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Home Opener at the Nat

The Vancouver Canadians returned home Monday night after dropping the final game of their three game set down in Tri-City against the Colorado Rockie affiliate Dust Devils. The C’s got another excellent effort from their starter, this time 2011 second round pick Jeremy Gabryszwski, who went six strong only giving up one earned on three hits. And once again, the offense outhit the opposition. If we’re going to point to any one thing so far, and the season is very young, it has to be the bullpen. Sunday, after Vancouver had scored three in the top of the seventh to take a 3-1 lead, Justin D’Allesandro gave up three earned in the bottom of the eighth, turning that lead into a 4-3 loss.

But, as I said, the season is still young, if your starters are working and the offense is clicking then things should be alright.

The fielding alignment got a bit of a shakeup Sunday, with shortstop Dickie Thon getting his first ever pro start at center field, Jason Leblebijian starting at short, and Andy Fermin at the hot corner.

Shaun Valierote made his first start of the season at DH. He went 0 for 4 with 4 strike outs, leaving him with the dreaded 100% K rate. Things can only go up for the Ontario native.

Monday saw what I would say is the C’s ‘starting lineup’. With Thon back at short, Leblebijian at third, Jorge Vega-Rosado at second, and Justin Atkinson at first. The outfield had Nico Taylor in left, Ronnie Melendez in center, and Ian Parmley in left.

Pre-Game intros done (photo courtesy of Charlie Caskey)

Pre-Game intros done (photo courtesy of Charlie Caskey)

Bobby Brosnahan got the start, and he was decent through four, giving up a run on four hits with four strike outs. His fastball was sitting in the 87 mph range but he was spotting it well and mixing in an upper 70s changeup. The wheels came off in the fifth though. He loaded the bases with a single, double, and a walk. Jamie Jarmon then hit a chopper up the third base line, Brosnahan fielded it on the back-hand and instead of spinnning and going home, he decided to go to first. An easier out, sure, but I think he had time to get the out at home.

A single followed, which prompted a pitching change. Unfortunately, as I mentioned above, the bullpen hasn’t been great so far, and tonight proved no exception. Tim Brechbuehler couldn’t stop the bleeding, in fact he made it worse. He only went a third of an inning allowing all the inherited runners to score on a triple by Cam Schiller. He then gave up four of his own. Brechbuehler is a big guy at 6’8″ but he really seemed to be falling off to the first base side and was leaving everything down and away.

After racking up eighteen hits over the their last two losses, the offence went awol in the home opener. Dan Klein had two hits (he also threw out three would be base-stealers) which was the highlight offesnsively. Nico Taylor also chipped in with a triple and run scored.

All in all, aside from the sun shining, the enthusiastic sell-out crowd, and Canadian legend Rick Hansen throwing a strike with the ceremonial first pitch, nothing went right for the C’s.

Canadian catcher Mike Reeves make his intros (photo courtesy of Charlie Caskey)

Canadian catcher Mike Reeves make his intros (photo courtesy of Charlie Caskey)

Baseball is a long season though, and tonight sees a chance at redemption. C’s returnee and 2011 21st round pick, Colton Turner takes the mound versus Kelvin Vasquez. Colton made fourteen appearances for Vancouver last year. Four of them as a starter. He put up some nice numbers, with a 1.165 WHIP and 1.57 ERA. He was walk happy though, with 4.5 per nine innings pitched. Meaning he put up a pedestrian 1.71 strike out to walk ratio.

Vasquez also looks prone to the base on balls. He started this year in the Sally League with the Hickory Crawdads (great minor league name alert) where he put up a 6.2 BB/9. He’s 6’4″ and only 180 pounds so the Rangers must be thinking that this kid will find some velocity once he starts to fill out.

Notes from the Pressbox:

My seat last night was next the Spokane radio team. I heard them discussing last night’s starter David Ledbetter. He was a third round pick in this year’s draft out of Cedarville University. So, naturally, I did a bit of research. Not only was it an off the wall pick for Texas as Cedarville is a very small school in Ohio, but they also picked up David’s identical twin Ryan in the 19th round. As per this piece, David is a decent prospect, and he did flash his sinker last night, averaging 92 mph on the stadium gun while mainly working the outer half of the plate. As far as first pro starts go, giving up a single hit with two strike outs has to be considered quite good. David has yet to make his pro debut.

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