(Scotiabank Field at Nat Bailey Stadium - Vancouver, B.C.) - The glass half full approach has the Vancouver Canadians two games clear of the Tri-City Dust Devils in the North Division, and they hold the tie-breaker with Tri-City should the two teams finish with the same record a week from now. The glass half empty suggests that they might need that tie-breaker unless some key players start to find their way in the coming days.
Vancouver eliminated Spokane from a shot at the first half pennant despite falling 6-1 to Hillsboro at home for a second straight loss to the affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Canadians with a win tonight (Monday), combined with an Everett loss can dispose of the Aquasox as well leaving just Tri-City in their path to the North Division First-Half pennant.
It's not easy winning in the Northwest League and its not easy to keep everyone firing on all cylinders over the course of a 76-game season. Vancouver has played in 30 of the past 31 days and that includes a 12-hour bus ride from Boise (on their alleged off-day) and a number of trips around the Pacific Northwest. Let's face it, for a number of these college players who were drafted shortly after wrapping up a 55-60 game spring schedule - its easy to suggest that some guys have hit their first wall.
Brock Lundquist hit well over .400 during his first week of the season, and was a large part of why the Canadians were able to keep pace with the Tri-City Dust Devils early on. However, over the past 10 games, Lundquist has hit .114 (4-for-35) despite drawing seven (7) walks to keep his OBP respectable.
Bryan Lizardo, a second year Vancouver Canadians infielder is hitting .103 (4-for-39) with 17 strikeouts over his past 10 games.
Kacy Clemens who got off to a torrid start this summer has also hit the wall hitting .188 (6-for-32) with 12 strikeouts as the former University of Texas standout battles the extended season.
So, what do you do with your key guys struggling at the wrong time? You remind them that this was completely expected and it happens to most everyone and that because of their hard work earlier in the season the Canadians are in the position they are in right now, just a few games away from a first-half pennant.
Baseball is a cruel mistress in the fact that you can't hide from statistics. They are on the video board everytime you step into the batter's box, they are on every piece of info that is handed out to the fans when they walk in and heck, they are even in this article written before they even show up to the ballpark. But -- and this counts for something -- the legs will get lighter, the arm will hurt less and the body has an unbelieveable way of making the needed adjustments to give players around the league a second and third wind.
Vancouver is 2-5 in the past week of baseball, and every game they play is against an opponent still fighting for their playoff lives. It's time for the Canadians to shake off the doubt, dig deep, and find a way to push through the stats and simply find a way. Easy for this old guy to type up in a pressbox, but having seen almost 800 of these games front and center, trust me, that wall can be pushed through and a red hot Canadians team awaits them on the other side.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.