Russ Canzler is currently playing for his fifth International League team in the last four seasons.
As the schedule is happening to play 0ut, the Hazleton native and his RailRiders’ teammates are in a stretch of playing 16 consecutive games against three of those four former teams.
So far through the previous 13 games entering Saturday, Canzler has fared well.
Against Durham on April 27 and again Friday night, he slugged his first two longballs of the season when he went deep at his former home then at PNC Field. In 2011, Canzler won the I.L. MVP while playing for the Bulls.
From there, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre traveled a little north to face Norfolk, where the 28-year-old spent most of last season. In the two games he played against the Tides, he went hitless but still managed to score a pair of runs.
Then Indianapolis came to Moosic last week; he played for the Indians last season after being acquired in a trade by the Pirates. Canzler arguably had his best game as a RailRider in the first game of the series when he made two outstanding defensive plays to save runs and help in the victory.
Also in that game, he reached base four times, including going 3-for-3 with two runs scored. He faces former team Durham again this weekend as the Bulls and RailRiders started a series at PNC Field on Friday.
In the first 11 games against his former teams, Canzler had a .350 on base percentage with nine hits, eight runs scored and five RBI.
The RailRiders don’t see Columbus until June 12-15 in Ohio.
In case you missed it
It was a very good week for the RailRiders last week as they won five straight games for the first time since July 24-28 last season as they swept Indianapolis for the first time since June 12-15, 2010. That comes as a bit of a surprise because the Indians entered the series with the best record in the International League at 19-10.
But Scranton/Wilkes-Barre showed it can compete with the best in the league, outscoring the Indians 20-12. In games against current first-place squads this season — Indianapolis, Durham and Buffalo — SWB has a 10-5 record and is 8-10 against the rest of the league before the start of Saturday’s game with the Bulls.
The IronRail Series continues on Tuesday at Coca-Cola Park in Allentown. Things are different since the teams met last month.
Since that series started, the IronPigs have won 12 of their last 20 games, including taking three of four from the RailRiders at PNC Field. Meanwhile, SWB has won seven of its last 10 prior to Saturday’s game. In addition to the IronPigs having Phillies top prospect Maikel Franco heating up, they also received fireballer Ken Giles from Reading last week. Giles, a right-handed reliever, hits 100 mph with his fastball before throwing a devastating breaking ball.
Once the RailRiders leave Allentown, they will take a long ride to face another I.L. North rival in Pawtucket. The PawSox have been battling with Buffalo for the top spot in the division recently and began Friday with 20 wins, tied with Durham for the most in the entire league.
Top upcoming promotions
There’s only two home games in the next seven days with one this afternoon at 1:05 and the other tomorrow afternoon at 12:05. Family car decals are given away at today’s game. It’s also going to be a beautiful day for baseball so if you’re still looking for a last-minute Mother’s Day gift, head out to the ballpark in Moosic.