hindsight. After cruising through the opening game of the series, the Jays got beat up in the next two versus the Indians. Kyle Drabek has struggled mightily in his last few starts and didn’t make it out of the 1st inning in the Jays 13-9 loss on Wednesday.

With the off day in mind John Farrell made the controversial decision of pulling Drabek after having only faced eight batters. I’m sure Farrell will claim that he wanted to protect Drabek’s confidence, but he also has to give him a chance to work through rough outings. It’s possible Drabek settles down and the Jays slowly chip away at a 4-0 lead. Instead, Shawn Camp comes into the game (as the Jays new long reliever I guess) and promptly gives up 7 more, and after 3 innings the game is out of reach. If not for the lack of depth in the rotation, you’d have to give serious consideration to sending Drabek down to AAA because it’s been evident for awhile now that he’s just not ready.

All the momentum they had from their 4-game winning streak is gone, and they now head to Baltimore – a place that hasn’t been too kind to the Jays in recent memory. Carlos Villanueva gets his third start of the season versus Baltimore’s Zach Britton (5-3, 2.93 ERA). The Jays have fallen 4 games behind the surging Yankees, but are still only two back of the suddenly struggling Boston Red Sox, who were swept by the White Sox in Boston this week. If the Jays want to make up any kind of ground this month it will start with a successful road trip through Baltimore and Kansas City.

Although Baltimore and Kansas City have been bottom-dwellers for the longest time, a trip to Camden Yards and Kauffman Park never seem like a recipe for success for the Jays.

Brett Lawrie should make his debut at some point on this trip, but it’s not clear when that will happen. The Jays are being cautious with his bruised left hand, but expect him to debut most likely during the Kansas City series.

O'Neill helped the Raptors become very good defensively, but also historically inept offensively.

There hasn’t been any more word on who the Raptors are looking to hire, but Bryan Colangelo has strongly hinted that he wants a veteran coach with a defensive-minded philosophy. I think that’s a good thing for this franchise, for the fan base, and for the players. This team has been dead last in defence the past two seasons and it’s been painful to watch at times. Instilling a physical, tough, defensive culture is never a bad thing – unless your name is Kevin O’Neill. I really can’t go back to those days.

One word: wow! That’s all I could say after the Mavs stunning comeback last night. Suddenly, in one surprise twist, this series has legs and should prove to be a long, and difficult series for both teams. Miami will respond to this punch with one of their own in Dallas – that you can be sure of. It’s up to Dallas to take at least 2 of 3 at home and then look to steal one more in Miami to win the title. Game 3 goes Sunday at 8pm ET.

The Canucks used a stunning finish of their own in Game 1 when Raffi Torres scored with under 20 seconds left to break a 0-0 tie. As expected, Tim Thomas stood on his head and he’ll have to continue to do so all series for the Bruins to have any chance at all. However, the Bruins have faced this test of adversity all playoffs long, so don’t be surprised when the Bruins steal Game 2 and take away home ice advantage.

One last tidbit – if it’s a Nadal vs Djokovic final make sure to watch it. As much as we’ve been entertained by Roger and Rafa the last few years, tennis needs a new rivalry and this is it.

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