The yucky taste of the Rainiers 13-5 loss in Reno on Wednesday afternoon was quickly washed away by a stream of interesting news: the Mariners scored 21 runs, then they announced a relief pitcher swap, and then we heard that one of the greatest hitters in baseball history is (almost certainly) coming to Cheney Stadium.
Let’s tackle these one at a time:
First, the Mariners scored 21 runs. It’s the second highest total in franchise history, and it seemingly came out of nowhere. They had scored 21 runs total in their previous six games! The had 20 hits, and 11 went for extra bases.
For me, the best part is that it came against the two-time AL champion Texas Rangers. That made it a lot sweeter.
I’m curious to see if that game causes some increased production in the next series, this weekend in Chicago. The young hitters were heavily involved in the 21-run uprising; they should be carrying a lot of confidence into Chicago.
Second, after the game the Mariners announced they are sending Steve Delabar to Tacoma, and that they will call up a reliever on Friday. Not soon thereafter, Stephen Pryor‘s agent tweeted that Pryor is going to the big leagues. We’ll go ahead and believe the agent – if he tweeted that and was wrong, he’d be the worst agent ever, wouldn’t he?
Mariners fans are going to wonder if Pryor will be closing games. I’d advise them to slow down and wait a while. Yes, Pryor has closer stuff, but he’s a rookie. He’s hard to hit, but he can be wild at times. He’ll probably pitch in middle relief at first, perhaps some set-up work. He’ll certainly see more action than Iwakuma.
One thing to keep an eye on is Pryor’s usage. He has not pitched in back-to-back games this season, and has done so just twice in his professional career – once in 2010, and once in 2011. It will be interesting to see if Eric Wedge treats him carefully.
The lack of back-to-back game experience precludes Pryor from closing right there – unless you aren’t planning on going on any winning streaks.
(As an aside, it makes no sense to me that the Mariners do not allow minor league relief prospects to pitch in back-to-back games. If they reach the majors, they will be asked to do it all of the time. Why not start doing it in the minors, as part of the developmental process?
The Mariners used to use minor league relievers up to three games in a row, to prepare for future boss Lou Piniella. In recent years they have stopped doing this.)
Third, I learned this morning that it is almost a certainty that Manny Ramirez will be travelling with the Sacramento River Cats to Cheney Stadium on Saturday.
Manny’s suspension is over, as is his rehabilitation assignment. He is an official member of the Sacramento 25-man roster.
The A’s haven’t called him up yet because he is rusty. After yesterday’s 0-for-4, three strikeout game against Fresno, Manny is batting .222 (8-for-36), and all eight of his hits have been singles.
The A’s want to see Manny improve his timing, and drive some extra base hits. He’ll probably be in Sacramento until that happens.
Sacramento plays at Tacoma on Saturday (7:05), Sunday (1:35), Monday (7:05), and Tuesday (11:35 AM). Tickets are available at the Cheney Stadium Box Office and online right here. No refunds if Manny doesn’t show up* – as you know, we can’t control Manny being Manny!
Tonight, the Rainiers have a job to do: win a baseball game in Reno. It’s long overdue. First pitch is at 7:05, and you can hear the broadcast on South Sound Sports 850 AM and streaming online right here. Tacoma starts RHP Jeff Marquez (4-4, 6.52) against Reno LHP Patrick Corbin (0-1, 7.20).
- I wrote the Rainiers game story for The News Tribune, with quotes from manager Daren Brown. The story includes an explanation of Reno’s two-run sacrifice fly.
- The Mariners scored 21 runs – which is pretty much what the Rainiers need to do in Reno. Here’s Larry LaRue’s game story (with a very Reno-centric headline and a great lede), Geoff Baker’s story from the Seattle Times, and Larry Stone’s 21-Run Salute.
- Don’t tell anyone, but Mariners reliever Lucas Luetge still has a 0.00 ERA.
- Jason Churchill thinks its time for Danny Hultzen and Nick Franklin to be promoted to Tacoma. I certainly agree on Hultzen, not so sure about Franklin. It will probably be three weeks until anything happens – Jackson is in first place with a 1.5-game lead and 17 to play in the first half, and they clinch a playoff spot if they hang on. The Mariners might want to try to win that before shifting players around.
- In the PCL, Colorado Springs looked at the Mariners 21 runs and said “no big deal.” The Sky Sox edged Salt Lake on Wednesday, 22-8. Salt Lake’s starter had an especially rough Triple-A debut.
- Travis Banwart tossed a gem and Sacramento beat Fresno, 3-1, to pull within 1.5 games of first place in the South.
- Las Vegas was a winner at Tucson, 7-4. The Tucson paper has a nice feature on Padres closer Brad Boxberger.
- New Orleans was shut out at home by Albuquerque, 4-0.
- Memphis has been one of the worst teams in the PCL this season, but they had a rare cause to celebrate last night.
- Oklahoma City coasted to a 7-2 win over Nashville.
- Iowa and Omaha were rained out, they’ll play a doubleheader today.
Looking forward to seeing Manny this weekend, but the Rainiers have business to take care of here in Reno tonight and tomorrow.
* my biggest concern about Manny is that he could retire before the series. Or, he might go 4-for-4 with three homers against Fresno tonight and get himself called up.