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Canada is off to an amazing begin in its Olympic baseball qualifier
Final evening, whereas a lot of the nation was glued to Sport 7 of the Habs-Leafs collection, Canada’s males’s baseball workforce did one thing fairly spectacular. Three of its pitchers mixed for a no-hitter as Canada crushed Colombia 7-0 to open its regional Olympic qualifying match in Florida. Andrew Albers, who had a cup of espresso with the Toronto Blue Jays in 2015 and now pitches for the Minnesota Twins’ triple-A affiliate, tossed the primary seven innings for Canada and did not permit a baserunner over his last six.
The WBSC Baseball Americas Qualifier, which runs by Saturday, will resolve one of many two obtainable spots within the six-team baseball match on the Tokyo Olympics, the place the game is again on this system for the primary time since 2008. It is also Canada’s final likelihood to qualify for Tokyo.
This is the way it works: The eight groups competing in Florida are divided into two teams. Canada, ranked thirteenth on the earth, is with No. 7 Cuba, No. 8 Venezuela and No. 14 Colombia. The opposite group is the No. 2 United States, No. 10 Dominican Republic, No. 11 Puerto Rico and No. 15 Nicaragua. Everybody performs the opposite groups of their group as soon as, and the highest two finishers in every group advance to the “tremendous spherical,” which takes place Friday and Saturday. The super-round groups every play two extra video games — towards people who superior from the opposite group — and the outcome from their group-stage recreation towards the opposite workforce carries over. The workforce with one of the best file after the tremendous spherical wins the match and the spot within the Olympics.
The groups ending second and third keep alive. They’re going to get one final likelihood to achieve the Olympics through the ultimate qualifying match in mid-June in Mexico (it was lately moved from Taiwan because of pandemic-related considerations). That five-team occasion can even embody Taiwan, Australia and the Netherlands. The winner will get the final ticket to Tokyo, the place they will be a part of the winner of the Americas qualifier, Japan, South Korea, Mexico and Israel within the Olympic match.
Baseball was a full-status Olympic sport from 1992 to 2008. Canada certified for 2 of these 5 tournaments, shedding the bronze-medal recreation to Japan in 2004 and failing to get previous the round-robin stage 4 years later. If Canada does not qualify for Tokyo, its subsequent likelihood will not come till at the least 2028. Native organizers have some say in what sports activities seem of their Olympics, and Paris (the 2024 host) opted to drop baseball. The 2028 Video games are in Los Angeles, a baseball hotbed, so there is a good likelihood the game returns to the Olympics then. Should you’re questioning about ladies’s Olympic baseball, it does not exist. However a ladies’s softball occasion has all the time mirrored the baseball competitors, and Canada has a workforce within the Tokyo match. It is ranked third on the earth.
Canada’s workforce for the Americas qualifier features a few names you may acknowledge. The longtime supervisor is former Blue Jays catcher Ernie Whitt, whose assistants embody ex-Jays pitcher Paul Quantrill and ex-Expos-and-Jays pitcher Denis Boucher. Along with Albers, the pitching employees options Scott Richmond, who made 29 begins for the Jays from 2008-09, and John Axford, who led the Nationwide League with 46 saves in 2011 for Milwaukee and performed for Toronto in 2018. Some guys you may bear in mind on different groups embody former Jays star Jose Bautista (Dominican), 2011 NL MVP runner-up Matt Kemp (United States) and longtime high quality beginning pitcher Anibal Sanchez (Venezuela). Read more about the Canadian roster here.
Canada’s subsequent recreation is tonight at 7 p.m. ET vs. Cuba. Its group-round finale is Wednesday at 1 p.m. ET vs. Venezuela. You may watch each these contests, and each different recreation within the match, reside on CBCSports.ca and the CBC Sports activities app. Here’s the link.
Edmonton’s CFL workforce has a brand new identify. Elks replaces Eskimos, which was dropped final 12 months after Washington’s NFL workforce made an identical transfer in response to elevated strain on sports activities franchises to cease utilizing Indigenous names and iconography. Within the meantime, the CFL franchise was calling itself the Edmonton Soccer Workforce. Read more about the name change and see the new logo here.
Just one Canadian is left within the French Open singles tournaments. Males’s No. 20 seed Felix Auger-Aliassime misplaced his first-round match at present to Italian Andreas Seppi. Girls’s No. 6 Bianca Andreescu suffered her personal first-round upset yesterday, and males’s No. 17 Milos Raonic withdrew earlier than the occasion began. The Canadian left standing is the one unseeded one, and the youngest: 18-year-old Leylah Annie Fernandez. Ranked 69th on the earth, the previous French Open women’ champion destroyed 78th-ranked Anastasia Potapova 6-2, 6-1 within the first spherical. Fernandez’ subsequent opponent is American Madison Keys, who’s seeded twenty third. Regardless of that, Fernandez is the slight betting favorite for Wednesday’s match. Read more about today’s French Open results here.
Canada scraped into the playoffs on the males’s hockey world championship. Often, the Canadian workforce can depend on a bunch of stars to affix after their NHL groups are eradicated from playoff rivalry. However the present mixture of well being considerations and journey restrictions has left Canada with none big-name gamers for this 12 months’s match in Latvia (Connor Brown and Adam Henrique are the workforce’s two main scorers). This led to Canada shedding 4 of its seven video games and almost lacking the playoffs for the primary time ever. However it backed into the quarter-finals after at present’s 3-2 shootout loss to Finland to shut the group stage.
And at last…
The Leafs have not received a playoff collection for the reason that Bush administration. W., however nonetheless, 2004 was a very long time in the past. Particularly when you think about that was the final post-season earlier than the NHL launched a wage cap. So, put one other means, one of many NHL’s richest groups has been unable to earn a playoff collection win because it may kind of purchase one. The majority of the blame for the newest failure — blowing a 3-1 collection result in a far much less gifted Montreal workforce after which no-showing Sport 7 — is falling on Toronto’s two greatest gamers. Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner completed, respectively, seventh and fourth within the regular-season factors race and Matthews scored 41 targets in 52 video games to run away with the Rocket Richard Trophy. However Matthews discovered the web solely as soon as within the seven-game collection vs. Montreal, and Marner has now gone 18 straight playoff video games with no objective. Since coming into the league collectively 5 seasons in the past, Matthews and Marner are 0-5 in playoff collection. Read more about the Leafs’ collapse vs. the Canadiens and watch highlights (lowlights?) here.
You are up to the mark. Have an excellent weekend.