Sports Baseball

Pitcher Aaron Sanchez is seen during Game 5 of the AL Championship Series between the Blue Jays and Indians in Toronto on Oct. 19, 2016. The Blue Jays may have to rely on their starting pitching in 2017 to make another run for the playoffs. (Craig Robertson/Toronto Sun/Files)

Jays say pitching could be key

Scoring runs has rarely been an issue for the Toronto Blue Jays the past several seasons, as Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Bautista have slugged it out with the best power hitters in the game and blasted a couple of the most memorable home runs in franchise history.

Dave Dawson/The Packet & Times Orillia’s Bob Lamb recently won the Dick Willis Memorial Award that recognizes Canada’s top umpire. Lamb, who has been officiating baseball games at diamonds throughout the province for almost four decades, was named umpire of the year for Vaughan, then was named the York Simcoe Baseball Association's top umpire and capped the trifecta by winning the prestigious Dick Willis trophy.

Lamb named top umpire

Bob Lamb jokes that he is a "showboat" behind the plate - an umpire with a distinctive and demonstrative Strike 3 call that local baseball players know well. But he is also a devoted student of the game who knows the rules like a preacher who can quote scripture to fit any situation; he is an experienced diamond arbiter in demand throughout the pro

Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Brett Cecil. (Veronica Henri/Toronto Sun)

Jays losing reliever Cecil

When it comes to the always welcome left-handed help out of the bullpen, the Blue Jays got some grief on Saturday rather than relief.

Edwin Encarnacion reacts to his two-run double for the Blue Jays in Game 4 of the American League Championship Series against the Indians in Toronto on Oct. 18, 2016. (Stan Behal/Toronto Sun)

Encarnacion is Jays GM's top priority

On one side, the Toronto Blue Jays would love a quick resolution to the Edwin Encarnacion sweepstakes, allowing them to move on to the next chore on a lengthy off-season to-do list.

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