Greetings from Tucson, the tranquil middle of this 12-day Road Trip To Bankruptcy.
The team arrived yesterday afternoon and had the night off. Personally, I caught up on my reading and my sleep, and am now fully recovered from the weekend in Las Vegas.
So, let’s talk some baseball.
Cashman Field in Las Vegas was not the cure for the Rainiers hitting woes that we hoped it would be. The team was has held to run totals of 6, 0, 5, and 2 in the four games at one of the best hitter’s parks in professional baseball.
As a team, Tacoma hit .186 (24-for-129) and scored just 13 runs in the Las Vegas series. That’s a problem - 13 runs and 24 hits can be accomplished in one game at Cashman.
We can’t chalk that up to Las Vegas pitching, either. The 51s entered the series with the worst team ERA in the PCL.
Hitting is a problem for the Rainiers right now, and it’s not going to help that Mike Carp is on his way to join the Mariners – well, I think it’s not going to help, but maybe it will. Carp wasn’t hitting here.
Now the Rainiers face a Tucson team that is getting healthy and starting to play better.
After losing 3 of 4 in the first five series of the year, and opening the season 5-15, Tucson just earned a tough split on the road at Sacramento.
The turnabout for Tucson was getting catching prospect Yasmani Grandal off the disabled list. Grandal – the key prospect acquired from Cincinnati in the Mat Latos trade – has homered in two of the three games he has played since coming off the DL,and he’s 9-for-22 with three HRs on the season.
Other key Tucson Padres include super-sub prospect Vince Belnome, returning slugger Matt Clark (who is struggling, hitting under .200 and has not homered in 60 at-bats), and corner infielder James Darnell.
One of the keys in this series will be keeping Triple-A veteran Everth Cabrera off the bases. Cabrera has been running wild – he’s 11-for-11 in stolen bases this year, including four steals in one game against Sacramento on Friday night.
The Rainiers are going to have to deal with Major League outfielder Carlos Quentin, who starts a rehabilitation assignment with Tucson tonight. Quentin had meniscus surgery on his right knee in mid-March and has been on the Padres disabled list since then. The Padres picked up Quentin from the White Sox during the off-season – he batted .254 with 24 homers and 77 RBI for Chicago last year.
The opener of the three-game series is tonight at 7:05, and you can hear the broadcast on South Sound Sports 850 AM and streaming online. Tacoma starts LHP Anthony Vasquez (3-1, 2.92) against veteran Tucson RHP Jeff Suppan (0-1, 12.15).
- Did you hear about the Rainiers $5 tickets available for home games next week? Jim Flavin stars in the video.
- The Mariners took a tough loss yesterday, and then catcher Miguel Olivo – who was starting to heat up – went down with a groin injury.
- Mike Carp is on his way to Tampa to join the Mariners. He’s not in the lineup today – Tucson to Tampa travel, with the time change, means he might not even be there in time for the first pitch.
- To take Carp’s place on the roster, the Rainiers are adding outfielder Mario Yepez from Class-A Clinton. Soon, we’ll be talking about Carlos Peguero, Mike Wilson, and possibly Franklin Gutierrez.
- Bad news for former Rainiers reliever George Sherrill, who is out for the season with elbow surgery.
- Larry Stone was on hand to see Danny Hultzen struggle at Double-A Jackson on Sunday.
- Here is Stone’s wrap-up of his trip to Jackson, Tennessee – with photos.
- Here is the long, information-packed weekly Minor League Wrap from USS Mariner.
- Expose from Ben Badler of Baseball America: the new way to lie about your age in the Dominican Republic is to switch families.
- The Arizona Diamondbacks are considering signing Vladimir Guerrero. I wonder if he might need some games in Reno to get ready?
- The Rainiers were off yesterday, but the rest of the PCL was playing. Jordan Pacheco hit a three-run homer and Colorado Springs won at Sacramento, 5-2. The Sky Sox have a 3.80 team ERA. Humidor, anyone?
- Fresno handed Salt Lake its fifth straight loss, 9-5. The Grizzlies finished an outstanding month of April.
- Nashville outfielder Logan Schafer doubled home the winning run with two outs in the ninth to beat Omaha, 4-3. More importantly for the parent Milwaukee Brewers, a healthy Mark Rogers started and pitched into the sixth inning.
- Tom Koehler punched out ten and New Orleans topped Round Rock, 5-3.
- Memphis beat Iowa, 5-4, as rehabilitating World Series hero Allen Craig drove in all five runs. I’d post the link, except the Memphis Commercial-Appeal says that I’ve used up my ten free articles for the month. It’s May 1st and this is the first article I’ve tried to read. Whatever.
- Here’s a nice review of former Rainiers and Mariners pitcher R.A. Dickey‘s book. I bought a copy and have it at home, but I probably won’t get to it until the off-season. Or maybe I’ll bring it the The Springs…
- The most famous man from Daren Brown‘s home of Amarillo, Texas has passed away.* I wonder if this means that Brownie is now the most famous man in Amarillo?
- I leave you with proof that the lawyers are just milking the Roger Clemens trial for hourly billing.
I’m refreshed after the off-day, looking forward to tonight’s game.
* It has nothing to do with baseball, but the linked obituary on Amarillo Slim is an entertaining read.