Bats, Fans Chilly At Opener

The Rainiers lost the season opener to the Salt Lake Bees last night, 3-2.

Cold temperatures prevailed – when I drove home an hour after the game, my car said it was 38 degrees outside. It was even cold in my booth, and I have walls on three sides and a heater.

With that, I’d like to salute the 5,292 of you who attended. That was a pretty robust crowd, considering the conditions.

It’s going to be chilly again tonight, but it’s supposed to warm up for the weekend and even reach the mid-60s for our day game on Sunday. Springtime!

Hopefully the Rainiers bats will get used to the temperature tonight. Tacoma was limited to two runs on six hits last night – mostly because of the pitching of Salt Lake’s Garrett Richards, who was very impressive in his Triple-A debut. The Angels pitching prospect worked in the mid-90s with his fastball.

The Rainiers scored their first run of the season when Richards hung a slider to Mike Wilson – which is always a bad, bad idea. Wilson deposited it over the left field fence for a homer in the fifth inning.

Tacoma scored again in the seventh, when Carlos Peguero launched a long triple to deep center, and scored on a ground out by Luis Jimenez. Peguero was 2-for-4 in the game, and he made contact in all four at-bats.

Tacoma starter Matt Fox was lifted after three innings and 77 pitches, allowing two runs (one earned). He wasn’t hit very hard and he certainly wasn’t wild – the Rainiers had some defensive problems in the infield that led to Fox’s early exit.

A few other positives from the game: Cesar Jimenez and Sean Henn pitched scoreless relief; Trayvon Robinson threw out a runner at the plate from center, and catcher Adam Moore threw out two baserunners including the speedy Mike Trout when he was trying to steal second.

Trout, by the way, had three hits and certainly looked the part of the future star.

Game two is tonight at 7:05, and RHP Jeff Marquez starts for Tacoma against Salt Lake RHP Matt Shoemaker. We’ll have the broadcast on 850 AM and streaming online free right here, and those of you who subscribe to MiLB.TV can watch it online (I believe all Tacoma home games and most of the road games will be available through this service, so if you are an out-of-area fan you might want to sign up).

One note on the MiLB.TV service: the audio is the home team radio feed, which means that for Rainiers home games you will hear my inane chatter, and for the Rainiers away games you will hear the refined, professional broadcasters of the opposing team.

I enjoyed the ceremonial first pitch, thrown out by my broadcast partner Bob Robertson.

Robertson won the Keith Jackson Award for broadcasting excellence in the state of Washington, and of course he’s broadcast PCL baseball and other sports in Tacoma for decades. Let’s not forget that he’s in the College Football Hall Of Fame for his 48 years of work as the voice of Washington State football.

Bob told me he did not practice his pitch – he went out there cold. He tossed a one-hop strike to Washington Husky Forrest Snow.

Bob will be joining me on the air for all Monday home games this year, and he’ll do play-by-play during the middle innings.

Links:

  • We’ll lead off with Doug Pacey’s Rainiers game story for The News Tribune. Doug doesn’t write the headlines so don’t blame him for that dumb one.
  • John McGrath’s column on the Rainiers opener includes a great tidbit on Matt Fox’s Major League debut two years ago.
  • The Mariners have Opening Day #2 tonight in Oakland, and Jason Vargas makes the start against Brandon McCarthy. Vargas is looking for more consistency this year.
  • When Alex Liddi made the Mariners roster, he called his parents in Italy – at 3:00 AM, Italy time.
  • Jason Churchill has an interesting post today: the Mariners draft #3 overall, and Stanford ace Mark Appel is considered a top draft talent. Churchill wants the Mariners to just say no to Appel, who pitched at Washington last night. Pat Gillick was at the game, too, and the post ends with a nice anecdote about him.
  • USS Mariner has a post on why we watch minor league games and box scores, with three good photos from last night’s Rainiers game. The comments feature some spirited discussion from fans who attended the game.
  • Due to an injury to reliever Kyle Farnsworth, the Tampa Bay Rays called up former Rainiers pitcher Josh Lueke, who will be with them in their season opener today.
  • Baseball America posted the attendance numbers for every minor league team that opened last night.

In the PCL:

  • Las Vegas has always been a tough place to pitch – and nothing changed on opening day, as former Mariners left-hander Aaron Laffey learned in an 11-6 drubbing at the hands of visiting Sacramento. Grant Green opened the season with a leadoff homer, Michael Taylor and Chris Carter each had three hits, and Sacramento rolled to victory. Reigning PCL batting champion (and Cal Bear) David Cooper had three hits for Vegas.
  • San Francisco Giants starter Ryan Vogelsong had a successful rehabilitation appearance, tossing four scoreless innings in Fresno’s 3-0 win at Tucson. Some Tucson Padres shared their favorite opening day memories.
  • A.J. Pollock is the new leadoff man for Reno, and he reached base four times in the Aces 5-2 win over Colorado Springs in the home opener. He was probably cold, though – it snowed.
  • Tony Campana had an eventful day – he was sent down by the Chicago Cubs, raced to Des Moines, and led the Iowa Cubs to a 5-3 win over visiting Round Rock.
  • Omaha opened Werner Park with an 8-4 win over Albuquerque. Kevin Kouzmanoff is with Omaha this year – he drove in three runs.
  • Ben Lasiter hit a grand slam in the eighth inning, propelling New Orleans to a 6-2 win over Nashville.
  • Oklahoma City drew over 9,000 fans to Bricktown Ballpark, but the RedHawks lost to Memphis, 4-3, as Redbirds closer Eduardo Sanchez got out of a big jam in the ninth.
  • In the International League, former Rainiers infielder Matt Mangini had two hits and an RBI for the Durham Bulls.

Today’s goal: let’s get the Rainiers back to the .500 mark.

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One Response to Bats, Fans Chilly At Opener

  1. Doug says:

    Enjoy your work and your tongue in cheek commmentary.

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