Defense Costs Rainiers In 14-6 Loss

April 30, 2016

The Rainiers struggles took a new turn on Friday night in Las Vegas, with errors costing Tacoma a game.

Rainiers infielders made four errors in the first two innings, leading to 11 Las Vegas runs, and an eventual 14-6 Rainiers loss.

Starting pitcher Joe Wieland should have escaped the first inning without allowing any runs, but misplays by Ed Lucas and Chris Taylor led to four unearned runs.

Playing second base, Taylor made two more miscues during Las Vegas’s seven-run second inning. It was a very out-of-character night for Taylor, who committed three errors in a game for the first time in his professional career.

Tacoma has now lost seven of the last eight games – yet still sits in first place in the Northern Division standings.

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: Defensive problems hurt the Rainiers early in a 14-6 loss in Las Vegas. Mike Baxter had a big game at the plate, going 4-for-5, and Stefen Romero hit a two-run homer.

Today: Tacoma (11-10) at Las Vegas (10-10), 7:05.

Opponent Affiliation: New York Mets.

Season Series: Las Vegas leads, 2-0.

Starting Pitchers: RHP Cody Martin (3-1, 7.58) at RHP Seth Lugo (1-2, 10.66).

Hot Rainiers: Stefen Romero has a 13-game hitting streak… Mike Baxter had four hits; he’s 5-for-7 in the Las Vegas series.

Look Out For: Matt Reynolds has the longest hitting streak for Las Vegas at nine games… Marc Krauss, Gavin Cecchini, and Brandon Nimmo have been tough outs for Tacoma the last two days.

Ex-Rainiers Alert: Former Rainiers infielder Ty Kelly is playing a lot of outfield for Las Vegas, and he’s been getting on base all of the time, as usual.

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 had overnight rain in Las Vegas and today’s forecast is somewhat dreary. Hopefully we can get this one in.


Rainiers Can’t Escape Rain

April 29, 2016

Tacoma had its second rain-shortened loss of the week on Thursday night, dropping a four-and-a-half inning game to Las Vegas, 8-1.

Yes, we had a rain-shortened game in Las Vegas.

The 51s do not have an infield tarp at Cashman Field, so once the rain starts it has to stop quickly or the field becomes unplayable.

Last night the final inning was played in a steady downpour and it was clear that the infield was not safe – even after the rain stopped and the grounds crew spent some time trying to dry it.

That’s two rain-shortened losses for Tacoma this week: there was a 10-5 loss to Sacramento on Sunday which was called in the sixth inning due to rain.

The bigger problem remains: Tacoma is not playing well right now. The Rainiers have lost six of the last seven games, and the team’s fast start is a fading memory. Starting pitching, hitting, and defense are all to blame right now. The bullpen has been outstanding since day one.

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: Donn Roach‘s homecoming did not go well, as Las Vegas hung eight runs on the board over the first three innings and beat the Rainiers, 8-1, in a five-inning game shortened by rain.

Today: Tacoma (11-9) at Las Vegas (9-10), 7:05.

Opponent Affiliation: New York Mets.

Season Series: Las Vegas leads, 1-0.

Starting Pitchers: RHP Joe Wieland (1-2, 15.00) at RHP Rafael Montero (0-0, 3.00).

Rather than fill this space with depressing stats, let’s just say that Wieland could really, really use a strong start tonight.

Hot Rainiers: Chris Taylor has reached base in 19 straight games… Stefen Romero has a 12-game hitting streak (he went 0-for-0 with two walks last night, which does not end a hitting streak)…Mike Zunino had his second hitless game of the season last night; he’s hit safely in 16 of 18 games overall.

Look Out For: Matt Reynolds has the longest hitting streak for Las Vegas at eight games, but TJ Rivera has been on a mini-tear: he’s 9-for-16 over his last four games.

Ex-Rainiers Alert: Former Rainiers infielder Ty Kelly is playing a lot of outfield for Las Vegas, and he’s been getting on base all of the time, as usual. Kelly has reached via hit or walk in 13 consecutive games.

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:

  • We start with the Rainiers game story. The story from the Las Vegas newspaper blames El Nino – which is not a hotshot young shortstop, it’s a weather condition.
  • The Mariners were off yesterday, and both papers ran a story on the suddenly hot Ketel Marte. Pick your poison (or take a double dose): the Seattle Times or The News Tribune.
  • Jeff Sullivan wrote about Taijuan Walker.
  • No Mariners appear on this week’s Baseball America Prospect Hot Sheet, but hey… we always link to it, anyway.

PCL Game Reports:

Two things I’m rooting for tonight, in order of priority: 1) a Rainiers win, and 2) no rain.


Mariners, Rainiers Ownership Ties Strengthen

April 28, 2016

The Mariners made some surprising news on Wednesday, announcing a sale of the team.

Longtime majority owner Nintendo of America sold its majority stake of the franchise to the previous minority owners, who are part of an ownership group called First Avenue Entertainment.

First Avenue Entertainment is headed by John Stanton, who becomes the Chairman and CEO. Howard Lincoln will retire from this role when the ownership transfer gets approved by Major League Baseball, most likely in August.

Stanton is already a part-owner of the Tacoma Rainiers. He and Rainiers principal owner Mikal Thomsen have been business partners for decades.

This deal is good for baseball in Tacoma. It strengthens the link between the Rainiers and the Mariners, which was already very secure. We certainly don’t need to worry about the Mariners switching their affiliation to Reno or anything like that.

Congratulations to Stanton and his group, and may the Mariners flourish under their ownership.

The entire PCL was off on Wednesday. We’re back in action tonight live from Las Vegas.

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: Prior to Wednesday’s day off, Tacoma suffered a tough 1-0 loss to visiting Sacramento at Cheney Stadium on Tuesday afternoon. Ramiro Pena‘s solo homer in the top of the ninth inning was the only run of a game in which Tacoma mustered just five hits. Adrian Sampson had a terrific start, delivering 6.1 shutout innings of two-hit ball, with one walk and six strikeouts.

Today: Tacoma (11-8) at Las Vegas (8-10), 7:05.

Opponent Affiliation: New York Mets.

Season Series: 0-0. Tacoma and Las Vegas will play 16 games this season.

Starting Pitchers: RHP Donn Roach (1-1, 8.59) at LHP Sean Gilmartin (1-1, 1.62).

Roach is from Las Vegas; this is a hometown start for him. He knows all of the recent Las Vegas baseball royalty including Bryce Harper and his family, and Kris Bryant.

Hot Rainiers: Chris Taylor has reached base in 18 straight games… Stefen Romero has a 12-game hitting streak… Mike Zunino has a six-game hitting streak, and he’s hit safely in 16 of 17 games overall.

Look Out For: Matt Reynolds has the longest hitting streak for Las Vegas at seven games, but TJ Rivera has been on a mini-tear: he’s 8-for-13 over his last three games.

Ex-Rainiers Alert: Former Rainiers infielder Ty Kelly is playing a lot of outfield for Las Vegas, and he’s been getting on base all of the time, as usual. Kelly has reached via hit or walk in 12 consecutive games.

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:

Baseball tonight! We’re back at it.


Rainiers Back On Track, Smith OK

April 25, 2016

Tacoma ended its four-game losing streak with a 7-1 win over Sacramento on Monday night. James Paxton pitched very well, as did the bullpen, and the Rainiers had some timely hitting.

There was a scary moment in the fourth inning, right after Shawn O’Malley pulled a two-run homer to give Tacoma a 4-1 lead.

The very next pitch from Austin Fleet to Tyler Smith came up and in, and it hit Smith in the batting helmet. It’s always scary when a player gets hit in the head, and this was no exception. Trainers tended to Smith and he eventually walked off the field on his own power.

It turns out that the pitch struck Smith’s helmet, and then hit him in the nose. It opened up a cut on his nose, which is what was bleeding. He had no concussion symptoms, thank goodness.

After the game, manager Pat Listach said Smith told him he wants to play in today’s game. Pat isn’t going to put him in there, but it’s definitely good news that he wants to play immediately.

The weirdest thing was that after Smith came off the field, the umpires ruled that the pitch hit his bat before hitting Smith, so it was a foul ball. Confusion ensued. Video replay showed that this was the wrong ruling, but we don’t have replay review in the PCL so the call stood: foul ball.

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: James Paxton tossed 5.1 walk-free innings, striking out eight, and Tacoma beat Sacramento 7-1. Shawn O’Malley hit a two-run homer, Mike Baxter hit a two-run triple, and Mike Zunino singled home another run. Steve Johnson was particularly strong in relief, working 2.1 scoreless innings.

Roster Move: Before yesterday’s game, Mayckol Guaipe was recalled by Seattle. The Rainiers added pitcher Jordan Pries from Double-A Jackson. Pries was in Tacoma’s starting rotation the last two years, but after being slowed last season by two different injuries, the M’s are easing him back in a long relief role for now.

Today: Sacramento (7-12) at Tacoma (11-7), 11:35 AM.

Opponent Affiliation: San Francisco Giants.

Season Series: Sacramento leads, 2-1.

Starting Pitchers: RHP Albert Suarez (0-2, 3.46) at RHP Adrian Sampson (2-1, 4.24).

Hot Rainiers: Chris Taylor went 0-for-3 with a walk, ending his career-best 14-game hitting streak. He’s reached base in 17 straight games. He went 23-for-57 during the hitting streak… Stefen Romero has an 11-game hitting streak… here comes Mike Baxter: he had two hits yesterday and has a five-game hit streak.

Look Out For: Mac Williamson had that seven-RBI game on Sunday, but the Rainiers held him in check on Monday. Still, he’s a tough out.

Ex-Rainiers Alert: Sacramento has former Rainiers Miguel Olivo and Darren Ford on the team. Yes, that Miguel Olivo. He’s 38-years-old and has already hit two homers this year. Pitching coach Dwight Bernard had the same job for Tacoma for seven years.

Broadcast: The pregame show starts at 11:20 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:

Tuesday is the last game of the brief homestand. We’re off on Wednesday and there will be no new blog post. Next update will be early Thursday afternoon, prior to the first game of the Las Vegas series.


Rainiers Hit By Mac Truck

April 25, 2016

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: Sacramento scored three runs in each of the first three innings, and beat Tacoma in a rain-shortened game, 10-5. Only five-and-a-half innings were completed, but that’s enough for an official game. Mac Williamson went 3-for-3 with seven RBI, making you wonder what he would’ve finished with if the game had gone nine innings. Tacoma has lost four straight games.

Roster Move: After an incredible 17 straight games with the opening day roster still intact, the Rainiers are going to have their first roster move today. Gotta wait for the Mariners to announce it.

Today: Sacramento (7-11) at Tacoma (10-7), 6:05.

Opponent Affiliation: San Francisco Giants.

Season Series: Sacramento leads, 2-0.

Starting Pitchers: LHP Matt Lujan (0-2, 4.85) at LHP James Paxton (1-2, 5.84).

Hot Rainiers: Chris Taylor has a career-best 14-game hitting streak, and he’s reached base in 16 straight games. He’s 23-for-57 during the hitting streak… Stefen Romero has a ten-game hitting streak… Tacoma’s dual closers Blake Parker and Mayckol Guaipe are a combined 7-for-7 in save opportunities.

Look Out For: Ryan Lollis never makes outs against Tacoma. He hit .409 against Tacoma last year, and he’s 4-for-6 with five runs scored in the first two games of this series… power prospect Mac Williamson has gone 11-for-20 with two homers over his last five games, and he’s 5-for-6 with eight RBI in this series.

Ex-Rainiers Alert: Sacramento has former Rainiers Miguel Olivo and Darren Ford on the team. Yes, that Miguel Olivo. He’s 37-years-old and has already hit two homers this year. Pitching coach Dwight Bernard had the same job for Tacoma for seven years.

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:


River Cats Enjoy Rain, Top Rainiers

April 24, 2016

Sacramento used a six-run second inning to take command, eventually beating Tacoma in the series opener at Cheney Stadium on Saturday evening. 8-4 was the final.

The game was delayed for 42 minutes with two outs in the top of the fifth inning, while Sacramento held a 7-2 lead. It was our first rain delay of the season (there’s been one rainout, but that one was called early before the scheduled start time).

Tacoma is in its first skid of the season, having lost three straight games to fall to 10-6 overall. Starting pitcher Joe Wieland had a rough outing and was knocked out in the second – and taking a line drive off his lower back in the first inning certainly didn’t help.

On the positive side, the Rainiers probably won’t have to see Chris Heston again this series. A 12-game winner who pitched a no-hitter during his rookie campaign with the Giants last year, Heston is stuck in Triple-A waiting for a rotation opening in SF. He pitched four innings in long relief last night, and is likely down for the remainder of the series.

Tacoma could use a win on Sunday. Scheduled starter Cody Martin is 3-0 so far – can he be the stopper?

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: A six-run second inning sealed the deal for Sacramento, which beat Tacoma 8-4 in the series opener. All six runs in the inning scored with two outs.

Today: Sacramento (6-11) at Tacoma (10-6), 1:35.

Opponent Affiliation: San Francisco Giants.

Season Series: Sacramento leads, 1-0.

Starting Pitchers: RHP Chris Stratton (1-2, 7.16) at RHP Cody Martin (3-0, 3.78).

Hot Rainiers: Chris Taylor has a career-best 13-game hitting streak, and he’s reached base in 15 straight games. He’s 21-for-54 during the hitting streak… Stefen Romero has multiple hits in eight of the 14 games he has played in, and he has a nine-game hitting streak… Tacoma’s dual closers Blake Parker and Mayckol Guaipe are a combined 7-for-7 in save opportunities.

Look Out For: Ryan Lollis never makes outs against Tacoma. He hit .409 against Tacoma last year, and last night he went 3-for-4… power prospect Mac Williamson has gone 8-for-17 with two homers over his last four games.

Ex-Rainiers Alert: Sacramento has former Rainiers Miguel Olivo and Darren Ford on the team. Yes, that Miguel Olivo. He’s 37-years-old and has already hit two homers this year. Pitching coach Dwight Bernard had the same job for Tacoma for seven years.

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 on the air and will call the middle innings.

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

Links:

  • The Rainiers game story centers on Joe Wieland and the line drive off his back.
  • My Minor League Notebook for the paper looks at (among other things) how James Paxton used video to recover his mechanics.
  • Highlight of Saturday: the Mariners low-A Clinton club beat Cedar Rapids in 18 innings, 2-1. Oh, I should mention that it was the first game of a doubleheader. This is a fun post.
  • Bob Dutton’s Mariners Notebook includes another fun minor league item, on Class-A Bakersfield starter Andrew Moore.
  • Mike Trout vs. Felix Hernandez. We know how that goes. The Mariners three-game win streak came to an end. Felix did become the Mariners all-time franchise strikeout leader, passing Randy Johnson.
  • With Shoreline’s Blake Snell debuting for Tampa yesterday, Ryan Divish checked in on major leaguers from Washington. One to add to the list: Port Orchard’s Jason Hammel is 2-0, 1.00 after three starts for the Chicago Cubs.
  • John McGrath blesses us with his MLB Power Rankings and the associated one-liners.
  • John Sickles has some thoughts on Mariners top pitching prospect Edwin Diaz, who is off to a great start at Double-A Jackson. Diaz is knocking on the door to Tacoma.
  • Interesting Triple-A story from Milwaukee, where the Brewers are still bitter about be punted out of Nashville by the Sounds ownership, and are trying to figure out what to do about their affiliation with Colorado Springs.

PCL Game Reports:

  • Albuquerque stayed hot, winning its sixth in a row. A wild pitch with the bases loaded brought in the game-winning run in a 5-4 victory at Las Vegas.
  • Archie Bradley returned from an erratic spot-start with the Diamondbacks and delivered a strong outing in Reno’s 5-3 win over Fresno.
  • El Paso got rained out at Salt Lake. Double-dip today.
  • Omaha out-slugged Colorado Springs in Omaha, 11-9. Jorge Bonifacio had a key homer.
  • Nashville had just three hits, yet still managed to score four runs, and lost anyway. New Orleans got ’em, 7-4, with Destin Hood having a big game.
  • Joey Gallo homered and Round Rock shut out Memphis, 3-0.
  • And your game of the day: up from a two-week tour of Double-A Tulsa, former Rainiers reliever Logan Bawcom pitched three scoreless innings for Oklahoma City, and in his first professional at-bat he executed the game-winning squeeze bunt to bring Oklahoma City a 6-4 win over Iowa in 13 innings.

Time for the Rainiers to end this little skid.


Rainiers Home After Road Push

April 22, 2016

The Rainiers dropped the final game in El Paso on Friday night, 7-5.

Mike Zunino hit his seventh homer – which leads all of Minor League Baseball – but the Rainiers couldn’t maintain an early 3-0 lead.

The loss was disappointing, as Tacoma had a chance to have a winning road trip. Instead it was splits all around, with Tacoma going 4-4 on the trek through Albuquerque and El Paso.

Now a new challenge: the Rainiers face a new team!

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: Tacoma hit into four double plays and lost in El Paso, 7-5. Mike Zunino and Stefen Romero hit homers for Tacoma.

Today: Sacramento (5-11) at Tacoma (10-5), 5:05.

Opponent Affiliation: San Francisco Giants.

Season Series: 0-0. They’ll play 16 games this year.

Starting Pitchers: LHP Ty Blach (1-1, 6.75) at RHP Joe Wieland (1-1, 11.32).

Hot Rainiers: Chris Taylor has a 12-game hitting streak, and he’s reached base in 14 straight games. He’s 20-for-50 during the hitting streak… Stefen Romero has multiple hits in seven of the 13 games he has played in, and he has an eight-game hitting streak… Tacoma’s dual closers Blake Parker and Mayckol Guaipe are a combined 7-for-7 in save opportunities.

Look Out For: The River Cats have had a strange start to the season: they have gone 0-8 against Salt Lake, and 5-3 against Las Vegas… power prospect Mac Williamson homered twice yesterday; he’s already been briefly called up by the Giants… the Rainiers are going to miss the Cats’ best starter, Clayton Blackburn, who pitched into the ninth inning of Friday’s 3-1 win over Vegas.

Ex-Rainiers Alert: Sacramento has former Rainiers Miguel Olivo and Darren Ford on the team. Yes, that Miguel Olivo. He’s 37-years-old and has already hit two homers this year. Pitching coach Dwight Bernard had the same job for Tacoma for seven years.

Broadcast: The pregame show starts at 4:50 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:

  • Here’s the Rainiers gamer from The News Tribune, with details on Mike Zunino‘s tape-measure homer and other positive outcomes – and a lot about double plays.
  • The Mariners are heating up. They beat the Angels in ten innings and have won three in a row, getting back to .500 at 8-8 for the year.
  • Bob Dutton’s Mariners Notebook explains why Felix Hernandez was scratched yesterday, and more. Get better, Felix!

Sorry, that’s all of the links for today. I posted this on Friday night at 12:30 in El Paso. We have a 3:40 AM wake-up call to go to the airport, fly through Phoenix, will hopefully be home by 1:00 PM, and then the early 5:05 game. PCL travel at it’s  finest!


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