Home For Good

Tacoma won the final road game of the season on Sunday afternoon, beating the Colorado Springs Sky Sox 6-5.

The Rainiers had a 6-2 lead in the middle of the eighth, and things got real scary down the stretch, but Scott Patterson nailed down a tough save and the Rainiers hung on.

Jose Yepez hit an interesting home run to give the Rainiers some much-needed insurance runs – read the details in my game story, first link down below.

The team finished the road portion of the schedule with a 38-34 record. This is an outstanding road record – one of the top four in the PCL – and usually that would indicate a playoff-calibre season.

But this year it took the team a long time to get comfortable at home: Tacoma lost 7 of the first 8 home games, has been swept at home twice, and is just 28-36 at Cheney Stadium this year.

The Rainiers finish the season with eight straight home games, starting tonight at 7:05 with the Tucson Padres in town. Bob Robertson joins me in the broadcast booth tonight, you can hear the game on 850 AM and streaming online right here. Tacoma starts RHP Jarrett Grube (4-3, 5.25) against Tucson RHP Jeremy Hefner (9-7, 5.36).

Look for some rehabilitating Mariners on the homestand, too: Justin Smoak is expected to be in the Rainiers lineup today, Tuesday, and Wednesday; and we may see Chone Figgins and Dan Cortes on this homestand. 

Lots of promotions going on – check the Rainiers home page for more details. But here’s the quick version:

  • Kids 12 and under get 50-cent tickets tonight through Wednesday. These tickets are only available at the Cheney Stadium box office.
  • The team is accepting donations of school supplies on Tuesday for Communities in Schools and Stuff-A-Bus, and Rhubarb is delivering the goods to the kids.
  • The State Farm Scavenger Hunt promotion is ongoing – check the Rainiers Facebook page.*
  • Thursday is the last Tasty Thursday of the year. Brings a tear to your eye, doesn’t it?
  • Friday Night Fireworks
  • And the final home games over Labor Day Weekend, including the traditional Monday holiday day game to end the season.

Unless y’all desert us over the final homestand, the Rainiers are going to set an all-time franchise attendance record this year. Thanks for supporting the local nine!

On to the links:

  • First he was bunting, then he homered: Jose Yepez came up big in the Rainiers win on Sunday. Here’s the story from The News Tribune.
  • The Mariners got swept by the White Sox, and the rookies are going through a rough patch.
  • John McGrath goes a bit more in-depth on the whole rookies-adjusting-to-the-majors thing.
  • It’s not just the rookies – Jason Vargas is struggling, too.
  • The announced the All-PCL Team today. No Rainiers made it, which was not unexpected. I think Alex Liddi has an outside chance at the Rookie of the Year award, but he’s a longshot. The big awards get announced this week.
  • Here is this week’s massive Mariners Minor League Wrap from USS Mariner.
  • Tucson beat Reno last night, and the Padres won 5 of 6 in the series. Reno’s magic number to clinch is still one.
  • Amazingly, the Reno newspaper still thinks that the Aces magic number is two. They are wrong, because Reno wins the tiebreaker against Tacoma.
  • Fresno played its final home game, and the Grizzlies had a successful season at the gate. On the field, not so much.
  • You think the Rainiers have struggled at home? Salt Lake has been awful in home games. Las Vegas beat them yesterday, as Ryan Shealy had seven RBI.
  • Omaha held on to beat New Orleans, 11-10. The Storm Chasers have a four-game lead over Memphis, with eight to play. Omaha is trying to make the playoffs for the first time since 1999 – Omaha RG Mark Nasser is the most veteran PCL radio guy who has not called a PCL playoff game.
  • Nashville played its final home game, losing to Memphis. The Sounds had an attendance increase from last year.
  • Oklahoma City pitcher Andy Van Hekken is hoping for a September call-up. Aren’t we all?

It’s the little things: today I’m going to set up the Rainiers radio equipment for the last time this season.

* Is it just me, or are those jersey-tees pretty awesome?

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