Rainiers Out-Slug 51s; DH Tonight

July 22, 2014

Tacoma hit three home runs – accounting for seven runs total – and beat Las Vegas in the opening game of the homestand on Monday night, 11-8.

It was a back-and-forth game which saw Tacoma take an early 3-1 lead, then Las Vegas pull ahead 6-3, followed by a five-run Tacoma inning to make it 8-6 Rainiers, then a game-tying homer by Danny Muno to even it up at 8-8, and finally a three-run Tacoma rally in the bottom of the seventh put it away at 11-8.

Todd Coffey stopped the scoring, pitching perfect baseball in the eighth and ninth innings to close it out. He even struck out the side in the ninth for a little extra flair.

Jesus Montero continued his hot hitting, blasting a two-run homer and a double. Ty Kelly ripped a game-tying three-run homer in the sixth, and his sac fly brought in the winning run in the seventh.

Catcher Humberto Quintero added a two-run homer and extended his hitting streak to ten straight games. The home run was his 400th career PCL hit.

The Rainiers did use a lot of bullpen last night: Stephen Kohlscheen, Logan Kensing, and Coffey combined to cover 6.1 innings. This could become an issue going into tonight’s doubleheader.

That’s right, a doubleheader. Tacoma and Vegas play two seven-inning games tonight, which is a make-up for a rainout on May 4 (want to get confused? The May 4 game that was rained out was the second game of a doubleheader, which was a make-up of the rainout on May 3. Dang, it rained a lot back then).

On the roster front, last night the Mariners optioned first baseman Justin Smoak to Tacoma, and they will call up Erasmo Ramirez to start tonight against the Mets. Go get ‘em, Erasmo.

Look for lots of roster juggling in the big leagues for the remainder of the season. With the Mariners trying to hang on to a wild card spot, they will be making all kinds of minor roster adjustments to get the best possible match-ups from game to game. The Rainiers roster will both benefit and be victimized by this for the next six weeks. It should be an interesting ride.

Tuesday’s action starts at 6:05 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 Paxton (0-0, 6.00) against Las Vegas RHP Noah Syndergaard (7-5, 5.74) in the first game, and it will be RHP Forrest Snow (0-1, 0.89) against RHP Giancarlo Alvarado (3-4, 7.66) in game two.


  • The Rainiers game story has quotes from Jesus Montero and manager Roy Howell.
  • The Mariners handled the Mets last night, 5-2. My opinion: this is a good series for the M’s to log some home wins against a struggling NL team. But, they face tough rookie Jacob deGrom tonight.
  • The Mariners notebook from The News Tribune has some good HoJo stuff.
  • Larry Stone writes that the Mariners should feel free to trade prospects.
  • Mariners 2014 first round draft pick Alex Jackson got hit in the face by a line drive in the Arizona Rookie League last night. Ryan Divish has an update on his status. Too soon for a “no face masks in the outfield” joke?
  • El Paso didn’t help the Rainiers cause last night. First-place Sacramento beat the Chihuahuas 6-1 in a cats vs dogs battle.
  • C.J. Cron returned to Salt Lake and had a couple of hits in the Bees 7-6 win over Reno.
  • Since getting sent to Triple-A, Carlos Triunfel keeps getting game-winning hits for the Albuquerque Isotopes. He had the go-ahead RBI double in a 5-4 win over Fresno last night. Fresno added Dan Uggla to the roster.
  • The Iowa Cubs moved Javier Baez to second base, and then lost to New Orleans 5-4.
  • Ryan Rua and Round Rock out-slugged Oklahoma City, 11-9. Austin Wates continued his hot hitting with a grand slam for the RedHawks.
  • Colorado Springs received a strong start from Chris Capuano and defeated Nashville, 5-2.
  • Omaha held off Memphis 4-1, pulling within a half-game of first place.
  • The home run race is featured in Baseball America’s minor league round-up.

That’s it for today – gotta buckle down for a long night of baseball tonight at Cheney Stadium.

Rainiers Settle For Split In Reno

July 21, 2014

Another season has gone by without a series victory in Reno for Tacoma.

After winning the first two games of the four-game set, Tacoma had a golden opportunity to take their first-ever road series in Reno.

But Reno salvaged a split, winning 7-1 on Saturday before taking a rain-shortened 7-4 decision on Sunday.

Sunday’s was a tough one for Tacoma: the Rainiers scored four runs in the top of the first inning, only to see Reno score seven unanswered runs over the first four innings.

The rain started coming down in the fifth inning and it did not let up. After the seventh inning, the umpires called for the tarp. An hour and 41 minutes later, they called the game.

So Tacoma splits in Reno, and finished the season-series against Reno with a 7-9 record.

The Rainiers remained 8.5 games behind first-place Sacramento, but were bounced back into the cellar by Fresno. The Grizzlies have won three straight and claimed third place, 7.5 games back. Second-place Reno is 4.5 games out.

Now Tacoma comes home for a 10-game, eight-day homestand. Las Vegas arrives for the first five games, and they are in first place in the Pacific-South with a comfortable nine-game lead over El Paso.

Monday’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 (3-7, 5.66) against Las Vegas LHP Darin Gorski (2-3, 5.10).


That’s it for today – we’re travelling home!

Aces Hold Off Rainiers

July 20, 2014

Tacoma is going for its first-ever series win in Reno, and we knew it wouldn’t be easy.

After taking the first two games of the series with a 28-hit attack, the Rainiers bats slowed down and Reno took game three on Saturday night, 7-1.

Jesus Montero doubled in a run in the first inning, continuing his hot hitting. But after the first, Tacoma had just five singles the remainder of the game.

Tacoma starter Jordan Pries – who has been excellent almost all season – had a rough start. He allowed seven runs in four innings, including a game-breaking three-run homer to Garrett Weber with two outs in the fourth inning.

The Rainiers can still win the series with a victory this evening.

Sunday’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 Matt Palmer (1-7, 4.61) against Reno RHP Bo Schultz (7-6, 5.48).


The Rainiers return home on Monday to start an eight-day, ten-game homestand. There will be doubleheaders on Tuesday and Saturday, and an important five-game series against Sacramento closes the homestand out.

Could This Be The One?

July 19, 2014

After Friday night’s 7-3 victory, Tacoma has won the first two games of the current four-game series at Aces Ballpark.

Since this stadium was built in 2009, Tacoma has never won a series in it. Tacoma has played 11 four-game series in this place, losing nine of them and splitting two.

Now Tacoma can get a series win with just one more victory here. They’ll get two attempts to do it.

The Rainiers are playing good, clean baseball right now while winning five of the last six games.

Yesterday Taijuan Walker allowed a bunch of base runners – 11 in five innings – but showed an ability to make clutch pitches when he needed them, getting three double play grounders to escape jams.

Jesus Montero continued his hot hitting, going 3-for-5 with another homer. He’s 6-for-10 with two homers and seven RBI in the first two games of this series.

Also of note, Chris Taylor went 4-for-5 with two doubles, snapping a little 0-for-10 slide. It was Taylor’s third 4-hit game of the season.

And let’s not forget Xavier Avery lined a two-run homer in the second inning. Avery has hit five home runs in his last 49 at-bats, after hitting just two over the first three months of the season.

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 RHP Jordan Pries (6-5, 3.46) against Reno RHP Mark Serrano (1-0, 4.91).


Rainiers Topple Aces, 7-5

July 18, 2014

Jesus Montero had another big game, and the all-star break couldn’t stop Tacoma’s winning ways as the Rainiers returned to action with a 7-5 win at Reno on Thursday night.

Montero went 3-for-5 with a home run and five RBI. The designated hitter is now 24-for-52 (.467) with four homers and 21 RBI over his last 12 games.

The big reason that Montero is on a tear right now is that the Rainiers are facing a lot of left-handed pitching – and he is lighting these guys up.

Tacoma also had a strong start from Erasmo Ramirez, and solid relief work from Stephen Kohlscheen and Todd Coffey.

Blake Beavan made his first rehab appearance for Tacoma, and he looked… rusty. Beavan issued two walks in the eighth inning, including a leadoff walk which led to a run scoring.

It looks like Beavan will be used from the bullpen initially as he continues his rehab. He’s been on the Mariners disabled list with shoulder tendonitis since mid-April.

There were no additional roster moves yesterday. Tacoma is currently playing with 11 position players and 13 pitchers on the roster, and there is one open spot.

The team is now 47-50 on the year – once again three games under .500 – and has won four of its last five games. Tacoma is 21-11 over the last 32 games.

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 Taijuan Walker (3-1, 3.79) against Reno RHP Charles Brewer (4-7, 6.12).


  • The game went long, so there are no quotes but there is a recap (and a good headline) in the Rainiers game story from The News Tribune.
  • Jeff Sullivan wrote an ode to Felix Hernandez‘s change-up.
  • For ESPN Insiders, the Mariners landed one player on Keith Law’s mid-season Top 50 Prospects list – and it’s not who you think it is.
  • Going into the second half, Lloyd McClendon gives a state of the Mariners address.
  • Mariners prospects appear in both good and bad ways on this week’s Baseball America Prospect Hot Sheet.
  • In the PCL, Sacramento topped Albuquerque in 10 innings and 4 hours, 29 minutes by a score of 10-9. Shane Peterson hit three homers, Brock Peterson hit one, and Joc Pederson hit none. The game ended so late that I could only locate this report. The paper does have a story on baseball and chewing tobacco.
  • Fresno’s all-star contingent returned but the Grizzlies lost to El Paso, 7-6, despite Gary Brown‘s 4-for-5 showing.
  • J.B. Shuck helped Salt Lake to a 7-6 win over Las Vegas. Wade LeBlanc struck out 11.
  • Cubs top prospects Javier Baez and Kris Bryant both went deep in Iowa’s 7-0 win at Round Rock.
  • New Orleans and Omaha combined to hit eight home runs in the Zephyrs 14-4 win at Werner Park.
  • Colorado Springs and Memphis had their game postponed because a cancelled flight prevented the Sky Sox from getting to Memphis. They’ll play two on Saturday.
  • Nashville at Oklahoma City got rained out, but that didn’t dampen the spirits of healthy RedHawks manager Tony DeFrancesco. The RedHawks have a new pitching prospect in Tommy Shirley.

That’s it for today – let’s see if the Rainiers can make it two straight wins in Reno.

Taylor Honored, PCL Resumes Today

July 17, 2014

Tacoma returns to action after the all-star break tonight, with the first game of a four-game series at Reno set for 7:05.

The Rainiers were well-represented at the Triple-A All-Star Game on Wednesday night in Durham, NC, with four player on the Pacific Coast League roster.

The PCL lost the game to the International League, 7-3, but it wasn’t not the fault of the Rainiers contingent.

Three-fourths of the starting infield was from Tacoma. Gabriel Noriega started at third base, Chris Taylor at shortstop, and Nick Franklin at second base. The fourth Rainier – reliever Logan Kensing – did not appear in the game.

Taylor ended up taking home the accolades, after going 3-for-4 with two doubles at the plate. His doubles came against Liam Hendricks and AJ Achter, and he singled off Mike Montgomery. He was named the PCL Player of the Game for his efforts.

Like Taylor, Franklin played all nine innings. He went 1-for-4, with an infield single against veteran reliever Bobby Korecky.

Noriega played the first five innings, going 0-for-2. He did reach base on a strike three wild pitch. Noriega was charged with a tough error, on a one-hop line drive that he made a diving attempt on. If this was a game that counted, I’m sure the call would have been changed to a hit after the game.

I have a feeling that Kensing didn’t mind not pitching, and may have been in favor of it. He’s logged a lot of relief innings this year and could probably use the break.

We’ll talk to one of these guys on the Rainiers pregame show either Thursday or Friday, to find out what the all-star experience was like.

Tacoma is back in action tonight, in a big series against division rival Reno. Time is getting thin for the Rainiers to make a run at the postseason, and a series victory – say, taking three-out-of-four – at Reno would be a big step in the right direction.

Of course, a series win here would be amazing for many reasons. Tacoma has still never won a series at Aces Ballpark – they came closest on the early trip this season, when Tacoma won the first two games only to lose the next two and settle for a disappointing split.

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 (1-4, 4.07) against Reno LHP Andrew Chafin (3-3, 5.83).

We’re going to have roster moves today, and the announcements are trickling in. Here’s what I know so far:

The Mariners recalled outfielder Stefen Romero, and optioned reliever Lucas Luetge to Tacoma.

Emergency fill-in outfielder Corey Simpson (who actually ended up starting two games) was transferred back to Everett.

Blake Beavan – who made a rehab start for High Desert earlier this week – had his assignment transferred to Tacoma, and I expect him to start for the Rainiers soon. He’s on the Mariners disabled list with shoulder tendinitis.

There will be more moves, and I’ll learn the rest of them when I get to the park. The team needs an AAA-capable outfielder and hopefully this has been addressed.


  • Here’s the MiLB.com game story on the Triple-A All-Star Game.
  • Bob Dutton did one of his Mariners Q&As which answers a lot of good questions.
  • You want trade speculation? Dutton has trade speculation.
  • In this blog post, you can see that the Mariners pushed back Taijuan Walker in the Tacoma rotation and Jack Z says they are slowing his return to the majors.
  • If you want to see a PCL game on TV, the New Orleans at Omaha game is tonight’s Minor League Game of the Week on the CBS Sports Network. Note that a Rainiers road game at Salt Lake is scheduled to be televised in two weeks, so mark your calendar.
  • By now you have probably seen the El Paso Chihuahuas specialty jerseys. But if by chance you have not, welp, you better click here right now.

Off to the ballpark – let’s get this “second half” underway. Tacoma plays 48 games in 47 days to finish the season.

Triple-A All-Star Game Today

July 16, 2014

Four Tacoma Rainiers will take the field when the Pacific Coast League takes on the International League in the Triple-A All-Star Game today at 4:00 (Pacific) in Durham, North Carolina.

Tacoma will be represented by infielders Chris Taylor, Gabriel Noriega, and Nick Franklin along with relief pitcher Logan Kensing.

Taylor (shortstop) and Noriega (third base) were originally voted in as starters, but it turns out that all three might start because starting second baseman Arismendy Alcantara of Iowa was promoted to the Chicago Cubs, clearing a path for Franklin to start at second base.

We could have an almost-all-Tacoma infield starting the all-star game!

At any rate, with all of these Rainiers in action this could be one of the most fun Triple-A All-Star Games to watch in recent years.

The game will be televised nationally on the MLB Network, and the national radio broadcast will air on our flagship station 850 AM. While I’m not positive, I’m pretty sure that the internet radio stream will be available right here.


Below the jump, you can find the Triple-A All-Star Drinking Game. Read the rest of this entry »


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