There truly is no rest for the defeated. After falling to Everett in the decider of their three game series, the Canadians were right back at the Nat with five against the South division leading Salem-Keizer Volcanos. To add more to the overall malaise, Thursday’s game wasn’t decided until the twelfth inning when the C’s committed two of their four total errors for an unearned winning run. Fours errors and five hits, generally speaking, you won’t win very many of those games. I’m surprised it even got to twelve.
The C’s took three of five against the Volcanos in mid June, just the third series of the season. After that though, Salem-Keizer went on to win the South division first half flag. They are currently leading the second half as well, with a two game lead over the Boise Hawks. With the C’s now a game back of the Spokane Indians, this series is crucial.
Shane Dawson pitched pretty wel on Fridayl for Vancouver, unfortunately for the C’s though, Salem-Keizer’s starting pitcher, 2012 23rd rounder Andrew Leenhouts, threw better. To be honest, I couldn’t figure out why the C’s hitters weren’t able to barrel Leenhouts up, as his velocity was by no means plus. He was spotting all three of his pitches where he wanted them. It’s an age old mantra, but it’s true. If you keep hitters off balance, you’ll be successful. I don’t think any of the Canadians could say they felt comfortable against the twenty-three year old leftie.
Dawson, on the other hand, was struggling to hit his spots, especially with his secondary offerings. His change up didn’t have it’s usual arm side run and his slider had no bite. Discussing the start, pitching coach Jim Czajkowski said Dawson ‘had no confidence in his fastball, which, in turn, impacts the changeup, as he was struggling with his arm speed.’ He also noted the lack of movement on his slider. Something I failed to pick up as they weren’t breaking at all, which made them look like a change.
He only really gave up two hard hit balls, both doubles. One was a first pitch fastball that was up and in. The hitter was obviously sitting first pitch fastball and jumped on it. The second was in the third, a hanging slider (which I originally thought was a change) got hammered to straight away center field.
Shane also hit two batters while walking two, which is distinctly un-Dawson like. One pitch that was working was the curve. He was throwing his usual 12-6 slower offering as a back door strike to right-handers. I had him throwing five in total, all for strikes. Dawson is also working on a slightly quicker version which breaks harder down and in. He threw an absolute beauty to Leo Rojas in the third which was ticked and dropped by Matt Hitt for what could have been strike three. Dawson was visibly frustrated and it was the next pitch that was crushed to center.
Notes from the Pressbox:
This post was started and not finished (in time), so will do an extended speed round of NFTPB as I was able to speak to all three coaches (plus a bonus chat with roving instructor Paul Quantrill) after Friday’s game.
Speaking to C’s manager Clayton McCullough, he wasn’t exactly sure of the details about the Sean Ratcliffe call up to the C’s before being put on the temporary inactive list. It has something to do with who has roster space, but I couldn’t (nor can be bothered to really search) get the exact details.
Regarding the shortstop situation. With Dickie Thon Jr pulling up lame on his first at bat back from injury, it was decided to put him on the DL and promote Dawel Lugo. By the sounds of it, Thon is done for the year, and Lugo will be getting the reps at short for the rest of the season. McCullough complimented the work of Christian Vaszquez and said he’ll still look to work him into the lineup at third and second where possible.
In addition to discussing Shane Dawson with Big Jim as per above, we also talked about Jeremy Gabryszwski and pitch counts. After getting hit hard in Boise, the C’s looked to make a few mechanical changes with the big Texan. By the sounds of it, Gaby had been missing over the plate, and with his lower velocity, Czajkowski said he ‘has to be a corner to corner pitcher.’ They also did some work with his curve ball.
Whatever they did, it seemed to work as the right-hander threw six strong innings Saturday night, giving up two hits for zero earned.
I asked Jim about possible innings limits for the younger guys on staff and he said there were no innings limits per se, but each pitcher is on an eighty pitch count each start. It’s up to them how they use those pitches. The idea being, the organization can protect the younger, less experienced arms, while also hoping they learn to pitch more efficiently.
The good news about this philosophy is that we should see all three of the younger guys make their scheduled starts for the rest of the season.
With Dave Pano, we discussed Mike Reeves struggles. Pano, surprisingly, was nothing but complimentary towards the Canadian catcher despite a pretty poor month. They’ve been working on getting Reeves to drive the ball a bit more rather than live on choppers through the infield. With his first home run against Everett and a double versus Boise, they feel he is making strides.
As a bonus conversation I quickly asked Paul Quantrill about what he’d seen from Sean Ratcliffe. He’d only seen him the one time, and said he is very raw. Apparently he only started pitching a couple of years ago, playing as a catcher the bulk of his time growing up. Quantrill used to be the Junior National Team pitching coach and wasn’t even sure if Ratcliffe would make the team for this year’s World Championships. The team is currently in Australia having a pre-tournament camp, but six of the players there will be sent home instead of getting on a flight to Taiwan.
‘Hey guys, sorry, you’re cut. And guess, what? You get a twenty hour flight home to stew about it.’