It was a very good night for the Blue Jays organization, as August exited with a top to bottom sweep by the seven teams playing yesterday (Vancouver was off - the NWL schedule is so weird, other than the ASG date and their All-Star break there's only one off day and always put it one series before the end of the season). All won by three or less, except for Bluefield blowing out the Johnson City Cardinals 12-1 in their regular season finale to eliminate them from playoff contention. Bluefield finished with the best Appy League record at 46-22, and will face Pulaski in the playoffs tomorrow, against whom they went 2-7 (44-15 against everyone else).
The best night belonged to Dunedin, who eliminated Clearwater by guaranteeing themselves the 2nd best full season record to become the third Blue Jays affiliate to qualify for their league's playoff (I'm not counting complex leagues, the DSL Jays made the playoffs but were sent home with two losses yesterday). Connor Panas continued his second half torching of the FSL with his 17th and 18th home runs to erase an early 2-0 hole, and the game went to the 9th tied 3-3.
Fittingly, it was Bo Bichette and Vladdy Guerrero who teamed up to push Dunedin over the top. Having been shutdown to this point, Bichette lined a one out single. Cavan Biggo couldn't bring him in, but Vladdy did that and added insurance to boot with with his 6th home run, down the line in left field. That will buy their 2017 seasons at least and extra two games, starting Tuesday against the juggernaut Tampa Yankees, as Dunedin will try to avenge their elimination last year at their hands.
On an individual level, the spotlight as on Ryan Borucki in Buffalo's 2017 home finale - and he didn't disappoint. He tossed 6 shutout innings, allowing 6 hits and one walks while striking out 6. He was very good, though far from perfect as he was squared up a fair bit with five of the hits hard line drives. Overall, 8 of 16 balls were on the ground, with one popup. His fastball was in its usual range at 92-94 MPH (at least early, didn't hear much after the first couple innings. As usual, his secondaries were both effective putaway pitches, accounting for most of his 12 swinging strikes (on 37 swings, 68% contact).
On Thursday, Nate Pearson likewise made his last regular season for Vancouver, allowing his first runs of the year. He came out hot, throwing seven fastball to the first batter at 98+ on the stadium gun, hitting 100 twice but issuing a walk. He appeared to throttle it back some, working 94-97 and touching 98 over the rest of the outing. But he didn't really have good command, labouring through 3+ innings on 65 pitches, allowing 2 runs on 3 hits with 3 walks and 5 strikeouts. He did get in a groove in the 3rd inning, striking out the side swinging in order.
Travis Bergen came into the game later, and had an electric beginning, striking out the side on both of his first two innings (not needing more than four pitches to any of the batters). He tailed off a bit the last couple innings, allowing a couple hits and walking the last two batters with 2 out in the 9th to sully his line (3.2 innings, 3 hits, 2 walks, 6 K). But it's really good that's he's not only back and healthy, but with some swing and miss stuff.
Finally, Patrick Murphy made his high-A after it was washed out twice. For whatever reason, he was on a pretty strict pitch count, only throwing 51 pitches. Overall, it wasn't anything to write home about, as he allowed 4 runs on 6 hits over 3.1 innings, with 2 walks and just one strikeouts. He allowed a lot of hard contact, while only getting two swinging strikes.