The Vancouver Canadians were shut out 3-0 by the Tri-City Dust Devils at Nat Bailey Stadium Tuesday.
The Dust Devils took the lead for good in the third inning off Naswell Paulino. A leadoff double to left by Christian Sepulveda that was out of the reach of a leaping Glenn Santiago was bunted over to third base by Christian Molfetta. Paulino struck out Mike Peabody for the second out but Los Angeles Angels first round pick Zach Neto was hit by a pitch before Osmy Gregorio singled to center field to score Sepulveda.
Sepulveda and Molfetta—the number eight and nine hitters in the Tri-City batting order—ignited another rally by drawing two-out walks by Jol Concepcion. Peabody walked to load the bases and Neto lined a single up the gut to score the two Christians.
Paulino had a three-up, three-down first that ended with Garrett Spain running down a Gregorio drive towards the right field line.
Wymer punched out the first two men he faced in the fourth by getting D’Shawn Knowles and Mike Wilson swinging. His only misstep was hitting Peabody with a pitch with two outs in the fifth before Anthony Morales threw out Peabody trying to steal second base.
Juan Nuñez did the high wire act for two innings but escaped unscathed. He walked Neto to start the sixth inning and gave up bunt single to third by Gregorio but struck out Joe Stewart swinging before Knowles lined out to left and Straton Podaras fouled out to first.
Another leadoff walk to Wilson began the seventh before a double to right by Sepulveda put runners at second and third. The runners had to hold after Molfetta grounded out to short. Swinging K’s of Peabody and Neto got Nuñez off the hook.
Miguel Hiraldo was the first baserunner for Vancouver with a two-out walk in the second inning against José Salvador but grounded out to second.
Concepcion induced a 4-6-3 inning-ending double play from Knowles to expunge a one-out single to right by Stewart in the ninth.
Paulino gave up a run on two hits, a walk and a hit by pitch while striking out five over three innings to fall to 2-5. Wymer plunked a batter but struck out two over two scoreless frames. Nuñez worked around two hits and two walks and struck out three over two shutout innings. Concepcion coughed up two runs on two hits and had a K/BB total of 3-3 over the final two stanzas.
Dasan Brown had the first hit with a two-out single in the third but Salvadore got Leo Jiménez to fly out to center.
P.K. Morris walked with two outs but Hiraldo struck out swinging to end the fourth.
A two-out base hit by Morales led nowhere as Salvador struck out Spain swinging, Santiago looking and Brown swinging.
Riley Tirotta heard ball four with two outs in the sixth and that led to Salvador being replaced by Emilker Guzman on the mound. It was the same end result for the Vancouver offence as Morris flied out to right on a 3-2 pitch.
The C’s best chance to score came with one out in the eighth against Dylan King. Brown smashed a ground ball to first that was originally called an error but changed to a hit. Jiménez walked to put Brown into scoring position but after a called strikeout of Morales, King struck out Damiano Palmegiani swinging and Tirotta looking.
Hiraldo had a one-out base hit in the ninth but Glenn Albanese but Spain struck out looking and Santiago flied out to center for the final out.
Brown had two hits and stole his second base of the year. Hiraldo singled and walked and Morales had a base knock. Jiménez, Tirotta and Morris heard ball four once. Vancouver had just two opportunities with runners in scoring position and stranded eight runners.
There were a whole whack of roster moves before Tuesday’s game. Nick Frasso was slated to start for the C’s but he was traded at the deadline by the Toronto Blue Jays to the Los Angeles Dodgers for pitcher Mitch White in a four-player deal. The 6-foot-5, 220-pound Frasso put up a 0.82 earned run average over 11 innings and struck out 15 batters against two walks. The 23 year-old was named the Northwest League Pitcher of the Week July 4 after striking 11 batters over four dominant innings in Everett July 4.
The Blue Jays also announced the release of pitcher Will McAffer and utility man Harry Ray Tuesday. A native of North Vancouver, the 25 year-old McAffer spent the 2018, 2021 and 2022 seasons with the C’s and went 3-3 with a 5.23 ERA with saves. Ray spent the last week of the 2021 season with the Hillsboro/Vancouver Canadians before arriving at Nat Bailey Stadium this season. The 24 year-old from the Vanderbilt Commodores hit .204 with a home run and eight RBI with four stolen bases. All the best to Will and Harry in their future endeavours.
The C’s also announced a pair of rosters involving a couple of outfielders. Steward Berroa has been placed on the seven-day injured list with a sore right hand which he suffered on a pickoff play at first base when his right hand slid into the foot of Everett first baseman Dariel Gomez. That means Berroa is out for this series against the Dust Devils. The other move sees outfielder/lefthanded pitcher Mack Mueller reporting to the Florida Complex League. Speculation is Mueller was sent down to be converted into a pitcher.
Joining the club from Dunedin is righthanded pitcher Connor Cooke according to the transactions page on CanadiansBaseball.com. The 22 year-old from Sulphur, Louisiana was a 10th round by Toronto in the 2021 MLB Draft out of Louisiana-Lafayette. He pitched a total of five innings last year between the FCL and Dunedin Blue Jays, earning his first professional win in his Dunedin debut in Tampa September 8. With the D-Jays this season, the 6-foot-1, 203 pound hurler was 2-5 with a 4.86 earned run average with a 63-14 strikeout/walk total in 46-1/3 innings. Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi wrote a story on Cooke at Baseball America back in March. Cooke has been assigned number 18.
All the best to 2017 C’s second baseman Samad Taylor as he was traded to Kansas City as part of the deal to bring the unvaccinated Whit Merrifield to Toronto as the veteran infielder was among a number of Royals not to make the trip north of the border for a series last month. The writing was on the wall for Taylor when the Jays opted not to place him on the 40-man roster and leave him unprotected for the Rule 5 draft that did not happen last year due to the MLB lockout. The 24 year-old from Corona, California had a breakout 2021 season with New Hampshire with an .888 on-base-plus slugging percentage with 34 extra-base hits and 30 stolen bases. With Buffalo this season, Taylor had an OPS of .763 with 21 extra-base knocks and 23 steals.
The Canadians and Dust Devils play game two of this series Wednesday at 7:05 p.m. The game is on CanadiansBaseball.com and MiLB.TV. Michael Dominguez will be on the mound for Vancouver. Zac Kristofak will pitch for Tri-City. Chad Dallas and Sem Robberse are the listed probable starters for the C’s Thursday and Friday.
Vancouver is 18-12 in the second half and fall to 1-1/2 games back of Eugene for first place. Their overall record is 48-45, just a half-game ahead of Spokane and 1-1/2 ahead of Everett in the overall standings.
Radar Gun Rundown
Paulino punched out batters at 80, 81, 92, 91 and 82 miles per hour. Wymer had strikeouts of 84 and 79 and was around 83-90. Nuñez nuked batters at 96. 97 and 85 and hit 101 on the gun. Concepcion conned batters at 85, 95 and 85 and was up to 97.