For most Mariner fans, the Paul Sewald trade stung. Losing an essential clubhouse presence and a remarkable reliever during the American League Wild Card race is a tough pill to swallow. Especially after all the goodwill this team acquired with the drought-busting season a year ago. Add in the fact that the return for Sewald, Dominic Canzone, and Josh Rojas struggled in their initial two weeks with the team.
Both players were a combined 2 for 24 at one point, with the 26-year-old Canzone providing the only hits. That all changed this weekend when Rojas started digging out of a tremendous hole by notching three hits against the Orioles. While Rojas’ improvement is promising since the team has struggled to fill second base this season, the actual water cooler talk should center around the Mariners’ 14th-rated prospect.
We wrote about Canzone a few weeks ago in our Prospect Spotlight and highlighted the similarities with another former Diamondback, Mitch Haniger. I don’t know about you, but I’ve been waiting with bated breath for a glimmer of hope. A singular moment that we could hang our hats on and say, “this Canzone kid can play.” Well, yesterday it happened.
The lanky outfielder stepped to the plate looking for one pitch, down to their last out against a tough reliever in Mike Bauman. Bauman would pepper Canzone with off-speed stuff away for the first few pitches, and then he tried to sneak a fastball by him at the upper rails. The rest is history, and the Mariner fans let him know that.
"Obviously, I wish we could have come out with a win today, but it's definitely something I'll never forget,” Canzone said. “These fans are so passionate. I just appreciate it so much."- Dominic Canzone (via D. Kramer MLB.com)
Yes, the Mariners would lose a second consecutive extra-inning affair against the American League’s best team. They would undoubtedly walk away with their first series loss in nearly a month. However, this team is still the hottest in the American League, having won 13 of 17, and is still nipping at the Toronto Blue Jay’s heels for the third wild card.
Playoff baseball is about pitching, how hot the team is down the stretch, and having a penchant for seizing the moment. If yesterday’s events indicated the Mariners’ viability to make a run in September, I like our chances. Especially if Dominic Canzone channels his talents as he did on a bright Sunday afternoon in August.