The Rainiers have played great baseball on the road lately – but can they do it at home?
It’s too early to give a definitive answer of “yes,” but things are heading in the right direction.
Luis Jimenez hit the first pitch of the bottom of the ninth inning for a game-winning home run on Thursday night, and the Rainiers opened the four-game holiday weekend homestand with a 6-5 win over the Fresno Grizzlies.
It was the third straight home win for Tacoma, which has now won six of the last seven games overall.
Nate Robertson had his best start of the year, lasting seven innings and allowing three runs (two earned). He needed just 90 pitches to get through seven. It was his sixth start of the year, so he’s done with the “spring training” period of his recovery from elbow surgery.
This was a very encouraging outing for Robertson – Fresno lost its seventh in a row, but it’s not the hitter’s fault: Fresno scored 41 runs in its previous four games, and their lineup is formidable right now.
Check out who is here for the holiday weekend: San Francisco Giants roving pitching instructor Lee Smith is at Cheney Stadium, working with the Grizzlies pitchers. I’m old enough to remember when Smith was the most fearsome closer in baseball. Check out his career stats - 478 saves, 3rd all-time.
It’s time to do a Call Him Up Already! for… would you believe… former Rainier Bryan LaHair.
The Iowa Cubs first baseman is just crushing the PCL this year, and you have to think he could help the woeful Chicago Cubs. LaHair is bating .367 with 22 home runs and 63 RBI for Iowa, and he’s playing in the American Conference, which is not as hitter-friendly as the Pacific Conference.
LaHair has a .435 on-base percentage and a .697 slugging percentage for a 1.132 OPS.
The Chicago Cubs are currently starting Carlos Pena at first base, and he’s hitting .222 – but his peripheral numbers are pretty good, and his OPS is .806. Could LaHair top that? Possibly.
Chicago could also play LaHair in left field, where they are currently starting… Reed Johnson? Blake DeWitt? Alfonso Soriano? I’m not sure, it seems like an injury-caused revolving door out there.
However they resolve the issue, LaHair is a man among boys in the PCL this year. The Cubs need to Call Him Up Already!
Tonight’s game is at 7:05, and it’s Friday Night Fireworks – consider it the opening act for the big explosions coming after the game on Sunday. Tacoma is set to start LHP Chris Seddon (5-4, 4.89) against Fresno RHP Shane Loux (3-9, 4.03). Catch the broadcast on 850 AM or streaming online right here.
Tickets are available all weekend – in fact, there is a killer special on sale on the Party Deck for Saturday night only: a four person table on the deck, with an all-you-can-eat BBQ buffet for 90 minutes, plus all the drinks you can drink for the game. It’s $150 for four people with beer and wine, or $100 for four people with no alcohol – if you come to the park hungry (and thirsty), this is a bargain. Call 253-752-7707 to book this one-time offer.*
- Here is the Rainiers game story from The News Tribune.
- The Mariners were off yesterday, so Larry LaRue wrote a feature on Carlos Peguero.
- John McGrath writes that the Mariners are trying to duplicate the 2010 World Champion SF Giants.
- Larry Stone has a post about the effects of Erik Bedard’s knee injury.
- There was a fire in the Oakland A’s clubhouse, prompting a classic response from team owner Lew Wolff.**
- You can’t go wrong with Joe Posnanski’s 14 Crazy Baseball Facts.
- The Arizona Diamondbacks are learning something that the Tacoma Rainiers have known for years: J.J. Putz is insane.
- Baseball America broke down the Triple-A All-Star Game rosters.
- The new mascot for the independent team in Amarillo needs to immediately contact his physician.
- In the PCL, the first place Reno Aces refuse to slump. They beat Salt Lake yesterday, 9-6, as all-stars Cody Ransom and Collin Cowgill had big games. That story talks about all of the Reno roster moves, and they lost starting pitcher Barry Enright to a five-game suspension. Great details and strong quotes about the Enright fight with Sacramento’s Josh Donaldson, which continued outside the clubhouses in left field at Raley.
- Sacramento got lit up by Tucson last night, with rehabilitating major leaguer Tyson Ross taking a beat-down.
- Former Rainiers infielder Kevin Howard is in his third stint with Las Vegas.
- Omaha prospect Mike Montgomery returns to the mound tonight.
- Nick Stavinoha became the Memphis Redbirds all-time home run leader.
- Rehabilitating former Cy Young award winner Brandon Webb is starting for Round Rock tonight.
- Top prospect Matt Dominguez hit a ninth inning grand slam to give New Orleans a 7-6 win at Iowa, despite another huge game from Bryan LaHair.
Off subject and extremely out-of-season, but I am a huge, huge
Pac-10 Pac-12 basketball fan. This is the sport in which I have a team that I root for so strongly, that I’m pacing around the house yelling through my TV screen at some 18-year-old kid for missing a free throw. Pathetic, I know. That being said, moving the Pac-12 tournament out of LA is a great idea, and if it came to Seattle I would attend the entire event.
* As I’ve written before, I’m not using this space to push tickets very often – but that’s just a great deal right there. If I didn’t work here, I’d call up three beer-swilling buddies, we’d each plop down $40 for our table and use the change for a cab ride home, and we’d make sure that the Rainiers lost money on this deal…
** this story reminded me of the time several years ago – pre-renovation, of course – when an errant firework caused a small grass fire on the hill outside the third base side of Cheney Stadium, and a high-ranking Rainiers executive was jumping up and down yelling “Burn down the stadium! We have insurance!”