Dragons whitewash Whitecaps, next month’s playoff foe

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Dragons whitewash Whitecaps, next month’s playoff foe

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Dragons second baseman Hector Vargas makes a play during Wednesday night’s 7-0 defeat of West Michigan at Fifth Third Field. NICK FALZERANO / CONTRIBUTED

The West Michigan Whitecaps (36-1, 81-37) are enjoying one of the best seasons of any pro baseball team in 2017, and they’ll be waiting for the Dragons in the first round of the Midwest League playoffs in September.

After clinching a wild card berth in the first half, the Dragons have stumbled through the second half (16-36, 57-65) with the league’s worst record.

But if manager Luis Bolivar can get the five shutout innings lefty starter Scott Moss delivered during a 7-0 win Wednesday at Fifth Third Field, Dayton may be tough to eliminate.

Moss struck out five, gave up three hits and surrendered two walks while improving to 12-6 and lowering his ERA to 3.48.

“He can mix his pitches well. He has a good fastball. He can locate it on both sides of the of the plate and a nice curveball, and he’s used changeups more lately, so he can keep all batters off balance,” Bolivar said.

Moss spent time on the DL in July for rest purposes, but the 6-foot-6 southpaw doesn’t know how the time off will affect his future, because this is his first full season of pro ball. He was drafted in 2016, and spent the rest of season playing rookie ball.

“[The time off] was a big help to me,” he said. Moss added that his time on the DL really may help in his next four to five starts.

While the second half has trended in the wrong direction, Dayton has proved it can hang with the Whitecaps. The Dragons have won two of the last three against the Detroit Tigers affiliate, and have taken the season series, 10-8.

“… Since the beginning of the season, we’ve been playing good against them and it’s carried over to the whole season,” Bolivar said.

Game changer: Moss got all the support he’d need in the first inning thanks to Taylor Trammell’s two-run homer.

It was Trammell’s 11th of the year and was set up by small-ball aggressiveness at the top of the order. Jose Siri led off with a bunt, easily beating the throw from pitcher Tom de Blok. Carlos Rivero moved Siri to second with a sacrifice.

But after striking out Tyler Sparks, It looked like de Blok might escape the inning unscathed, until Trammell tattooed his first-pitch offering.

Trammell’s home run was the first of three the Dragons would club.

Dragons tales: Siri rewrote some Midwest League’s history books with his record 39-game hitting streak. Now he may be looking to add his own chapter. If Siri can slug one more homer and steal three more bases, he’ll be the first Midwest League player since 1982 to hit 20 homers and swipe 40 bags.

On deck: Tony Santillan (6-7, 3.64 ERA) will start for the Dragons, while Anthony Castro (9-4, 2.70 ERA) starts for the Whitecaps in tonight’s series finale at 7:05.

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