Sacramento Takes PCL Title

September 16, 2019

The Sacramento River Cats are your 2019 Pacific Coast League champions. They finished a three-game sweep of the Round Rock Express on Friday night, claiming victory in the best-of-five PCL Championship Series.

Sacramento is the first San Francisco Giants affiliate to win a Triple-A title since 1977, when the Phoenix giants won the league. That’s 42 years between Triple-A championships for the SF Giants.

Up next is the Triple-A National Championship Game, which will be played Tuesday night at Autozone Park in Memphis. Sacramento faces International League champion Columbus (Cleveland Indians) in a one-game final that has the feel of an exhibition game, but does award some modest prize money to the players and is nationally televised on FS1. First pitch Tuesday night will be at 5:05 (Pacific).

Congratulations to the Sacramento River Cats organization.

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Sacramento Up 2-0 In PCL Finals

September 13, 2019

The PCL Championship Series resumes tonight with Game Three in Round Rock, and so far it has been all River Cats.

Sacramento has won the first two games of the best-of-five series, and needs just one win this weekend to take the crown. The winner of the series will play International League champion Columbus (Indians) in the Triple-A National Championship Game in Memphis on Tuesday.

Sacramento won in walk-off fashion in the opener on Tuesday, 8-7, as Abiatal Avelino had the game-winning hit. The game featured seven lead changes, indicating a potentially thrilling series.

The second game turned into a pitcher’s game – rare for Triple-A Baseball this year – and Sacramento emerged with a 4-2 win. Veteran Cristhian Adames homered and drove in two runs for the Cats.

You can follow the games this weekend via the PCL Scoreboard page. Tonight’s game is at 5:05 (Pacific).

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Sacramento & Round Rock Advance To Championship Series

September 9, 2019

The 2019 PCL Championship will be won by either Sacramento or Round Rock, as they each survived a tough five-game series in the conference finals to advance to the PCL Championship Series.

Sacramento last won the PCL title in 2008, the last of their four titles in six years when they were an Oakland A’s affiliate. Sacramento is now a San Francisco Giants affiliate, and no Giants affiliate has won a Triple-A championship since the Phoenix Giants won the PCL in 1977. That’s crazy.

Round Rock joined the Triple-A ranks in 2005 and has not yet won a championship at this level, though the city did enjoy a baseball title in 2000 as a member of the Double-A Texas League. Round Rock is a Houston Astros affiliate, and the Astros organization won the PCL and the Triple-A National Championship Game in 2015 when affiliated with Fresno.

The series is best-of-five, and it begins in Sacramento:

  • Tuesday – Game One – at Sacramento, 6:35
  • Wednesday – Game Two – at Sacramento, 6:35
  • Thursday – off for travel
  • Friday – Game Three – at Round Rock, 5:05
  • Saturday – Game Four (if necessary) – at Round Rock, 5:05
  • Sunday – Game Five (if necessary) – at Round Rock, 11:05

You can be directed to all ways of following the games via the PCL Scoreboard landing page on MiLB.com.

Former Rainiers lefty and one-time Mariners first round draft pick Danny Hultzen reached the majors with the Chicago Cubs on Friday, and pitched a scoreless inning in his big league debut this weekend.

Congratulations to Danny, who overcame years of injury and rehabilitation work to reach the show.

Concerning ex-Rainiers of more recent vintage, we’re keeping an eye on Ian Miller of the Minnesota Twins, who is looking for that first big league hit. He’s played in two games, both coming off the bench, and is 0-for-2.

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PCL Playoffs Begin Tonight

September 4, 2019

The Pacific Coast League playoffs begin tonight. Let’s take a look at the schedules. All times are Pacific.

PACIFIC CONFERENCE

  • Wed, Sept 4 – GAME ONE – Las Vegas at Sacramento, 6:35
  • Thurs, Sept 5 – GAME TWO – Las Vegas at Sacramento, 6:35
  • Fri, Sept 6 – GAME THREE – Sacramento at Las Vegas, 7:05
  • Sat, Sept 7 – GAME FOUR if necessary – Sacramento at Las Vegas, 7:05
  • Sun, Sept 8 – GAME FIVE if necessary – Sacramento at Las Vegas, 12:05

AMERICAN CONFERENCE

  • Wed, Sept 4 – GAME ONE – Iowa at Round Rock, 5:05
  • Thurs, Sept 5 – GAME TWO – Iowa at Round Rock, 5:05
  • Fri, Sept 6 – GAME THREE – Round Rock at Iowa, 5:08
  • Sat, Sept 7 – GAME FOUR if necessary – Round Rock at Iowa, 5:08
  • Sun, Sept 8 – GAME FIVE if necessary – Round Rock at Iowa, 10:08 AM

These are new match-ups. None of the four teams reached the playoffs last year, and neither of the American Conference teams have ever won a PCL title. Las Vegas last won the title in 1988. Sacramento is the only team with recent championships.

You can follow along on the PCL Scoreboard page, which includes links to audio and video (if you subscribe) for all of the games.

Links:

  • The Rainiers lost their last game of the season on Monday in Las Vegas, 3-2. After the game two players were promoted to Seattle: infielder Shed Long, and reliever Zac Grotz.
  • MiLB.com has a PCL Playoffs preview. There are local newspaper playoff previews from Round Rock and Iowa.
  • The Mariners Double-A Arkansas team is starting a playoff series tonight, and remarkably Root is televising the first game with M’s general manager Jerry Dipoto doing commentary. It starts at 5.
  • M’s first round draft pick George Kirby had a solid first professional season up in Everett. They limited his work load after his college season, and will unleash him as a regular starting rotation member next year.
  • San Antonio catcher David Freitas, who played in six games for Tacoma before being traded to the Brewers organization and assigned to the Missions, won the PCL Batting title with a .381 mark.
  • The Las Vegas newspaper has a feature on Aviators broadcaster Russ Langer, which includes this all-time gem of a quote from manager Fran Riordan: “But I’ve been ejected a few times this year, and when I get ejected one of the few things I look forward to is going back to the clubhouse and listening to Russ broadcast the game.”

Rainiers Can’t Keep Las Vegas From Clinching, Finish Season Today

September 2, 2019

The Rainiers spoiler role came to an end on Sunday night, as Las Vegas scored six runs in the eighth inning and beat Tacoma, 8-1. The Vegas win, coupled with an El Paso loss in Sacramento, clinched the Pac-South division title for the Aviators. The Aviators celebrated with a raucous pool party in right-center field at the new Las Vegas Ballpark.

It’s the first playoff berth for Las Vegas since 2014, when Wally Backman led the then-Mets affiliate to the postseason two years in a row. Las Vegas plays Sacramento in the Pacific Conference Championship Series, starting Wednesday night at Raley Field. It will be Iowa against Round Rock in the American Conference series.

Tacoma has one last game to play, and because of last night’s result it is meaningless in the standings. Rainiers players will get one final game before heading off on their winter plans.

Everyone scatters after this one. Most will head to wherever they call home, and perhaps move on to winter ball after a brief rest. A couple may get called up by the Mariners after today’s game. Others will rest for a few weeks before participating in Mariners offseason programs down at the Peoria, AZ complex.

We’ll keep the blog active during the offseason. Come back Wednesday for a PCL playoffs preview post. You’ve been following along all season; might as well stick around and see who wins this crazy league.

After the baseball ends we’ll have weekly (more or less) posts covering player moves that involve potential Rainiers, and whatever else inspires me to write a post.

Thanks for reading this season, and following the team. Let’s win one last game for the road!

RAINIERS DAILY

YESTERDAY: Las Vegas clinched the Pac-South division title with an 8-1 win over Tacoma on Sunday night. It was a 2-1 game until the Aviators scored six runs in the bottom of the eighth inning. Eric Filia had three hits for the Rainiers, and Sean Nolin struck out 11 over 4.2 innings while giving up two runs. Nolin is the first Tacoma pitcher to strikes out 11 batters in a game since James Paxton did it in 2013.

TODAY: Tacoma (61-77) at Las Vegas (82-57), 12:05.

OPPONENT AFFILIATION: Oakland A’s.

OPPOSING MANAGER: Fran Riordan. Riordan was voted the PCL Manager of the Year earlier this week.

SEASON SERIES: Las Vegas leads, 9-6.

PITCHERS: RHP Andrew Moore (0-4, 8.38) at RHP Daniel Mengden (4-3, 4.22)

HOT HITTERS: Jaycob Brugman has hit seven homers and driven in 28 runs over his last 18 games… John Andreoli is 12-for-26 with six RBI on this road trip… Eric Filia has reached base safely in 16 straight games, and 23 of the last 24, and he is 13-for-22 on the road trip.

OPPONENT NEWS: After sweeping Tacoma last weekend, Las Vegas went to Albuquerque and lost three of four. They also lost three key players: Seth Brown and Sheldon Neuse got called up, and Nick Martini was lost on waivers… yesterday the A’s called up Franklin Barreto and Sean Murphy… Mark Payton and Alfonso Rivas have seven-game hitting streaks.

FAMILIAR FACES: Las Vegas pitching coach and PCL veteran Rick Rodriguez pitched for the Tacoma Tigers from 1983 to 1987. Catcher Cameron Rupp played for Tacoma last year.

BROADCAST: The pregame show starts at 11:50 on South Sound Talk 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:

In the PCL:

  • Sacramento shut out El Paso, 5-0, helping end the Chihuahuas four-year playoff streak. Carlos Navas, Pat Venditte, Sam Selman, and Daniel Winkler combined on a four-hit shutout.
  • Reno scored six runs in the top of the first inning and managed to lose the game in Salt Lake City, 7-6. Kaleb Cowart had three hits for the Bees.
  • Fresno took down Albuquerque, 7-6, on Wilmer Difo‘s two-run double in the bottom of the tenth inning.
  • Taylor Jones belted his 22nd home run to help Round Rock win at Omaha, 5-3. Kyle Tucker got called up today.
  • Nashville’s Tim Dillard pitched seven innings and recorded his 1,000th minor league strikeout in a 7-3 win over San Antonio. Christian Lopes homered and drove in four runs.
  • Oklahoma City blasted New Orleans, 11-5, as Edwin Rios homered for the 31st time this season. Dodgers phenom Gavin Lux was summoned to Los Angeles.
  • Iowa scored five runs in the bottom of the first inning off Memphis starter Jake Woodford and beat the Redbirds, 6-5.

Rainiers Call The Cops On Vegas Clinching Party

September 1, 2019

Once again the Rainiers spoiled the party in Las Vegas, beating the Aviators 3-2 on Saturday night while second place El Paso pulled within one game of first in the Pac-South division race.

Tacoma has been out of the race for several weeks, but this has been fun down here watching the team severely impact the Pac-South race. Las Vegas has a magic number of two, with two games left. The Rainiers will try to get ’em again tonight at 7:05.

You can feel the stress among the front office workers and on the field in Las Vegas. Everyone here is tight (note: many far more colorful phrases were considered for this sentence, but this is a family blog). They had a strong hold on first, and had a nine-game win streak which ended just six days ago. But the A’s have called up several key hitters, and Vegas has now lost five of the last six games, and they are having a real tough time clinching.

All of this has made these games – which are meaningless for Tacoma – a lot of fun to call.

RAINIERS DAILY

YESTERDAY: Tacoma continued its mission to ruin the playoff party in Las Vegas, beating the Aviators 3-2. Anthony Misiewicz finished his season with another strong outing, allowing one run in six innings, striking out a season-high ten, and earning his team-leading eighth win. Eric Filia doubled and homered, and Shed Long opened the game with a solo homer.

ROSTER MOVES: Yesterday Tacoma added Kevin Santa from Everett (he never actually went there; it was a one-day paper move), because Ryan Court was on his way to re-join the Mariners.

TODAY: Tacoma (61-76) at Las Vegas (81-57), 7:05.

OPPONENT AFFILIATION: Oakland A’s.

OPPOSING MANAGER: Fran Riordan. Riordan was voted the PCL Manager of the Year earlier this week.

SEASON SERIES: Las Vegas leads, 8-6.

PITCHERS: LHP Sean Nolin (6-3, 4.82) at RHP James Kaprielian (–)

HOT HITTERS: Jaycob Brugman has hit seven homers and driven in 27 runs over his last 17 games… John Andreoli is 11-for-22 with six RBI on this road trip… Eric Filia has reached base safely in 15 straight games, and 22 of the last 23, and he is 10-for-18 on the road trip… Kelby Tomlinson has a five-game hitting streak.

OPPONENT NEWS: After sweeping Tacoma last weekend, Las Vegas went to Albuquerque and lost three of four. They also lost three key players: Seth Brown and Sheldon Neuse got called up, and Nick Martini was lost on waivers… yesterday the A’s called up Franklin Barreto and Sean Murphy… Mark Payton and Alfonso Rivas have six-game hitting streaks.

FAMILIAR FACES: Las Vegas pitching coach and PCL veteran Rick Rodriguez pitched for the Tacoma Tigers from 1983 to 1987. Catcher Cameron Rupp played for Tacoma last year.

BROADCAST: The pregame show starts at 6:50 on South Sound Talk 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 Mariners got walked off in Texas on Saturday night.
  • J.P. Crawford has a strained hamstring and is going to be out for a couple weeks. The story includes information on the Mariners plan for the call-ups.
  • Shannon Drayer also has a story on the call-up situation.
  • Seattle Times writer Ryan Divish has his weekly Mariners Q&A, which includes a segment on what to do about the seriously slumping Dan Vogelbach.

In the PCL:

  • El Paso put the pressure on Vegas with a 3-0 win at Sacramento, with Dillon Overton, Tyler Higgins, and Trevor Megill combining on the shutout. Rehabilitating Johnny Cueto pitched six shutout innings for Sacramento. El Paso is one game back with two to play, and hold the tiebreaker.
  • Fresno’s Drew Ward hit a pair of two-run homers, including a tiebreaking blast in the bottom of the eighth inning, and the Grizzlies beat Albuquerque, 4-2.
  • Salt Lake edged Reno, 4-3, as Jarrett Parker had two hits and two RBI. The Salt Lake City newspaper has a story on top prospect Jo Adell and the home runs that never happened in Tacoma.
  • A Memphis ‘bullpen day’ resulted in a no-hit bid broken up in the eighth inning by Iowa. The Redbirds won the game, 3-1, as Adolis Garcia hit a two-run homer.
  • New Orleans shut out Oklahoma City, 3-0, as Mike Kickham and two relievers combined on a four-hitter.
  • Jacob Nottingham‘s three-run homer helped San Antonio to a 9-5 win at Nashville.
  • Wild game in Omaha, where Round Rock took a 7-2 lead into the 7th Inning Stretch, but Omaha scored seven runs in the bottom of the seventh, so Round Rock scored three in the eighth and won 10-9. Local products Taylor Jones and Nick Tanielu each homered for the Express.

Rainiers Put Aviators Clinching Party On Slow Down

August 31, 2019

Tacoma rolled into Las Vegas and took down the Aviators on Friday night, 4-2, getting terrific relief pitching from Zac Grotz and Matt Festa to seal the win.

The victory slowed down the playoff clinching plans of the Aviators, who have a two-game lead over El Paso in the Pacific-South division with three games to play. Because El Paso will win the tiebreaker if they reach that point, Las Vegas’s “magic number” to clinch is two.

The winner of the Pac-South will play Sacramento in the best-of-five Pacific Conference playoffs starting on Wednesday night at Raley Field.

Both American Conference divisions were clinched last night: Iowa won the American-North after a surprisingly long battle with Memphis, and Round Rock clinched the American-South over a San Antonio team that had been in first place for much of the summer.

Let’s see if the Rainiers can continue to annoy Las Vegas tonight!

RAINIERS DAILY

YESTERDAY: The Rainiers rallied to score three runs in the top of the eighth inning and beat Las Vegas in the series opener on Friday night, 4-2. Jaycob Brugman hit the go-ahead two-run single, and John Andreoli had four hits. The Rainiers had two scoreless innings of relief from both Zac Grotz and Matt Festa.

ROSTER MOVES: Yesterday the Rainiers activated Shed Long from the injured list and transferred Kevin Santa to Everett.

TODAY: Tacoma (60-76) at Las Vegas (81-56), 7:05.

OPPONENT AFFILIATION: Oakland A’s.

OPPOSING MANAGER: Fran Riordan. Riordan was voted the PCL Manager of the Year earlier this week.

SEASON SERIES: Las Vegas leads, 8-5.

PITCHERS: LHP Anthony Misiewicz (7-6, 5.62) at RHP Grant Holmes (–)

HOT HITTERS: Jaycob Brugman has hit seven homers and driven in 27 runs over his last 16 games… John Andreoli is 11-for-18 with six RBI on this road trip… Eric Filia has reached base safely in 14 straight games, and 21 of the last 22, and he is 8-for-14 on the road trip

OPPONENT NEWS: After sweeping Tacoma last weekend, Las Vegas went to Albuquerque and lost three of four. They also lost three key players: Seth Brown and Sheldon Neuse got called up, and Nick Martini was lost on waivers… Mark Payton and Alfonso Rivas have five-game hitting streaks.

FAMILIAR FACES: Las Vegas pitching coach and PCL veteran Rick Rodriguez pitched for the Tacoma Tigers from 1983 to 1987. Catcher Cameron Rupp played for Tacoma last year.

BROADCAST: The pregame show starts at 6:50 on South Sound Talk 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:

In the PCL:

  • Sacramento beat El Paso in ten innings, 2-1, to keep the Chihuahuas two games behind Las Vegas in the Pac-South with three games to play. Jaylin Davis had the game-winning RBI.
  • Raudy Read went 3-for-3 with a double, a homer, and three RBI as Fresno took down Albuquerque, 6-5.
  • Reno took an 8-5 lead into the bottom of the ninth inning at Salt Lake, blew it, but then scored five runs in the top of the tenth and took down the Bees, 13-9. Kevin Cron had four hits and somehow they were all singles (wut?). Jared Walsh hit two home runs for the Bees, giving him 36 on the year.
  • Iowa clinched the American-North with a 5-1 win over Memphis. The Cubs scored all five runs in the bottom of the first inning, with Robel Garcia hitting a grand slam.
  • Round Rock backed into the American-South title. They were shut out by Jake Kalish and Omaha, 4-0, but won the division because…
  • San Antonio lost in Nashville, 6-5. Patrick Wisdom snapped a 5-5 tie with a solo homer in the bottom of the eighth inning, knocking the Missions out of playoff contention.
  • New Orleans starter Joe Gunkel was dealing as the Baby Cakes picked up a 6-1 win at Oklahoma City.