Break Out Your Tape Measure

July 25, 2011

Yesterday before the game myself, trainer Jeremy Clipperton, and “Performance Specialist” Charlie Kenyon walked out to the worst seats at Spring Mobile Ballpark, for the purpose of measuring the mammoth home run that Carlos Peguero hit on Saturday.

Later, during the game, Peguero lost a routine fly ball in the sun and it fell in for a two-out, inside-the-park grand slam. Whoops!

The Rainiers lost on Sunday night, 10-2. Mauricio Robles had a nightmare outing, Peguero lost that ball, and Forrest Snow pitched well in his Triple-A debut. You can get the details in the Rainiers game story – click the first link down below.

It was, in three words, an ugly game. So let’s get back to Peguero’s tape-measure home run!

It was the ninth inning on Saturday, and he hit it off Salt Lake reliever Michael Kohn.

In Salt Lake City, the center field fence is 420 feet from home plate. There is a backdrop behind the center field fence, and behind that is a walking path that goes around the perimeter of the outfield. The walking path is above the grassy berm.

Just to the right of center, there is a covered picnic area on the other side of the walking path. Peguero’s home run hit the yellow “Siegfried & Jensen” sign on the roof of the picnic area. 

Peguero's homer hit the yellow sign on the roof of the picnic area.

I stood under the yellow sign, and stepped off 55 feet to the outfield fence, which is 420 feet from home. So that was 475 feet.

We then estimated where the ball would have landed, based upon its trajectory, and we selected a spot behind the picnic area.

The three of us agreed that Peguero’s homer was roughly 507 feet.

View from the right field berm - you can see how far the picnic area is behind the center field fence.

The picnic area is pleasant enough, but it’s a long, long way away from home plate.

View home from the picnic area where Peguero's home run landed.

Finally, a view of the whole field from the broadcast booth. I was able to see the home run ball roll down the roof after hitting the yellow sign.

View from the booth.

Tonight we complete this road trip with a 6:05 (Pacific) game here in Salt Lake City. Tacoma starts RHP Jarett Grube (1-2, 9.00) against RHP Matt Palmer (4-9, 7.95). Grube is working on three days rest so it could be yet another short outing for a Tacoma starting pitcher.

As always, you can hear the broadcast on South Sound Sports 850 AM, and streaming online right here.

Links:

Last day of the road trip – we’ll be home at Cheney Stadium on Tuesday night, and keep in mind we have a mid-week day game on Wednesday – time for a long lunch at the ballpark!


Nothing To See Here – Move Along!

July 24, 2011

Well, I don’t really want to spend a lot of time writing about last night’s game.

Tacoma was down 10-0 in the first inning, and it was 16-0 after five.

Eventually, the Rainiers lost 18-9.

Here’s a positive: catcher Ralph Henriquez hit his first Triple-A home run, a three-run blast in the eighth inning off Jason Bulger.

Also, Carlos Peguero hit a titanic home run just to the right of the batter’s eye in center field. The ball landed on the roof of a covered picnic area a good 475 feet from home plate.

And at least the guy who went bonkers for Salt Lake is a Washington native. Bees catcher Kevin Richardson graduated from Bellingham High School and Gonzaga University – he homered twice and had seven RBI.

Hopefully the Rainiers will have a happier Pioneer Day. That is today’s state holiday here in Utah, and I’ve been told it celebrates the day Brigham Young hiked over the mountains, looked over the beautiful Salt Lake valley, and said “this is the place.” It’s like some sort of Utah/Mormon combo-birthday, and its a major holiday here.

We have a rare Sunday night game tonight, so that the Bees can celebrate the holiday with a fireworks show. First pitch is at 6:05, and you can hear it on South Sound Sports 850 AM, or streaming online right here. Tacoma starts LHP Mauricio Robles (1-0, 0.00) against Salt Lake RHP Jerome Williams (4-1, 5.40).

The Rainiers made a roster move today, adding pitcher Forrest Snow to the roster, and placing Josh Fields on the Temporary Inactive List. Snow is a UW product who was in the starting rotation at High Desert.

Snow has been brought up because if the Rainiers have another short outing from the starting pitcher today, they’ll have some big bullpen issues…

On to the Sunday links!

  • We start with a recap of the bad news – the Rainiers game story from The News Tribune, or if you prefer you can read the story from the Salt Lake perspective.
  • More bad news: the Mariners dropped their 14th in a row, tying a record*. On the plus side, Blake Beavan continues to deal and Mike Carp homered.
  • The M’s streak has caused Eric Wedge to go to an act of desperation: he shaved his mustache. As I write this, it appears that the ‘stache was not the problem.
  • In my Minor League Notebook for the TNT, I wrote about the Luis Mendoza near-no-hitter, respected Dick “Double No-Hit” Estelle, and provided a Brett Lawrie update.
  • Geoff Baker reports that Erik Bedard and Shawn Kelley had successfully simulated games, and Mariners hitting coach Chris Chambliss is not happy.
  • Is it Sunday? Well, the Seattle Times has the Larry Stone baseball package, so it must be Sunday. He wrote about the Mariners trade possibilities, he’s got a few quality notebook items including a Stephen Strasburg update, and of course the power rankings (I like #3 because I remember Rafael Ramirez).
  • Stone also has a big feature on former Mariners general manager Pat Gillick, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame today.
  • I’m a sucker for fantastic baseball columns, and when an old-school wordsmith like Bruce Jenkins writes about a modern entertainer like Nyjer Morgan, great things happen. Jenkins cites a 1957 Baseball Digest in this story – enough said.
  • Speaking of great columnists… we know that Mike Morse is having a big season, and the former Rainier is making that Mariners trade look bad, but now Thomas Boswell is writing about him?
  • There is truth in this piece on the A’s and trade rumors: player’s wives often follow the rumors more than the actual players.
  • In the PCL, Reno split a doubleheader at Sacramento. Their hitters have been preaching patience. Roster-wise, Wily Mo Pena cleared waivers and was released – I’m guessing at his own request – and they signed Angel Berroa to replace Cody Ransom.
  • Here’s more on Brett Lawrie, from the Las Vegas paper. Tucson beat Vegas last night, 6-4, as Aaron Cunningham had four hits.
  • Colorado Springs won at Fresno, thanks to a grand slam by Matt Macri. As expected, Fresno set broke its franchise stolen base record.
  • Omaha beat Round Rock, but Luis Mendoza allowed a bunch of hits.
  • Nashville beat Iowa for the sixth day in a row, thanks to some ridiculous scheduling. They have two more games to go…
  • Fantastic old photo from the Des Moines Register archives, of the day the umpire’s luggage was lost so he called the game wearing Iowa Cubs gear.

Here’s hoping for a more competitive game today!

* when writing for the TNT, I am expected to follow A.P. Style, and I try to do that here on the blog, too, That being said, it’s brutal when the Mariners losing streak requires me to use numerals instead of spelling out the numbers. Another way of saying: Yikes!


Vasquez Delivers; Rainiers Win Again

July 23, 2011

Anthony Vasquez had the best start of his brief tenure with the Rainiers on Friday night, limiting Salt Lake to one earned run on just four hits over 7.2 innings. He picked up the win in the Rainiers 7-2 victory.

Vasquez was in command, getting ahead of most of the hitters. He allowed very little in the way of hard contact, mostly getting weak grounders and soft pop-ups.

The 24-year-old from San Antonio has made four starts for Tacoma, and in each one he has pitched into at least the seventh inning.

Offensively, Tacoma had 17 hits and scored seven runs. Through eight innings, the Rainiers had 13 hits but only three runs and it looked like it might become a tough loss – but the team rallied to score four runs in the ninth, with Michael Saunders driving a key two-run triple to deep left field.

Kyle Seager returned to the Tacoma lineup and hit three singles. He has hit safely in all 13 games he has played in for Tacoma, and he has had multiple hits in 10 of the 13 games.

Shortstop Alex Liddi scored two more runs, giving him 92 on the year. He has a chance to break the franchise record of 107, set by Hosken Powell of the 1977 Tacoma Twins. No Rainiers player has scored 100 runs in a single season since Brian Raabe in 1997.

Tacoma (51-49) has won three in a row, and the team is 7-2 since the all-star break. Overall the club has gone 18-8 in the last 26 games.

On the road, the Rainiers are now 30-22 for the year, with wins in 19 of the last 26 away games.

Tonight’s game is at 6:05 (Pacific) and you can hear it on South Sound Sports 850 AM, or streaming online right here. Tacoma sends LHP Nate Robertson (3-2, 6.54) to the mound against Salt Lake RHP Trevor Bell (1-2, 6.19).

Links:

It’s another beautiful day here in Salt Lake City – great for a night at the ballpark!


Sweepage! Rainiers Over .500

July 22, 2011

It was a great night for the Tacoma Rainiers on Thursday in Tucson. The team easily won both games of the doubleheader, by scores of 9-2 and 8-1, and went over the .500 mark for the first time since the third day of the season.

Tacoma is 50-49 on the year, and they can thank the pitching staff.

Long relievers Jarrett Grube and Chaz Roe dazzled in the first game, combining to work nine innings and allow just one run.

Grube picked up the suspended game with the bases loaded and nobody out in the first – and he got a double play grounder on his very first pitch, and he cruised from there.

Roe saved the rest of the bullpen by lasting 3.1 innings after Grube, without allowing a run, and earning the save.

In the second game, Luke French turned in his fourth consecutive quality start, allowing just one run over six innings.

Offensively, Carlos Peguero had a big day going 4-for-9 with five RBI in the twinbill. Michael Saunders had two hits and drew five walks – it seemed like he was always on base. And Sean Kazmar went 4-for-8 with a pair of doubles.

All together, it was a great day for the team as a whole.

Now, we move on to Salt Lake City where it is a big state holiday weekend. Friday’s game is at 6:05 (Pacific) and will air on 850 AM and stream online right here. Tacoma starts LHP Anthony Vasquez (1-2, 4.58) against Salt Lake RHP Bear Bay (7-5, 4.53).

Salt Lake has had roster moves since we saw them last weekend at Cheney Stadium, and they are a better team right now with Hank Conger in the lineup and Michael Kohn in the bullpen. They also received pitcher Trevor Bell from the Angels – I’m not sure if he’s going to start or relieve. Salt Lake just split four games with first place Sacramento.

It should be a good series.

Links:

Posted this one from the Tucson airport at 6:00 AM. We’re flying through LAX to get to Salt Lake, so we might actually see the Pacific Coast for the second time during the Pacific Coast League season.

* I consulted with an honest-to-goodness redneck to get the proper spelling of “whuppin'”.


Let’s Play Two

July 21, 2011

Actually, we’re going to play one and 17/18ths.

We’ll pick up the action from yesterday’s suspended game in the bottom of the first inning, no score, no outs, bases loaded for Tucson and a 1-2 count on Kyle Blanks.

Tacoma is going to change pitchers and will bring in a long reliever. Look for manager Daren Brown and pitching coach Dwight Bernard to change the starting rotation after today, and get Nate Robertson back out there soon.

Tucson is going to turn things over to Samuel Deduno, who was scheduled to start today originally.

Tacoma’s scheduled starter is Luke French – he will start the second game.

Game one is nine full innings, game two will be shortened to seven innings.

The whole marathon begins at 5:30, and we’ll have it on South Sound Sports 850 AM and streaming online right here. The big question is: while I still be on the air at midnight? Remember, there will be 30 minutes between games, and a 15-minute post-game show…

The Pacific Coast League office reviewed the video and overturned the official scorer’s decision on Luis Mendoza’s disputed no-hitter in the Omaha at Memphis game on Monday night. They have credited Tyler Greene with a hit, and taken away the no-hitter.

This really was simple once the video was reviewed. It’s too bad that the situation had to some to this.

We had a roster move today. Short on pitching for the first time all season, the Mariners called up Josh Lueke and optioned Kyle Seager back to Tacoma.

Seager was just 3-for-22 (.136) in his initial major league experience. His .455 PCL batting average is waiting for him here in Tacoma.

Seager will meet the Rainiers on Friday in Salt Lake City.

Links:

That’s it for now – I need to prepare myself for six hours of talking.

* someday I’ll have to post my “he’s weaving a tapestry” story. But it might be one of those “you had to be there” tales…


Wednesday’s Game Suspended Due To Rain

July 20, 2011

We’ll pick it up scoreless in the bottom of the first inning on Thursday. Then, we’ll play a second game.

A long night of PCL baseball starting for you at 5:30 on Thursday.

Monsoon season is a very real thing, indeed.


Eight Is Not Enough

July 20, 2011

The Rainiers had an eight-run lead at the seventh inning stretch last night in Tucson – and it wasn’t enough, as Matt Clark and the Tucson Padres came storming back and defeated the Rainiers in 11 innings, 15-14.

Alex Liddi and Johan Limonta hit three-run homers in the top of the seventh to give the Rainiers a 14-6 lead. Liddi had tripled twice earlier in the game, and he had six RBI.

It really felt like a safe lead. Obviously, it wasn’t.

Clark hit a three-run homer to make it 14-9, then he hit a three-run double to make it 14-13, and then he scored the tying run on Sean Kazmar’s error and it was 14-14 in the bottom of the eighth inning.

Clark is a first-year Triple-A player who will be in the running for the PCL Rookie of the Year Award*. He went 4-for-6 with 8 RBI yesterday, and he has 20 homers and 64 RBI on the year, to go with a .319 average. He’s a 25-year-old left-handed corner outfielder/first baseman, and he does not have a weakness against left-handed pitching.

The Rainiers missed a great scoring opportunity in a somewhat confounding top of the tenth inning, and then Tucson won it in the 11th when Eric Patterson hit a one-out triple and scored on James Darnell’s grounder through the drawn-in infield.

So Tacoma is back under .500, at 48-49. One of these days we’ll get over the hump.

Tonight’s game is at 7:00 and you can hear it on South Sound Sports 850 AM, and streaming online right here. Tacoma starts LHP Nate Robertson (3-2, 6.33) against Tucson LHP Wade LeBlanc (9-1, 4.02). LeBlanc leads the PCL in wins and ranks sixth in ERA.

Links:

  • Leading off is the Rainiers game story from The News Tribune. No quotes since the game ended at 11:00 – thirty minutes after the paper’s print deadline, yikes!
  • The Mariners scored five runs, Mike Carp had three hits, and they still lost.
  • It looks like Erik Bedard is going to be on the disabled list through the July 31 trade deadline, virtually eliminating any chance that he will be traded.
  • We now have video of the controversial official scoring decision in Luis Mendoza’s “no-hitter” on Monday: this is a hit all the way, in any ballpark, and it’s obvious. Not taking anything away from Mendoza’s great game, but this is not a no-hitter.
  • The Memphis Redbirds are officially appealing the scoring decision. In this story, the official scorer speaks and sounds reasonable. Still, if you can watch that video and argue that it should be an error, please feel free to do so in the comments.
  • Reno just won’t lose. That’s eight straight wins, the best record in the PCL, and the second-best record in Triple-A.
  • Here in Tucson, we have more drama regarding the future of the franchise: if no stadium deal is completed soon, the team will be sold. Hey, I have an idea: somebody in Portland, Oregon should build a baseball stadium!
  • Colorado Springs swept a doubleheader from Las Vegas. Kyle Drabek keeps getting lit up.
  • Salt Lake had a stirring come-from-behind victory over Sacramento.
  • The Iowa Cubs are getting younger, and that’s by design according to Chicago GM Jim Hendry. The I-Cubs visit Cheney Stadium soon.
  • What a difference an affiliation change can make: Round Rock has won more games this year than they did all of last year.
  • More independent baseball follies: the lawsuits of the Newark Bears.

Some of you will not be surprised to learn that I stayed up all night watching the live World Series Of Poker coverage on ESPN2 (here are the final nine). It’s the first year they have had live coverage, of all of the hands, and they did a great job with the presentation. It’s very different from televising athletic sports and the producers had to overcome a lot of challenges to keep it interesting. I was riveted – well done!

* right now, without a full study of the candidates, I think I would vote for Reno’s Collin Cowgill for both the Most Valuable Player and the Rookie of the Year awards.


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