Rained Out In Albuquerque

April 25, 2017

Tuesday’s morning game in Albuquerque has been rained out. It was the final game of the series, so it will be made up when the Rainiers return to Albuquerque in July.

The make-up will be a doubleheader on Tuesday, July 18, with the first game starting at 3:35 (Pacific).

Both the Rainiers and this blog are taking Wednesday off. Tacoma will be home on Thursday to host Sacramento in a five-game series, and we’ll have a game preview post going up early that afternoon.


Rainiers Up Early Today

April 25, 2017

No time, super early game today, let’s get to it. Rainiers need a win today to finish with a 4-4 record on this road trip. It’s cloudy here and rain is in the forecast throughout the day.

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: We got our high-scoring game, and it wasn’t a lot of fun. Albuquerque scored five runs in the first inning, went ahead 8-1 in the third, and won the game 12-8. The teams combined for 33 hits. Boog Powell went 4-for-5, and Tyler O’Neill hit two doubles and a homer.

Roster Moves: Before yesterday’s game infielder Mike Freeman was optioned to Tacoma, pitcher Chase De Jong reported, and pitcher Brett Ash was transferred to Double-A Arkansas. And we solved the mystery of the missing reliever Jonathan Aro: he has been suspended 50 games by the Commissioner’s Office for an unspecified violation of the Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. I’m not sure if it’s retroactive to opening day.

Today: Tacoma (10-8) at Albuquerque (9-10), 10:05 AM (Pacific).

Opponent Affiliation: Colorado Rockies.

Season Series: Tacoma leads, 4-2.

Starting Pitchers: LHP Dillon Overton (1-0, 8.44) at LHP Ryan Carpenter (1-1, 3.18).

Tacoma is using Ryan Weber to follow Overton, who is cleared for roughly 70-75 pitches. Carpenter is filling in for top prospect German Marquez, who got called up by the Rockies.

Hot Rainiers: Ben Gamel has a six-game hitting streak, and he has reached base in 16 straight games… Tyler Smith has a seven-game hitting streak, and he’s 14-for-38 over his last ten games… Boog Powell has been on base 14 times over the last five games.

Look Out For: Noel Cuevas has a ten-game hitting streak, and he’s 11-for-19 against left-handed pitchers… Raimel Tapia is 6-for-15 in this series, and Daniel Castro is 6-for-11 in the series.

Broadcast: The pregame show starts at 9:50 on South Sound Sports 850 AM. The broadcast also streams online via the TuneIn app – just click here.

PCL Scoreboard: Follow all Pacific Coast League games in real-time with links to Gameday screens right here.

Links:

  • It’s bad when the headline to the Rainiers game story in the local paper is “Isotopes Score Early, Often.”
  • The Mariners were off yesterday, but Bob Dutton has his notebook with several interesting items.

PCL Recaps:


Runs Scarce In Albuquerque?

April 24, 2017

The first two games of Tacoma’s series at mile-high Isotopes Park have been surprisingly low scoring, and the trend may continue tonight.

On Saturday there were extreme winds blowing in from right field, making hitting difficult. Tacoma won that game, 5-3, on a four-run rally which was spurred by walks.

Yesterday was a calm day, and there were even some breezes blowing out to left field. But strong pitching by Sam Gaviglio and Albuquerque’s Zach Jemiola kept the runs at bay, and the Isotopes won 3-2.

Tonight the weather report calls for more strong winds. If the wind is coming in from right field again, we could have another low scoring game.

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: Tacoma’s three-game win streak came to a halt with a 3-2 loss in Albuquerque on Sunday afternoon. Anthony Bemboom tripled and scored the go-ahead run in the seventh on Raimel Tapia‘s infield dribbler. Sam Gaviglio had another hard-luck loss, pitching well into the seventh inning.

Roster Moves: Yesterday the Mariners called up Dan Vogelbach and Chris Heston, optioned Chase De Jong to Tacoma, and designated Leonys Martin for assignment. If Martin clears waivers – a dubious proposition – he’ll be outrighted to Tacoma.

Today: Tacoma (10-7) at Albuquerque (8-10), 5:35 (Pacific).

Opponent Affiliation: Colorado Rockies.

Season Series: Tacoma leads, 4-1.

Starting Pitchers: RHP Rafael Pineda (-) at LHP Harrison Musgrave (0-1, 5.40).

This was supposed to be Chris Heston’s start, but since he was called up it’s now a bullpen day. Pineda will be making the fourth start of his career and first above the Class-A level. He has not pitched in a game in 2017.

Hot Rainiers: Ben Gamel has a five-game hitting streak, and he has reached base in 15 straight games… Tyler Smith has a six-game hitting streak, and he’s 12-for-32 (.375) over his last nine games… Boog Powell has been on base ten times over the last four games.

Look Out For: Noel Cuevas has an nine-game hitting streak, and he’s 10-for-18 against left-handed pitchers.

Broadcast: The pregame show starts at 5:20 on South Sound Sports 850 AM. The broadcast also streams online via the TuneIn app – just click here.

PCL Scoreboard: Follow all Pacific Coast League games in real-time with links to Gameday screens right here.

Links:

  • We’ll start with a recap of yesterday’s Rainiers game.
  • The Mariners whacked the A’s on Sunday, 11-1, as Taylor Motter hit a grand slam. Three takeaways from the game.
  • The surprising roster moves are the subject of the Mariners Notebook.
  • John McGrath has a column on the Leonys Martin era.

PCL Reports:

  • A three-run homer by Fresno’s Colin Moran helped end Salt Lake’s eight-game winning streak. Fresno won the game, 5-2.
  • Sacramento ended it’s eight-game losing streak with a 7-6 win over Las Vegas, as Christian Arroyo‘s fourth hit of the game was the winner. The paper has an article on ex-Rainier Michael Morse, who is currently with Sacramento.
  • Reno’s Anthony Banda struck out eleven Chihuahuas in a 4-3 win at El Paso.
  • Colorado Springs staved off a ferocious Nashville rally and won 6-5 on Sunday. The Sky Sox took a 6-0 lead into the ninth. Sonny Gray is rehabbing for Nashville later this week.
  • Oklahoma City lost another close game at home, this one a 4-3 decision against Memphis. The paper has an article on Justin Masterson‘s comeback bid.
  • Omaha starter Josh Staumont says a strong wind in New Orleans helped him toss five innings of one-hit ball in a 4-2 victory.
  • In the game of the day, Round Rock blew a 5-0 lead in the ninth to visiting Iowa and went to extra innings. Each team scored two runs in the tenth, with the Express getting a pinch-hit two-run homer from Jared Hoying. Travis Snider‘s RBI double gave Round Rock an 8-7 win in the 13th inning.

The road trip will end with an early game on Tuesday – 10:05 AM first pitch!


Rainiers Blow Into Albuquerque, Get Win

April 23, 2017

An extreme change in weather made a big impact on the Rainiers series-opener at Albuquerque on Saturday night.

When the Rainiers took batting practice at 5:15, it was sunny, 75 degrees, and calm. Not a cloud in the sky. Perfect weather, really.

By 7:15 there was a strong wind blowing in from right field.

An hour later – around the third inning – it was very cold, and the wind was getting stronger by the minute.

Gusting winds made hitting a chore. Routine fly balls became adventures with surprise endings. And it was absolutely frigid.

Even the pitches were moved by the wind, which continued to strengthen as the night went on. Reliever Casey Fien – who got a five-out save – told me his fastball was moved laterally by the wind.

Tacoma scored four runs in the top of the first inning, before the wind became a huge factor. Then the wind came, and the pitchers had a big advantage – as long as most of the fly balls were caught.

The Rainiers won it, 5-3. Tacoma has won three straight games, and eight of the last ten, moving four games over .500 for the first time this season.

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: Tacoma scored four runs in the first innings on the way to a 5-3 victory at Albuquerque. Extreme winds blowing in from right field made both hitting and fly ball catching a challenge. Christian Bergman pitched into the seventh inning, allowing two runs, to get the win.

Roster Moves: Tacoma will be playing short-handed today as the Mariners are making moves. Gotta wait for them to announce it, but a look at last night’s box score should reveal one move.

Today: Tacoma (10-6) at Albuquerque (7-10), 12:35 (Pacific).

Opponent Affiliation: Colorado Rockies.

Season Series: Tacoma leads, 4-0.

Starting Pitchers: RHP Sam Gaviglio (0-2, 3.38) at RHP Zach Jemiola (1-1, 9.53).

Hot Rainiers: Dan Vogelbach has hit safely in eight straight games, he has nine RBI over the last four games, and he has reached base via hit or walk in 15 straight games… Ben Gamel has reached in 14 straight games… Tyler Smith has a five-game hitting streak, and he’s 10-for-28 over his last eight games… D.J. Peterson has homered three times during a six-game hitting streak.

Look Out For: Noel Cuevas has an eight-game hitting streak, and he’s 10-for-18 against left-handed pitchers… after a slow start Jordan Patterson appears to be heating up. He has a four-game hitting streak.

Broadcast: The pregame show starts at 12:20 on South Sound Sports 850 AM. The broadcast also streams online via the TuneIn app – just click here.

PCL Scoreboard: Follow all Pacific Coast League games in real-time with links to Gameday screens right here.

Links:

PCL Reports:


Shank Slams Rainiers To Victory

April 22, 2017

Tacoma won the final game in El Paso on Friday night, 11-8, getting an unlikely lift.

Zach Shank lined a pinch-hit grand slam in the top of the fourth inning to give Tacoma a 7-4 lead. The Rainiers led for the remainder of the game.

It was the first pinch-hit home run of any kind for the Rainiers since Luis Rodriguez lined one to right field at Cheney Stadium against Colorado Springs on July 15, 2012.

The last pinch-hit grand slam? Who knows. We hardly ever have pinch-hitters, due to the designated hitter!

The reason Shank was pinch-hitting was because Gordon Beckham left the game after getting hit by a pitch on the left forearm in his first at-bat. Beckham stayed in the game, batted one more time, and then came out. We’ll get an update on his status later today.

It was the first home run of the season for Shank, who hit three for Tacoma last year. His career high for homers in a season is ten, at the Class-A level. Shank does a lot of things to help the Rainiers win, but the pinch-hit grand slam was a huge surprise.

Tacoma won despite losing scheduled starting pitcher Chase De Jong to a call-up. Brett Ash was promoted from Arkansas, and he ended up earning the win in relief in his Triple-A debut. Ash allowed four runs in 3.2 innings, but Shank’s slam gave him a lead to work with.

Ash was a 12-game winner at Double-A Jackson last year. He was 1-1, 3.00 for Arkansas in two appearances this season.

With De Jong gone, the team has to decide if it wants to put Ryan Weber back into the rotation, or have Ash fill the spot.

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: Tacoma got a big lift when Zach Shank hit a go-ahead, pinch-hit grand slam in the fourth inning and went on to beat El Paso, 11-8. Boog Powell and Dario Pizzano each reached base four times in the win. The Rainiers split the four-game series.

Roster Moves: Yesterday starter Chase De Jong was called up by Seattle, and reliever Dan Altavilla was optioned to Tacoma (he’ll probably report today). Tacoma added pitcher Brett Ash from Double-A Arkansas, and pitcher Rafael Pineda from extended spring training. Catcher Steve Baron was placed on the 7-day disabled list, retroactive to Tuesday. Finally, rehabilitating Steve Cishek started for Tacoma last night, then returned to Arkansas after the game.

Today: Tacoma (9-6) at Albuquerque (7-9), 6:05 (Pacific).

Opponent Affiliation: Colorado Rockies.

Season Series: Tacoma leads, 3-0.

Tacoma swept a three-game series from the Isotopes at Cheney Stadium last weekend.

Starting Pitchers: RHP Christian Bergman (2-0, 2.31) at RHP Matt Flemer (1-1, 5.06).

Hot Rainiers: Dan Vogelbach has hit safely in seven straight games, he has eight RBI over the last three games, and he has reached base via hit or walk in 14 straight games… Ben Gamel has reached in 13 straight games… Tyler Smith has a four-game hitting streak, and he’s hitting .375 (9-for-24) over his last seven games… D.J. Peterson has homered in three of the last five games.

Look Out For: Noel Cuevas has a seven-game hitting streak, and he’s 9-for-17 against left-handed pitchers… catcher Ryan Hanigan has an eight-game hitting streak… Albuquerque did not have outfielder Raimel Tapia in Tacoma last weekend; he’s never faced the Rainiers before but reportedly he can really hit.

Broadcast: The pregame show starts at 5:50 on South Sound Sports 850 AM. The broadcast also streams online via the TuneIn app – just click here.

PCL Scoreboard: Follow all Pacific Coast League games in real-time with links to Gameday screens right here.

Links:

PCL Reports:


Rainiers Win Thriller In El Paso

April 21, 2017

The Rainiers won a thriller in ten innings at El Paso on Thursday night, 6-5, in a game the exhibited how much things can swing over the course of an evening.

For the first five innings it looked like Tacoma had no chance of winning.

El Paso jumped out to a 5-0 lead at the end of the third inning, hitting a pair of homers and knocking Tacoma’s starter out early.

Chihuahuas starting pitcher Dinelson Lamet broke the franchise record for strikeouts… in the fifth inning! He had 12 strikeouts by the end of the fifth, and was working on a one-hit shutout.

The Rainiers got on the scoreboard in the top of the sixth when Gordon Beckham launched a solo homer to left field, making it 5-1. But in reality things really started to swing Tacoma’s way much earlier.

In the third inning El Paso scored two runs and had runners at first and third with one out. It was 5-0, and they were about to blow the game wide open.

Tacoma brought in Ryan Weber from the bullpen, and he got Diego Goris to ground into an inning-ending double play.

That was the start of an incredible stretch for Weber. He retired the side on four pitches in the fourth inning: a ball, a ground out, a ground out, and another ground out. He went on to pitch 5.2 scoreless innings, getting 14 of the 17 outs on infield grounders.

Weber has now tossed 13.2 shutout innings this season. His long relief work keyed Tacoma’s comeback last night.

Shortly after Beckham’s homer in the top of the sixth, Lamet reached 95 pitches and was pulled from the game. He finished with 13 strikeouts in 5.1 innings, which should remain the El Paso record for a while. The Chihuahuas went to the bullpen and Tacoma kept striking out – the Rainiers whiffed 18 times in the game – but a comeback was made.

In the seventh inning Tuffy Gosewish hit a one-out double, and Zach Shank Walked. Beckham followed with a fly ball to shallow center, and El Paso outfielder Franchy Cordero initially went back on the ball – costing him the chance to make a catch. It dropped for a single, and the bases were loaded for Dan Vogelbach.

Vogelbach ripped Carlos Fisher‘s first pitch on a low line to right field. This laser beam was timed at 107 mph coming off the bat, and it banged into the brick structure above the right field fence for a game-tying grand slam.

The Rainiers threatened in both the eighth and ninth innings, but did not score. Jean Machi relieved Weber in the bottom of the ninth, pitched a scoreless inning, and we were going to extras for the first time this season.

Boog Powell opened the tenth by pulling a hard double down the right field line against El Paso reliever Michael Dimock, bringing up Gosewisch. Gosewisch fouled off two bunt attempts, falling behind in the count, and then lifted a fly ball that carried to deep right field. El Paso’s Rafael Ortega tried to catch it at the wall, but it dropped to the ground and Powell scored the go-ahead run on a close play at the plate.

Machi and Dean Kiekhefer took care of the bottom of the tenth inning, and the Rainiers had their first extra-innings victory of the season.

It was an incredible turnaround. The game felt like a loss and it turned into a win.

After tonight’s game the Rainiers get to enjoy a rare Pacific Coast League bus trip, a three-and-a-half hour midnight ride through the desert to Albuquerque. The most exciting sight we’ll see on the drive, in all likelihood, will be the bright lights of Las Cruces, New Mexico.

A four game series against the Albuquerque Isotopes starts on Saturday night.

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: The Rainiers beat El Paso in ten innings, 6-5, in the team’s best win of the season. Tacoma needs a win today to get a split of the four-game series.

Today: Tacoma (8-6) at El Paso (7-8), 6:05 (Pacific).

Opponent Affiliation: San Diego Padres.

Season Series: Tacoma leads, 4-3.

Starting Pitchers: RHP Chase De Jong (2-0, 1.74) at RHP Bryan Rodriguez (1-0, 0.75).

Hot Rainiers: Dan Vogelbach has hit safely in six straight games, he’s homered in the last two, and he has reached base via hit or walk in 13 straight games… Ben Gamel has reached in 12 straight games… Gordon Beckham was a four-game hitting streak, during which he has hit three home runs.

Look Out For: Cory Spangenberg is on a tear. He has a seven-game hitting streak, going 13-for-28 during it, and is 6-for-13 during this series… Jamie Romak, Jose Pirela, and Diego Goris have five-game hitting streaks.

Ex-Rainiers and Locals: Former Rainiers reliever Logan Bawcom is now a Chihuahua. He signed with the Padres as a free agent during the offseason… ex-Rainiers outfielder Jabari Blash was optioned to El Paso on Saturday; let’s try to keep him in the ballpark… El Paso pitching coach Bronswell Patrick pitched for the Tacoma Tigers for two years, 1993-1994.

Broadcast: The pregame show starts at 5:50 on South Sound Sports 850 AM. The broadcast also streams online via the TuneIn app – just click here.

PCL Scoreboard: Follow all Pacific Coast League games in real-time with links to Gameday screens right here.

Links:

  • The game story from the El Paso Times focuses on the impressive outing by Dinelson Lamet. There is another photo gallery with the story.
  • Limet appears on Baseball America’s weekly Prospect Hot Sheet, which includes a note on Mariners Double-A base stealing machine Ian Miller.
  • The Mariners lost in Oakland, 9-6, as James Paxton allowed runs for the first time this season. Three takeaways from the game.
  • The Mariners Notebook leads off with Mitch Haniger‘s impressive play.
  • A wonderful tribute to former Mariners broadcaster Dave Niehaus was posted on SI today. It’s written by Ken Levine, one of his former broadcast partners.

PCL Reports:


Big Inning Costs Rainiers

April 20, 2017

We had a season first on Wednesday night: the Rainiers opponent piled up hits and runs.

Tacoma entered the game with a league-best team earned run average, but El Paso struck for nine runs and 15 hits in a 9-4 victory. Tacoma has lost two straight games.

The team ERA went from below 2.50 up to 3.03. It is now second-best in the PCL – Colorado Springs, of all teams, leads the league with a 2.86 mark.

Wednesday’s game was actually really close and tense until the bottom of the eighth, when El Paso scored five runs to turn a 4-3 lead into a 9-3 lead.

The Rainiers offense hasn’t gotten hot yet. Tacoma has scored seven runs on 15 hits over the first two games of the series – numbers that would be fine in Tacoma, but aren’t going to win many games in the high-scoring environment of El Paso.

There were some positives on Wednesday: Dan Vogelbach belted his first homer of the season, Ben Gamel reached base four times, and Tuffy Gosewish returned from the stomach flu.

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: One big inning doomed the Rainiers in a 9-4 loss at El Paso on Wednesday night. After seven-and-a-half innings of a tight, one-run baseball game El Paso scored five runs in the bottom of the eighth to lock it up.

Today: Tacoma (7-6) at El Paso (7-7), 5:35 (Pacific).

Opponent Affiliation: San Diego Padres.

Season Series: Tied, 3-3.

Starting Pitchers: LHP Dillon Overton (0-0, 0.00) at RHP Dinelson Lamet (1-0, 0.00).

Overton moves into the starting rotation today – look for Ryan Weber to follow him from the bullpen. Lamet still hasn’t been traded to the Mets.

Hot Rainiers: Dan Vogelbach has reached base via hit or walk in 12 straight games, and he has hit safely in five straight… Ben Gamel has reached in 11 straight games; yesterday he was on base four times (three walks and a single).

Look Out For: Cory Spangenberg has a six-game hitting streak, going 10-for-23 during it… Jamie Romak, Jose Pirela, and Diego Goris have four-game hitting streaks.

Ex-Rainiers and Locals: Former Rainiers reliever Logan Bawcom is now a Chihuahua. He signed with the Padres as a free agent during the offseason… ex-Rainiers outfielder Jabari Blash was optioned to El Paso on Saturday; let’s try to keep him in the ballpark… El Paso pitching coach Bronswell Patrick pitched for the Tacoma Tigers for two years, 1993-1994.

Broadcast: The pregame show starts at 5:20 on South Sound Sports 850 AM. The broadcast also streams online via the TuneIn app – just click here.

PCL Scoreboard: Follow all Pacific Coast League games in real-time with links to Gameday screens right here.

Links:

PCL Games: