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to do this the hard wa

Postby huangjian123 » Thu Sep 13, 2018 2:07 am

TORONTO — Jose Bautista will return to the scene of some of his biggest moments in baseball Tuesday night when the New York Mets visit the Toronto Blue Jays.

The Mets and Blue Jays will play a two-game interleague series at the Rogers Centre Riley Reiff Jersey , where Bautista starred for the better part of nine years.

The Mets will start right-hander Zack Wheeler (2-6, 4.47 ERA) against Blue Jays right-hander Marco Estrada (4-7, 4.53) in the series opener.

While the Blue Jays (39-45) were losing 3-2 in 10 innings on Monday afternoon to the Detroit Tigers at the Rogers Centre, the Mets (33-48) had the day off. It gave Bautista a chance to renew acquaintances in Toronto.

“I have some stuff scheduled, to meet up with people who were part of my life when I was there and visit some of the usual spots,” Bautista told reporters in Miami, where the Mets played last weekend. “It’s definitely a place that I hold dear and close to my heart. It’s going to be a fun time.”

Bautista twice led the American League in home runs with the Blue Jays, hitting 54 in 2010 and 43 in 2011. His most famous home run came in 2015 at the Rogers Centre, a three-run blast with an iconic bat flip that won the American League Division Series in the fifth and deciding game against the Texas Rangers.

He played 1,235 regular-season games for the Blue Jays from 2008 to 2017, hitting 288 homers (second only to Carlos Delgado’s 336) with 776 RBIs (third on the team’s career list).

Bautista also had an influence on his teammates.

“He was a huge help in my development,” Blue Jays center fielder Kevin Pillar said. “There was a time in my first full year when I went from left to center and I was making some plays and I kind of earned his respect and he metaphorically gave me the keys (to the outfield) and told me to go get anything I could. And my voice became the voice in the outfield. That was pretty special to me.”

When the Blue Jays did not pick up the option on his contract for this season Chris Jones Jersey , he became a free agent. He did not have a team until the Atlanta Braves signed him on April 18. After a minor-league stint, he struggled with the Braves for 12 games and was released May 20. The Mets signed him May 22.

In 36 games with the Mets, the 37-year-old is batting .250/.418/476 with three homers and 13 RBIs. In his past 14 games, he is hitting .300/.462/.650 with three homers and 10 RBIs.

“I’m not surprised by what he’s doing,” Mets manager Mickey Callaway said. “He probably just needed some at-bats to get going and now we’re seeing the byproduct of him being ready. I’ve always known he’s a really good hitter. He keeps himself in really good shape. He’s probably in the best shape of anybody on our team and is (the oldest player on the team). Great approach, great patience, still has bat speed.”

“Not having a spring training, wanting to swing the bat and some other things might’ve played into me not (reaching base) as much in Atlanta,” Bautista said.

Bautista always has been a versatile player. He played mostly right field with the Blue Jays but also manned third base and occasionally first base. He has played 12 games in left field for the Mets, 10 in right field, two at third base and one at second base.

This will be the second series between the teams. They split two games on May 15-16 at Citi Field.

Wheeler was the losing pitcher on May 16, a 12-1 Blue Jays victory Lawrence Taylor Jersey , in his only career outing against Toronto. He allowed six runs, seven hits and three walks and struck out seven in four innings.

Estrada is 0-2 with a 7.27 ERA in seven career games (two starts) against the Mets. He struggled earlier in the season but is 2-1 with a 2.35 ERA in his past five starts.

Andrew Wiggins left Minnesota’s arena on Monday night with the hope that Denver would lose and, thus, secure the Timberwolves a spot in the playoffs.

He planned to track the Nuggets on his smartphone like most of his teammates, but there was no viewing party in the works or anxious huddle around the high-definition television in the locker room.

The Timberwolves mostly were just relieved they did their part by beating Memphis, considering way they’ve playing lately.

”It’s our fault for leaving it up to chance,” Wiggins said. ”So we’ve just got to wait and see.”

Fittingly for a once-promising season that has become a slog to the finish, the Wolves wound up watching the Nuggets rally past Portland about an hour after they left the court at Target Center. That kept Denver tied with Minnesota at 46-35 for eighth place in the Western Conference with two days remaining on the schedule.

Well, guess who their final opponent is? The Nuggets will bring a six-game winning streak to Target Center on Wednesday night.

”If it was easy it wouldn’t be fun,” center Karl-Anthony Towns said after practice Tuesday. ”If it was easy it wouldn’t be the Minnesota way.”

The Wolves’ last trip to the playoffs ended with a loss in six games to the Los Angeles Lakers in the conference finals in 2004, when Kevin Garnett was patrolling the post. Towns? He was 8 years old. Wiggins was 9.

”They’ve prepared themselves all year for this,” coach Tom Thibodeau said Kyle Wilber Jersey , expressing confidence in the team’s young cornerstones to perform up to the task despite missing critical postseason experience.

With the Nuggets and Wolves only one game behind New Orleans, Oklahoma City and San Antonio, the winner could receive quite the reward. Both Denver and Minnesota can still finish as high as fifth.

There’ll be some relief and satisfaction just to be part of the 16-team tournament after the 82-game grind, but avoiding the eighth seed and a matchup with league-leading Houston would be preferable. Same goes for seventh place and pairing with defending NBA champion Golden State, a daunting foe even if star Steph Curry isn’t cleared yet to return from his knee injury.

The Wolves were in control of a spot in the playoffs, as high as third place, for most of this season until Jimmy Butler’s absence began to catch up to them and their primary competitors in the West cranked up their games. The Wolves have won both games with Butler back from the meniscus cartilage injury in his right knee, after going 8-9 without him, but losing at home to the Grizzlies two weeks ago even with their emotional leader and best all-around player missing was still inexcusable. Just one more win, and they’d already be safely in.

Nothing ever comes easy for this snake-bitten franchise, though, a history that Towns and Wiggins are well aware of.

”I’ve been here my whole career now Chris Doleman Jersey ,” Wiggins said. ”So it’s about time we do something.”

The Nuggets have their own long-frustrated fan base, with their last appearance in the playoffs coming in 2013. The last time they passed the first round was 2009, one of the franchise’s three trips to the Western Conference finals since joining the NBA. The others were in 1978 and 1985.

Seven of Denver’s last nine opponents are headed to the playoffs. The other two were against the Timberwolves, without Butler, and the Los Angeles Clippers, the only other teams in the league that haven’t clinched but sport winning records. The Nuggets eliminated the Clippers (42-39) by beating them on Saturday.

They’ve had to do this the hard way, too.

”We wouldn’t want it any other way,” guard Gary Harris said.

The Nuggets have produced a remarkable series of clutch performances, with fourth-quarter moxie pushing them to this point as much as any specific skill or strength. They held the Blazers to just 33 points in the second half on Monday night, further galvanizing their belief that not only can they make the playoffs but be a factor once they begin.

”It’s as high as it can be,” coach Mike Malone said. ”I don’t know if it can get any higher. To not play your best basketball and still find ways to win is a really encouraging and confidence-building type of feel.”



AP Sports Writer Arnie Stapleton in Denver contributed to this report.



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