Excellent relief pitching led the way as Tacoma defeated Colorado Springs on Monday night, 6-3. The Rainiers cut their magic number to clinch the division down to four.
Tacoma has a 3.5-game lead with seven games remaining. The Rainiers truly control their own fate right now: win a few games, and it should be all over. Check this out:
- If the Rainiers go 3-4 in the final seven games, Salt Lake only wins if they go 7-0.
- If the Rainiers go 2-5, Salt Lake has to go 6-1.
- If Tacoma struggles to a 1-6 down the stretch, Salt Lake still must go 5-2.
And of course, four Tacoma victories clinch it no matter what Salt Lake does.
Last night it was the bullpen that secured the win. Steven Shell pitched three scoreless innings, and Josh Lueke pitched a shutout ninth. Greg Halman and Rob Johnson each had two hits and two RBIs, with Halman launching his 31st home run.
Tonight’s game is at 7:00, and as I type this there is an April-like drizzle going on outside. The game is set to be played – it would take a lot to get a rainout at this time of year. Tacoma will start RHP Yusmeiro Petit (3-2, 5.72) against Sky Sox RHP Ching Lung Lo (0-0, 0.00), who will be making his Triple-A debut. Lo was a reliever in Class-AA so he’ll probably only pitch a couple of innings. The broadcast will air in the usual spots: 850 AM, and streaming via www.tacomarainiers.com.
- The News Tribune sent Ryan Divish to Cheney to write the Rainiers game story. He focused on Mauricio Robles.
- Mariners manager Daren Brown is working on fundamentals with the major league squad. Also in this notebook, Larry LaRue gives his opinion on who will be called up. The Mariners had some baserunning issues yesterday.
- There is lots of news in the PCL today. First and foremost, Salt Lake outfielder Peter Bourjos won the PCL Rookie of the Year award, garnering 10 of 32 possible votes. The release says that Greg Halman received votes. I actually voted for Bourjos’ teammate, Mark Trumbo.
- Speaking of Trumbo, he launched two home runs yesterday to claim the league-lead with 33. Salt Lake beat Fresno, 15-11, but the Bees chances of catching the Rainiers are slim. Fresno’s Eric Hacker got lit up.
- Sacramento took a two-game lead over Fresno in the South by beating Las Vegas in the bottom of the ninth inning in a classic minor league fashion: a walk-off wild pitch. Sacramento pitcher Bobby Cramer has an interesting background.
- In the American-North, Iowa held onto its half-game lead by hanging 20 runs on Albuquerque. Bryan LaHair homered twice, but only one should count – he hit his second one off infielder Travis Denker. LaHair is batting .318-23-77. Memphis won it’s seventh straight game to stay in the race.
- Twenty runs is nothing – Mike Moustakas can do that by himself. Moustakas went 4-for-6 with three home runs and 11 RBI in Omaha’s 23-5 home win over Round Rock last night. An epic game for one of the sport’s top hitting prospects.
- Oklahoma City responded to the pressure from Albuquerque by beating Nashville and opening up a three-game lead in the American-South. Brandon McCarthy tossed a gem, and the RedHawks are happy to be home.
- Here is the latest update on the ownership situation in Memphis.
Rain, rain, go away, come again some other day – like next weekend, when we’re playing in Safeco.