The Rainiers opened up an eight-game homestand with a thorough, everybody-gets-involved 7-4 victory over Oklahoma City on Wednesday night.
All nine Tacoma starters had at least one hit, with Luis Jimenez leading the way by going 3-for-4 with two RBI. That was nice to see from Jimenez, the Rainiers all-star designated hitter who struggled through July hitting .232 with no home runs. The three-hit game on Wednesday boosted his season average back up to .303.
Justin Smoak hit his second career triple – and first since 2009 – in the fifth inning. Batting left-handed, he roped a sinking liner to left-center. Oklahoma City center fielder Brandon Barnes made a diving attempt to catch it, missed the ball, and it skipped past him to the warning track. Smoak easily made third.
Also of note yesterday on the offensive side: Nick Franklin returned to the lineup after missing three games with a ”tweaked” left knee. He was 1-for-5 with a long double.
On the pitching side, Steve Garrison earned his first Tacoma win, and Brian Moran collected his first Triple-A save.
Before the game, the Rainiers confirmed that Danny Hultzen is going to miss a start. He is expected to return his next time through the rotation – which exact day is not known yet.
The Mariners are concerned about Hultzen’s work load, as this is his first professional season and they do not want to risk injury.
Looking at innings, he pitched 119 in college at Virginia last year, but that is not as rigorous – you pitch every seventh day in college, compared to every fifth day as a professional. Hultzen also threw 19 innings in the Arizona Fall League, after a layoff of nearly three months.
This year, Hultzen has currently thrown 108 innings, plus spring training (probably another 12-15 innings - exact figures from minor league camp are not available).
Tacoma has 32 games remaining, so if he returns next go-around Hultzen can expect another five starts before the PCL season ends. He’s going about five innings per Triple-A start, so that would put him at approximately 130-135 innings for the regular season – a significant boost, if you assume that the Fall League and spring training cancel each another out.
Then you figure he might get a call-up in September – something he hasn’t yet earned, but as they saw down in Double-A earlier this year, he can turn a corner and get hot in a hurry. He is on the 40-man roster and has a Major League contract, so a call-up seems like a possibility.
Here’s hoping that skipping a turn will help him get back on-track for the stretch run.
Tonight’s game is at 7:05 and you can hear it on South Sound Sports 850, or streaming online right here. Tacoma starts RHP Andrew Carraway (3-5, 4.78) against Oklahoma City RHP Jose Cisnero (1-0, 1.29).
Carraway will be activated from the disabled list so the Rainiers
must make a roster move before the game. No additional roster move was needed – thay had an open spot after the trade deadline moves.
- We start with the Rainiers game story from The News Tribune, which has a quote from manager Daren Brown about skipping Danny Hultzen‘s start today.
- The Mariners are scorching hot – they’ve won seven in a row, and 10 of 12. Let’s see if they can carry it into New York City tomorrow.
- It certainly sounds like Tacoma will be hosting Franklin Gutierrez and Charlie Furbush on rehabilitation assignments in the very near future.
- Thank you, Larry Stone, for putting an end to this “Mariners are winning because Ichiro is gone” nonsense.
- In the PCL, Sacramento took down Memphis, 5-2, in a brisk game that lasted just 2 hours, 5 minutes.
- Nashville went into Fresno and beat the Grizzlies in 11 innings, 7-5.
- New Orleans handed the Salt Lake Bees their fourth straight home loss.
- Colorado Springs lit up Iowa despite two home runs by new Cubs player Greg Rohan.
- Albuquerque had a tough travel day and then lost to Las Vegas.
- Reno starter Zach Kroenke pitched in his old stomping grounds for his first time as a professional. It didn’t go well.
- Round Rock beat Tucson, 7-6, and the Austin newspaper wonders if this will become a frequent rivalry if/when Tucson moves to El Paso.
It’s Tasty Thursday at Cheney Stadium – that means $2 Miller Lite and Miller Genuine Draft up on the Tasty Terrace, and dollar deals on select concessions items throughout the park. Enjoy!