Lots to cover today, as we had the Trevor Bauer pre-game show, then he struggled with his command, the Aces won anyway (as usual), and then we heard about a looming roster shake-up.
Before the game, Bauer was fun to watch. He pre-game routine started an hour and 20 minutes prior to first pitch, with stretching exercises that included numerous unusual tools – including a long, bending pole.
Then he started his famous long-toss routine, starting in the right field corner and moving farther and farther from throwing partner Jensen Lewis. He reached the base of the giant wall in center, and then started moving along the warning track to the left field corner, going several steps further with each throw. By the end of the drill, he was making high-arching throws from the left field corner to the right field corner, and Reno was using a relay man in shallow center field to return the ball to him.
Then the game starts, and the fun part of Bauer was over. He looked like a typical young, wild PCL pitcher with good stuff but very poor control. He walked four batters and struck out seven over five innings, needing 106 pitches. He was consistently in deep counts and had very little fastball command. In the second inning, he faced just four batters and pitched a scoreless inning – but he still needed 24 pitches to do it.
Tacoma scored twice off Bauer in the third inning, when Alex Liddi and Carlos Peguero hit back-to-back home runs. Bauer had only allowed three homers in 87 innings this year before that happened.
Bauer had good velocity – he was in the low 90s on the gun, and touched 95. His curveball was the impressive pitch: when he got it over the plate, Rainiers hitters could just watch it go by for a strike. It’s a nasty pitch.
Meanwhile, Andrew Carraway was doing his thing for Tacoma, throwing strikes and getting quick outs. It was 2-2 going into the bottom of the eighth.
When Trayvon Robinson homered with two outs in the bottom of the eighth to give Tacoma a 3-2 lead, I though a win was imminent.
But Reno rallied for five runs in the top of the ninth off Steve Delabar, with an error by catcher Adam Moore factoring big in the equation.
When the ninth finally ended, Tacoma had lost 7-3 – and it was the Rainiers 15th consecutive loss to Reno, dating back to last season.
Right before first pitch last night, Ryan Divish of The News Tribune broke some news regarding the Rainiers: Divish, who is on the road with the Mariners, was able to get a Mariners front office source to confirm that left-handed pitcher Danny Hultzen and shortstop Nick Franklin are joining the Rainiers today. The Mariners confirmed the news with a press release this afternoon.
It’s unclear if the players will be active tonight – I have my doubts, because they do not land at Sea-Tac until the late afternoon.
Adding these two players are going to cause some roster moves to happen, and I don’t know what they are. They’ll have to remove two players – I’ll let you know when I find out, this might not happen until Thursday.
UPDATE at 2:55 pm: they just announced that Cesar Jimenez is on the disabled list (left elbow soreness), and the team has released Johan Limonta. I’ll write more about this tomorrow.
Hultzen is likely to make his first Triple-A start on the road, in Colorado Springs this weekend. He should pitch at Cheney Stadium during the Las Vegas series next week.
Getting Franklin into the lineup will pose a problem for manager Daren Brown: Carlos Triunfel is a 22-year-old starter with some upside, he’s playing excellent defense although his hitting has been erratic. Second baseman Luis Rodriguez has arguably been the Rainiers best player this season. Who sits?
My guess is that Rodriguez is going to see his playing time cut – a lot. At age 31, he doesn’t really fit in with the Mariners youth movement. This will be a detriment to the Rainiers – and it serves as a reminder that first and foremost, minor league baseball is about developing players for the majors.
In my opinion, Rodriguez is an adequate major league utility infielder right now. He’s currently stuck in a bad spot in the Mariners organization.
Tonight the Rainiers try to finally beat the Aces, with first pitch set for 7:05. You can hear the broadcast on South Sound Sports 850 AM and streaming online right here. Tacoma starts RHP Jeff Marquez (4-8, 6.91) against Reno RHP Joe Martinez (6-3, 5.07).
- Grant Clark has the Rainiers game story from The News Tribune.
- Here is Ryan Divish’s story about Danny Hultzen and Nick Franklin joining Tacoma.
- Both players appeared in the Southern League All-Star Game, which their side – the North – lost, 6-2. Hultzen started and delivered a nine-pitch scoreless first inning. Franklin went 0-for-2 with a walk.
- USS Mariner writer marc w was at the Rainiers game last night, and he filed an entertaining report on Bauer’s routine and outing, chock-full of links to good photos – I like the bendy pole picture, seriously, what is that?
- Steve Kelley asks the question, what should the Mariners do with an aging Ichiro?
- Yesterday, that answer was play him! Ichiro had four hits and the Mariners defeated Arizona in an extra-innings slugfest. Included was Ichiro’s 2,500th Major League hit, and he reflected on it after the game.
- In the PCL, we nearly had a no-hitter in Colorado Springs. We are blessed to have the humidor!
- Sacramento topped Fresno 5-2, and pulled within 1.5 games of the first place Grizzlies.
- Travis Snider hit a three-run homer, and Andrew Carpenter delivered seven shutout innings as Las Vegas won at Tucson.
- Mike Bianucci homered twice on a perfect night for baseball in Round Rock.
- Former Mariners bench coach Ron Hassey was once the manager in Albuquerque – for a few days in the off-season.
- Cool story from Omaha about how in 1991, Warren Buffett helped save the Omaha Royals and keep to College World Series in town. He sold his share of the team – now that there are two new stadiums in town, his work is done.
- The Storm Chasers drew a solid crowd for a Tuesday night – even with CWS games going on downtown. For years, the Triple-A team went on a 16-day road trip to get out of town during the CWS.
Today seems like a good day to end this Reno run.