Many of us right now are living in hope that Juan is right. Just as the Oakland A’s have experienced dramatic highs and dramatic lows all season long (right now - big low), so too have their short-season affiliate, the Vancouver Canadians, but right now the C’s are starting to get a distinct roll on.
The C’s killed all in the early stages of the season, going to a .700 win average and staying there for over a month, but the bats dried up at the middle stages, and only convulsions by Everett and Salem-Kaizer have allowed the sometimes awful Canadians to hang on to an NWL West division lead.
But that was then, and right now the Vancouver lads are breaking out of a string of slumps across the board. Ty Bubalo is belting home runs, Anthony Recker is belting them even longer, Steve Kleen is hitting everything, Justin Sellers is doing backflips in the infield, Mike Massaro is coming back into form, Wilber Perez and Isaac Omura are no longer considered defensive liabilities, and the pitching… well, the pitching is just insanely good, top to bottom. In fact, even when the pitching is awful, it’s awful in an extremely fast, massively-breaking, ‘holy crap’ kinda way.
One of the big problems for the C’s has been getting used to the ‘don’t swing for the fences’ wisdom regarding Nat Bailey Stadium’s outfield. "Some of the guys are still trying to fight it," said Chad Boyd a week ago. "When I first came up I struggled because I didn’t accept it. Now I love it. This park forces you to be a better hitter."
"We hadn’t been getting too many good at-bats lately, especially with men in scoring position. Our hitters have been trying to do too much," Navarrete told the Sun, before adding, "We were not getting the key hit or the breaks for a while. […] We turned things around in Everett. Now we’re playing well again."
So can the C’s end the season on a roll? "We know we’ll be facing a good team in Salem-Keizer," Navarrete said, "We just have to concentrate on playing our game."
With only one win needed for the C’s to lock in an NWL play-off spot, tonight’s starter for Vancouver will be Mike Madsen (6-1, 1.68), who is filth. Salem-Kaizer will be starting with… bah, I don’t even care. Whoever he is, he’s no Mike Madsen.