By Kevin Glew
Cooperstowners in Canada
My weekly observations and notes about some Canadian baseball stories:
– Canadian right-hander Jordan Romano (Markham, Ont.) recorded his first MLB save on Friday in the Toronto Blue Jays’ 6-5 win over the Tampa Bay Rays. With that, Romano became the third Canadian to earn a save for the Blue Jays (and the first not to be named “Paul’). The other two Canucks to record a save for the Blue Jays are Paul Spoljaric (Kelowna, B.C.) and Paul Quantrill (Port Hope, Ont.) Romano, an Ontario Blue Jays and Junior National Team alum, has been the Blue Jays’ best reliever this season. In 13 appearances, spanning 13 innings, he is 2-1 with a 0.69 ERA and has 19 strikeouts.
– Ontario Terriers and Junior National Team alum Cal Quantrill (Port Hope, Ont.) also notched his first big leave save when he recorded the final out in the San Diego Padres’ 6-4 win over the Texas Rangers on Tuesday. With his save, he and his father, Paul, became the first Canadian father/son duo to register big league saves. The 25-year-old right-hander has been the Padres’ most versatile pitcher this season. He has made one start, served as the club’s long man out of the bullpen and is now being used in the late innings. The 2016 first-rounder is 2-0 with a 3.21 ERA in seven appearances, spanning 14 innings, this season. In his rookie big league campaign in 2019, he went 6-8 with a 5.16 ERA in 23 games for the Padres.
– Speaking of Canadian closers, Rowan Wick (North Vancouver, B.C.) picked up his fourth save of the season for the Chicago Cubs in their 6-3 win over the St. Louis Cardinals on Tuesday. In 8 1/3 innings in nine appearances this season, he has nine strikeouts and a 3.24 ERA. Last season, Wick made 31 big league appearances and recorded a 2.43 ERA while striking out 35 batters. The Junior National National Team and Vancouver Cannons grad is a converted catcher who made his big league debut with the Padres in 2018.
– In case you missed it, Victoria, B.C., native Nick Pivetta was traded to the Boston Red Sox by the Philadelphia Phillies as part of a four-player deal on Friday. The Phillies also sent minor league right-hander Connor Seabold to the Red Sox in exchange for veteran relievers Brandon Workman and Heath Hembree and cash considerations. The 27-year-old Pivetta, now in his fourth big league season, has been optioned to the Red Sox Alternate Training Site at McCoy Stadium in Pawtucket, R.I. After making extensive changes to his off-season training regimen and rejigging his mechanics, the 6-foot-5 righty struggled in three appearances for the Phillies this season. This follows a disappointing 2019 campaign that saw him record a 5.38 ERA in 30 appearances, including 13 starts. In all, in 92 career big league appearances, the Victoria Eagles and Junior National Team alum is 19-30 and owns a 5.50 ERA, but has 421 strikeouts in 396 1/3 innings. He was originally selected by the Washington Nationals in the fourth round of the 2013 MLB draft before he was swapped to the Phillies for closer Jonathan Papelbon on July 28, 2015.
– Left-hander James Paxton (Ladner, B.C.), who was off to a rough start with the New York Yankees (1-1, 6.64 ERA in 20 1/3 innings in five starts) this season, has been sidelined with a flexor strain in his throwing arm. He was placed on the injured list on Friday and has been shut down from throwing for two weeks. Paxton told The New York Post on Saturday that he hopes to return before the end of the regular season. The flexor strain diagnosis was actually good news for the Yankees who feared the worst (surgery) after the Canadian southpaw had complained of forearm discomfort. Paxton, who had just recovered from off-season back surgery, has pitched in parts of eight major league seasons and is coming off a career-best 15 wins with the Yankees in 2019.
– Twenty-seven years ago today, Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame inductee Joe Carter belted three home runs for the Toronto Blue Jays in their 9-8 loss to the Cleveland Indians at SkyDome. This was the fifth, three-home run game of Carter’s career, which, at the time, set an American League record for most three-home run games. Carter is still tied for second-most, three-home run games behind only Mookie Betts, Johnny Mize and Sammy Sosa who have six, three-homer games on their resumes.
– It was eight years ago today that right-hander Phillippe Aumont (Gatineau, Que.) made his major league debut for the Philadelphia Phillies. The 6-foot-7 right-hander hurled a scoreless eighth inning against the Cincinnati Reds in the Phillies’ 4-3 win at Citizens Bank Park. Aumont got two ground outs and a fly out in the inning and issued a walk to Miguel Cairo. The Junior National Team alum would eventually pitch parts of four big league seasons with the Phillies.
– Thirty-five years ago today, Andres Galarraga made his big league debut with the Montreal Expos. He pinch-hit for Expos first baseman Scot Thompson in the eighth inning and struck out against Los Angeles Dodgers left-hander Carlos Diaz at Olympic Stadium. “The Big Cat” would hit just .187 in 24 games for the Expos in his first taste of big league action that year, but over the next six seasons, he developed into a Silver Slugger Award and Gold Glove Award-winning first baseman with the Expos.
– Great to see CBC’s The National shine the spotlight on Labatt Park here in London, Ont., with their story on Friday. On Friday night, the Intercounty Baseball League’s London Majors defeated the Guelph Royals 3-0 in an exhibition game that was called the Legacy Classic. The contest allowed for Labatt Park to continue its streak as the longest continuously used ballpark in the world. It has now been used for 144 straight years. You can watch story that appeared on The National here.
– This week’s trivia question: Who holds the record for most major league saves in a season by a Canadian pitcher? Please provide your answer in the “Comments” section below. Please note: I’m going to hold off awarding prizes until after the COVID-19 pandemic. Hope you understand.
– The answer to last week’s trivia question (Tim Raines and five other Expos players hit for the cycle while with the club. Can you name another Expos player that hit for the cycle while with the club? ) was one of Tim Foli (April 22, 1976), Chris Speier (July 20, 1978), Rondell White (June 11, 1995), Brad Wilkerson (June 24, 2003) or Vladimir Guerrero (September 14, 2003).