For All Of The Marbles In Albuquerque

July 20, 2017

The Rainiers wrap up the series in Albuquerque with a day game today at Isotopes Park. First pitch is at 11:05 AM (Pacific).

With our odd schedule in 2017 (because the league went, for one year, from 144 games to 142 before dropping to the MiLB-mandated 140 games in 2018) the Rainiers are playing Albuquerque 15 times this season.

And after 14 games we are all tied, 7-7.

This one is for bragging rights. Let’s win this thing!

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: We had a great pitcher’s duel in high-elevation Albuquerque on Wednesday, but the Isotopes Ryan Carpenter out-dueled Tacoma’s Casey Lawrence for a 3-1 win. Both starters were spectacular. Rainiers hitters haven’t been able to solve the lefty Carpenter, who is becoming one of the great stories in the PCL this year emerging as a top starter after posting an airline ERA (7-something) as a reliever last year.

Roster Moves: None yet today, but it is trade deadline time, so be ready.

Today: Tacoma (47-50) at Albuquerque (50-47), 11:05 AM Pacific.

Opponent Affiliation: Colorado Rockies.

Season Series: Tied, 7-7.

Starting Pitchers: RHP Tyler Cloyd (1-1, 1.93) at RHP Zach Jemiola (3-2, 6.21).

Hot RainiersTyler O’Neill has slashed .320/.426/.701 over his last 26 games, with 11 homers and 25 RBI… Leonys Martin has a six-game hitting streak… Tyler Smith has played 38 straight errorless games at shortstop, dating back two months to May 18. That doesn’t include ten error-free games in the majors with Seattle.

Look Out ForNoel Cuevas, a PCL All-Star, has a 13-game hitting streak. He homered and also doubled & scored last night, a big factor in Albuquerque’s win… Mike Tauchman has hit safely in 13 of his last 14 games… want to see some Not Hot? Catcher Tom Murphy is 2-for-22 with 15 strikeouts in his last six games. Yikes. (Please note that I only posted that because it seems unlikely he’ll play today, and then we are done with them for the season. Here at the blog we do fear the reverse jinx).

Broadcast: The pregame show starts at 10:50 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:

  • A key play in last night’s game was Albuquerque center fielder Raimel Tapia‘s leaping grab of Tyler O’Neill‘s drive 415 feet from home plate, after climbing a hill. The Albuquerque Journal has a story about that catch, and makes the very real point that the hill is a big home field advantage when the ‘Topes have a center fielder willing to traverse it. Tapia loves the hill.
  • James Paxton pitched the Mariners to a 4-1 win at Houston, completing a terrific road trip in which the team went 5-1. Three takeaways from the game.
  • This ten-game homestand which starts tonight will make or break the Mariners season, John McGrath writes. Keep in mind they have only six home games in August.

PCL Game Reports:

  • After watching Fresno score 41 runs in the previous two games, Las Vegas ace Tyler Pill stopped the bleeding with seven shutout innings in a 4-2 win over the Grizzlies. Dominic Smith drove in all four runs for Vegas.
  • Salt Lake’s Luis Diaz tossed six shutout innings in an 11-0 road win over Reno. Two relievers finished a two-hit shutout in one of the PCL’s great hitter’s ballparks. Reno still leads the Pac-North by one game over Fresno.
  • Sacramento’s Tyler Beede allowed one run over seven innings and earned the win in a 3-1 takedown of El Paso. There were many reports online that Sacramento may add former Giants star Pablo Sandoval soon – Sacramento plays in Tacoma this weekend.
  • A rehabilitating Cheslor Cuthbert couldn’t stop Omaha from losing to Colorado Springs in the 12th inning, 8-4.
  • Scott Van Slyke led Oklahoma City to a 4-3 win over Memphis.
  • Kudos to the Round Rock Express employee who came up with “Express Glaze Baby Cakes, 6-4.” Nice. Jason Martinson had the game-winning hit.
  • Nashville overcame an 8-2 deficit and beat Iowa in the 11th inning, 11-8. Matt Olson hit a grand slam to tie it in the eighth, and Ryan Lavarnway hit a three-run homer in the 11th to win.

That’s it for this morning. The Rainiers fly home after today’s game and host Sacramento this weekend. See you at the park!


Doubleheader Means Double Homers For O’Neill

July 19, 2017

Tacoma split its doubleheader in Albuquerque on Tuesday evening, and Tyler O’Neill homered in both games of the twinbill.

He hit a tape-measure shot down the left field line in the top of the first inning of the opening game, briefly giving Tacoma a 3-0 lead in a game it would eventually lose, 5-3.

O’Neill launched a sky-high homer to left in fourth inning of Game Two, which the Rainiers won 9-3. Tacoma ended a six-game losing streak with the win.

Albuquerque has been kind to the Rainiers 22-year-old outfielder. O’Neill has homered in all three games of this series, and is 7-for-13 at the plate.

But he’s been hot for much longer than three games in Albuquerque. Over his last 25 games, O’Neill is batting .330 with 11 homers and 25 RBI. He has a .432 on-base percentage and a .723 slugging percentage during the 25 games.

Despite being red-hot at the plate, O’Neill is still striking out at a high rate. In 94 at-bats during the 25-game stretch, O’Neill has struck out 31 times. He also has an encouraging 16 walks during this period.

Strikeouts are always going to be part of his game. It will be interesting to see if he makes enough contact to overcome them when he gets to the big leagues (whenever that is). He certainly does damage when he makes contact!

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: Albuquerque and Tacoma split a doubleheader. The Isotopes won the opener, 5-3, when Tacoma scored three runs in the top of the first but failed to tack on afterwards. That wasn’t a problem in Game Two, when Tacoma mashed 16 hits during a 9-3 win.

Roster Moves: Calibrate your radar guns! Tacoma adds flame throwing reliever Thyago Vieira from Double-A Arkansas tonight. Ryan Kelly has been transferred to Arkansas.

Today: Tacoma (47-49) at Albuquerque (49-47), 6:05 Pacific.

Opponent Affiliation: Colorado Rockies.

Season Series: Tacoma leads, 7-6.

Starting Pitchers: RHP Casey Lawrence (2-2, 3.43) at LHP Ryan Carpenter (6-6, 4.62).

Hot RainiersGordon Beckham is heating up. He’s 9-for-22 over a six-game hitting streak… Tyler O’Neill has slashed .330/.432/.723 over his last 25 games, with 11 homers and 25 RBI… Tyler Smith has played 37 straight errorless games at shortstop, dating back two months to May 18. That doesn’t include ten error-free games in the majors with Seattle.

Look Out For: Ryan McMahon has an eight-game hitting streak… Noel Cuevas, a PCL All-Star, has a 12-game hitting streak… Mike Tauchman‘s 11-game hitting streak ended in the first game of the doubleheader yesterday.

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 Game Reports:


Leonys Caught!

July 18, 2017

Tacoma’s Leonys Martin was caught stealing last night in Albuquerque, ending a remarkable streak.

After successfully stealing second base in the first inning, Martin had stolen 23 straight bases without being caught.

But in the ninth, the PCL’s leading base stealer was nabbed – and it came in a key situation.

Trailing 6-5 entering the ninth, Martin led off the inning by lining a single to the opposite field. Representing the tying run at first, everybody knew he was going to try to steal.

With Gordon Beckham at the plate, Albuquerque reliever Austin House made countless pickoff throws to first. Eventually he got two strikes on Beckham, and Martin took off.

Beckham swung and missed for strike three, and Isotopes catcher Dustin Garneau made a perfect throw to second, nailing Martin on a close play to complete a strike ’em out, throw ’em out double play.

That effectively ended the Rainiers comeback hopes. Tyler O’Neill grounded the next pitch to shortstop, finishing the game.

It was a terrific streak of thievery for Martin. And at least he was thrown out by a formidable foe: Garneau has nailed 45% of opposing basestealers, which is a very high percentage.

We’re playing a doubleheader today in Albuquerque. It will be two seven-inning games, starting at 3:35 (Pacific), with a half-hour break between games.

This is the makeup of the April 25th rain out in Albuquerque. It’s the final doubleheader on the Rainiers schedule – we’ll be all caught up on postponed games after this one.

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: Albuquerque hit three triples – including one with the bases loaded by David Dahl – and built a 6-1 lead before hanging on to beat Tacoma, 6-5. Leonys Martin and Tyler O’Neill each had three hits for Tacoma.

Roster Moves: Today the Mariners, as expected, recalled Sam Gaviglio to resume his role as the team’s fifth starting pitcher. To make room, outfielder Boog Powell was optioned to Tacoma. Boog usually reports as quickly as possible, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see him in the Rainiers lineup tonight.

Today: Tacoma (46-48) at Albuquerque (48-46), doubleheader, 3:35 Pacific.

Opponent Affiliation: Colorado Rockies.

Season Series: Tacoma leads, 6-5.

Starting Pitchers:

  • G1: RHP Cody Martin (0-0, 3.47) at RHP Matt Flemer (3-6, 6.37).
  • G2: TBA at RHP Thad Weber (1-4, 7.00)

Tacoma will have a ‘bullpen game’ in the nightcap. Look for Jonathan Aro or Jean Machi to start it.

Hot Rainiers: Tyler Smith has back-to-back two-hit games. Yesterday he hit his sixth homer of the year – and his first one in an away game… Gordon Beckham is heating up . He’s 6-for-16 over the last four games… Tyler O’Neill has slashed .314/.427/.674 over his last 23 games, with nine homers and 22 RBI.

Look Out ForMike Tauchman has an 11-game hitting streak, collecting 24 hits during it… Noel Cuevas, a PCL All-Star, also has an 11-game hitting streak.

Broadcast: The pregame show starts at 3:20 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 Game Reports:

 


Five Games In 3.5 Days

July 17, 2017

Quick post for the travel day – alarms went off at 2:45 AM this morning to begin our final trek to Albuquerque for the season.

It will be five games in three-and-a-half days. One game tonight, doubleheader Tuesday at 3:35 (Pacific), single game Wednesday night, and then a day game on Thursday so we can fly home afterwards. The Rainiers are home this weekend, Friday-through-Monday, facing Sacramento.

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: Fresno completed the four-game series sweep, stunning the Rainiers 5-4 when Tyler White hit a three-run homer in the top of the ninth inning off All-Star closer Jean Machi.

Today: Tacoma (46-47) at Albuquerque (47-46), 6:05 Pacific.

Opponent Affiliation: Colorado Rockies.

Season Series: Tacoma leads, 6-4.

Starting Pitchers: RHP Christian Bergman (7-0, 2.91) at LHP Sam Howard (2-2, 5.16).

Hot RainiersLeonys Martin has been successful in his last 22 stolen base attempts… Gordon Beckham is heating up – he’s 5-for-11 over the last three games… Danny Muno has reached base via hit or walk in seven straight games.

Look Out For: Jordan Patterson went 8-for-17 with four homers and nine RBI in a four-game series at Las Vegas which ended yesterday… Mike Tauchman has an 11-game hitting streak, collecting 24 hits during it… Noel Cuevas, a PCL All-Star, has a ten-game hitting streak.

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 Game Reports:

  • Las Vegas hammered Albuquerque last night at Cashman Field, 13-3. However, Albuquerque was going for a road sweep – and the ‘Topes have won six of their last eight games coming into tonight.
  • The “explosive Chihuahuas” took down Reno yesterday, 10-3, and the Aces lead over Fresno in the Pac-North is down to two games.
  • They had one of those games in Salt Lake City yesterday. You know, the type of game in which Sacramento scores three runs in the top of the ninth inning to pick up a 14-11 win. From the story: “After the game, Bees manager Keith Johnson could be heard yelling at his players, but he declined to address the media.”
  • After three straight rain outs, Iowa and Colorado Springs played a doubleheader yesterday – and the Sky Sox won both games with walk-off hits.
  • Omaha was cruising along with a 6-1 lead and then decided to score nine runs in the bottom of the eighth inning and humiliate Nashville, 15-1.
  • All-Star Game starter Wilmer Font delivered six strong innings – striking out eight – for Oklahoma City in a 4-2 win over New Orleans.
  • Shaken, not stirred. Nick Martini hit a walk-off homer to give Memphis a 2-1 win over Round Rock. Memphis has won 14 of its last 16 games.

Rainiers Fall Back To .500

July 16, 2017

The Rainiers lost their third straight game to Fresno on Saturday night, and the team’s record has fallen to 46-46 on the year.

It’s been an interesting journey for the club so far this season. After sputtering out of the gate in the first week of the season, Tacoma went on an extended hot streak and peaked at 13 games over .500. The club was 29-16 on the morning of May 25, sitting in first place in the Pac-North with a two-game lead over Reno.

Since that fateful day – known as Mike Freeman Day in certain circles – Tacoma has gone 17-30, and is now back to the .500 mark for the first time since the team was 4-4 on April 14th.

The good news is there are still 50 games left in the season – plenty of time for the Rainiers to turn around the recent trend, and start playing winning baseball again.

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: Dan Vogelbach launched a tape measure homer in the first to give Tacoma a 2-0 lead, but it was all downhill from there as Fresno went on to win, 11-2, on Saturday night. Tyler White‘s grand slam in the fourth inning broke it open for Fresno.

Today: Fresno (52-41) at Tacoma (46-46), 1:35.

Opponent Affiliation: Houston Astros.

Season Series: Fresno leads, 8-3.

Starting Pitchers: RHP Mike Hauschild (4-1, 5.36) at RHP Chase De Jong (3-4, 6.17).

Hot RainiersLeonys Martin has been successful in his last 21 stolen base attempts… he’s hitting .365 in July… Tyler O’Neill saw his eight-game hitting streak come to an end last night.

Look Out ForTony Kemp has a 20-game hitting streak, and he had a ten-game before that – he’s hit safely in 30 of his last 31 games… Teoscar Hernandez has gone 6-for-11 with four extra-base hits in this series… Alejandro Garcia has a nine-game hitting streak.

Broadcast: The pregame show starts at 1:20 on South Sound Sports 850 AM. The broadcast also streams online via the TuneIn app – just click here. It’s a Sunday home game, so Bob Robertson joins me in the booth.

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

Links:

PCL Game Reports:

  • El Paso stunned Reno, and the first place Aces saw their lead over Fresno shrink to three games. Ryan Schimpf homered off All-Star closer Jimmy Sherfy in the ninth to tie the game, and Franchy Cordero homered in the tenth to win it.
  • Salt Lake added a shortstop prospect, but lost to Sacramento on Saturday night, 4-3.
  • Las Vegas made four errors and lost an ugly one to Albuquerque, 9-5.
  • Memphis won its fifth straight game, coasting to a 9-1 win over Round Rock behind Luke Weaver (8-1, 1.92). Weaver missed the All-Star Game because he was in the big leagues for a minute prior to the break – maybe we’ll see him when Memphis comes to Tacoma in a couple of weeks.
  • Nashville shortstop Yairo Munoz drove in five runs during an 11-5 win at Omaha.
  • New Orleans edged Oklahoma City, 4-3, and the Cakes are going for a rare four-game road sweep today.
  • Iowa at Colorado Springs was rained out for the third day in a row. Rumor has it they may actually play baseball today.

If You Come To The Ballpark Every Day…

July 15, 2017

… you’ll see something new each time.

That’s an old baseball adage that may or may not be true. But I certainly saw something I have never seen before in Friday night’s game at Cheney Stadium.

Tacoma had nine consecutive batters strike out. The entire lineup, striking out in order. And it happened against four Fresno pitchers.

It started innocently enough with one out in the sixth inning, when Fresno starter David Martinez struck out D.J. Peterson and Gordon Beckham back-to-back to send the inning. Tacoma had struck out only once in the game prior to this.

That ended Martinez’s night, and Fresno brought in Kevin Comer to work the bottom of the seventh inning. Comer struck out the side, fanning Danny Muno, Tyler Smith, and Tuffy Gosewisch in order.

After Fresno scored four times in the top of the eighth to snap a scoreless tie, the Grizzlies brought in Jordan Jankowski from the bullpen. Jankowski also struck out the side, whiffing Zach Shank, Leonys Martin, and Tyler O’Neill for eight consecutive strikeouts.

Dayan Diaz was summoned to pitch the bottom of the ninth for Fresno, and he struck out Dan Vogelbach for the ninth straight K. D.J. Peterson finally ended the string by hitting a long double into right-center.

Nine batters, nine strikeouts, no balls put in play.

Now that I’ve seen Tacoma strike out nine times in a row, I have no need to see it again. Once is enough!

The PCL record book does not list most consecutive strikeouts by a team, but it does have a listing for individual pitchers. Three pitchers in PCL history have struck out eight consecutive batters, most recently Ruben Quevedo of the Iowa Cubs in 2000.

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: A pitcher’s duel between Tacoma’s Casey Lawrence and Fresno’s David Martinez gave us seven scoreless innings before Fresno rallied to score four runs in the top of the eighth and beat Tacoma on Friday night, 4-0.

Today: Fresno (51-41) at Tacoma (46-45), 7:05.

Opponent Affiliation: Houston Astros.

Season Series: Fresno leads, 7-3.

Starting Pitchers: RHP Dean Deetz (1-3, 11.74) at RHP Tyler Cloyd (1-0, 1.42).

Cloyd’s pitch count is still being carefully monitored, so this will turn into a ‘bullpen game’ pretty early.

Hot RainiersLeonys Martin has been successful in his last 21 stolen base attempts… he’s hitting .375 in July… Tyler O’Neill has hit eight homers in the last 17 games, and he has an eight-game hitting streak… Tuffy Gosewish hit his first three homers of the season over the course of his last seven games going into the break.

Look Out ForTony Kemp has a 19-game hitting streak, and he had a ten-game before that – he’s hit safely in 29 of his last 30 games… Colin Moran had two hits including a homer in the Triple-A All-Star Game… Alejandro Garcia has a nine-game hitting streak.

Broadcast: The pregame show starts at 6:50 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 Game Reports:

  • El Paso hammered Reno, 10-4, as Dillon Overton pitched six strong innings allowing two runs. Fresno pulled within four games of the first place Aces.
  • Lather, rinse, repeat. Jordan Patterson hit two homers for the second game in a row as Albuquerque won in Las Vegas, 7-2.
  • Sacramento used one big inning to win in Salt Lake City, 6-4.
  • Round Rock starter Nick Martinez tossed a gem, but he was long gone when Memphis catcher (and PCL All-Star) Carson Kelly hit a walk-off RBI single in the bottom of the ninth for a 2-1 win.
  • Omaha won a wild walk-off when Nashville reliever Simon Castro fielded a sacrifice bunt and threw the ball into right field, allowing the tying and winning runs to score. Whoops!
  • Mike Aviles and Cal Towey hit back-to-back homers in the ninth inning to give New Orleans an 11-10 win at Oklahoma City. Second day in a row the Baby Cakes have stunned the Dodgers in the ninth.
  • Iowa and Colorado Springs are still on all-star break. They got rained out for the second night in a row on Friday.

Two Perfect 12-Batter Stretches Not Enough

July 14, 2017

Two 12-batter stretches of perfection bookended one rough inning for the Rainiers pitching staff on Thursday night.

Facing Fresno, Tacoma starter Sam Gaviglio retired the first 12 batters of the game – four perfect innings. But the fifth inning was trouble, with a leadoff homer by Teoscar Hernandez, a couple of walks, four runs scoring, nine batters coming to the plate.

Tacoma went to reliever Ryan Kelly for the sixth inning, and he promptly allowed another homer to Hernandez – but then retired the next three batters.

Cody Martin followed Kelly by setting down all nine batters he faced, striking out seven, over three perfect innings. Combined, Kelly and Martin retired 12 straight batters to finish the game.

Fresno’s first 12 batters of the game made outs, and Fresno’s last 12 batters of the game made outs. That’s 24 of the 27 outs. But those middle three outs were tough to get.

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: Fresno rallied to score four runs in the fifth inning, Teoscar Hernandez homered twice, and the Grizzlies beat Tacoma on Thursday night, 5-1.

Today: Fresno (50-41) at Tacoma (46-44), 7:05.

Opponent Affiliation: Houston Astros.

Season Series: Fresno leads, 6-3.

Starting Pitchers: RHP David Martinez (5-7, 4.53) at RHP Casey Lawrence (2-1, 3.86).

Hot RainiersLeonys Martin has been successful in his last 21 stolen base attempts… he’s gone 17-for-40 in his last nine games… Tyler O’Neill has hit eight homers in the last 16 games, and he has a seven-game hitting streak… Tuffy Gosewish hit his first three homers of the season over the course of his last seven games going into the break.

Look Out ForTony Kemp has an 18-game hitting streak, and he had a ten-game before that – he’s hit safely in 28 of his last 29 games… Colin Moran had two hits including a homer in the Triple-A All-Star Game… Alejandro Garcia has an eight-game hitting streak.

Broadcast: The pregame show starts at 6:50 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 Game Reports:

  • Kristopher Negron homered twice to help Reno to a 6-2 win over visiting El Paso. The Aces remain five games ahead of Fresno, 8.5 games ahead of Tacoma.
  • Albuquerque’s Jordan Patterson hit two homers – including a grand slam – in an 8-4 win at Las Vegas. Elsewhere in Vegas, they’re in the money at the Main Event of the World Series of Poker.
  • Lefty John Lamb pitched Salt Lake to a 5-4 win over Sacramento.
  • Memphis came out of the break with another win, riding Patrick Wisdom‘s three-run homer to a 6-2 victory over Round Rock.
  • Omaha lost two key players to injury and then got creamed by Nashville, 10-1.
  • Moises Sierra snapped a 4-4 tie in the top of the ninth with a two-run double, leading New Orleans to a 7-4 win at Oklahoma City.
  • Iowa at Colorado Springs got rained out.