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Vancouver Canadians don’t Bring the Rain

Just like I’m no scout, I’m also no weatherman. And I’m sure they do study to get to their lofty positions, but wow, do they ever get it wrong in Vancouver. Today was no exception as a forecast of rain all day (and it was quite gloomy in the morning) turned into a nice mix of sun and clouds. Making the 4,242 fans who turned up to the Nat for the first nooner (1:07 start) of the season the lucky ones. Drunk on sun, and possibly a few super-pops, those that made the trip were also treated to a good, albeit a bit sloppy, baseball game. With the C’s eventually coming out on top.

The Good:

Eric Brown turned in his second straight quality start going six and two thirds innings giving up one earned run on five hits and a walk. He struck out five, working ahead the entire outing, he was able to keep hitters off balance with his low 80s change once he was in control of the count. Speaking to catcher Matt Hitt after the game, he said that Brown rarely missed his spots. With his stuff, which is not overpowering, Eric will live and die on his control.

Eric Brown getting loose in the pen (image courtesy of Charlie Caskey)

Eric Brown getting loose in the pen (image courtesy of Charlie Caskey)

The aforementioned Matt Hitt had a decent first start in affiliated pro ball going one for three with a walk and two runs scored.

The offensive star of the game was 2013 draftee, right fielder Brenden Kalfus who had three hits and two runs scored. I believe I’ve linked this article before but worth another mention. If you read the comments from one of the readers, Kalfus obviously had a great college career. How that translates to the pro level remains to be seen. At 5’11” and 180 pounds he doesn’t project as a prototypical power hitting corner outfielder. He does have some speed though, stealing two bases today. Could be an interesting sleeper pick.

The Bad:

Despite scoring eight runs, the C’s are really struggling with their situational hitting. They were gifted both base-runners and extra bases by some poor Indian defending and a slew of wild pitches from Spokane’s pitchers. Looking at their team hitting statistics (and I’m aware this is a small sample size) they are second last in virtually every category, despite having the oldest average batting age, and their .290 slugging percentage, and .068 ISO are abysmal. As the lineup is currently constructed, home runs will be few and far between, but to start turning baserunners into runs, some of the hitters are going to need to start finding some gaps. They don’t lack for speed, as their league leading seventeen stolen bases attest to, hopefully the extra base hits will come.

Dickie Thon Jr had a tough day at the plate. Granted he did have the C’s only double of the day, cashing in two big runs with two outs in the eight. Prior to that though, he had struck out three consecutive times, almost getting himself run after the third as he disputed the umpire’s strike zone interpretation. I took some notes on Thon’s swing and hope to make a post of it shortly.

The Ugly:

The Spokane Indians defense is abysmal at the moment. The C’s got on the board in the second when Evan Van Hoosier misjudged Ronnie Melendez‘ speed on a routine grounder to second, rushing his throw about six feet wide of first. That got things going for Vancouver, and the way Brown was throwing it was always going to be difficult to come back. This comes hot on the heels of Tuesday’s ninth inning disaster when the third out turned into the game tying run for Vancouver as catcher Marcus Greene threw wayward to first on a wild pitch third strike, allowing Melendez to score the run that took the game to extras. They’re going to struggle to win giving away extra bases like they have so far.

Notes from the Press Box:

Jason Leblebijian was on the bench after finding out earlier he had been called up to Lansing. So, in just over a calendar year, Jason’s pro career has seen stops in Bluefield, Vancouver, Lansing, Dunedin, Vancouver, and now Lansing. I asked him about it after the game and he said simply, ‘it’s all part of being versatile’. I also asked if he knew where he’d be playing in Lansing. He wasn’t sure but did say there was other moves in the organization. Could mean that third basemen Andy Burns has finally received is well deserved promotion from Dunedin to New Hampshire and there’ll be a domino effect from there.

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