I mean really – how can you be stressed when you have a five-game lead, and you’re getting 10 hours of sleep every night in Fresno?
The Rainiers have lost two in a row after Thursday night’s 6-4 loss at Fresno, and Salt Lake is hot – they’ve won 10 of 12 games to narrow the gap down to five. The Rainiers had a nine-game lead on the morning of July 16.
Tacoma is neither hot or cold right now – the Rainiers have gone 8-7 since the all-star break, while playing 11 of those 15 games on the road. Salt Lake has been loading up on wins while facing a bad Portland team – and they have six more games against the Beavers, right in a row.
Salt Lake and Tacoma do not play each other again this season. The Rainiers continue to play on the road for the next two weeks – there is a four-game series at home against Reno Saturday through Tuesday, but then they hit the road for eight games. All told, Tacoma plays 20 of 28 games after the all-star break on the road. But then things change – the Rainiers finish the season playing 17 of the last 25 games at home, including five against Portland. The schedule balances out.
The final game of the four-game series in Fresno is tonight at 7:05, and the Rainiers need a win to salvage a split. Tacoma sends RHP Ian Snell (3-2, 4.58) to the mound against Fresno RHP Kevin Pucetas (2-6, 6.12). The game will be broadcast on 850 AM and streaming online via www.tacomarainiers.com.
The Rainiers starting rotation is in a state of flux right now, and we still don’t know how it’s going to shake out. First staff ace Luke French was called up to Seattle, and now I have learned that Ryan Feierabend will miss his scheduled start on Saturday against Reno, due to a strained ribcage muscle that may land him on the disabled list. The Mariners to going to have to send in reinforcements soon – Tacoma could potentially get a starter back from Seattle when Shawn Kelley comes off the disabled list, and there are a couple of candidates for a promotion in Class-AA.
Injuries are mounting. Outfielder David Winfree has missed two games with a strained quadriceps, and he is day-to-day. Catcher Adam Moore got smoked on the left forearm by a pitch yesterday, and he took a beating on foul tips behind the dish – look for Eliezor Alfonzo to start tonight.
Now for some links:
- The News Tribune hired an excellent writer to ink the Rainiers game story from last night’s action. It was definitely strange to see Andy Baldwin walking hitters.
- Our own Michael Pineda snuck onto Baseball America’s Prospect Hot Sheet - complete with a nice shot of the Pineda rookie card. I was chatting with Pineda’s agent Dan Evans the other day, and he and I agree that Pineda is an extremely under-rated prospect nationally.
- The pitchers called up by Seattle from Tacoma all struggled in unison last night in Chicago – they had been performing quite well.
- I’m not sure what this Long Geoff Baker Post is about, but it sure is long.
- Dave Cameron did a nice job explaining why the Mariners don’t really have a trade deadline.
- Here is something called a “Prospect Smackdown” between our own Dustin Ackley and the Brewers’ Brett Lawrie – brother of the UW softball star.
- Former Tacoma Giant Willie McCovey is rooting for a rookie to break one of his records.
- The “Moneyball” movie is filming, and yesterday they shot a scene involving Gig Harbor’s own “Pickin’ Machine” – Scott Hatteberg.
- In the PCL, Salt Lake won its sixth in a row to pull within five games of Tacoma. But the Bees lost a key hitter when Cory Aldridge landed on the disabled list.
- Sacramento got knocked into second place by the Sky Sox. In this story: a rash of injured national anthem singers in Sacramento.
- I’m glad were leaving Fresno – the Buster Posey bobblehead frenzy sounds terrifying.
- Oklahoma City’s Michael Kirkman is quietly having a great season. Well – maybe not so quietly anymore, he does show up on the Hot Sheet.
I thought about writing today’s main item about the trade deadline, and player’s reaction to it. But with the Mariners so quiet this year, let’s save that for next season. One thing is for certain: I’m glad RG’s can’t be traded!