Welcome to the schedule game! This is where one can look at a team’s schedule and decide how many wins and how many losses are left.

There really is no science required, but this game can be fun as one attempts to project the future. For example, here’s a chuckle from “Not” Sports Centre on Twitter: “After reviewing their new schedule, the NBA determined that the Sixers have been officially eliminated from playoff contention.”

Sitting 4 games behind Detroit and 3 1/2 back of Seattle, the Toronto Blue Jays are on the outside looking in for the final AL wild card playoff spot. With just 35 games left their chances look bleak, but wait just a moment. The schedule is actually in their favor and judging by the quality of their opponents they are within striking distance.

Again I caution, do not ever assume a victory in pro sports but odds suggest playing weaker teams should add up to more wins.

The 65-62 Jays play better at Rogers Centre (33-26) than on the road (32-36). They have 22 of their remaining 35 games (64 per cent) at home. Here’s more good news if you are a Blue Jays fan:

Their next 21 games are against teams not in a playoff spot. The Blue Jays host Tampa in a 3 game series this weekend followed by 3 with Boston and 3 against the Yankees to conclude a 9 game home stand. After that, it’s 6 on the road with 3 each vs. Tampa and Boston. Then the biggest break of them all: 3 home games Sept 8-10 against the Cubs. Following that, it’s three more at home vs. Tampa.

This leaves 14 games left: They visit Baltimore Sept 15-17 before a 4-game series at Yankee Stadium Sept 18-21. The Jays close with 4 at home against Seattle Sept 22-25 and 3 at home vs. Baltimore Sept 26-28. Sure the Orioles are formidable, but since they are dominating the AL East, Baltimore may not have the incentive by mid to late September compared to bubble teams. The O’s, at the end of the regular season, may rest some of their starters for the playoffs. The 4 home games against Seattle may be intriguing since the Mariners are one of the teams Toronto is within reach of catching.

In review, the Jays face Tampa 9 times, the Yankees 7, Boston 6 and Baltimore 6. In other words, 80 per cent of their remaining games are within their division. They also have 4 with Seattle and 3 against the lowly Cubs.

Offensively, Toronto is solid with a team batting average of .262, 4th in the majors. Defensively, the fielding is respectable with a .985 percentage, 8th out of 30. Pitching is another story with a whopping team ERA of 4.18 which is 24th.

The “schedule game” allows the Jays to be in better position than the standings would suggest but is their glass half full or half empty? Despite the so-called weaker opponents remaining, Blue Jays fans should refrain from “drinking their Kool-Aid”.

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There are so many international hockey tournaments it’s difficult to weigh the importance of each one. Under-18 is by no means World Junior or Olympic calibre but arguably it is a measuring stick where the up and coming stars are from. Building winning habits often bodes well for the future. Canada has virtually owned the U18 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup in Europe, having won the tournament seven straight years—winning 31 of 33 games over that period. Furthermore, Canada has captured 19 of 24 summer tournaments since 1991. This year, the domination was noteworthy. After a 6-2 victory over host Czech Republic in the final, Canada finished 5-0, winning each game by a minimum four goals. They outscored the opposition 32-10.

Canada’s 22 man roster included 8 players from the WHL, 8 from the OHL and 6 from the QMJHL. Jansen Harkins of the P.G. Cougars finished with two goals and four assists in the five games. This experience should allow Harkins to have a psychological edge as he prepares for his draft year, while taking on a leadership role heading into the Cougars training camp that starts this weekend.


From the Quote Rack
:

Cleveland Browns management says that they will handle Johnny Manziel’s tardiness to a team meeting internally—next time, he’ll have to produce a note from his bartender.

Big Ben just got its clock cleaned, but Buckingham Palace issued a statement telling people not to worry–it’s just the preseason.

Contributor Bill Littlejohn of South Lake Tahoe, California

At least two people were arrested for fighting in an autograph line for Florida State QB Jameis Winston. Although if they end up in jail, at least the folks have a chance to meet other football players.

The New Orleans Saints will visit the Cleveland Browns on September 14. After Monday’s salute Saints’ defenders won’t need bounties to want to knock Manziel’s head off.

Contributor Janice Hough of Palo Alto, California www.leftcoastsportsbabe.com

I’m not saying Johnny Manziel is too immature to be an NFL quarterback, but the Browns have him practicing the Statue of Puberty play.

Supermodel Chrissy Teigen admitted to being drunk while throwing a pitch at a recent MLB game. The Rockies and Rangers bullpens just look like they are.

Comedy writer RJ Currie www.Sportsdeke.com

For Johnny Football’s next game, the opposition sidelines will be serving finger food.

The great grandson of Aunt Jemima is suing product makers for $2 Billion in royalties. He claims they have been using her image and recipes without compensation since 1937. Following this case closely are families of Sara Lee, Betty Crocker and Tony the Tiger.

Comedy writer TC Chong of Vancouver (http://alwaysfunny.com/)

And in case you missed it:

The Bikini Basketball Association is scheduled to end its second season on Saturday. Admission to the final will be next to nothing.

Hartley Miller is the sports director and morning news anchor for radio station TheGoat94.3 His column appears weekly on hqprincegeorge.com. Send along a quote, note, or anecdote to hmiller@thegoatrocks.ca
Follow him on twitter: @Hartley_Miller