Montero Steals A Win

August 11, 2014

OK, I’m willing to admit my headline might not tell the whole story of Sunday’s game.

After all, Taijuan Walker was totally dominant, striking out a career-high 13 batters over seven brilliant innings in which he allowed two hits and one walk.

It was arguably the best start of Walker’s career  – he bounced back from a rough outing last time out to deliver a masterpiece and earn a 2-1 win over Fresno. But that’s not what I am going to type about.

I mean, come on.

Jesus Montero stole a base.

I did not make that up. Mr. Montero stole third base before scoring the winning run on a two-out infield single in the bottom of the seventh inning.

If not for Montero’s stolen base, the go-ahead run would not have scored, and we would still be playing right now. Probably.

It was Montero’s third stolen base of his life. He swiped the other two in the South Atlantic League in 2008, when he was an 18-year-old and presumably a little faster.

That’s why this was so remarkable. Montero is extremely slow for a baseball player. Most of the time, it doesn’t matter. Montero is here to crush baseballs, launch homers and rip doubles into the gap, and drive in runs. He’s good at these things, and he’ll probably get to do them in the Major Leagues again someday.

But he doesn’t steal bases. Unless an accident happens, which forces the issue. Here’s how it played out:

Montero was at second base and Ty Kelly was on first, the score was tied 1-1 and there was nobody out in the bottom of the seventh inning.

Xavier Avery was the batter, and he was bunting to move the runner up – which seemed to be the smart play, given how few runs were scoring yesterday.

Avery showed bunt but took the first pitch, and Fresno catcher Guillermo Quiroz fired down to second base to try to pick off Montero. He would have got him, too – except Montero realized it.

Montero knew he was dead if he tried to get back into second base, so he took off for third without ever having taken a step back towards second. He took his secondary lead on the pitch, saw Quiroz throw down and thought “Oh no, I better go” and took off for third.

Fresno shortstop Nick Noonan took Quiroz’s throw and fired to third baseman Chris Dominguez in plenty of time to tag Montero out. However, base umpire Jordan Ferrell saw something else – I guess he thought Dominguez missed the tag, because he called Montero safe.

An argument followed, as Fresno was sure they had tagged him out. But Ferrell stuck with his call, Montero was safe, and the only thing it could possibly be called was a stolen base for Montero.

Montero was still at third with two outs and he scored on an infield single by John Hicks to give the Rainiers a 2-1 lead. The Rainiers would not have scored in the inning if Montero didn’t steal third.

So there you have it – that’s how Jesus Montero stole a base.

Short version: he got picked off, realized it and took off for third, was thrown out, but the umpire missed the call.

Makes you wonder how that happens just once every six years, doesn’t it?

Tacoma’s win was its third in a row, and the team remains six games behind first-place Sacramento which also won on Sunday. The Rainiers shoot for their fourth straight win on Monday.

Monday’s game starts at 11:35 AM (Pacific) – the Alaska Airlines Pregame Show begins at 11:20 on South Sound Sports 850 AM and streaming online right here. Tacoma starts RHP Jordan Pries (8-6, 3.90) against Fresno LHP Kelvin Marte (1-0, 4.15).

We had some roster moves yesterday:

Erasmo Ramirez was recalled by Seattle, and Lucas Luetge was optioned to Tacoma. Ramirez made the Sunday start for the Mariners, and then was optioned to Tacoma after the game. The Mariners will call up someone to take his spot today – quite possibly Michael Saunders coming off the disabled list.

The Rainiers placed reliever Carson Smith on the disabled list with a pulled muscle in his left side. Taking his spot is shortstop Ketel Marte, who was promoted from Double-A Jackson.

Links:

  • So you don’t care about Montero’s stolen base and you want to read about Taijuan Walker instead? Well, the Rainiers game story from The News Tribune is for you.
  • For more on Walker, he spoke with MiLB.com. This story includes video of him striking out Tyler Colvin for his 13th K – the curve was a huge pitch for him yesterday.
  • The Mariners beat the White Sox, 4-2, as Austin Jackson drove in all four runs. The M’s took three-of-four from the ChiSox.
  • John McGrath went to the Mariners game and found himself participating in an old-but-forgotten-in-these-parts pastime: scoreboard watching. Manager Lloyd McClendon has some good quotes in this one.
  • Sacramento leads the Pacific-North by four games after taking advantage of six Reno errors and 11 walks issued by Reno pitchers in an ugly 15-11 win.  For perspective on this game: Sacramento starter Arnold Leon allowed eight runs and was knocked out in the third inning and they still won. Tacoma remains six games back – but now only trails Reno by two, for what that’s worth.
  • Local kid Chasen Bradford nailed down the save as Las Vegas beat Albuquerque, 7-5. The 51s now lead the Pac-South by 9.5 games and appear as if they are going to be wire-to-wire division leaders.
  • Brennan Boesch went 3-for-3 with a homer in Salt Lake’s 7-5 win over El Paso. Pitcher Caleb Clay was called up by the Angels.
  • Cover your eyes, New Orleans Zephyrs fans. The Zephyrs lost to Memphis 12-0 last night – one day after losing 21-3. That’s 33-3 over two games.
  • Oklahoma City got creamed by Iowa 10-2, but outfielder Preston Tucker is hitting.
  • Nashville swept a doubleheader from Round Rock, 13-4 and 4-2. Infielder Jason Rogers hit three homers and had nine RBI total in the doubleheader.
  • Johnny Giavotella homered in the 12th to give Omaha a 4-3 win over Colorado Springs, even though Matt McBride is healthy and swinging it well for the Sky Sox.

Come out and see us for lunch today! The Rainiers embark upon an eight-game road trip to New Orleans and Round Rock, TX starting Tuesday. Tuesday’s blog post could be brief – it’s a long travel day, then straight to the park. Should be a fun trip.


Grand Slam Guru Gives Tacoma Win

August 10, 2014

In 2013, Stefen Romero became the first player in Tacoma’s long franchise history to hit three grand slams in one season.

This year he has spent most of the season in the big leagues, but about a week ago he was optioned to Tacoma and he is starting to get the feel for the grand salami again.

Batting with the bases loaded and one out in the bottom of the ninth inning on Saturday night, Romero launched a walk-off grand slam to give the Rainiers a 13-10 victory. Romero swung at the first pitch he saw from hard-throwing Erik Cordier, launching it deep to left field to end the game.

The blast provided an exciting conclusion to a long and not very aesthetically pleasing game that mostly featured walks, errors, and trips to the mound. In fact, it was by far the longest nine-inning game of the year for the Rainiers, clocking in at 4 hours, 18 minutes.

The Rainiers connected for 17 hits in the game. Romero was one of three Tacoma players to collect three hits in the game, joining Michael Saunders and Justin Smoak.

Tacoma moves three games over .500 to 62-59, and the team looks for its third straight win today.

Sunday’s game starts at 1:35 PM (Pacific) – the Alaska Airlines Pregame Show begins at 1:20 on South Sound Sports 850 AM and streaming online right here. Tacoma starts RHP Taijuan Walker (4-3, 5.44) against Fresno RHP Chris Heston (10-6, 3.53).

Check out this list – maybe you saw one in person?

RECENT WALK-OFF GRAND SLAMS HIT BY TACOMA RAINIERS

  • August 9, 2014 – Stefen Romero vs Fresno RHP Erik Cordier, for a 13-10 win (one out)
  • August 17, 2013 – Carlos Peguero vs Col Springs RHP Logan Kensing, for a 5-3 win (one out)
  • May 2, 2007 – Wladimir Balentien vs Col Springs LHP Mike Gallo, for a 6-3 win (two outs)
  • August 20, 2004 – AJ Zapp vs Fresno RHP David Aardsma, for a 11-7 win (one out)

Right as I publish this post, word is coming (via Twitter) from Double-A Jackson that shortstop Ketel Marte is on his way to Tacoma. Coincidentally, I wrote about him in the TNT notebook today (link below). No word yet on the roster moves, but outfielder Julio Morban left last night’s game with an apparent right leg injury so that could be the corresponding move.

Links:

  • The News Tribune has a recap of the Rainiers game, but it ended too late to get quotes.
  • My Sunday minor league notebook for the paper looks at the season Mariners Double-A shortstop Ketel Marte has put together, and has a note on a local player in the PCL.
  • The Mariners lost in ten innings to the White Sox, 2-1.
  • They did, however, induct Lou Piniella into the Mariners Hall of Fame. John McGrath has a column on the ceremony, and Jerry Brewer was there as well.
  • Bob Dutton’s Mariners notebook has the latest tidbits on the team.
  • Ryan Divish takes a look at the Mariners competition for the final wild card spot.
  • When it comes to beer, the Mariners are the best in baseball.
  • Believe it or not, Romero didn’t hit the only walk-off grand slam in the PCL last night. Oklahoma City’s Joe Sclafini did the same thing in a 9-6 win over Iowa. It was Sclafini’s first career Triple-A homer and it came in his 116th at-bat for the RedHawks.
  • After a 2 hour, 25 minute pregame rain delay, Sacramento’s Matt Buschmann and three relievers combined to shut out Reno, 2-0. The game ended at 12:30 AM and Reno is now three games behind first-place Sacramento.
  • Infielder Taylor Lindsey returned to Salt Lake as a visiting player, helping El Paso to an 11-7 win over the Bees on Saturday. El Paso has won the first three games of that series.
  • Las Vegas picked up an 8-3 win over Albuquerque. I can’t find a game story on the normally reliable webpage of the Las Vegas Review-Journal – but since it’s Vegas, here’s a story about a “comic juggler.”
  • Oklahoma City has a uniquely over-qualified bullpen catcherJeff Murphy is a “catcher whisperer.”
  • Omaha held on for a 6-5 win at Colorado Springs as Carlos Peguero hit his 20th homer. Interesting newspaper story on new Sky Sox pitcher James Houser, who overcame open-heart surgery to continue his baseball career.
  • Memphis got into the football spirit with a 21-3 win over New Orleans. Tommy Pham was the leader in the box score, going 4-for-5 with four runs and four RBI.
  • Round Rock and Nashville got rained out.
  • Kelso’s own Trevor May was wild in his major league debut for the Twins last night.

Day game today, day game tomorrow – let’s catch some sunshine!


Husky Wins On Cougs Night

August 9, 2014

On the Rainiers annual Color Cheney Crimson Night, Washington Huskies baseball alum Forrest Snow pitched six strong innings and earned the win over Fresno, 4-3.

In front of a crowd of 7,110 – most of whom were decked out in WSU colors – Snow allowed just two runs and struck out eight to get the win for Tacoma.

Hey, it was teamwork. It all worked out beautifully.

Tonight is part two of our college series, with Paint The Park Purple Night to raise money for the UW-Tacoma scholarship fund. What we need is a WSU Cougar to start for the Rainiers.

Unfortunately, we don’t have one. I believe the only WSU Cougar in the PCL right now is New Orleans lefty Adam Conley, and he’s currently on their disabled list.

Even though we don’t have a Coug to send out there tonight, it should be a fun one.

Saturday’s game starts at 7:05 PM (Pacific) – the Alaska Airlines Pregame Show begins at 6:50 on South Sound Sports 850 AM and streaming online right here. Tacoma starts LHP James Gillheeney (3-9, 5.99) against Fresno LHP Mike Kickham (7-7, 3.67).

Links:


Rainiers Hope To Re-Start Tonight

August 8, 2014

All of the momentum from completing a winning road trip apparently got lost on Wednesday’s off-day, as the Rainiers fizzled out early in an 11-4 loss to Fresno last night.

Tacoma made all sorts of mistakes that they have been avoiding for weeks now: wild pitches with runners at third base, two-out errors to allow runs to score, inability to control the running game… it was a sloppy show.

The good news is that it is over, and the Rainiers look to hit the reset button tonight.

Tacoma did not lose any ground in the standings: first place Sacramento lost in Reno, so the team is still six games out of first. Twenty-five games remain.

Stefen Romero continued to swing a hot bat, going 3-for-4 with a very long homer which went over the entire ‘R-Yard’ in left field. Romero is 7-for-20 with three homers in five games since rejoining the club.

Friday’s game starts at 7:05 PM (Pacific) – the Alaska Airlines Pregame Show begins at 6:50 on South Sound Sports 850 AM and streaming online right here. Tacoma starts RHP Forrest Snow (1-2, 1.31) against Fresno RHP Austin Fleet (2-0, 6.55).

The Rainiers are conjuring up some strange JuJu tonight, starting a UW product (Snow) on Color Cheney Crimson Night, which is a big WSU Cougars gathering. We’ll see if the forces of Good and Evil (Evil and Good? I don’t have a dog in this fight) combine to create a force more powerful than we have ever known, blasting Cheney Stadium through the space-time continuum and into a world where the Tacoma Rainiers never lose a baseball game.

The ultimate Coug Bob Robertson will throw out the ceremonial first pitch and join me on the air to call the middle innings.

Links:

  • The Rainiers game story from The News Tribune focuses on Michael Saunders and his first rehab game.
  • The Mariners hit four homers and crushed the White Sox last night. After the game, pitcher Roenis Elias was optioned to Tacoma – it sounds like he’s going to make one start for the Rainiers, then return to Seattle.
  • Striking out looking is a good thing? It can be, Lloyd McClendon says in Bob Dutton’s Mariners notebook.
  • Several PCL players and a young Mariners pitcher made this week’s edition of the Baseball America Prospect Hot Sheet. And a Rainiers player made the not-so-hot-sheet… :(
  • Reno pulled within one game of first place by beating Sacramento last night at Aces Ballpark, 7-5.
  • Brock Peterson had a big game to help Albuquerque to a 6-2 win at Las Vegas.
  • El Paso blasted Salt Lake, 13-2, and now trails Vegas by 8.5 games in the Pacific-South.
  • Oklahoma City blew out Iowa, 16-4. The RedHawks have won five in a row.
  • Omaha’s Carlos Peguero hit a tape-measure home run in a 16-9 win at Colorado Springs.
  • Memphis lefty Tim Cooney became the PCL’s first 11-game winner by beating New Orleans, 4-3.
  • Round Rock and Nashville were rained out, they’ll play two today at Greer.

See you at the park!


Rested For Stretch Run

August 7, 2014

The Tacoma Rainiers enjoyed their last off-day of the season yesterday, and now the team begins the run to the finish line: 26 games in 26 days, starting tonight against Fresno at Cheney Stadium.

The team is ready for a playoff push. Tacoma trails first place Sacramento by six games, and second place Reno by four games.

The key to a possible playoff run is the fact that Sacramento and Reno play each other ten times in the final 26 days, including a five-game series in Reno starting tonight. Tacoma wants the results of their ten games to be close: a 5-5 split, or maybe 6-4 to Reno’s favor. That would give the Rainiers the chance to gain games on both teams if they can stay hot.

And hot they are. The Rainiers won the series at Albuquerque and finished the road trip with a 5-3 record. Tacoma is 34-19 over the last 53 games, including an 11-5 stretch over the past 16. Tacoma has also won 10 of the last 14 home games, going into tonight.

Now Tacoma faces a Fresno club that has played steady .500 ball since the all-star break, going 10-10. They’ve had a lot of roster changes in the last week, and there are several new faces on the club. Tacoma has gone 4-2 against Fresno so far this season.

Thursday’s game starts at 7:05 PM (Pacific) – the Alaska Airlines Pregame Show begins at 6:50 on South Sound Sports 850 AM and streaming online right here. Tacoma starts RHP Erasmo Ramirez (3-4, 3.74) against Fresno RHP Jason Berken (8-8, 4.40).

Links:

It’s Thirsty Thursday tonight!


Rainiers Roughed Up By Triunfel & Topes

August 5, 2014

Q: What does it mean if Carlos Triunfel hits a grand slam off Taijuan Walker?

A: It’s going to be a long night at the ballpark for the Tacoma Rainiers.

Triunfel lined a go-ahead grand slam in the bottom of the second inning on Monday night, the ‘Topes knocked out Walker in the third, four different Rainiers pitchers allowed homers, and Albuquerque picked up a 12-5 win.

Albuquerque ended a five-game losing streak. Tacoma can still win the series with a victory in the final game tonight.

The game marked just the second time in ten games that Tacoma’s starting pitcher allowed more than three runs in an outing. The pitching has been terrific for Tacoma recently, so let’s just chalk this one up as an outlier.

Walker struggled with his command. He fell behind in the count, and then left pitches up and over the plate where they were quite hittable. It doesn’t matter who is on the mound or how hard he throws: if a pitcher leaves the ball up in the strike zone in Albuquerque, he’s going to get hit hard.

Tonight is the final game of the road trip. The team has an off-day on Wednesday and opens a five-game homestand against Fresno on Thursday night.

Tuesday’s game starts at 6:05 PM (Pacific) – the Alaska Airlines Pregame Show begins at 5:50 on South Sound Sports 850 AM and streaming online right here. Tacoma starts RHP Jordan Pries (8-6, 3.79) against Albuquerque RHP Zach Lee (6-10, 5.22).

Links:

  • We start with the Rainiers game story from The News Tribune.
  • The Mariners believe they can make a run to the playoffs, Bob Dutton writes.
  • Lloyd McClendon has a history with new outfielder Austin Jackson.
  • Lou Piniella went on Dave Mahler’s show yesterday and it was a really good interview – you can listen here.
  • In the PCL last night, Las Vegas starter Logan Verrett shut down Sacramento and things are tightening up in the Pac-North. The Sacramento paper has a feature on perfect game pitcher Philip Humber.
  • Reno is hot. The Aces won their fourth in a row, and pulled within two games of Sacramento with a 4-3 win at El Paso. Reno goes for a sweep tonight.
  • Adam Duvall is back in Fresno and he had the big hit as the Grizzlies defeated Salt Lake, 4-1.
  • Iowa and Omaha are taking turns claiming first place in the American-North. Iowa has it now, after a 6-0 win at Omaha last night.
  • Nashville is still in first in the American-South, despite getting shut out by Brad Penny and New Orleans last night. (Yes, that Brad Penny).
  • Memphis and Round Rock finished their back-to-back doubleheaders yesterday, with Round Rock sweeping.
  • Oklahoma City’s Preston Tucker is heating up and the RedHawks knocked off Colorado Springs, 5-3.

Tonight is Tacoma’s final game of the year against the Fightin’ ‘Topes. The Rainiers lead the season series 8-7 going into the game.


Romero Ropes Two Homers

August 4, 2014

Stefen Romero lined two solo homers at Albuquerque on Sunday evening, helping Tacoma to an 8-5 win over the Isotopes.

Both of Romero’s homers came off right-handed pitchers: he connected for a 425-footer over the center field fence in the third inning against Red Patterson, and then drilled a 390-foot drive into the Rainiers bullpen in left field against Matt Magill.

Yes, we’re in Albuquerque where the ball carries extremely well, but these two liners were crushed. It’s good to see Romero striking the ball sharply.

Meanwhile, Andrew Carraway continued the Rainiers run of excellent starting pitching. He lasted six innings and gave up two runs, marking the eighth time in the last nine games that Tacoma’s starting pitcher has surrendered three or fewer runs.

Matt Palmer relieved Carraway and pitched the final three innings, giving the rest of the bullpen a nice break.

Tacoma is 4-2 so far on the eight-game road trip, and the team has won 10 of its last 14 games.

Monday’s game starts at 6:05 PM (Pacific) – the Alaska Airlines Pregame Show begins at 5:50 on South Sound Sports 850 AM and streaming online right here. Tacoma starts RHP Taijuan Walker (4-2, 4.14) against Albuquerque RHP Steve Smith (2-4, 7.52).

Links:


Pitching Prevails In Albuquerque

August 3, 2014

Tacoma took the first game in Albuquerque on Saturday night, getting a terrific pitching performance from Erasmo Ramirez and relievers Logan Kensing and Carson Smith.

After scoring three runs with two outs in the top of the first inning, the Rainiers never gave up the lead and picked up a 5-2 win.

The pitching performance was tremendous. Albuquerque is one of those great PCL hitter’s parks, and you expect high scoring games here. The wind was blowing in from right field last night, but still Tacoma pitchers did a great job of getting ground ball outs.

The Rainiers are back over .500 at 58-57, and they are 3-2 on the current eight-game road trip. How about this stat: in the last 50 games, Tacoma is 32-18.

On the roster front, James Jones and Stefen Romero joined the team last night, and pitcher Matt Palmer was activated from the seven-day disabled list. Tacoma now has a full roster of 25 players.

Albuquerque is playing with 23 right now, because two players are suspended as a result of their actions in the brawl with Reno last week. Erisbel Arrubarrena is suspended through August 4, and pitcher Carlos Frias has another day to go (he will start tomorrow against Tacoma). These players count on the 25-man roster but cannot play.

Sunday’s game starts at 5:05 PM (Pacific) – the Alaska Airlines Pregame Show begins at 4:50 on South Sound Sports 850 AM and streaming online right here. Tacoma starts RHP Andrew Carraway (5-5, 5.73) against Albuquerque RHP Red Patterson (4-7, 5.70).

Links:

  • The Rainiers game story from The News Tribune has reaction from Erasmo Ramirez about his great start.
  • My Sunday minor league notebook for the paper looks at some Mariners hitting prospects who are finally healthy, and University of Washington product Jake Lamb who was promoted to Triple-A Reno.
  • The Mariners won in Baltimore on Saturday night, 6-3. Austin Jackson had his first big game for the Mariners.
  • Corey Hart landed on the Mariners disabled list, and the team is going with an eight-man bullpen. All that and more in can be found in Bob Dutton’s Mariners notebook.
  • Ryan Divish has a column on trade deadline winners and losers, power rankings, and an ex-Mariner of the week.
  • Sad news: terrific broadcaster Pete Van Wieren has passed away.
  • In the PCL, Sacramento had a big inning and beat Las Vegas, 7-5. The River Cats are mimicking Cheney Stadium’s Summit Club with a new construction at Raley Field.
  • Dustin Martin and Jake Lamb homered to help Reno to a 7-5 win at El Paso. MiLB.com has more on Lamb’s first Triple-A start.
  • Fresno beat Salt Lake 11-7 on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Night. For an anecdote that defies description, check out this notebook. Also, Fresno has a new closer.
  • Carlos Peguero had a big game to help Omaha pull within a half-game of first place Iowa in the American-North. Omaha beat Iowa, 6-2.
  • Oklahoma City lit up the scoreboard in a 13-6 win over Colorado Springs.
  • Round Rock beat Memphis 5-2 on a three-run homer in the eighth by Brett Nicholas. Jackie Moore was the first inductee into the Round Rock Express Hall of Fame.
  • Have a day, Michael Blazek. Nashville’s starting pitcher tossed 5.2 shutout innings, had two hits and drove in two runs in a 4-2 win at New Orleans.

It’s day five of the eight-day road trip. Tacoma’s next home game is on Thursday.


Late Rally Falls Short

August 1, 2014

Tacoma fought hard in the ninth inning again, but fell one run short in Salt Lake City on Friday night.

The Rainiers were down 4-1 going to the ninth. They rallied to score two runs, and had runners at first-and-second with one out but were unable to get that last hit to tie it up or take the lead.

The loss gave Tacoma a split of the series in Salt Lake, and a split of the season series against the Bees.

Once again the Rainiers played short-handed, with just ten position players and also an open spot in the bullpen.

Two players are coming – hopefully today. Yesterday the Mariners optioned outfielders James Jones and Stefen Romero to Tacoma, and they are expected to meet the team in Albuquerque today or tomorrow.

What the Rainiers really need is an infielder who can play shortstop. The always useful utility man Leury Bonilla has done a nice job filling in at shortstop the last two days, making all of the routine plays and contributing some key hits. There is nobody to back him up, though – and he usually backs up everybody else on the team, and there is currently nobody else in that role while he’s starting at shortstop.

Gabriel Noriega is still on the disabled list (strained quad) and he is not yet taking infield or batting practice – so he’s not real close to returning.

When Willie Bloomquist gets healthy the Mariners might send an infielder back to Tacoma, but in talking to M’s beat writer Bob Dutton yesterday it sounds like that’s not happening soon. Bloomquist isn’t even eligible to come off the disabled list until August 8.

The road trip moves on to Albuquerque today. The Brawling ‘Topes just lost three-of-four at Sacramento, winning the opening game but then losing three straight.

On paper, it appears that Albuquerque has a dangerous lineup. Top prospect and MVP candidate Joc Pederson is still there, Brock Peterson is hitting dingers, Tim Federowicz is hot right now, and Triple-A vets Mike Baxter, Jamie Romak, and Clint Robinson are always tough outs.

Cuban infielders Erisbel Arrubarrena and Alex Guerrero are both back with the club. Arrubarrena touched off that big brawl in Reno, and Guerrero was the victim in the Miguel Olivo, um, incident.

Guerrero looked like a budding star prior to losing part of his ear, homering six times in six games before the dugout fight. Since returning, he’s just 4-for-25.

I assume the Fightin’ ‘Topes still have some players serving suspensions from the big bench-clearer in Reno. I’ll find out today the park.

Saturday’s game starts at 6:05 PM (Pacific) – the Alaska Airlines Pregame Show begins at 5:50 on South Sound Sports 850 AM and streaming online right here. Tacoma starts RHP Erasmo Ramirez (2-4, 4.15). Nobody knows who Albuquerque is starting.

Links:

  • Even in a loss, Rainiers manager Roy Howell was happy with the way his team fought until the end. Read about it in the Rainiers game story.
  • The Mariners lost to Wei-Yin Chen and the Orioles, 2-1. The new guys went hitless.
  • Bob Dutton’s Mariners notebook is essential reading for the informed fan. Looks like they’re going to send a pitcher to Tacoma today.
  • Sacramento beat Albuquerque 6-1 on Friday, riding a strong start from Zach Neal. Billy Burns stole two bases in his Triple-A debut – he’s going to be the PCL’s Billy Hamilton for the next few weeks.
  • Mike Freeman hit two triples and a double, helping Reno to a 7-4 win at Fresno. Reno remains four games behind first place Sacramento, while Tacoma is now eight games back.
  • El Paso took down Las Vegas in ten innings, 4-3, to win three-of-four at Vegas. No link as the story wasn’t up on the Las Vegas Review-Journal website when I posted this blog.
  • Former Rainiers and Mariners infielder Josh Wilson had a walk-off RBI single as Round Rock defeated Oklahoma City on Alumni Day. Really – Alumni Day. It’s kind of cool, in my opinion.
  • New Storm Chaser Liam Hendriks racked up a dozen strikeouts as Omaha held off Memphis, 4-3.
  • Colorado Springs scored a grand total of two runs in a doubleheader, yet still managed to earn a split against Nashville.
  • Iowa ripped New Orleans 9-2, and the I-Cubs have a seriously scary lineup right now. I’m glad the Rainiers don’t play them… whoops, they’re coming to town later this month.

That’s it for today – posting this late on Friday night, as Saturday will be spent flying to Albuquerque and we’ll all be hustling from the airport to the hotel check-in to the ballpark.


Back On The Plus Side

August 1, 2014

Despite being down to 22 active players – and only ten non-pitchers – the Tacoma Rainiers defeated Salt Lake on Thursday night, 4-1.

The win pushed Tacoma’s record over the .500 mark, to 57-56. It’s the first time Tacoma has been over the .500 mark since May 12, when the club was 18-17.

Xavier Avery got things off to a good start, launching the first pitch of the game onto the right field berm for a 1-0 lead. Avery has eight home runs this season – and six of them have come in his last 89 at-bats.

Julio Morban added an RBI triple in the seventh inning, and Ty Kelly ripped his career-high 15th homer with a man on base in the eighth.

The Rainiers nearly pitched a shutout. The Bees scored with two outs in the ninth, ending Tacoma’s bid for its first nine-inning shutout at Salt Lake since the franchise rejoined the league in 1994.

The Rainiers go for a series win today. It’s the final meeting of the year between the two teams, and Tacoma leads the season series 8-7.

As for the roster, I was told not to expect any new players today. The Mariners are going to make some moves at the big league level, and that will dictate what happens with the Rainiers roster.

Friday’s game starts at 6:05 PM (Pacific) – the Alaska Airlines Pregame Show begins at 5:50 on South Sound Sports 850 AM and streaming online right here. Tacoma starts LHP James Gillheeney (3-8, 6.10) against Salt Lake LHP Wade LeBlanc (7-2, 4.19).

Links:

It’s the last day in Salt Lake City, as the road trip moves on to Albuquerque tomorrow.


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