MLB Canadian Roundup: Yankees’ James Paxton heating up before playoffs

New York Yankees' James Paxton delivers a pitch during the first inning of a baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles. (Frank Franklin II/AP)

With the playoff races heating up, so too are the performances of several Canadians. In the fifth instalment of a monthly series, we check in on the Canadians across Major League Baseball, starting in New York…

James Paxton, Ladner, B.C.
Paxton received a tip of the cap for a strong 2018 season last weekend at Rogers Centre when he was presented with the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame’s Tip O’Neill Award as the year’s top Canadian baseball player.

Paxton ended Joey Votto’s three-year run of winning the award partly because he threw a no-hitter against the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre in May of 2018. Paxton was the first Canadian to accomplish the feat in his home country.

More recently, Paxton has bounced back from a disastrous end of July to post three-straight wins in August so far. He worked six or more innings in each of those three starts while allowing six total earned runs and striking out 20.

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Mike Soroka, Calgary
Soroka has pitched well of late, even if hasn’t recorded a win. He came close on July 31 against the Nationals after throwing seven innings of three-hit ball, but the Braves bullpen blew a two-run lead in the ninth.

He’s 10-2 with a 2.32 earned-run average over 21 starts this season. Not bad for a former goalie.

Joey Votto, Toronto
So…who’s on first?

Votto is having a little bit of fun with the classic Abbott & Costello line for Players’ Weekend, which takes place from Aug. 23 to 25.

Votto’s bat has heated up over the past week and carries a six-game hitting streak into Thursday’s game against the St. Louis Cardinals. He’s had two home runs so far this month and four doubles, three of which came in the last seven days.

Russell Martin, Montreal
Martin has been used sparingly since a July where he hit just .129 for the NL West-leading Dodgers.

The 36 year old did deliver Los Angeles a victory on Aug. 7 with a two-run single in the ninth inning against the Cardinals. He has just 18 at-bats to date in August and has collected four hits in the process with one home run.

Perhaps most impressively, he pitched an inning against the Miami Marlins, touching 91 m.p.h. on the radar gun. It was Martin’s third scoreless inning of the season.

Josh Naylor, Mississauga, Ont.
Naylor is living up to his power hitting name in August by smacking three home runs already this month.

The hot streak follows a brief demotion to triple-A El Paso, but he’s played almost every day for the Padres since being recalled.

Cal Quantrill, Port Hope, Ont.
Quantrill has been having a great second half of the season, winning four of his six starts since the all-star break.

He tossed seven scoreless innings and allowed five hits while striking out five on Aug. 9 against the Rockies in the best start of his MLB career.

His ERA over the last two months is 1.88 and he’s dropped his ERA for the year to 3.23.

Nick Pivetta, Victoria
Pivetta has been moved to the bullpen since our last edition after the Phillies signed lefty Drew Smyly to try and gain ground in the National League wild-card race.

The transition hasn’t been flawless, but he did pick up his first career save on Aug. 3, working two innings against the White Sox while allowing two hits and striking out four.

Tyler O’Neill, Burnaby, B.C.
A left wright sprain landed O’Neill on the 10-day injured list at the start of August, but he was producing before the injury. He hit .301 in July with four home runs and 12 RBI and at one point had a seven-game hitting streak.

Rowan Wick, North Vancouver, B.C.
We have neglected to mention Wick, a relief pitcher, so far this year despite four recalls from triple-A Iowa.

He has been solid for Chicago while in the majors, carrying a 2-0 record with a 1.72 ERA and 1.09 WHIP over 15.2 innings.

Wick, 26, was last recalled on July 22 and has allowed just two hits and no earned runs in nine appearances since.

IN THE MINORS

Tristan Pompey, Mississauga, Ont.
Pompey recently helped Canada earn a silver medal at the Pan American Games in Lima, Peru with some stellar performances at the plate.

Pompey, brother to Dalton Pompey, hasn’t seen that success translate to his second professional season, hitting .202 with 12 RBI in 31 games for Miami’s Class A advanced Jupiter Hammerheads.

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