Memorial Day Update

May 31, 2010

The Rainiers complete the Vegas series with a 12:05 game today (850 AM; www.tacomarainiers.com). Tacoma has a chance to win a series on the road – a win today will do it. RHP David Pauley (0-3, 3.38) starts for Tacoma against Las Vegas LHP Brad Mills (4-3, 4.73).

Tacoma beat Las Vegas yesterday, 9-7. The Rainiers scored six runs in the top of the first inning and then played hang-on baseball. Guillermo Quiroz, Brad Nelson, and Greg Halman each homered.

The remainder of this blog has been Vegased out, and it will not be made up. Regular blog continues on Tuesday – travel schedule permitting.


Rainiers Stay On 17

May 30, 2010

Tacoma blasted Las Vegas on Saturday night, 17-9. It was a Cashman Field special, as the Rainiers had season highs for runs scored and hits (20).

Mike Wilson hit two tape-measure home runs. The first one I saw land – it was about 450 feet long; I saw the ball bouncing around the rocks on the ridge behind the left field fence that the scoreboard is mounted on – the scoreboard is marked at 474 feet from home plate. The second homer appeared to hit a tree in left-center field and was longer than the first. That was nearly 1000 feet of homers from Wilson!

There were tons of big games from Rainiers hitters – if you want all the details, check out the box score through the Rainiers official site. Needless to say, it was a massive night for the Rainiers offense.

Today’s game is as 12:05 pm, with the pre-game show (and interview with manager Daren Brown) starting at 11:50 am. We’ll be heard on 850 AM and streaming via www.tacomarainiers.com as always. Tacoma starts LHP Chris Seddon (4-2, 4.14) against Las Vegas RHP Marty McLeary (0-3, 10.64). Brian Tallet was supposed to start on rehab for Vegas, but in a post-game meeting with 51s manager Dan Rohn he said that Tallet isn’t going to go.

Some Sunday links for you:

  • Here’s Todd Dewey’s Rainiers game story, complete with Blue Man Group reference. Thoughts on the Group: cool version of the national anthem for sure, but those dudes must have some serious skin issues, what with all of that paint and everything.
  • Dewey also had a feature on Vegas infielder Jesus Merchan – 12 years in the minors and not a day in the show.
  • I wrote a Minor League Notebook for The News Tribune, focusing on the recent promotions of Mariners minor leaguers Dennis Raben and Nate Tenbrink (as well as his subsequent injury). However, they didn’t post it on the website, so I guess you need to go read an actual newspaper.
  • The Angels beat the Mariners on Kendry Morales’ walk-off grand slam, and then Morales was injured in the celebration. Shades of Tagg Bozied in 2004 – Divish wrote about that. After last night’s game Rohn and I reminisced about Bozied; we were both there.
  • Larry Stone churned out a lot of words. Here’s a bit on Jack Z’s thoughts so far, something on Bozied and Morales,
  • Geoff Baker blogged about the possible effects of the Morales injury.
  • Oh yeah – Roy Halladay tossed a perfect game. Dime a dozen, these days…
  • In the PCL, Salt Lake scored twice in the ninth to beat Fresno, 8-7, and remain two games ahead of Tacoma. Salt Lake ended a streak of seven straight home loses to Fresno.
  • The Giants called up PCL superstar Buster Posey, and he had three hits and three RBI in his first game. Even the hometown Fresno Bee couldn’t believe Posey was there for so long.
  • Chris Capuano’s comeback is comeplete – he made it. His ex-team Nashville hit its second straight walk-off HR.
  • We knew it all along – Willie Bloomquist, Olympic Bobsledder.

Congrats to Kentwood High School, winners of the 4A state baseball championship.


Wild Night In Vegas

May 29, 2010

At the ballpark – not like that, come on. This is a business trip, you know.

Las Vegas won the opening game of the series last night, 6-4. Each team had 14 hits, but Vegas was able to hit for more power.

Tacoma starter Steven Shell allowed his first two home runs of the season after going 55.1 homer-free frames.

The first homer was pulled down the left field line by Jarrett Hoffpauir, who hit for the cycle. Hoffpauir completed the task with a 6th inning double. Amazingly, it was the second time this season that Hoffpauir has hit for the cycle – he did it on April 25 against Sacramento. For the sake of comparison, no Tacoma player has hit for the cycle since Raul Ibanez did it in 1997.

The second homer snapped a 3-3 tie in the bottom of the sixth inning: Aaron Matthews hit an inside-the-park homer to center field. Cashman Field is kind of like Tacoma in that the center field fence is extraordinarily deep – 433 feet from home, to be exact. Matthews drive bounced off the base of the fence and rocketed past Ezequiel Carrera and back in toward the infield, allowing Matthews to circle the bases.

Amusingly, it was the first inside-the-park homer by a Las Vegas player since current Rainiers pitcher Mike Koplove did it for the 51s in 2008.

So, while the Rainiers did lose the game, at least it was entertaining. A cycle and an ITPHR in the same game? That’s crazy.

Tonight’s game is at 7:05 PM, the broadcast is in the usual spots, and Andy Baldwin starts for Tacoma against Mark Rzepcyzinsky. Yeah, I misspelled that, I know – dude’s name looks like an eye chart.

Roster Moves: Tacoma added catcher Blake Ochoa and infielder Jeff Dominguez to the active roster prior to Friday’s game. Eliezer Alfonzo was called up to Seatle, and Jack Hannahan was designated for assignment. Hannahan has to clear waivers, and he is not allowed to play while that happens. If no team claims him, the M’s can re-sign him to a minor league contract.

If you listened to last night’s game on the radio, you heard me talk about Cashman Field’s Sultry Vixen foul poles. Basically, they have a cut-out sign depicting a scantily clad lady leaning up against each foul pole, advertising a casino. I said on the air I would post a picture here. Well, I took a decent picture, but upon digging through my bag I realized I don’t have the right cable to transfer the photo from my phone to my laptop. I’ll post it here sometime - although it might not be until our next visit to Vegas (the second leg of the post-all star break Road Trip To Bankruptcy: the Reno/Vegas swing).

Anyway, the scantily clad lady is part of the foul pole – if the ball hits her, it’s a homer. But it still felt kind of… well, just plain wrong during batting practice when Brad Nelson pulled a deep liner down the right field line, and guys started yelling “hit the girl!”

On that note, let’s hit the links:

  • Here’s the Rainiers gamer, filed by Las Vegas Review-Journal sportswriter Todd Dewey.
  • The Mariners won their third in a row. Hmmmm. Turnaround? Perhaps facial hair is the key.
  • PCL President Branch Rickey says “don’t hold your breath” to Edmonton baseball fans. I say “Boooooo!”
  • Colorado Springs ended an 8-game losing streak, and now Portland has one. New acquisition Kaz Matsui drove in the tying run in the ninth, and the winning run in the tenth. The Sky Sox released Paul LoDuca.
  • In San Francisco, the Giants finally called up Buster Posey. Also in this blog: they signed Pat Burrell and sent him to Fresno.
  • Fresno owns Spring Mobile Ballpark – they’ve won seven straight at Salt Lake. Madison Bumgarner is dominating.
  • This must be a killer for manager Brett Butler: his Reno Aces are bad at stealing bases. However, they did finally score a run.
  • New Orleans topped Oklahoma City in the 10th inning on Donnie Murphy’s home run. That’s five straight wins for the Zephyrs.
  • Two outs, bottom of the ninth, down by a run, man on base… it’s Adam Heether Time!
  • Omaha won in the 14th inning on Fireworks Night. Jai Miller had the winning hit; Omaha has won six straight.
  • Adam Jones was detained at the Canadian border because of a mistaken identity. I got to know Adam more than I do most Rainiers players – we travelled to the 2006 Triple-A All-Star Game together. Adam is smart, engaging, and an outgoing personality. He likes to enjoy life, he knows where the line is, and he doesn’t cross it. He’s not the kind of guy who is going to be involved in any “criminal behavior.” Like he says, his mother raised him right. Sorry Adam – that’s three hours of your life you will never get back.

OK, that’s it for today. I’m going to try to at least get the Sunday links up tomorrow morning, but I make no promises – it’s a noon game in Vegas, for crying out loud.


Edmonton, Baby!!!!!

May 28, 2010

Not the headline you were looking for? Me neither, to be honest. I was shocked when I checked my email this morning at SeaTac while waiting for our flight to Vegas (Baby!), and I had this article sent to me by My Man In Canada, Gary Tater.

In summary, the Edmonton Oilers hockey team is shopping for a PCL team to move back into TELUS Field. And I say…. YES! Let’s do it!

I loved travelling to Edmonton. It’s a major league city, with two major league teams (the Canadian Football League is major league in Canada). The ballpark is outstanding once you get past their silly 1980s Astroturf infield – surely they could replace that. They always gave us first-rate accommodations, and the travel from Tacoma was a breeze. Yes, customs slows you down by 15 or 20 minutes – no big deal.

With Portland leaving the league after this season, the Rainiers will need a travel partner - and Edmonton would be a perfect fit. It’s an easy 1:30/2:00 direct flight from SeaTac. American Conference teams can get in there flying through Denver, Chicago, or Minneapolis.

The Trappers were always a first-class organization that treated the visiting teams very well – the old front office there made it a joy to visit the city.

Let’s go Oilers – get this done!

One part of the story is alarming, though – they list Las Vegas as a rumored team for sale. That would be a disaster, we need to keep Vegas in the league. Just move Portland up there and be done with it. Or dare I say…. the Springs?

The Rainiers arrived safely in Vegas, checking into the hotel at about noon. The guys got about four hours of sleep in their own beds after last night’s doubleheader – which means that we’ll be better rested than just about everyone else visiting Las Vegas.

About that doubleheader – yeah, the Rainiers lost both games, throwing away game two in a rather ugly fashion. But for now I’m going to focus on the positives: the team went 5-2 on the homestand, and the bats came alive. The chances of that continuing are strong: Cashman Field is an absolute launching pad, and Vegas’s pitching has been dreadful recently. Las Vegas does, however, have a lot of left-handed pitching which could be a problem for the Rainiers heavily left-handed lineup.

Look for some Rainiers roster moves before the game. Eliezer Alfonzo was not on the flight, I’m guessing he’s on stand-by with the Mariners in case Josh Bard’s injury forces him onto the disabled list. Two young kids are here with the Rainiers, and one or both might be activated prior to first pitch: catcher Blake Ochoa, and infielder Jeff Dominguez. Alternately, Bard might be OK, Alfonzo might fly to Vegas, and the kids go back to Arizona. We’ll see what happens.

Catcher injuries force situations like that – no manager wants to go into a game with only one healthy catcher. Thus, all of the maneuvering which might become totally unneccessary.

Tonight’s game is at 7:05, pre-game show starts at 6:50. Listen live on 850 AM or via the internet at www.tacomarainiers.com. Tacoma starts RHP Steven Shell (3-1, 2.28) against Las Vegas RHP Rey Gonzalez (4-3, 8.81). The two teams split a four-game series in Tacoma near the beginning of the month.

A word about the blog: we’re in Las Vegas, and it’s a holiday weekend. There are two noon games – Sunday and Monday. I’ll have a full blog Saturday but I make no promises for Sunday and Monday - for all of the obvious reasons.

Links:

  • The News Tribune was at the doubleheader loss; here’s Ryan Divish’s story. It’s hard to win when you can’t play catch, right Brownie?
  • Divish also says the next 20 games will determine the Mariners fate. Yes, Divish wrote this – not McGrath, who is listed as author for some reason.
  • Tacoma’s Tommy Everidge was the latest to get the Karen Westeen Q&A treatment.
  • If you want to see my ugly mug, I interview Brad Nelson and Steven Shell on the new episode of Rainiers Insider.
  • Big news regarding Rainiers TV games is coming soon – stay tuned!
  • Don’t want to watch or listen to baseball tonight? Larry Stone has the answer for you.
  • In the PCL-North, two teams are really struggling: Colorado Springs has lost eight in a row, and Portland has lost seven straight. Something’s gotta give – they play each other in a four-game series starting tonight in the Springs. Colorado Springs scored five runs in a four-game series at Omaha.
  • Salt Lake, meanwhile, is playing pretty well – they went 5-3 on the Omaha-Iowa swing.
  • It’s a record: three straight shutouts in Albuquerque. Absolutely amazing. In this story: Andre Ethier is going to rehab with the ‘Topes.
  • Here are some awesome action shots of Iowa manager Ryne Sandberg flipping out. I agree with the article – Mike Quade had the best ejections I have ever seen – even better than Dan Rohn. Ryno appears to be using the rarely seen Daren Brown hat-throwing method.
  • Here’s the latest update on a man who has no business being in the minor leagues, Buster Posey.
  • Ex-Rainiers outfielder Shin-Soo Choo has hit the big time: a feature in the New York Times.
  • No Mariners farm hands made Baseball America’s Prospect Hot Sheet this week – but look at the bright side, they avoided the Not-So-Hot Sheet! A pair of PCL catchers are hot including J.P. Arencibia, who the Rainiers face this weekend.
  • My favorite funny Twitter follow is @oldhossradbourn, the from-the-grave commentary by the Hall Of Fame pitcher from the 1800s. Well, Old Hoss reviewed a book about… Old Hoss Radbourn. Obviously, it’s fantastic.

We happened to arrive in Vegas the same day that The World Series Of Poker opens. So if you tune in at 7:00, and there is no Rainiers baseball, that could mean only one thing: I hit a jackpot on a slot machine and bought in to the $50,000 8-game mix Poker Player’s Championship. Wish me luck!


If We All Think Real Hard, Maybe We Can Stop This Rain

May 27, 2010

We lost a game yesterday, but the Rainiers five-game win streak is still alive.

Due to four hours of steady – and at times torrential – rain, the first game of yesterday’s doubleheader was suspended after four innings with the score tied, 1-1. The second game is permanently cancelled.

Today at 6:30, the Rainiers will finish the suspended game (weather permitting), and then play the regularly scheduled game. Each game is set for seven innings due to Minor League Baseball rules.

So in the end, Oklahoma City and Tacoma will only play three of the four scheduled games. The two teams do not play again this year, so the game will not be made up. This means that Tacoma will play 143 games this season instead of 144.

This season will be the first since 2004 that Tacoma has not played a full slate of 144 games. It’s actually common for teams in the American Conference to lose games from the schedule – they have more issues with summer rainstorms, not to mention hurricanes and flooding. In the Pacific Conference, only Colorado Springs annually loses games due to weather – in fact, Colorado Springs has already lost one this year, too.

There was a (partial) game yesterday. David Pauley struck out a season-high eight and allowed one run over four innings, and Matt Mangini homered for Tacoma’s only run.

Manager Daren Brown says he will use relievers situationally for the remainder of the suspended game, and then start LHP Luke French (5-1, 1.61) in game two against Oklahoma City RHP Doug Mathis (0-0, 9.00). 

Lots of links today while I’m doing road trip laundry:

  • The News Tribune asked me to write about what the players did during the four-hour rain delay, so I complied.
  • The Mariners were able to play because they have a roof. Stunning comeback - we watched it on the video board. The author of this article tries to transfer his nickname (“paperboy”) to Josh Wilson, but trashtalking Georgia Tech women’s hoopster Alex Montgomery already hung it on him in a pickup game at the Tacoma Y.
  • Larry Stone says the Mariners should try to emulate the 2005 Astros. Stone also did a Fister-Vargas round-up.
  • The Mariners made some minor league promotions of note: Nate Tenbrink, who was pushing .400 in the California League, was promoted to Class-AA West Tennessee. And Dennis Raben was promoted from Clinton to High Desert; he hit two homers and drew four walks in his first California League game.
  • In the PCL, Salt Lake moved a half-game ahead of the Rainiers by whacking Iowa, 9-2. Iowa is moving Andrew Cashner to the bullpen. Seems a little crazy – why do teams value relievers more than starters?
  • Colorado Springs has lost seven in a row. The Sky Sox roster has had changes daily.
  • Tacoma perfect game pitcher John Halama signed with Sacramento and dealt in his first start.
  • There were consecutive shutouts in Albuquerque. Must be a record!
  • Nothing quite says Meltdown like this headline. Yikes!
  • With the exception of the World Cup, I pay no attention to soccer. However, all of this recent news has seeped into my brain enough for me to wonder whatever happened to Hiram Bocachica. I found out he’s playing for Bridgeport in the independent Atlantic League while maintaining ownership of his sports bar in Puerto Rico. Thanks to these guys for the help!
  • I found this amusing – the Dodgers are suing a comedian who didn’t pay for his tickets.

It’s cloudy today but we really need the rain to stay away – we gotta get these games in tonight!


Tuesday Night Game Rained Out

May 25, 2010

Doubleheader on Wednesday at 11:30 am. Two seven-inning games. David Pauley pitches game one, Andy Baldwin game two.


Bats Stay Hot In Fifth Straight Win

May 25, 2010

The Rainiers beat a pretty good Oklahoma City club yesterday, 7-3, in the opener of a four-game series. That’s five straight wins for Tacoma, and the team is now 21-21 on the year. That stretch of 8 losses in 10 games is getting smaller and smaller in the rearview mirror.

Once again, it was the hitting that led the way. The Rainiers have scored 7+ runs in all five games, and the team has had 10+ hits in each one. Tacoma has hit 11 homers in the last four games, improving to 3rd in the 16-team Pacific Coast League with 38 homers.

Tommy Everidge lead the way last night. His two-run homer off the top of the wall in the third inning gave the Rainiers a 4-0 lead, and his opposite-field two-run double opened up a close game in the seventh.

Chris Seddon went six innings for the win, and Rainiers relievers Brian Sweeney and Sean White combined to work three scoreless innings while striking out five.

In other news, the Rainiers officially announced the make-up dates for the April rainouts with Salt Lake. The teams will play doubleheaders at 6:00 at Cheney Stadium on June 22 and June 24. That’s going to make for a gruelling stretch of six games in four days, but that’s the only way to make ‘em up. The games will be seven innings each, which is the minor league rule.

Tonight’s game is at 7:00, live on 850 AM and streaming on www.tacomarainiers.com. Tacoma starts RHP David Pauley (0-3, 3.47) against Oklahoma City RHP Tommy Hunter (1-1, 3.06).

Update: It’s 8:00 and we haven’t started yet. It’s pouring rain, too.

Now for the links:

  • In an in-depth Rainiers game story for The News Tribune, Ryan Divish runs through the numbers on the Rainiers recent hitting surge, and he talked to Everidge.
  • The paper also ran a feature on new Mariners hitting coach Alonzo Powell.
  • You know the M’s season is officially in the tank when the Seattle Times is running an off-day feature on a batting practice pitcher.
  • My man Rob Neyer agrees with John McGrath’s column from yesterday, and he further delves into the Mariners mess.
  • Jason Churchill decided to put Cliff Lee on the market.
  • In the PCL, Salt Lake shut out Iowa, 1-0, to stay a half-game ahead of Tacoma in the standings.
  • Fresno starter Eric Hacker finally lost - he’s 7-2. Ex-Rainiers outfielder Jalal Leach is mentioned in this story*. The Fresno second baseman needed some harsh words of reality to jump-start his career.
  • The Giants really seem set on leaving Buster Posey in Fresno for a while. Posey went 4-for-4 yesterday, he’s hitting .344.
  • Brett Anderson rehabbed with Sacramento, and when he was done Travis Blackley tossed three scoreless innings and picked up the win.
  • And we think Tacoma’s hitters are hot – Round Rock has had 10+ hits in 11 straight games.
  • Albuquerque games are like NBA games – just show up for the last couple of innings.

A couple of ex-Rainiers relief pitchers got good news: Jon Huber was signed by the Dodgers to a minor league deal, and yesterday the Red Sox called up Scott Atchison.

* I’m still upset at former Rainiers Asst. GM Kevin Kalal for not naming his son Jalal Kalal, like he once promised. He was sober, too.


Launch Bombs, Wave Brooms

May 24, 2010

Tacoma hit five homers on Sunday in an 11-3 win over New Orleans, completing a four-game series sweep.

Mike Carp homered twice, with Eliezer Alfonzo, Greg Halman, and Matt Mangini each going deep once.

Carp has hit three homers in the last two games. Halman has homered in three straight games. Mangini’s shot took out a section of the video board – fortunately Rainiers ace repairman Ryan Schutt was able to fix it; he has this ultimate set of tools.

Tacoma scored 32 runs on 48 hits over the four-game sweep – the team is no longer last in the league in batting average or runs scored; and they now rank tied for third best with 37 homers. The Rainiers also pulled within a half-game of first place Salt Lake.

Today Tacoma welcomes Oklahoma City to Cheney Stadium for a four-game series beginning with a 7:00 game tonight. Oklahoma City starts LHP Michael Ballard (2-2, 4.74), Tacoma will pitch LHP Chris Seddon (3-2, 4.14). The Redhawks have won three straight right after losing five in a row; they have a good record of 24-19 mostly on the strength of a 15-7 April. Chris Davis is hitting .314 but with only two homers in 105 at-bats, and the team just added Ryan Garko after he cleared waivers. Also, keep an eye on catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia’s throws back to the mound – he’s got a well publicized issue with this.

Today’s links were compiled while wondering if the “Save Our Sonics” guy is going to show up at Cheney and picket the Oklahoma City Redhawks clubhouse.

  • I pulled a double shift yesterday, writing the Rainiers game story for The News Tribune. The TNT always gets short on full-time sportswriters during the high school playoffs.
  • The Mariners aren’t scoring, and John McGrath says Don Wakamatsu isn’t managing. McGrath and I agree on one thing: the Mariners handling of Michael Saunders when he is in the big leagues is completely mystifying and seems to be without any plan or purpose*.
  • Dave Cameron showed off his writing chops at USS Mariner. There’s a lot of good info in this weekly farm report, with some sad news about Class-AA reliever Wes Littleton.
  • The Angels are upset with Jake Locker. So are nine of the Pac-10 football teams. Do it, Jake! You’re a baseball player!
  • I hope that when I die Joe Posnanski writes my obit. His piece on Jose Lima is pure gold. Larry Stone dug up one of his old Lima Time columns.
  • In the PCL, Brad Eldred hit three home runs but Colorado Springs still got swept by Iowa. The Cubs have won six straight games.
  • Here’s the rundown on Oklahoma City’s win at Portland yesterday – they had three rain delays!
  • The Reno at Round Rock game ended with a collision at home plate.
  • Las Vegas beat Albuquerque on a bases loaded walk – The New Mexican called it a walk-in.
  • Sacramento ended the Memphis seven-game win streak. Chris Carter drove in three; he has 36 RBI but is batting just .235.
  • Mike… Off-Mic favorite Jorge Campillo tossed three perfect innings for Omaha as he continues to battle back from shoulder injuries.

Happy 69th birthday, Bobby Z!

* the exception to this would be if the Mariners have already determined that Saunders will never be a starter in the majors. If they have jumped to that conclusion, they should Bavasi him off to Cleveland ASAP, where he’ll become a star in no time.


Homers Trump Errors, Rainiers Win Third Straight Game

May 23, 2010

The Rainiers hit three homers, made five errors, and won their third straight game on Saturday night.

There were no rain delays, thank goodness.

Mike Carp, Greg Halman, and Ramon Vazquez each homered on a night in which the wind was strongly blowing out to right field. Halman has homered in two straight games – both to the opposite field. Carp leads the team with seven homers, and Vazquez hit his first in a Tacoma uniform since 2001.

The Rainiers also made five errors – two by Halman in center field. It was the most errors for Tacoma since a 5-error game on July 29, 2004 against Colorado Springs. In the game six years ago, the errors were made by shortstop Jose Lopez, second baseman Mickey Lopez, two by first baseman AJ Zapp, and one by catcher Jim Horner.

Tacoma has won three straight games against New Orleans and goes for the sweep today. The Rainiers have clinched the series – winning a series against New Orleans for the first time in franchise history. Since the Zephyrs joined the league in 1998, they are 23-12 at Cheney Stadium – and that includes the three losses this year. Historically, New Orleans just plain beats up on the Rainiers. It’s good to see that change this year.

Today’s series finale at Cheney Stadium starts at 1:30. Tacoma will start RHP Steven Shell (2-1, 2.00) against veteran New Orleans RHP Brian Lawrence (3-3, 3.79). Looks like we’re not going to see Logan Morrison – he didn’t show up yesterday, and will probably join the Zephyrs in Portland on Monday. Today’s broadcast can be heard on 850 AM and online streaming via www.tacomarainiers.com.

Sunday links:

  • Here is the Rainiers game story from The News Tribune. It focuses on the Tacoma pitchers working around the errors. I wrote my Minor League Notebook about under-the-radar Mariners prospects.
  • In his Sunday column, Ryan Divish couldn’t resist bringing up the whole Brandon Morrow/Tim Lincecum thing. The draft is next Monday. 
  • Speaking of the draft, Bryce Harper went 6-for-6 with four homers and 10 RBI in his junior college’s league championship game. He’s going to be picked #1.
  • And speaking of Lincecum, in certain circles he’s not the most famous member of Liberty High School’s Class of 2003.
  • On the Mariners front, Jack Wilson is still hurt. He might rehab with the Rainiers soon. Or maybe he’ll retire, he says. They lost a close game yesterday.
  • Larry Stone wrote about local products making good in the majors.
  • In the PCL, Salt Lake handed Gaby Hernandez and the Omaha Royals a massive beatdown while taking over first place.
  • Las Vegas had 20 hits and lost. Only in Albuquerque.
  • Nashville edged Fresno 2-1 and improved to 15-4 in one-run games. Trent Oeltjen walked, stole second, stole third, and scored on a sac fly in the ninth to win the game.
  •  Reno beat Round Rock in 12 innings on Cole Gillespie’s hit. The Reno paper had a story on declining attendance in Reno – they blame the weather. I was impressed by the fan support in Reno when we went there last season.
  • Cubs fans rejoice – this Andrew Cashner guy seems legit. He beat Colorado Springs last night, 1-0 – and he is now 3-0, 0.95 after three starts.
  • Here’s an interview with Triple-A slugger Andy Tracy, who says that winning in the minor leagues matters. It’s true – as much as the front office talks about development, the players universally want to win.

Off to the ballpark to go record the Daren Brown show – tune in early for our weekly manager interview, starting at 1:15.


Late Night With The Rainiers

May 22, 2010

The trends in this New Orleans series are clear:

  • Wait out 90-minute rain delay
  • Fall behind by multiple runs
  • Get the offense started around 11 pm
  • Amazing comeback at 11:30
  • Repeat.

For the second day in a row, the Rainiers stunned the Zephyrs with a near-midnight rally, and Tacoma claimed a 7-5 win on Friday night.

This time they did it with the longball. Down 5-4 with two on and two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, Mike Wilson crushed a walk-off three-run homer to give Tacoma the 7-5 win.

Wilson’s homer – his first with Tacoma this year – was of the high fly ball variety. It was hit to the left of the big wall in center, and it actually clipped the lower-right corner of the video board. It was a long homer, but since it was hit to the deep part of the park there was drama to it – we’ve all seen outfielders catch 415-foot fly balls at Cheney Stadium. When center fielder Lorenzo Scott gave up on the ball, we knew the game was over – even if the ball didn’t leave the park.

So that’s two straight comeback wins for Tacoma: 5 runs in the eighth on Thursday for a 7-6 win, and a game-winning homer in the ninth on Friday. Tacoma is now 18-21 on the year, and remarkably only 1.5 games out of first place. No team in the North has a winning record – Salt Lake and Colorado Springs are each 20-20 and tied in first.

The team is hitting better. Some Rainiers hitter notes:

  • Brad Nelson had three hits last night and is 7-for-14 over the last four games
  • Ezequiel Carrera had a hit and a walk; he’s 7-for-12 in the last four games
  • Greg Halman hit an impressive opposite-field homer; he’s 5-for-16 in the last four
  • Mike Carp has four hits in the last two games.

Tonight’s game is (allegedly) at 7:00. Yeah, these rain delays are wearing everybody out, but I just looked outside and saw the sun – I consider that a good omen. Tacoma starts LHP Luke French (4-1, 1.64) against New Orleans LHP Hunter Jones (0-2, 3.51). Jones is a fill-in starter from the bullpen so look for a short outing. There is a chance that New Orleans will activate super-prospect Logan Morrison today – we’ll see. The broadcast is in the usual spots: 850 AM in Tacoma/Seattle, and streaming online at www.tacomarainiers.com. Mike Wilson is required to be my pre-game guest, due to the walk-off home run law*.

Now for some Saturday links:

  • Grant Clark’s play-by-play for The News Tribune was too late for the paper, again. But here it is.
  • Apparently the Mariners and Padres played last night’s game at a neutral site – like Albuquerque, or Salt Lake. Maybe High Desert. 15-8? Whaaaaaaat?
  • Bad news for the bullpen – Mark Lowe’s back isn’t healing quickly.
  • Memphis is hot – they’ve won six in a row. Yesterday they scored eight runs after a two-out error and beat Sacramento, 9-2 – in fact, all nine Memphis runs were unearned. That’s gotta be a record.
  • Landon Powell caught a perfect game and then got shipped to Sacramento. Henry Rodriguez talks about throwing absolute gas.
  • Ryan Garko hit a grand slam for Oklahoma City at Portland.
  • Albuquerque used a 7-run inning to beat Las Vegas. In this story: a Seth Etherton sighting. 
  • Iowa rallied late to beat Colorado Springs. Bryan LaHair had three hits and threw out a runner at the plate.
  • Round Rock’s dramatic comeback bid came an inch short. Wes Roemer had a good Triple-A debut for Reno; he’s supposed to be a decent prospect.
  • Fresno – with the best record in the league – is playing the best team from the American Conference, Nashville. Nashville got ‘em last night, ending the Grizzlies 5-game win streak.
  • Congratulations to Jim Byers – winner of the PCL Broadcaster of the Month award for April!

Today’s blog was composed while listening to this – always perfect on a suburban Saturday.

* the following accomplishments require an appearance on the pre-game show the next day, no excuses allowed: walk-off hit, three home runs in a game, 5+ hits, game-saving diving catch, pitch a complete game shutout, strike out 10+, escape nasty jam in ninth for save.


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