June 30 2019, Vancouver- The Vancouver Canadians returned home to Nat Bailey Stadium after a tough week on the road. Upon their return, they WON their first series of the season. Coming home, the Canadians sat at a record of 3-11, and were in the midst of a six game losing skid.
On the road the Canadians continued many of their trends, stranding baserunners, and failing to convert on scoring chances. The second home stand of the season started with the seasons first series win over the Spokane Indians, which was followed with the Hillsboro Hops first trip north of the border.
Game 1, Friday June 28th:
The first game back home did not go as planned for the Canadians, as they dropped their seventh game in a row, this time in front of their home fans. The performance was uninspiring, an 8-2 trouncing on their home diamond. The loss put the C’s back seven games of the north division leaders, the Spokane Indians; who were their opponents on the day, and dropped their record to a franchise worst start to the season at 3-12.
William Gaston got the ball for the C’s in this one, but the forgettable performance cannot be accredited to him alone. Considering the circumstances and how the team had performed so far, he actually did quite well. Gaston struck out three of his first four batters. Although, as has been the case more often than not this year, he did not get any run support and was hurt more from the teams spotty fielding. The first inning included two errors, derailing the train before it even got out of the station. A throwing error from Ronny Brito on a routine toss to first base allowed one hit, and was followed up with another error from Ryan Sloniger- allowing all runners to advance. After errors had gotten on two base runners, Gaston threw in one of his own, allowing the first run on a wild pitch. After the error ridden first inning, the C’s would adopt that fashion for the rest of the day, nothing improved from that point on.
Gaston only last 1.2 innings- giving up four hits, three runs, not good numbers by any means. The only positive from his performance is that of his five outs, four were strikeouts. Other than that, a pretty bad outing for the Cuban.
In an effort to thwart the onslaught of errors, manager Casey Candeal opted to throw in his pitcher with the highest ERA, that being Nicolas Medina. He had one of his better performances of 2019, but was unable to help the c’s out much through his three innings of work. While he did pitch the most innings of any Canadian in this one, the two runs he allowed did not help the team, or his own stats in any way.
The Canadians trialed by six runs after six fielding innings, and wouldn’t get on the board themselves until the bottom of the sixth. Vancouver’s middle of the order would load the bases for catcher Ryan Sloniger, who hit a single to bring in Yorman Rodriguez and Luis De Los Santos for the only two runs of the day.
The Indians continued their fine form with their win against the sub-par C’s, and extended their lead atop the division to two games. The win was accredited Triston Polley, although the starter- Ricky Vanasco was by far the most impressive pitcher on the day.
Game 2, Saturday June 29th:
The Vancouver Canadians were out to break their slump in front of a sold out crowd Saturday night at the nat bailey, and break it they did. The C’s put on a CONVINCING 4-0 win over the Indians, the polar opposite of their performance the night before. The game was the second of the season to be showcased nationwide on Sportsnet Pacific, and the Canadians showed the rest of the country what they were truly capable of on a good day.
It was Vancouver’s first shutout of the season, Gabirel Ponce pitched brilliantly under the bright lights on national TV, and for that matter so did Randy Pondler. The pitching tandem was the fewest number of pitchers the C’s used this season, in a game that was a very good performance all-round. Ponce threw the first 3.2 innings- allowing one hit while posting a pair of strikeouts. He was relieved by second year C Randy Pondler, who finished off the game, completing the shutout with another two strikeouts of his own.
The offense which had seemed was yet to be found finally showed up on Saturday night, as the Canadians put four runs on the board for the seventh time this year. Up until this point the Canadians had only won once in the other six times they got four plus runs, so it was a pleasant sight to see the fielding support the runs for a change.
The Canadians got their first, and winning runs in the fourth inning when Rodriguez batted in Trevor Schwecke with a line drive into left field. The RBI was Rodriguez’s fourth RBI of the year, and was a good example of how he has changed his approach at the plate in 2019.
Vancouver would get their three other insurance runs in the seventh inning, although those runs proved to be unneeded as the Canadians pitching staff and fielding held the Indians run-less on Saturday night.
Yorman Rodriguez, who got the first RBI of the day also had two hits, continuing his impressive season for Vancouver.
Unfortunately it was not all fun for the Canadians on Saturday, centre fielding Dominic Abbadessa had to be pulled out of the game after a collision with Spokane’s catcher Scott Kapers. The collision came in the fifth inning, when Kapers blocked abadessa’s pathway, leading the two to collide at full speed. There was no word on the status of Abbadessa, however he was not in the lineup of Sunday afternoon.
Overall Saturday was the most complete performance for Vancouver. Their pitching was as good as it has been all year, and it finally got the run support it was looking for. That line could also be flipped, as up until this point- only one side of the game has shown up for the Canadians.
Game 3, Sunday June 30th
Saturdays performance certainly gave the home team high hopes heading into Sunday, as the Canadians strung together consecutive wins for the first time this season, and won their first series in 2019. The walk-off win brought the C’s within six games on Spokane for the lead in the north divison.
the first three innings were very uneventful for both teams, with both teams fielders doing a fine job at holding runners on the bases. Juan Diaz was sent to the mound for the Canadians, and did a fine job in his third start of the season. Diaz finished the day going a full five innings, the most he has done this season. meanwhile striking out two and only allowing three hits. He was relived by Joshua Almonte in the sixth inning. Almonte pitched two clean innings in his brief appearance, before being relived by Gage Burland who allowed three runs in his one inning of work.
For Spokane it was Joshua Javier who was also making his third start of the season, however it has not been as smooth sailing for him up to this point. Sunday was his longest outing of the season at five innings, prior to Sunday he had only pitched four complete innings.
After three innings of scoreless baseball, the deadlock was finally broken in the fourth. Spokane’s LF Obie Ricumstruct began the inning with a single, then stole second and got to third thanks to a Jonah McReyolds ground out. at this point Vancouver had two outs on the board, while Ricumstrict stationed himself at third base. second year Indian Starling Joseph got his seventh RBI of the season, reaching first on a slow hiot- and scoring Ricusmstrict to give Spokane the first run of the day. The throw to first base was too slow on part of the Canadians, allowing Joseph on base and the run to score. the run was scored as unearned against C’s starter Diaz, who had no part in the slow pitch for the first base out. The Canadians would put out Spokane catcher Fransico Ventura to end the inning.
The Canadians responded immediately with some offense of their own. the Canadians did something that C’s watcher have not been accustomed to this year, a home run. Rodriguez hit a solo home run as the first Nat Bailey home run of the season, and the second total for the Canadians to tie the game. the Canadians would get no further offense, but the ball flying into the “Hey Ya’ll outfield porch” was a welcome sight for Vancouver’s baseball fans.
Vancouver had a prime chance to grab the game by the neck in the seventh inning, as the home-side loaded the bases with a pair of singles and a walk. the downside? by the time the bases were full, Spokane already had two of their outs, and oh yeah… the C’s like to strand runners. Not straying from the script, the C’s stranded all three runners once again, thanks to a fly out off the bat of Adrian Ramos.
While the Canadians were unable to covert, the case was certainly different for the Indians, who loaded the bases on their own in the top of the eighth. the inning began with Kennen Irizarry and Kellen Strahem hitting singles, and both were given a helping hand through the basepath due to a Canadians error. Irizarry came into score on Christian Inoa’s single, giving the Indians the lead- and loading the bases all in a single hit. With the bases loaded Ricumstrict and Joseph collected two more RBI’s extending the visitors lead to 4-1 after eight at bats.
It would not be long until the Canadians would respond, as Vancovuer got back to scoring in their half of the eighth. A pair of walks, complimented by some singles led to Rodriguez collecting yet another hit and RBI, to further shine his already elite season. that hit would load the bases for Vancouver, and this time they did not waste the opportunity. 2018 home run leader McGregory Contreras had the chance for a grand slam, although he failed to deliver upon that. after him was Ryan Sloniger, who was finishing his first home series with Vancouver. Sloniger hit a single up centre field, sending in two runners to tie the game up at four after eight.
The ninth inning was exactly what the C’s ordered. Walks, and singles loaded the bases and set the stage for the theatrically pleasing walk-off win, and win they did. Luis De Los Santos’s sacrifice fly brought in the winning run, and the Canadians won their first series of 2019.
C of the Series:
Is this getting repetitive, or is Yorman Rodriguez really playing that well? For the second time this season Roriguez is awarded chesterfieldsports.net’s “C of the Series.” Throughout three games vs Spokane, the third year Canadian continued his good form, and raised his batting average to second best in the league.
While the offense has been absent for the C’s as a whole, Rodriguez has consistently been performing at a high level- and nothing proved that more than the series against thje Indians. on Sunday he became the first Canadian this season to hit a home run at the Nat Bailey, and collected three hits and two RBI on what was a very succesful day for the 21 year-old Venezulean.
In his last two years with the C’s it appeared that he was always swinging for the fences, trying to hit the ball 500 feet on every at bat. this year, he’s changed his approach. he is more conservative at the plate, realizing that getting on base can help just as much- or more than home runs. That change in philosophy is what has led him to the best average on the team. Other than his offensive output, he has shown his versatility on defense, playing as a catcher, and a first baseman throughout the season. all of these reasons attribute to his good season, series, and second “C of the Series” award.
With their first series victory in their back pocket, the Canadians now welcome the south divison leading Hillsboro Hops to town for a three game series, including a sure to be sold out crowd on Monday night for Canada Day.
For all of your C’s coverage in 2019, keep checking chesterfieldsports.net, and look up the C’s Plus Podcast- available wherever you find your podcasts.