The Iowa Cubs finished off a four-game sweep of the Rainiers with a 7-3 win last night, and Tacoma has now lost nine of the last 11 games. Ryan Rowland-Smith took the loss – he allowed 11 hits, all singles, over 5.2 innings. He left the game with the score tied and two runners on base, but Darwin Barney hit a two-run triple off Anthony Varvaro and the runs were charged to RRS.
The team bus got out of Des Moines as fast as possible – that place was pure evil (on the field, at least). We arrived in Omaha at the very reasonable hour of 12:30 AM.
Actually, we haven’t been to Omaha yet – the Royals put us up in a hotel across the Missouri River, in Council Bluffs, Iowa. Every time we come here, I’m reminded of R.A. Dickey telling us the story about his ill-fated attempt to swim across the Missouri after taking a particularly brutal beating at Rosenblatt, and electing to walk/swim back to the hotel.
Today’s game is at 4:05 pm Pacific time, and the Rainiers are looking to the big kid to try to end this tailspin. Michael Pineda (3-2, 3.52) takes the mound in what may be one of his final appearances of 2010. The Mariners have said there is a limit of 140 innings pitched for Pineda this season, and he enters today’s game at 123 innings. Of course, the Mariners can always change that limit – we’ll see what happens.
On the mound for Omaha is LHP Blaine Hardy (2-3, 2.09). Hardy is from Shoreline, WA; he graduated from Edmonds-Woodway High School, briefly attended the University of Portland, and then transferred to NAIA powerhouse Lewis & Clark State College, where he played for college baseball coaching legend Ed Cheff. Hardy was a 22nd round draft pick in 2008; he’s on the fast track in the Royals system. He seems to profile more as a reliever – I’m not sure why he’s starting right now; I’ll ask when I get to the park.
The broadcast will be on South Sound Sports 850 AM, and streaming live via www.tacomarainiers.com. Tune in at 3:50 for the pre-game show when we do our weekly visit with manager Daren Brown, and try to get to the bottom of this skid.
Sunday links are always usually good:
- I wrote the Rainiers game story for The News Tribune. I also did a Minor League Notebook on Bryan LaHair and Ryne Sandberg.
- Here’s a special feature on Omaha’s Rosenblatt Stadium. The Rainiers are saying goodbye to this monstrosity with this series.
- The Mariners got shut down by Bruce Chen, although they did have good pitching from a trio of former Rainiers.
- This is strange – I couldn’t find Sunday baseball columns on the websites of either The Seattle Times or The News Tribune. Have they stopped running them?
- It took some sleuthing, but I was able to locate Larry Stone’s power rankings. And Larry himself pointed me to his secret Sunday column about removing Don Wakamatsu from the hot seat. As for Divish’s Sunday column, it’s probably lounging beside a Montana lake.
- In Toronto, J.P. Arencibia had a massive major league debut.
- If you were following the Rangers bankruptcy auction, Mark Cuban explained why he did what he did on his blog.
- The Everett AquaSox won by forfeit – Boise manager Jody Davis pulled his team off the field when the umpires wouldn’t stop the game. That’s 9-0 on the happy totals, friends.
- In the PCL, let’s raise a toast to Oklahoma City lefty Derek Holland, who shut down Salt Lake and kept the Rainiers division lead at 2.5 games. Really, Holland belongs in the majors – he’s 6-2, 1.49 in the PCL. Slugger Mark Trumbo is heating up for Salt Lake.
- Omaha took three of four from Portland, and the Royals have won eight of their last 11 games. Jai Miller is red-hot – he hit five homers in four games against Portland.
- Veteran Mike Jacobs is enjoying his time with Las Vegas.
- Reno completed a four-game series sweep of Nashville. Brandon Allen is still hot.
- I’m telling you, Sky Sox reliever Matt Reynolds is going to have a 10-year MLB career. The Sky Sox held Goose Gossage Night yesterday.
- Here’s the latest on the Rainiers next opponent at home, Round Rock.
- And that brings us to the Sacramento-at-Albuquerque game. Sacramento led 12-1 in the middle of the sixth inning. When we checked into our hotel, completing our travel day, they were still playing. They went 12 innings, in five hours and three minutes, and Albuquerque had its biggest comeback in team history. Here’s the box score.
Off to Rosenblatt. I called College World Series games here while I was in school before starting my pro broadcasting career; I remember my broadcast partner Jim Olson (are you alive?) and I being asked to leave our makeshift seats - we had commandeered a couple of folding chairs from the old press box, and we set them up on the roof outside of the press box, and we were enjoying the sun and a cold beverage while watching one of the non-Cal games - and we were politely asked to leave. The Cal Bears were not-so-politely asked to leave after suffering two straight one-run losses, to Miami and Florida State.