Gary Carter by the numbers

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As we mourn the passing of Hall of Fame catcher Gary Carter, here’s a look at the numbers for “The Kid.”

– Carter played 19 seasons in the big leagues before retiring after 1992; 12 with the Expos, five with the Mets and one each with the Giants and Dodgers.

– He hit .262/.335/.439 with 324 homers and 1,225 RBI in 7,971 at-bats.

– Carter was named to 11 NL All-Star teams and won three Gold Gloves and five Silver Sluggers. He finished as high as second (1980) and third (1986) in the NL MVP balloting.

– Among those who played at least 50 percent of their games as catchers, Carter is tied for fifth all-time in homers. He ranks seventh in RBI and ninth in runs scored.

– Baseball-reference’s WAR rates him among the NL’s top eight position players every year from 1977-85. He was second in 1982, when he hit .293/.381/.510 with 29 homers and 97 RBI.

– In the 1980s, there were seven 100-RBI seasons for catchers: four by Carter and one each from Lance Parrish, Ted Simmons and Carlton Fisk.

– Carter led the NL with 106 RBI in 1984. The only catcher since to lead his league in RBI was the Phillies’ Darren Daulton in 1992.

– Carter is the last player to hit two homers in an All-Star Game, doing so in 1981. He won the All-Star Game MVP award that year and again in 1984.

– A member of the World Series champion Mets in 1986. He hit .276 with two homers and nine RBI in the seven games against the Red Sox that year. Overall, he hit .280 with four homers and 21 RBI in 30 postseason games.

– Fourth all-time in games caught at 2,056. The only players with more are Ivan Rodriguez (2,427), Fisk (2,226) and Bob Boone (2,225).

– Retired as the game’s all-time leader in putouts by a catcher. He’d since been passed by Rodriguez, Jason Kendall and Brad Ausmus.

– Along with Yogi Berra, Jim Sundberg and Kendall, Carter is one of just four players to catch at least 90 percent of his team’s games in five different seasons (stolen from Tim Kurkijan’s fine obituary on ESPN.com).

Young Blue Jays say they aren’t intimidated by top seed Rays

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) When the Tampa Bay Rays and Toronto Blue Jays opened the pandemic-delayed season a little over two months ago, there was little to indicate the AL East rivals might meet again to begin the playoffs.

While the Rays launched the truncated 60-game schedule with expectations of making a strong bid for their first division title in a decade, the Blue Jays generally were viewed as an immensely talented young team still years away from postseason contention.

Tampa Bay didn’t disappoint, shrugging off a slow start to go a league-best 40-20 and claim the No. 1 seed in the AL playoffs that begin Tuesday.

Lefty Blake Snell, who’ll start Game 1 of the best-of-three wild-card series against Toronto at Tropicana Field, also isn’t surprised that the eighth-seeded Blue Jays earned a spot, too.

The Rays won six of 10 games between the teams during the regular season, but were outscored 48-44 and outhomered 17-11.

And while Toronto (32-28) lacks the playoff experience Tampa Bay gained last season when the Rays beat Oakland in the AL wild-card game before falling to Houston in the divisional round, the Blue Jays are building with exciting young players such as Cavan Biggio, Bo Bichette and Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

“They’ve got a lot of young guys who can ball over there,” Snell said. “It’s going to be fun to compete and see how we do.”

Rays defensive whiz Kevin Kiermaier said Tampa Bay, in the playoffs in consecutive seasons for the second time franchise history, will not take the Blue Jays lightly.

“We know we’re playing a real good team,” Kiermaier said. “It’s not going to be easy, regardless of what a team is seeded.”

The Blue Jays, who’ll start right-hander Matt Shoemaker, aren’t conceding anything.

Bichette said he and his teammates respect how good Tampa Bay is, but are not intimidated by facing the No. 1 seed.

“I would say that we didn’t care who we played. I would say that we didn’t mind playing Tampa, that’s for sure. We’re familiar with them. We’ve played them well,” Bichette said.

“I think we’re confident in our ability against them. Our talent matches up well,” Bichette added. “We think if we play well we’ve got a good chance.”

NO FANS

The stands at Tropicana Field will be empty, leaving players to wonder what the atmosphere will be like for the playoffs.

Tampa Bay routinely rank at or near the bottom of the majors in attendance, but usually pack the stands in the domed stadium during the postseason.

“It will be different,” Bichette said. “Normally when you think of your first postseason you think 40,000, you think about not being able to think it’s so loud, stuff like that.”

The Blue Jays open the playoffs near where they hold spring training in Dunedin, Florida. It’s been a winding road for Toronto, which played its home games in Buffalo, New York, at the site of its Triple-A affiliate after the Canadian government barred the Blue Jays from hosting games at their own stadium because of coronavirus concerns.

CONFIDENT RAYS

Tampa Bay’s five-game loss to Houston in last year’s divisional round was a source of motivation during the regular season.

“It definitely lit a fire under everybody. It really showed us we belong. … We gave them a tough series,” second baseman Brandon Lowe said.

“We won the wild-card game. We belong in the postseason. I think that did a lot for us to understand that we should be in the postseason and we can go a lot farther. We know what to expect this time around. I think everyone in our clubhouse expects to be playing until the end of October,” he said.

CLOSE FRIENDS

Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash has the Rays in the playoffs for the second time. His close friend and former Rays third base and bench coach Charlie Montoyo is in his second year as manager of the Blue Jays, who last made the playoffs in 2016.

“Pretty special,” Cash said of his relationship with Montoyo.

“I really learned a lot from him being around him. The way he carried himself. His hand print is throughout this organization,” Cash added. “A pretty big impact and a positive one. … When they clinched I talked to him, we face-timed at 1:30 in the morning. I’m so happy for him.”