Let’s Play Two!

July 28, 2016

The Rainiers play their first doubleheader of the year today, with two seven-inning games against El Paso starting at 6:05.

It’s incredible that we have made it this long without playing a doubleheader. Today we are making up the April 12 game that was rained out.

As a refresher, here are some basics on the doubleheader:

  • Gates open at 5:00, baseball starts at 6:05.
  • One ticket gets you in for both games – we are not emptying the stadium between games.
  • Each game will be seven innings long. This is a Minor League Baseball rule for all doubleheaders.
  • There will be a break of roughly 25 minutes between games.

It’s going to be a long night of baseball. Most doubleheaders end up being splits – but not all of them. Maybe the Rainiers can get two wins tonight.

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: Tacoma had 15 hits (14 singles and one double) in an 11-1 win over El Paso last night. Dario Pizzano led the way, going 3-for-5 with two runs and three RBI. Joe Wieland lasted seven innings and allowed one run, and Paul Fry worked the final two innings – effectively preserving the pitching staff for today’s doubleheader.

Roster Move: Tacoma has added pitcher Robert Dugger from the Arizona Rookie League to provide some insurance for today’s doubleheader. Tacoma had an open roster spot.

Today: El Paso (59-45) at Tacoma (60-43-1), 6:05 (Pacific).

Opponent Affiliation: San Diego Padres.

Season Series: Tacoma leads, 6-3.

Starting Pitchers:

Game One: RHP Michael Kelly (5-1, 4.41) at RHP Zach Lee (0-2, 5.81)

Game Two: RHP Bryan Rodriguez (4-3, 4.83) at RHP Donn Roach (6-5, 4.01)

Hot Rainiers: Daniel Robertson has a six-game hitting streak… Guillermo Heredia has missed four games with a shoulder injury, he’s day-to-day. He has hit safely in 21 of 25 games since joining the Rainiers.

Look Out For: Manuel Margot had his 16-game hitting streak end last night… Hunter Renfroe leads the PCL with 25 home runs… catcher Austin Hedges went on an epic home run binge right before the all-star break, but his pace has slowed lately. Still, he has 15 homers in his last 33 games.

Ex-Rainiers: El Paso has popular ex-Rainiers slugger Jabari Blash, who made his major league debut with the San Diego Padres earlier this season… Brandon Morrow is working out of the El Paso bullpen.

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 Rainiers game story focuses on Dario Pizzano.
  • The Mariners got worked over by Pittsburgh on Wednesday, 10-1. They are off today before starting the series at Wrigley on Friday.
  • Bob Dutton’s Mariners Notebook suggests that we may see a Taijuan Walker rehabilitation start for the Rainiers on Monday.

PCL Game Reports:

Let’s do this doubleheader.


Rainiers Lose After Odd Delay

July 27, 2016

We had a new one last night: the start of Tacoma’s home game against El Paso was delayed 35 minutes due to umpire travel problems.

The PCL has official league umpires, and they travel throughout the circuit just like the teams do. But we never hear about umpire travel problems – and I’m guessing this is because there are only three of them in a crew, so if they have flight problems it is comparitively easy for them to redirect or book different flights.

Yesterday we had a crew coming in from Las Vegas, and they had one flight cancelled and another one delayed. They landed in SeaTac around 5:30 – but their suitcases (including their umpiring equipment) ended up on a different plane. They had to wait another thirty minutes for that plane to land, then wait for the baggage, and then negotiate the SeaTac-to-Tacoma traffic corridor at 6:30 on a weekday.

The Rainiers helped them along the way – our Director of Baseball Operations Ashley Schutt met them at the airport and hustled them down to Tacoma as quickly as possible – but we still couldn’t get the game started until 7:40.

In retrospect, maybe we would have been better off with a postponement. Tacoma managed just two hits and lost, 6-0.

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: Carlos Pimentel and Michael Dimock held Tacoma to just two hits in what was probably the best-pitched game against Tacoma so far this year. El Paso won, 6-0.

Today: El Paso (59-44) at Tacoma (59-43-1), 7:05 (Pacific).

Opponent Affiliation: San Diego Padres.

Season Series: Tacoma leads, 5-3.

Starting Pitchers: RHP Daniel McCutchen (9-6, 5.78) at RHP Joe Wieland (8-5, 6.07).

Hot Rainiers: Daniel Robertson is 9-for-26 with three walks since returning to Tacoma from Seattle… Guillermo Heredia has missed three games with a shoulder injury, he’s day-to-day. He has hit safely in 21 of 25 games since joining the Rainiers.

Look Out For: Manuel Margot has a 16-game hitting streak, going 25-for-72 during the run… Hunter Renfroe leads the PCL with 25 home runs… catcher Austin Hedges went on an epic home run binge right before the all-star break, but his pace has slowed lately. Still, he has 15 homers in his last 32 games… Hector Sanchez hit a two-run double last night, and he has a nine-game hitting streak.

Ex-Rainiers: El Paso has popular ex-Rainiers slugger Jabari Blash, who made his major league debut with the San Diego Padres earlier this season… Brandon Morrow is working out of the El Paso bullpen.

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:

Let’s see if the Rainiers can even-up the series tonight.


Rainiers Sweep Bees, Head Home

July 25, 2016

Look out Tacoma – the Rainiers are coming in hot!

The team returns home for a nine-game, eight-day homestand starting with Tuesday’s game against El Paso, and this team is scorching:

  • The Rainiers just finished a four-game road series sweep at Salt Lake. It was Tacoma’s first sweep at Salt Lake since 2010.
  • Tacoma has won 12 of its last 14 games.
  • The team is 59-42 on the year – that’s the best record in the PCL.
  • At Cheney Stadium, Tacoma is 32-15. That’s the best home record in the league.

The guys are having fun. Being around it every day, I can tell you that the players are enjoying this team success and aren’t wrapped up in individual results.

It’s five games in four days against El Paso – there is a doubleheader on Thursday at 6:05, a makeup from an April rainout – and this series might be a playoff preview. Both teams are in first place, and would face each other in the first round if they hang on and win their respective divisions.

El Paso is good. They have the league’s home run leader, an electrifying leadoff man, a catching prospect having a breakout season, and a dangerous former Tacoma slugger.

It’s going to be a good series.

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: Rob Brantly had the big hit, a go-ahead three run homer in the sixth inning as Tacoma beat Salt Lake 6-4, completing a four-game series sweep. Cody Martin pitched six innings to earn the win, and Daniel Robertson got things off to a fast start by hitting the first pitch of the game for a very long home run to left. Tacoma finished the season 13-3 against Salt Lake – the best single-season record against Salt Lake in franchise history.

Today: El Paso (58-44) at Tacoma (59-42-1), 7:05 (Pacific).

Opponent Affiliation: San Diego Padres.

Season Series: Tacoma leads, 5-2.

The first seven games were all played during the first two weeks of the season, and the Rainiers clearly had the upper hand back then. It’s been a long time since they have seen each other.

Starting Pitchers: RHP Carlos Pimentel (9-5, 6.04) at RHP Jarrett Grube (1-1, 4.15).

Hot Rainiers: Stefen Romero has a five-game hitting streak in which he has gone 9-for-20 with two homers among his five extra-base hits… Guillermo Heredia has missed two games with a shoulder injury, he’s day-to-day. He has hit safely in 21 of 25 games since joining the Rainiers… Zach Shank went 8-for-16 at Salt Lake… Daniel Robertson was 7-for-20 at Salt Lake.

Look Out For: Manuel Margot has a 15-game hitting streak, going 24-for-68 (.353) during the run… Hunter Renfroe leads the PCL with 25 home runs, including four in his last nine games, but much of his damage is done in his home ballpark. Renfroe might have the best outfield arm in the PCL, and the Rainiers won’t be running on him… catcher Austin Hedges went on an epic home run binge right before the all-star break, but his pace has slowed lately. Still, he has 15 homers in his last 31 games.

Ex-Rainiers: El Paso has popular ex-Rainiers slugger Jabari Blash, who made his major league debut with the San Diego Padres earlier this season.

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:

We were only gone for four days, but it’s great to be heading home again!


Rainiers Not Bothered By Bees

July 25, 2016

Tacoma took down Salt Lake in the tenth inning last night, 7-5 and has won the first three games of this four-game series against the Bees. The Rainiers go for a sweep tonight.

This year’s Rainiers team has had nearly unprecedented success against Salt Lake. Going into tonight’s final meeting of the season between the clubs, Tacoma has a 12-3 advantage in the season series.

Only one time since the Bees rejoined the PCL in 1994 has Tacoma had similar domination against Salt Lake. That was in 2010, when Tacoma went 12-4 against the Bees. You may recall that was a very good season for the Rainiers – a season which ended with a PCL championship.

That was also the last year that Tacoma swept Salt Lake on the road – a four-game whitewashing, July 4-7, 2010.

In the older days of the PCL, the 1962 Tacoma Giants are the only team in franchise history to beat Salt Lake City 13 times in one season – and back then, the teams played each other 22 times!

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: Patrick Kivlehan‘s flare down the right field line brought in two runs in the top of the tenth inning, leading to Tacoma’s 7-5 win over Salt Lake. Dan Vogelbach hit another home run, and Zach Shank had a big two-run double. The Rainiers go for a four-game series sweep tonight.

Today: Tacoma (58-42-1) at Salt Lake (47-52), 6:05 (Pacific).

Opponent Affiliation: Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

Season Series: Tacoma leads, 12-3.

The Rainiers went 7-1 against Salt Lake at home, and are 5-2 so far in Salt Lake City.

Starting Pitchers: RHP Cody Martin (8-6, 3.91) at RHP Kyle McGowin (4-7, 5.70).

Hot Rainiers: Stefen Romero has a four-game hitting streak in which he has gone 8-for-18 with two homers among his five extra-base hits… Guillermo Heredia left Saturday’s game with a “jammed shoulder” suffered while diving into a base and he was off yesterday; he has hit safely in 21 of 25 games since joining the Rainiers…Zach Shank is 7-for-12 in this series.

Look Out For: Kaleb Cowart has an eight-game hitting streak, going 14-for-32 during the run… Rafael Ortega is 6-for-14 in this series, and is 17-for-35 over his last nine games… speedster Quintin Berry has been successful in his last 15 stolen base attempts.

Ex-Rainiers: Salt Lake has former Rainiers reliever Lucas Luetge, and former Mariners shortstop Brendan Ryan.

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:

Tonight is the final game of the super-quick four-day road trip. We’re back home Tuesday for nine games during an eight-day homestand, which includes a Thirsty Thursday doubleheader (which should be sponsored by Uber). Come see the Rainiers, these guys are good!


Romero Ends Pitcher’s Duel In 11th

July 24, 2016

Tacoma made it two straight victories in Salt Lake City with a 4-1, 11-inning win on Saturday night.

Stefen Romero cranked a three-run homer on a full count with two outs in the top of the 11th inning, snapping a 1-1 tie. It was the third home run of the past two days for Romero, and his 14th of the year.

Tacoma’s Zach Lee had his best start since joining the team, delivering seven strong innings of two-hit ball. But Tacoma couldn’t get anything going against Salt Lake starter Chris Jones, and Lee left the game with the score tied 1-1.

There was a key moment in the bottom of the ninth inning: with the score 1-1, Salt Lake loaded the bases with one out. Tacoma brought Donn Roach in from the bullpen to face Ryan Jackson, and Roach fell behind in the count 3-1.

Forced to throw a strike or else lose the game, Roach got Jackson to ground into an inning-ending double play. Third baseman Zach Shank fielded the grounder and started the double play through second base, even though the winning runner was headed home. It proved to be the right decision, as second baseman Daniel Robertson‘s relay to first base beat Jackson by a couple of steps.

That play preserved the tie, sent the game into extra innings, and set the stage for Romero’s game-winning homer.

It was a good day in the standings, too, as both second-place Reno and third-place Fresno lost in one-run games. Tacoma has a 3.5 game lead now.

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: Stefen Romero snapped a 1-1 tie with a three-run homer in the top of the 11th inning, and Tacoma beat Salt Lake 4-1. Zach Lee had his best start since joining the Rainiers, going seven innings and allowing one run on just two hits.

Today: Tacoma (57-42-1) at Salt Lake (47-51), 6:05 (Pacific).

Opponent Affiliation: Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

Season Series: Tacoma leads, 11-3.

The Rainiers went 7-1 against Salt Lake at home, and are 4-2 so far in Salt Lake City.

Starting Pitchers: RHP Sam Gaviglio (0-0, 4.50) at RHP Javy Guerra (3-1, 4.41).

This is only Gaviglio’s second Triple-A start of the year – at Double-A Jackson, he went 5-5, 4.15 in 18 games. It’s a bullpen day for Salt Lake.

Hot RainiersRob Brantly is 11-for-27 with two home runs in his last eight games… Guillermo Heredia left yesterday’s game with a “jammed shoulder” suffered while diving into a base and he’ll probably get a day off today; he has hit safely in 21 of 25 games since joining the Rainiers… Zach Shank has had two straight three-hit games.

Look Out For: Sherman Johnson homered last night, and he has reached base in 23 of his last 24 games… Kaleb Cowart has a seven-game hitting streak… speedster Quintin Berry has been successful in his last 15 stolen base attempts.

Ex-Rainiers: Salt Lake has former Rainiers reliever Lucas Luetge, and former Mariners shortstop Brendan Ryan.

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:

  • We start with the Rainiers game story from The News Tribune.
  • My Sunday minor league notebook for the paper leads with new acquisition Dan Vogelbach, and has a bit about how the Rainiers schedule will affect the division race.
  • Nelson Cruz homered twice and the Mariners blasted Toronto on Saturday, 14-5.
  • In his Mariners Notebook, Bob Dutton suggest the team might adjust the roster prior to National League games in Pittsburgh on Tuesday.
  • Ken Griffey Jr. officially entered the Hall of Fame today. We’ll have a link to his entire speech tomorrow, but for now check out John McGrath’s story on the Griffey display in Cooperstown. Or marc w’s Griffey post from USS Mariner.
  • On a recent trip to Seattle the White Sox refused to pay visiting clubhouse manager Jeff Bopp, who is a former Rainiers clubbie and friend of the blog.
  • Meg Rowley of Baseball Prospectus looks at manager Scott Servais‘s first season so far.

PCL Game Reports:


Instant Impact

July 23, 2016

Dan Vogelbach joined the Rainiers yesterday, and here’s how his first game went:

First at-bat: pulled 2-2 pitch from lefty Nate Smith over right field fence for solo home run.

Second at-bat: facing Smith again, drove 400-foot double to left-center, driving in another run.

Third at-bat: against Smith, line drive single over shortstop.

Fourth at-bat: facing righty reliever Geoff Broussard, draws a walk.

Then Pat Listach said “that’s enough for today” and pinch hit for him in the ninth inning with Tacoma leading, 8-1.

Pretty nice debut for the 23-year-old first baseman/designated hitter.

After the game, Listach said he pinch-hit because Vogelbach had spent the entire day flying from Des Moines, so why not give him a break. He was a triple away from a cycle, but Listach said, “Really, what are the odds he’s going to hit a triple?”

He makes a fair point, but Vogelbach does have two triples this season.

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: Stefen Romero homered twice, Dan Vogelbach went 3-for-3, and Zach Shank also had three hits as Tacoma herded the Bees, 8-3. Joe Wieland had a nice start, going six innings and allowing one run to earn his eighth win.

Roster Moves: The Mariners called up David Rollins again (he never stays anywhere for more than 48 hours). The Rainiers have an open spot on the roster.

Today: Tacoma (56-42-1) at Salt Lake (47-50), 5:35 (Pacific).

Opponent Affiliation: Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

Season Series: Tacoma leads, 10-3.

The Rainiers went 7-1 against Salt Lake at home, and are 3-2 so far in Salt Lake City.

Starting Pitchers: RHP Zach Lee (0-2, 5.44) at LHP Chris Jones (3-8, 7.71).

Hot RainiersRob Brantly is 11-for-26 with two home runs in his last seven games… Guillermo Heredia had his 11-game hitting streak end last night; he has hit safely in 20 of 24 games since joining the Rainiers.

Look Out For: Sherman Johnson’s streak of reaching base in 22 straight games ended last night… Kaleb Cowart had three hits last night, and he has a six-game hitting streak… catcher Carlos Perez was sent down by the Angels and has hit safely in six of his first seven games… speedster Quintin Berry has been successful in his last 15 stolen base attempts.

Ex-Rainiers: Salt Lake has former Rainiers reliever Lucas Luetge, and former Mariners shortstop Brendan Ryan.

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:

  • The Rainiers game story does not appear online today.
  • James Paxton was dealing as the Mariners won in Toronto on Friday night, 2-1. Nori Aoki doubled and tripled.
  • Bob Dutton’s Mariners Notebook includes status reports on injured relievers Mayckol Guaipe, Jonathan Aro, Steve Johnson, and Ryan Cook. Not much good news here.
  • In his Notebook from Friday, Dutton reports that Danny Hultzen‘s pitching career is over. Sad news for the one-time top prospect.
  • More Ken Griffey Jr. Hall of Fame coverage: I enjoyed this story on Junior’s relationship with Dave Niehaus. That link includes a sidebar with all kinds of Seattle Times coverage of Griffey.
  • John McGrath has a column on Hall of Fame speeches, and T.T. Cotterill caught up with Ken Griffey Sr.

PCL Game Reports:

  • The Las Vegas 51s had a travel nightmare, and then lost to Reno, 8-4. The Aces remain 2.5 games behind Tacoma in the standings. Reno has a seven-game win streak.
  • Max Stassi‘s walk-off home run gave Fresno a 4-3 win over Albuquerque. Tyler White played the entire game at shortstop. Fresno is 3.5 games behind Tacoma.
  • Sacramento scored six runs in the first inning, including a Miguel Olivo grand slam, and beat El Paso 7-3.
  • Nashville overcame a travel delay and beat Omaha on a walk-off wild pitch, 2-1. The fans played Pokemon during the delay.
  • Oklahoma City worked over New Orleans, 8-5.
  • The Memphis Redbirds were unable to travel home from El Paso due to flight cancellations, so their game against Iowa was postponed.
  • Eric Young Jr. homered to help Colorado Springs to a 10-2 win over Round Rock.

It’s a state holiday weekend here in Utah (Pioneer Day) and a huge crowd is expected for tonight’s game. Should be fun!


Four Days In Salt Lake City

July 22, 2016

Travel day, so we’re going straight to the round-up. But tonight should be interesting, with Vogelbach reporting to the club.

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: The Rainiers dropped a thrilling but ultimately disappointing game on Thursday to Oklahoma City, 6-4. There were five lead changes, but O’Koyea Dickson‘s three-run homer with two outs in the top of the eighth inning won the game. Tacoma closer Blake Parker blew his first save of the season – he was 15-for-15 on the year prior to last night. The Rainiers missed three straight scoring opportunities by hitting into double plays – and two of them were line drive double plays.

Roster Moves: The Rainiers have added Sam Gaviglio from Double-A Jackson to take the starting rotation spot created when Jordan Pries was traded to the Cubs on Wednesday. Dan Vogelbach is expected to report today. Infielder Luis Sardinas was recalled by Seattle, and reliever Guido Knudson has been sent to Double-A Jackson.

Today: Tacoma (55-42-1) at Salt Lake (47-49), 5:35 (Pacific).

Opponent Affiliation: Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

Season Series: Tacoma leads, 9-3.

The Rainiers went 7-1 against Salt Lake at home, and are 2-2 so far in Salt Lake City.

Starting Pitchers: RHP Joe Wieland (7-5, 6.41) at LHP Nate Smith (6-3, 3.98).

Hot Rainiers: Guillermo Heredia has hit safely in 11 straight games, and 20 of 23 games since joining the Rainiers… Rob Brantly is 11-for-26 with two home runs in his last seven games… Jesus Sucre threw out two attempted basestealers last night, and he also picked a runner off first (Oklahoma City did not read the scouting report lol).

Look Out For: Sherman Johnson has reached base in 22 straight games, and he has drawn a walk in eight straight games… Nick Buss is healthy; the veteran outfielder has only played in three of the first 12 games Salt Lake has played against Tacoma… catcher Carlos Perez was sent down by the Angels and has hit safely in six of his first seven games… speedster Quintin Berry has been successful in his last 15 stolen base attempts – can’t wait to see him try to run against Sucre.

Ex-Rainiers: Salt Lake has former Rainiers reliever Lucas Luetge, and former Mariners shortstop Brendan Ryan.

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:

  • In the Rainiers game story, manager Pat Listach says that Blake Parker threw a good pitch that resulted in the three-run homer – Dickson was simply on it.
  • The News Tribune has a story on D.J. Peterson, who is welcoming the arrival of Dan Vogelbach. Both guys will be in the lineup every day.
  • The Mariners were off yesterday, so the Times has an off-day story on Leonys Martin.
  • The Seattle Times has started to roll out its Ken Griffey Jr. Hall of Fame coverage. This link takes you to their main page, which includes a cool story from Larry Stone on the making of Griffey’s Hall of Fame plaque.
  • Oklahoma City’s Jose De Leon – the guy who ended Tacoma’s eight-game winning streak on Wednesday – ranks No. 1 in this week’s Baseball America Prospect Hot Sheet.
  • John Sickels has some insight on recently-acquired pitcher Paul Blackburn in this post.

PCL Game Reports:

  • Reno picked up a game and is 2.5 games behind Tacoma. Matt Bushmann tossed a gem as the Aces took down Colorado Springs, 7-2.
  • Fresno is still 3.5 games back, thanks to Round Rock starter Michael Roth. The PCL’s earned run average leader, Roth worked the first seven innings of a two-hit shutout. Joey Gallo‘s three-run dinger gave the Express a 3-0 win.
  • Rehabilitating Hunter Pence doubled and homered, helping Sacramento to a 5-4 win at New Orleans. Let’s all assume he celebrated on Bourbon Street.
  • Salt Lake edged Iowa, 5-4, and took three of four in that series. The Des Moines paper focused on rehabilitating Jorge Soler.
  • Mets pitching prospect Robert Gsellman is finally healthy, and he stifled Omaha for seven innings to earn his first Triple-A win for Las Vegas.
  • El Paso took down Memphis, 7-2, for its PCL-leading 57th win.
  • Oh my. Albuquerque’s Eddie Butler carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning, and then Nashville put together a seven-run rally. Nashville won, 8-4.

Just four games here in Salt Lake City – we’re back home Tuesday, for a nine-game homestand which includes a Thursday night doubleheader.


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