t he had it.Former Kings goalie Jonathan from miaowang123's blog

TORONTO -- Wasted season or expensive experimental test run? The much-vaunted 2013 Toronto Blue Jays returned to the drawing board after a season rife with underachieving closed Sunday. Mark Andrews Jersey . Questions abound after the dismal campaign. "We got off to a slow start and obviously it continued the entire year," GM Alex Anthopoulos said by way of understatement. The season opened April 2 with a home sellout of 48,857 fans at Rogers Centre for a 4-1 loss to Cleveland. Fast forward to Sunday and only two players -- shortstop Jose Reyes and catcher J.P. Arencibia -- remained in the starting lineup. And Reyes missed some 66 games inbetween with an ankle injury while Arencibia came into the season finale batting .195 with 21 home runs and 147 strikeouts in 473 at-bats. It seemed fitting that prior to the ceremonial first pitch Sunday, the PA system played "Pick Up the Pieces" by the Average White Band. The Jays finished last in the American League East at 74-88, compared to 73-89 last season when they finished fourth in the division. Fan Appreciation weekend closed out with an exciting but failed comeback in a 7-6 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays before a loud crowd of 44,551. Despite Sundays six-run rally, its has a been a rocky road for the Jays -- and a long long way from the optimism of spring training. "Its an exciting season. Everybodys seen the moves," star outfielder Jose Bautista said back in February. "All the bodies are here now. Its all on us now to perform. "We love that challenge and we have a confident, good group of players together. I think were going to go out and have a lot of fun and hopefully we remain healthy. If all that happens, the season should take care of itself. We should be in the playoffs and hopefully the World Series." Manager John Gibbons was slightly more circumspect back then. "We expect to win some things this year ... Weve just got to step up and answer the bell and fulfil those things. But that wont be easy. Theres a lot of good teams in the league." Owner Rogers dug deep into its expansive wallet to fund the new-look Jays, with the 2013 opening day roster coming in at a season salary cost of US$119.3 million (up from $83.7 million) the previous year. The expected starting rotation -- R.A. Dickey, Mark Buehrle, Brandon Morrow, Josh Johnson and Ricky Romero -- cost $46.75 million alone. It went south quickly, finishing with a combined 30-36 record -- with Dickey and Buehrle accounting for 26 of those wins. "I never would have expected the rotation to be the weak link on this team coming into the year. I would probably have said the bullpen was the area we were most exposed in," said Anthopoulos. Johnsons 2-8 season came at a cost of $13.75 million. Anthopoulos hardly mentioned the big right-hander Sunday, which suggests a qualifying offer might not be forthcoming. He did speak optimistically of Morrow making a return, however. The Toronto GM said he expects to learn his payroll number in October, although the figure will be fluid with case by case re-evaluation. "Were certainly not going to go backwards, from that standpoint," he said of the salary total. "Well continue to move forward." In his end-of-season media meeting, Anthopoulos kept returning to stability of starting rotation, or lack thereof. "Right now we have (pitching) volume. The question is is the quality of that volume enough? .... Were going to look to improve, no doubt about it. We have to." For Anthopoulos, even with great everything else, the team wasnt going to get to the playoffs with the kind of starting pitching it got this year. The Jays starting ERA (4.77 going into play Sunday) ranked 29th in the 30-team majors. And it seemed somehow fitting that pitching coach Pete Walker made a trip to the mound after just two outs in the first inning to speak to Todd Redmond, with a reliever already warming up in the bullpen. The bullpen was far better on the season, ranking 10th in the majors with a 3.39 ERA. Toronto ranked 16th in hitting in the majors, with a .252 average prior to Sunday. The team ranked fourth in homers, with 185. In addition to shoring up the starting rotation, help is needed at second base while the verdict may be out on catcher. And the team needs depth. Its bench was threadbare many games. Injuries certainly cost the Jays. Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion, Melky Cabrera, Brett Cecil, Maicer Izturis, Johnson, Morrow and Colby Rasmus, almost a third of the opening day roster, finished the season on the disabled list. Some of the injuries were of the rare or freak variety. Doctors found a benign tumour on Cabreras spinal cord. Pitcher J.A. Happ was sidelined after getting hit on the head, injuring his knee as he toppled. Rasmus exited after talking an accidental ball in the face from a teammate. The season also started on a disconnect with players missing a chunk of spring training due to the World Baseball Classic. Anthopoulos has decisions to make. He said the team will likely look to improve via trades more than free agency, saying the available menu does not look that strong. He said he has bullpen assets that could be used in trades. Nothing seems off the table. "No one has a no trade clause," the GM noted, adding "If we can improve in any area ... well look to do that." The team has options on Adam Lind, Mark DeRosa, Munenori Kawasaki and Casey Janssen. Topics up for discussion include what can be done to reduce the injuries that have ravaged the team the last two seasons. Also whether anything can be done to improve the artificial turf before the plan to replace it with natural grass is put into place. On the plus side, Gibbons will return as manager with a vote of confidence from Anthopoulos. "His in-game (management) is outstanding. Thats always been a strength of his. I think it comes down to myself as a general manager giving him a better rotation to work with." Ryan Goins and Anthony Gose showed like they belonged in the final weeks of the season. And Toronto has a choice of arms when it comes to fifth starters and beyond. But while there is an upside to those pitchers, says Anthopoulos, theres isnt a level of certainty. And there was a buzz about the team, with Kawasaki becoming an unlikely fan favourite for his quirks and occasionally timely hitting. Season attendance at the Rogers Centre was 2,536,562, up 436,899 from 2012. "Support has been great ... Whats been proven to everybody is this is definitely a baseball town," said Anthopoulos. "It has tremendous interest in the game." The question is what will the team need to do next year to keep the fans coming back? Seth Roberts Jersey .The ruling takes effect on Jan. 1 and stems from the debate surrounding Paralympic champion Markus Rehm, an amputee who won the national long jump title competing with a carbon-fiber prosthesis. Chuck Clark Jersey . -- The Los Angeles Clippers chose not to speak publicly about owner Donald Sterling before they faced the Golden State Warriors for Game 4 of their first-round series Sunday.TORONTO - Since being walloped 9-2 by visiting Nashville almost a month ago, the Toronto Maple Leafs have been flying high.A 4-3 shootout win Sunday over the Los Angeles Kings improved Torontos record to 9-1-1 since the Predators debacle. The Leafs (18-9-3) have won five straight, lead the league in scoring with 3.37 goals a game and are 13-0-0 when they score first.Still head coach Randy Carlyle isnt popping the champagne, despite back-to-back wins over Detroit and the defending Stanley Cup champion Kings. He believes the streaking Leafs have more in them.We think this groups got more to give, he said. We think we still have some areas we definitely need to clean up and work on. And were going to continue to be a work in progress, I think as every team is.The road will also get tougher. Toronto has played 20 games at home so far and, after one more Air Canada Centre date Tuesday with Anaheim, faces eight of nine games away from home.We have to skate, we cant turn that puck over and we have to establish that forechecking game, Carlyle said, detailing his recipe for success. Thats when were most effective.Carlyle has seen his team ride peaks and valleys. He knows things can go south quickly.Theres always danger. Pro sports is about danger, youre always living on the edge ... If you look at the schedule we have and the opponents we have coming, it can have a snowball effect. Wed like to keep this snowball rolling in our direction and not allow it to go in any other direction.After going up 2-0 in the first period on goals by Mike Santorelli and Cody Franson, Toronto wobbled late in the second period as Justin Williams and Dwight King scored three minutes 44 seconds apart.The Kings pulled ahead 1:02 into the third when Marian Gaborik, taking a slick pass from Williams, beat James Reimer on the second try after the goalie stopped the first shot. The Leafs answered on the power play with James van Riemsdyk redirecting a Franson pass past Jonathan Quick at 6:49 for his 13th goal, making it 3-3.Reimer had the last laugh in the shootout, stopping Gaborik, Dustin Brown and Anze Kopitar. He is now 9-9 in shootouts, having stopped 41 of 60 attemptsJoffrey Lupul scored the lone goal for Toronto in the shootout, beating Quick. Tyler Bozak and Santorelli missed.Theyre a good team, said Kings defenceman Drew Doughty. I think maybe we could have deserved a little bit better if we had got off to a better start. Iman Marshall Jersey. But we didnt and thats why we lost.It was a game that took a while to reach the boil but the third period was fast-paced and entertaining before an Air Canada Centre crowd of 19,219 on a rare 5 p.m. local time Sunday start.Los Angeles outshot the Leafs 33-30 in regulation and 36-31 in total. Torontos second line of Nazem Kadri, Santorelli and Daniel Winnik excelled for the home side.The Kings (15-10-6), who wrap up a five-game road trip in St. Louis on Tuesday, have lost four of their past five and are 4-4-2 in their last 10.We need to play desperate, said Doughty, because were losing points and were slowly getting out of the playoff spots. So we definitely need to start paying attention to the standings and win more games.The frustration is building for the defending champions.Were used to winning, said Doughty. We have a lot of winners as players on this team and as an organization. Its definitely frustrating. But we need to get through it as players together and get to where we know we can be.The second period has belonged to the Leafs this season with a league-high 41 goals. But the Kings ruled this time.Williams cut the lead to 2-1 with his eighth goal at 16:02. The King winger beat Jake Gardiner on a rush, helped somewhat by a lucky bounce, and swept the puck in past Reimer. King then tied it up at 19:46, twisting Franson inside out en route to the goal from the corner before neatly depositing the puck past Reimer, who thought he had it.Former Kings goalie Jonathan Bernier got the night off after helping the Leafs to a 4-1 win over visiting Detroit on Saturday. It was Reimers second start in 11 games, a stretch that included a stellar 41-save performance in a road win over the Wings on Wednesday.Santorelli, celebrating his 29th birthday, opened the scoring at 14:00 of the first when he came from behind the net, after taking a deft pass from Winnik, and beat Quick high stick-side for his sixth of the season.Trevor Lewis had a glorious chance for the Kings late in the period when, with Reimer face down, he hit the bottom of the goalpost and the puck bounced under the goalie.Franson made it 2-0 with 30 seconds left in the first period, floating a shot through traffic from the blue-line for his fifth goal of the season.Toronto emerged from the period with the lead despite being outshot 11-8 and losing 16 of 20 faceoffs.Follow @NeilMDavidson on Twitter ' ' '

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