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The Vancouver Canadians are within a game of .500 after winning the opener of their three-game series against Tri-City Monday night at The Nat.

1996 Cy Young Award winner Pat Hentgen and Canadians closer Andrew Case walk off the field after the ceremonial first pitch.

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The affiliates won four and lost four on Monday.  A pair of one-run losses were the lowlights. A doubleheader sweep and slugfest were the highlights. Lansing had the night off.
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Here I come to save the day! Or at least, your scrolling fingers...
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I talked with Doug Davis this morning about several minor league players. Unfortunately my voice recorder ran out of battery almost at the start of the discussion so I have reproduced my notes of our discussion. I think I got it all. In this you will hear that Max Pentecost is out for the year, that Roemen Fields is working hard on his defense, that Conner Greene can be compared to Drew Hutchison, at least by me, and that Shane Dawson has been compared to mark Buehrle by more than me.
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The Vancouver Canadians and Everett AquaSox wrapped up a three-game series last Tuesday with the C's trying to avoid a sweep.

With Jon Wandling summoned up to Lansing, lefty Michael Kraft got his first professional start. He pitched 1-1/3 innings and coughed up four runs on four hits, walking two and striking out two.

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Here's a look at the Vancouver Canadians in a relaxed atmosphere before their series finale against Everett at Nat Bailey Stadium Tuesday.

Pitching coach Jim Czajowksi (#48) holds court with the hurlers, including Turner Lee (#28), Tayler Saucedo (#38) and Michael Kraft. Catcher Kevin Garcia (#30) also listens in.
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Good pitching and some big innings generated four wins. Buffalo got good pitching from Todd Redmond and Ryan Tepera in a low scoring win. New Hampshire got lots of runs for Austin Bibens-Dirkx. Dunedin also scored lots of runs for Shane Dawson, Anthony Alford had three hits. Lansing lost a close, high scoring, game, Clinton Hollon had one to forget. Vancouver won a close one with a ninth inning run. Bluefield had a bad loss.
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The affiliates won just two out of seven on Saturday thanks in part to two walk-off losses. The good news was a walk-off win and a shutout victory. Dunedin's game in Brevard County was rained out.
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A splitsville Friday for the affiliates in their eight games. One game involved a steal of home for the winning run and Vancouver got a solid start and an even better finish from its pitchers.
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Recent readers of the Box may be aware of my crusade against the 8-man bullpen. I have nothing against it in principle, except that until September, the active roster for major league teams is limited to 25 players. When rosters expand, if you want a 14-man bullpen, I will raise a figurative glass of ale and say, why the heck not!

I'll add another caveat. On teams with weak starting pitchers wherein several starting pitchers have difficulty reaching the 6th and 7th innings, a three-man bench is defensible as long as at least two players and/or one regular are reasonably versatile. I don't believe the current Jays are in that category.
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The Toronto Blue Jays look to stay in first place as the New York Yankees visit the Dome this weekend.

This series will bring back memories of 1985 and the Blue Jays clinching the American League East Division for the first time since 1985. The newspaper here is from The Toronto Star.
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Conner Greene was probably the only standout performer on the farm prospect-wise. A couple old hands had good nights and there were a few strong pitching performances. The affiliates went 4-4.
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An 11-game winning streak, including three over the Oakland A's, was not enough to diminish the loss of the most lamented DFA player in franchise history.

Danny Valencia batted .269/.303/.437 with 9 home runs and 48 runs batted in during a glorious span of 338 plate appearances in the 2014 and 2015 seasons.
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Wednesday saw a lot of close finishes. Buffalo took a five run lead to the ninth inning and turned the game over to Joba Chamberlain. Ezequiel Carrera had to throw out the tying run at the plate to preserve the win. Bluefield broke a tie in the top of the ninth for a one run win. The GCL Jays had a walk off win. New Hampshire went to extras but conceded a grand slam. Lansing went to extras and lost in a more routine fashion. Vancouver did it early, walking their way to a loss in the eighth. Dunedin had a non-close loss.

Andy Burns had three hits and four RBI's for Buffalo. Dalton Pompey had two hits. DJ Davis had a nice night. Sean Reid-Foley and Jose Espada ran hot and cold.

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New Hampshire and Dunedin were bombed and Bluefield was blown away in a doubleheader sweep. That's the bad stuff out of the way. The good news was the affiliates won six out of 11, including a doubleheader victory and a walk-off win.

The Vancouver Canadians celebrate a walk-off victory over Everett thanks to Sean Hurley's RBI double. Hurley almost lost his shirt in the celebration.
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