Former Rainiers and Mariners left-hander Travis Blackley shut down Tacoma on Sunday afternoon, 7-1.
Blackley went 5.1 innings and gave up just one hit – a Carlos Triunfel homer in the fourth inning.
The Rainiers radar gun had Blackley topping out at 92 mph, and Fresno pitching coach Pat Rice told me that he’s been 90-94 all spring.
Rice also said that Blackley feels like pitching a lot has strengthened his arm. Blackley was a starter in Korea last year, and then continued to pitch in the Australian Winter League where he worked deep into games.
The amazing thing is that he’s only 29 years old. Blackley was a pup of just 21 when he pitched for Tacoma and Seattle in 2004.
He is completely recovered from the shoulder problems that plagued him years ago, and he is older and wiser. Always one of the more outgoing and friendly players in the game, there are a lot of people pulling for him to get another shot at the majors.
Maybe it will happen this year.
Tonight’s game is at 7:05, and it’s the final game of the Fresno series. Tacoma needs to win tonight to salvage a split. The Rainiers send RHP Jeff Marquez (1-0, 9.00) to the mound against veteran LHP Brian Burres (0-1, 8.10). The broadcast is on 850 AM and streaming online right here.
After the game, the Rainiers go to Sacramento in a rare PCL bus trip. It’s about a three-hour drive.
- Here’s the Rainiers game story from The News Tribune, in which I wrote about Travis Blackley and Carlos Triunfel.
- The Rainiers aren’t the only team that can’t get Fresno outfielder Justin Christian out. The PCL’s leading hitter is batting .553, and he’s 8-for-12 against Tacoma.
- It was nice to see former Rainiers pitcher Blake Beavan pick up his first win of the season in the Mariners 5-3 win yesterday.
- Justin Smoak had a much-needed big game, John McGrath writes.
- Brendan Ryan connected for his first career home run at Safeco Field. Reporters must love this guy.
- Geoff Baker writes that the Mariners don’t appear to be serious about trying Jesus Montero at catcher.
- Jason Churchill has an interesting piece on the next Mariners closer.
- USS Mariner has its first Minor League Wrap of the season. These are always really long and contain some good information.
- On the business side of things, respected sports business writer Maury Brown says that the Mariners are positioned for a sale - although he is quick to point out that they are not for sale.
- Baseball America has a scouting report on a 17-year-old Dominican outfielder named Hersin Martinez whom the Mariners just signed to a big bonus.
- In the PCL, Sacramento edged Reno, 3-1. Looks like the Rainiers are going to miss top prospect Jarrod Parker in the series that starts tomorrow.
- Salt Lake outfielder Mike Trout is scorching hot. He’s hit safely in all 11 games and is batting .417 – and a local columnist says you better see him while you can. Trout is blazing fast – he went first to home on a single (video).
- Bees pitcher Garrett Richards continues to impress.
- Las Vegas got snowed out in Colorado Springs – they’ll try to play two today.
- Nashville reliever Jim Henderson hit the game-winning single in the bottom of the 13th inning against New Orleans.
- In another 13 inning game, Round Rock toppled Iowa, 11-10. Brad Nelson had a big game, and it ended on a Matt Kata sacrifice fly.
- Party on Beale Street – the Memphis Redbirds won a baseball game!
This is a big early season game tonight. Fresno is good – they’re 8-3, and they have the hottest hitter in the league. A split here would be a fine accomplishment.