Different location, same result: the Rainiers opened an eight-game road trip with a 9-8 loss in Salt Lake City on Saturday night.
The first game of the road trip was eerily similar to what the Rainiers did on the just-completed eight-game homestand. Tacoma stayed in the game and lost by one run, and the defense was the culprit once again.
Tacoma was charged with three errors last night, and it should have been more. Chris Pettit’s “three-run double” in the bottom of the eighth inning should have been called an error, and the Rainiers also had some mental mistakes (pitcher not covering first base, etc).
The Rainiers have lost nine of the last ten games, but I still think that this will be corrected soon, and here’s why: five of the losses have been by one run, two by two runs, and one by three runs. During this dreadful stretch, Tacoma has only been beaten badly one time (the 13-1 loss to Colorado Springs on Thursday).
Clearly, the club is just about as good as the opponent, but bad luck or a big mistake at a key moment is costing them the ballgame.
Positive notes from Saturday:
- Mike Carp is back. He went 3-for-4 with a homer, and in his last five games he is 9-for-19 with two home runs. He’s even got his average over the Mendoza Line at .210.
- Matt Tuiasosopo hit two hard doubles and he has reached base ten times in the last four games.
- Brandon Haveman had two hits, a home run, and three RBI. His first Triple-A homer was a line-drive laser beam down the right field line.
- Johan Limonta went 3-for-4 with a walk.
Today’s game is at 1:05 (Pacific) and the Rainiers send LHP Chris Seddon (0-1, 0.96) to the mound against Salt Lake LHP Manny Flores (making his Triple-A debut). Seddon’s microscopic ERA is endangered in the high-elevation hitter’s paradise of Spring Mobile Ballpark.
The pre-game airs at 12:50 and the broadcast will be on South Sound Sports 850 AM and streaming online.
- I wrote the Rainiers game story for The News Tribune, and also a Minor League Notebook about Mariners power-hitting prospects trying to cut down their strikeouts.
- Here is the Rainiers-Bees coverage from the Salt Lake Bee and the Deseret News.
- The Mariners lost to Oakland yesterday, ending the streak of shutout innings pitched. Franklin Gutierrez has a diagnosis.
- Larry Stone wrote his Sunday column about the demise of the Dodgers. His notebook always has some good nuggets, and his power rankings are all one-liners.
- In the PCL, snow and Eric Young Jr. saved the Sky Sox last night.
- Brand Belt reported to Fresno and launched a bomb in his first at-bat – but the Grizzlies lost to Reno, 9-2.
- This story on Sacramento’s road success refers to Cheney Stadium as a hitter’s park. It might be true now. Jemile Weeks hit his first Triple-A home run last night.
- This story on former PCL Most Valuable Player Jose Ortiz has some great facts about the award.
- My man Wily Mo Pena is out with a groin injury right now, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have a Wily Mo Lovefest. Money quote: ”Pena has always been known for the majesty of his home runs…”. Everyone stops and watches when its his turn in batting practice. This is an entertaining read.
- Memphis came home from a tough road trip, had a big crowd, and ended a five-game losing streak.
- Just the opposite, Round Rock won seven straight road games, but returned home last night and got stymied by Jordan Lyles and the RedHawks.
- Zack Greinke starts for Nashville today against Omaha, who has won six straight games. Should be a good battle.
- Ex-Rainiers pitcher Brandon Morrow made his season debut for Toronto last night.
Off to the ballpark for another chilly game in Salt Lake City!