The Rainiers and Salt Lake Bees split their series-opening doubleheader last night, and now we get to see 21-year-old Michael Pineda make his Triple-A debut at 7:00 tonight at Cheney Stadium.
Yesterday the Rainiers won the opening game, 8-0. Ian Snell pitched five shutout innings and struck out nine. He gave up four hits and three walks, with most of the base runners reaching during the first two innings. Snell threw primarily fastballs and consistently hit 94 mph on the scoreboard radar gun.
The Rainiers had 12 hits in the opener, including home runs by Matt Tuiasosopo and Greg Halman. Tuiasosopo homered on his first swing after being sent to Triple-A by the Mariners; he went 3-for-3 in the game.
Tacoma needed to save some offense for game two. The Rainiers stranded 11 runners in a 5-1 defeat. Salt Lake’s Paul McAnulty hit a two-run homer in the third inning, and Terry Evans hit a three-run shot in the fifth off Tacoma starter Andy Baldwin.
So the doubleheader split means that the Rainiers are still in first place with a one-game lead over Salt Lake going into tonight’s contest.
So that brings us to Pineda. The big kid is listed at 6-foot-5, and he’s 240 pounds. Pineda reportedly throws between 92 and 98 miles per hour with his fastball, he has a good change, and an improving slider. At Class-AA West Tennessee he went 8-1 with a 2.22 ERA, with 78 strikeouts and only 17 walks in 77 innings pitched – and he gave up only one home run. He won his final five starts there, allowing exactly one run in three of them.
The only glitch I can find on Pineda’s stat sheet is his left-right splits. He held right-handed batters to a .162 average and only four extra-base hits in 154 at-bats, but lefties managed to hit .300 against him with 10 extra-base hits in 140 at-bats. Salt Lake has some good veteran left-handed batters in Cory Aldridge and Michael Ryan, plus switch-hitting prospect Hank Conger is a much better hitter from the left side. This is going to be interesting.
The M’s have been taking it easy with Pineda, and that will surely continue due to his youth. Pineda typically threw around 95 pitches per start at Class-AA, and he only crossed 100 pitches one time. Look for Tacoma manager Daren Brown to use him with similar care.
We’ll have the broadcast live on South Sound Sports 850 AM, and we’ll be streaming it live via www.tacomarainiers.com. After the game, Ryan Divish from The News Tribune will join me, along with regular hosts Ian Furness, Jason Puckett and Bucky Jacobsen, to break it down on KJR-950 AM during “Baseball’s Best Post-Game Show.”
Let’s hit the links:
- Here is Ryan Divish’s story from last night’s doubleheader. And here is his Michael Pineda preview.
- The Rainiers won a business award. Horn, consider yourself tooted.
- The Mariners have won five straight, and they have allowed one run in the last four games. Larry LaRue revisits the trade.
- M’s reliever Mark Lowe had his back surgery. Geoff Baker had a nice post on Jason Vargas.
- Larry Stone is thinking about the Mariners all-stars. I’m thinking about PCL All-Stars – I got my ballot last night*.
- Here’s a piece on one-time Tacoma Tigers pitcher Bronswell Patrick.
- And here’s a feature on former Rainiers and Mariners outfielder Jeremy Reed.
- Class-AA West Tennessee prospects Carlos Peguero and Alex Liddi will play for the World Team in the MLB All-Star Futures Game in Anaheim.
- The Oregonian doesn’t cover the Portland Beavers – probably one of the factors in the team’s demise – but they printed a feature on Oregon State hero Mitch Canham’s promotion to the Beavers.
- Lots of big news out of New Orleans: Zephyrs manager Edwin Rodriguez has been promoted to manage the Florida Marlins, who fired Fredi Gonzalez. This is cool; I’ve heard nothing but positive things about Rodriguez. And he got promoted right after losing a game because light-hitting Oklahoma City infielder Gregorio Petit hit two grand slams in one game. Petit has 39 career home runs in nine years, he’s aptly named, and he launched two salamis. How does that happen?
- The Pittsburgh Pirates are definitely cursed.
- Here’s an interview with former Portland Beavers manager Rick Sweet, about managing in Triple-A.
- I’m no soccer fan, but I’ll enjoy any sport that generates headlines like this.
Friends who know what a Cal hoops fan I am sometimes ask me who my all-time favorite players are. Well, #2 on my list is very nervous this week. Think positive thoughts for Little J!
* First thing I did: write “Luke French” in the starting pitcher slot.