Twenty-One, Delabar/Pryor, and Manny

May 31, 2012

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.


The Belly Of The Beast

May 30, 2012

Greetings from the Rainiers own house of horrors, Aces Ballpark in downtown Reno, Nevada.

The Rainiers lost to Reno in the opening game of the series on Tuesday night, 7-5. It was a surprisingly low-scoring game from the PCL’s best hitter’s park.

Reno took a 7-1 lead early against Tacoma starter Andrew Carraway, who got knocked around for his first time this season.

Carraway couldn’t put away innings: six of Reno’s seven runs scored on two-out hits, and most of them were line shots into the outfield.

Tacoma had some plate discipline issues in the first six innings, chasing sliders out of the strike zone. Reno starter Joe Martinez struck out seven in 5.2 innings.

Once the Aces bullpen entered the game, the Rainiers bats came alive – but it was too little, too late.

Special shout-out to Leury Bonilla, who hit his first Triple-A home run in the ninth inning off Reno closer Jonathan Albaladejo.

Bonilla was playing because Luis Jimenez fouled a ball of his right ankle, and had to be helped off the field by trainer Tom Newberg. Hopefully it’s nothing serious and Luis can get back in there today or tomorrow.

Tacoma has now lost 11 straight games to Reno, including an 0-5 record this year. The Rainiers are 6-23 all-time at Aces Ballpark, which opened for the 2009 season.

We have three games left in this series, and at this point the Rainiers want to take baby steps: win one, and build from there.

Today’s game is at 1:05 PM (it was incorrectly listed as 7:05 on early prints of the Rainiers schedule). We’ll have the broadcast on 850 AM and streaming online right here. Tacoma starts LHP Anthony Vasquez (5-2, 5.15) against Reno RHP Charles Brewer (1-4, 6.75).


  • I wrote the Rainiers game story for The News Tribune – the game ended too late to get quotes, but it does have the blow-by-blow.*
  • The Mariners piled up the runs and beat Texas yesterday, 10-3. That was very, very good to see.
  • Larry LaRue has more on Franklin Gutierrez and his upcoming 20-day stint with the Rainiers.
  • Steve Kelley at the Times writes that Eric Wedge should not be blamed for the Mariners struggles. I agree 100% – this is a rebuilding year.
  • One of my favorite yahoos – John McGrath – wrote about the three players he thinks the Mariners are looking at for next week’s first-round draft pick.
  • In this Geoff Baker notebook, we learn that Dustin Ackley’s teammates are mocking him for not playing on his bobblehead day. Also, James Paxton at Double-A Jackson is going to miss a few starts with a knee problem.
  • Larry Stone has a blog item on Brandon League and the Mariners closer prospects.
  • In the PCL, Sacramento walked-off Fresno on a homer by Brandon Hicks. This is a good rivalry series.
  • A’s first baseman-turned-pitcher Sean Doolittle has made a rapid ascent to Triple-A Sacramento. Yoenis Cespedes is on rehab with the River Cats.
  • Salt Lake found the bats! Fourteen hits and a 7-3 win over Colorado Springs to end a six-game losing streak.
  • Down at the Austin Statesman, my favorite headline writer got the score wrong – again. I’m beginning to wonder if it’s just a poorly programmed bot.

That’s all the links I have time to get to today – early game!

* w/r/t the newspaper headline, you cannot bet on PCL games in Nevada casinos – even though the Harrah’s sports book is about 500 feet from the entrance to Aces Ballpark. There was a very funny story in the Reno newspaper about this when the team first moved here in 2009 – a “fan” was actually quoted as saying “Why would I go to the game if I can’t bet on it?”

Brownie On Top

May 29, 2012

Erasmo Ramirez tossed a gem, carrying a shutout into the eighth inning and pitching Tacoma to a 4-1 victory over Tucson on Monday afternoon.

The victory gave Tacoma a series win over the Padres, three games to one. Tacoma has won five of the last six games, and the team has gone 12-5 over the last 17 games.

With the win, Rainiers manager Daren Brown moved past Dan Rohn to the top of the Tacoma all-time manager wins list.

Here are the leaders, the years they managed, and their records.

  1. Daren Brown,  2007-current. 376-366
  2. Dan Rohn, 2001-2005. 375-340
  3. Dave Myers, 1996-2000. 366-343
  4. Whitey Lockman, 1967-1970. 269-316
  5. Red Davis, 1960-1962. 259-203

Obviously, longevity is a big part of racking up the wins. Lockman held the title of most wins for nearly 30 years, and he had a losing record! But he managed the Tacoma Cubs for four years, and he won a PCL title with his 1969 team (his other three teams were bad).

Brown is in his sixth season, which is a record in itself. However, he missed a third of the 2010 season when he was promoted to Seattle as Mariners interim manager (Jose Castro got credit for Tacoma wins while Brown was in the majors). Brown’s teams have been to the playoffs twice and won one PCL title (although Brown was in the majors when it happened).

His best season in terms of wins and losses was 2008, when the team went 80-64. Eighty wins in the PCL is almost always playoff worthy – but that was the year Salt Lake started the season 22-1 and held first place from wire to wire. Brown is still amazed by that season – Tacoma opened the season a respectable 13-10 and was eight games out of first place!

The most dramatic was the 2009 season, when Brown’s comeback kids overcame a 7.5-game deficit over the final 17 days of the season and won th division title on the last game of the year. That was a miraculous finish.

We’ll see how 2012 plays out. Brown’s club is 3.5 games behind first place Reno, and there are still 93 games to play.

Tacoma plays at Reno this week, with a four-game series starting with a game on Tuesday night at 7:05. Tacoma starts RHP Andrew Carraway (2-0, 2.21) against Reno RHP Joe Martinez (2-3, 5.87). The broadcast is on South Sound Sports 850 AM and streaming online right here.

Tacoma has always struggled at Aces Ballpark, and the Rainiers have already been swept there this season. But Tacoma has a much stronger lineup this time around, and I think we’ll see some better results.

Reno just split a four-gamer at Sacramento. Tacoma will not face Reno Aces top prospect Trevor Bauer, who pitched on Monday.

It should be a fun series!


  • We’ll lead off with Ryan Divish’s Rainiers game story from The News Tribune, focusing on Daren Brown‘s accomplishment.
  • The Mariners lost in Texas, and that’s five in a row. This team is streaky!
  • Ho-hum, he did it again. Danny Hultzen tossed six scoreless innings for Double-A Jackson, lowering his ERA to a Southern League leading 1.59. He’s allowed two runs on 15 hits in his last 26 innings pitched. I wonder if this is boring for him?
  • The greatest hitter anyone has ever seen came out to the ballpark in San Francisco and had some interesting things to say. I wonder if this was a step to try to heal his reputation? He certainly sounds a little older and wiser.
  • In the PCL, Reno’s Trevor Bauer was once again both wild and unhittable, pitching the Aces to a 10-2 win at Sacramento.
  • Baseball America says the Rainiers are going to have to look out for Reno third baseman Ryan Wheeler this week.
  • As expected, Manny Ramirez will not be activated by Oakland on Wednesday. Will he still be with Sacramento on Saturday when they come to Tacoma? Who knows?
  • New Salt Lake hitting coach Francisco Matos has a problem: the Bees aren’t hitting. Salt Lake lost to Las Vegas and has dropped five in a row.
  • Fresno outscored Colorado Springs 10-8, and the Grizzlies are now 19 games over .500 and have the PCL’s best record.
  • I’m developing a mancrush on Omaha’s Wil Myers, who went 3-for-4 with two doubles and two RBI in a 6-3 win at New Orleans.
  • Matt Kemp wrapped up his two-day rehabilitation assignment with Albuquerque in style: three hits, and a homer. He went 5-for-7 with two homers in two games.
  • Round Rock put three on the board in the tenth inning and defeated Nashville, 8-5.

Off to the airport – gotta fly to Reno!

Bad Luck Loss

May 28, 2012

Tacoma took a bad luck loss on Sunday afternoon, falling to Tucson in ten innings, 8-7.

The Rainiers grabbed a 7-6 lead in the bottom of the eighth inning on a two-out RBI single by Luis Jimenez, and it looked like the team was going to win its fifth in a row.

With two on and two outs in the ninth inning, Tacoma reliever Scott Patterson got ahead of Brad Davis, one ball two strikes. Davis hung in there, eventually working a full count before he hit a blooper into center field for a game-tying single.

It was what Patterson was looking for: soft contact, a weak little pop-up to end it. But the ball dropped in no-man’s land in center, and Tucson tied it up.

The results in the tenth were similar. With two outs, Patterson allowed two straight dribbling grounders to center field, with the second one driving in the winning run.

It was a tough loss for the Rainiers reliever, who did not allow any hard-hit balls.

The loss ended Tacoma’s four-game win streak – but Tacoma can still win the Tucson series with a victory today.

Another streak ended on Sunday as well.

Luis Rodriguez went 0-for-3, ending his hitting streak at 21 consecutive games. Rodriguez drew three walks on Sunday, but his hitting streak ended five short of the franchise record.

The tenth inning gave Rodriguez one last chance to try to extend it, but he walked against Tucson reliever Brad Boxberger.

Today’s series finale is at 1:35 and you can hear it on South Sound Sports 850 AM, and streaming online right here. Pacific Northwest broadcasting legend Bob Robertson will be joining me on the air, and calling the middle innings. Tacoma starts RHP Erasmo Ramirez (1-1, 4.98) against Tucson RHP Kip Wells (1-0, 1.64).

Today is Memorial Day and the flag at Cheney Stadium will be flown at half-mast until noon, and then raised to full staff. I’ve been told that there have been questions about this in the past – this is the proper process for Memorial Day, as outlined in the United States Code (Title 4 Chapter 1 Section 7 Sub-Section M). Rainiers Facilities Director Ryan Schutt follows these rules closely.


  • Grant Clark has the Rainiers game story, on how close they were to victory.
  • The Mariners lost to the Angels on Sunday and were swept in a four-game series.
  • In this Ryan Divish notebook, we learn that the Rainiers could soon receive Franklin Gutierrez for an extended rehabilitation stay.
  • Mariners manager Eric Wedge released some tension in his pre-game meeting with the media.
  • Former Rainiers outfielder Adam Jones is getting paid. With that contract, he could purchase three Cheney Stadium renovations.
  • It may be a holiday, but that didn’t stop USS Mariner from posting it’s weekly Minor League Wrap.
  • In the PCL, all four of the Northern Division teams lost – so Tacoma is still 3.5 games out of first.
  • Las Vegas defeated Salt Lake 8-3 as Travis d’Arnaud hit another homer. Salt Lake has lost four in a row.
  • Fresno defeated Colorado Springs, with Justin Christian leading off the first inning with a homer.
  • Chris Carter hit a grand slam to help Sacramento beat Reno, 5-4. The Manny Ramirez watch continues.
  • Dodgers superstar Matt Kemp rehabbed down in Albuquerque. He went 2-for-3 with a homer.
  • Round Rock went into Greer Stadium and crushed Nashville, 19-3. Former Rainiers slugger Brad Nelson hit a homer and had six RBI.
  • New Orleans got a late three-run homer from Luke Montz and beat Omaha, 5-2.
  • Chris Volstad and the Iowa Cubs “baffled” the Memphis Redbirds, 5-1.

Off to the ballpark – let’s see if the Rainiers can win this series.

Record-Tying Win

May 27, 2012

Tacoma knocked off Tucson on Saturday night, 6-4, giving manager Daren Brown his 375th win as skipper of the Tacoma Rainiers.

With that win, Brown tied Dan Rohn (2001-2005) for the most wins by a Tacoma manager in franchise history. Brown will go for sole possession of the record today.

That wasn’t the only accomplishment of note on Saturday: Luis Rodriguez singled in the first inning, extending his hitting streak to 21 consecutive games. Rodriguez didn’t stop there – he went 3-for-4 in the game and was a big part of Tacoma’s 11-hit attack.

All 11 hits for Tacoma were singles, but they bunched nine of them together in the first four innings, leading to the six runs.

The all-singles attack means that Carlos Peguero did not hit a homer. He has five longballs in the last six games now.

Jeff Marquez earned the win, allowing four runs in five innings. Tacoma had shutout relief, as Josh Kinney and Stephen Pryor each delivered two scoreless innings.

The Rainiers have won four straight games, and 11 of the last 15. More good news: all three of the other teams in the Northern Division lost last night, so Tacoma gained a game on all of them. The Rainiers are only 3.5 games out of first place.

Today’s game is at 1:35 pm, and it will be broadcast on South Sound Sports 850 AM and streaming online right here. Tacoma starts RHP Forrest Snow (1-4, 7.48) against Tucson RHP Bear Bay (0-1, 5.91).


  • Grant Clark wrote the Rainiers game story for The News Tribune.
  • My Minor League Notebook for The News Tribune focuses on Andrew Carraway, Danny Hultzen, and the Virginia-to-Seattle pipeline.
  • The Mariners were hot until this Angels series started.  The M’s are trying to avoid a four-game series sweep today.
  • Brandon League is going to take a break from closing for a little while.
  • In Larry Stone’s Sunday baseball package for the Seattle Times, we have a column on former Tacoma Giants pitcher Gaylord Perry, a notebook that leads with an item on an offense that is worse than the last two Mariners teams, power rankings, and thumbs.
  • Rob Neyer is not a big fan of the Mariners most recent roster move.
  • In the PCL, a rehabilitating Brandon Inge went 5-for-5 with two homers, a grand slam, and seven RBI in Sacramento’s 10-0 drilling of Reno last night. How come our rehabbers never do that?
  • Former Rainiers pitcher Yusmeiro Petit – now with Fresno – helped out Tacoma today by shutting out Colorado Springs, 1-0.
  • The Fresno paper did a story on star outfielder Roger Kieschnick and he weird batting stance. Hey, it works for him.
  • Scott Richmond tossed eight shutout innings and Las Vegas whitewashed Salt Lake, 9-0.
  • Holy smokes, Isotopes fans. Matt Kemp is on rehab tonight and it happens to coincide with one of those auction-off-the-jersey nights. I wonder what his will sell for?
  • Nashville’s Brooks Conrad is one of the hottest hitters in Triple-A baseball, and the Sounds have won four in a row.
  • Third baseman Matt Dominguez had a big game to help New Orleans beat Omaha.
  • The top prospects shined in Iowa’s 6-4 win at Memphis.
  • Rob White – one of the best baseball writers covering the PCL –  travelled to Arizona to write a feature on Bubba Starling for the Omaha newspaper.
  • The PCL already has Manny Mania. Now we get word that Vladimir Guerrero could be next.

Off to the ballpark – day game!

Rodriguez Hits Twenty

May 26, 2012

Luis Rodriguez had a pair of singles in Friday night’s 13-6 win over Tucson, extended his hitting streak to 20 straight games.

It’s time to take this seriously. The Tacoma franchise record is 26 games, set in 1965 by Rex Johnston and tied in 1999 by Chad Akers.

Last year, Mike Carp hit in 22 straight games, and his streak ended under unusual circumstances.

The team was in Tucson, coincidentally, and Carp flied out in his first at-bat in the first inning. In the second inning, manager Daren Brown got a phone call from his boss: Carp is going to the big leagues, get him to Seattle! So Carp was pulled out of the game and finished with an 0-for-1 – ending his streak.

Obviously, Rodriguez is red-hot right now. During the 20-game streak, he’s batting .408 (31-for-76). He has seen his batting average rise 82 points, from .241 to .323. He seems to be getting even hotter: he’s had multiple hits in the last four games of the streak.

Rodriguez is a switch hitter, and on the year he is batting .313 left-handed and .349 right-handed.

Let’s see if he can keep this streak going. If he can carry it through the three remaining games at Cheney Stadium this weekend, I like his chances of chasing down the record in Reno this coming week.

While he’s not exactly Luis Rodriguez hot, Carlos Peguero is streaking in his own, special way.

The slugger hit another home run yesterday, giving him homers in two straight games, and five home runs in his last five games (with a two-homer game and a no-homer game in there).

In his last five games, Peguero is 8-for-19 with five home runs. Of the 11 outs he has made, eight have been strikeouts. Quick math: in the last five games, when Peguero puts a ball in play it has gone for a hit eight out of 11 times, with five going out of the ballpark.

I bet over at Fangraphs or USS Mariner (hi, marc!) there is some sabermetrician who spends 24 hours a day thinking about Peguero’s stats.

Tacoma has now won three straight games, and 10 of the last 14. They’ll try to keep it going tonight at 7:05, when Tacoma starts RHP Jeff Marquez (3-4, 6.45) against Tucson LHP Colt Hynes (1-4, 4.79).

As always, we’ll have the broadcast on South Sound Sports 850 AM and streaming online right here.


  • Here’s the Rainiers recap from The News Tribune.
  • It was a very, very, very tough loss for the Mariners last night.
  • Dustin Ackley did not play on Dustin Ackley Bobblehead Day. Private message to Kelly Munro: you know what to do.
  • Lots of rumblings out of Baltimore that the Orioles are going to lock up former Rainiers outfielder Adam Jones with a long-term contract.
  • Manny Ramirez is living the PCL life just like anybody else in the league – excellent story from the San Francisco paper. In the story, we learn that Manny might stay with Sacramento longer than the May 30 date his suspension ends, because he’s rusty: he hasn’t played in 13 months. Sacramento comes to Tacoma on June 2.
  • Sacramento got creamed by Reno, after the game changed on a controversial call. The fans came to see Manny, who’s comeback is detailed here.
  • Las Vegas ripped Salt Lake and top pitching prospect Garrett Richards in Salt Lake City, 12-4. Travis d’Arnaud hit another homer; he’s batting .307 with ten bombs.
  • Colorado Springs won at Fresno, 5-1, because cool air turned the Grizzlies bats into popsicles, according to the story. Fresno is really beat up, they put a lot of key players on the disabled list.
  • Nashville topped Round Rock 7-6 on Hainley Statia’s go-ahead single in the eighth. Round Rock’s Martin Perez took another beating – something is wrong with the Rangers top pitching prospect, he can’t get anyone out right now.
  • Wil Myers homered in the 12th inning to give Omaha a 2-1 win at New Orleans.
  • Weird game in Memphis last night. Iowa starter Rodrigo Lopez threw one pitch and left the game with an injury, and then Iowa eventually won the game on Luis Valbuena’s ninth inning homer.
  • Six home runs in one game? Just another day in Albuquerque.
  • If you haven’t seen the catch made to save the game in the community college battle in Vancouver, WA yet, it’s right here. Made #1 on Sportscenter.
  • We close it out with my college winning a rivalry baseball game in 18 innings – or if you prefer, 5 hours and 58 minutes – and the newspaper calling it “the theater of absurd.”

Plenty of tickets available for tonight’s game – you can get them at the gate, come on out!

Rainiers Come Home Hot

May 25, 2012

The Rainiers return to Cheney Stadium tonight for a four-game series with Tucson that will cover all of Memorial Day Weekend.

We have night games tonight and Saturday at 7:05, and the day games on Sunday and Monday at 1:35.

Tacoma is coming in hot! The Rainiers have won nine of the last 13 games, including yesterday’s 7-2 decision over Iowa. The Rainiers finished the eight-game road trip with a 5-3 record, including a three-to-one series win at Iowa.

Brian Sweeney tossed six scoreless innings, Carlos Peguero hit another home run, and Mike Wilson had three hits and three RBI in the win.

Now the Tucson Padres arrive in town, and they look at bit different from how they did when Tacoma took two of three from them in Tucson, May 1-3.

The Padres have added infield prospect Jedd Gyorko from Double-A San Antonio, slugger Matt Clark is over his early season slump (he’s hitting .330 with seven homers in May after a .169 April), and catcher Yasmani Grandal is swinging a hot stick (14 hits in his last eight games, with at least one RBI in each).

The Tucson pitching staff has been in a state of flux, with the parent San Diego Padres swapping out relievers on a nearly daily basis. One player of note: former MLB starter Kip Wells has joined Tucson, and he gets the nod for a Memorial Day start.

Tonight’s game is at 7:05, and there will be fireworks afterward. Tacoma starts LHP Anthony Vasquez (5-2, 4.44) against Tucson LHP Tom Layne (0-2, 4.50). Can’t make it to Cheney Stadium? Listen to the broadcast on South Sound Sports 850 AM or streaming online right here.


  • We’ll start with the Rainiers game story from The News Tribune with quotes from Brian Sweeney and Mike Wilson.
  • Uh-oh. I hope the Mariners didn’t get Albert Pujols hot.
  • When the Mariners activated Miguel Olivo from the disabled list yesterday, they optioned Casper Wells to Tacoma. Now the Rainiers have four outfielders who are on the 40-man roster and theoretically have to play every day (Wells, Carlos Peguero, Trayvon Robinson, and Chih-Hsien Chiang). That doesn’t include Mike Wilson, who is not on the 40-man but helps you win Triple-A games. It will be interesting to see how Daren Brown sorts this out.
  • Holy smokes! Danny Hultzen edged out Trevor Bauer for the #1 spot on this week’s Baseball America Prospect Hot Sheet! The PCL is loaded with talent right now, and four of the top seven players on this list are in the league.
  • Speaking of Bauer, he allows some insight into his pitching philosophy in this interview.
  • Fan voting has begun for the Triple-A All-Star Game. You know our motto: Vote Early, Vote Often.
  • Larry Stone caught up with former Mariners and Tacoma Giants pitcher Gaylord Perry. The Hall Of Famer is throwing out the first pitch at the M’s game tonight – this story is a good read.
  • More fun stuff from Stone: the video on this post is wonderful, mostly because of the host. Watch it!
  • In the PCL, we have confirmation and a story on Reno outfielder David Winfree retiring. We wish the former Rainiers star the best in whatever he decides to do.
  • For night games, the Las Vegas newspaper writes a feature, and then slips the score and a few game details into the story. Today’s feature glorified 51s utility man Mike McCoy – a very good player, but it was bad timing.
  • The Tucson paper has a feature on Kip Wells and his comeback. Memphis beat Tucson 7-6 last night, avoiding a sweep, as catcher Brian Anderson went 6-for-6 with the game winning RBI single in the 11th. Apparently Anderson was really struggling – the 6-for-6 game only raised his average to .212.
  • Omaha salvaged a series split against Salt Lake, and the Rainiers gained a game.
  • Colorado Springs and Oklahoma City split a doubleheader.
  • The PCL’s two winningest pitchers went head-to-head in Albuquerque – and only one survived.
  • “Express Beat Sacramento” – my headline guy is back.
  • Manny Ramirez and his River Cats return to Sacramento tonight, and the newspaper has a big feature.
  • If there really is a tiger on the loose, would it be wrong for me to hope that it eats my neighbor’s dog?
  • Sad news, but I guess we knew it was coming: Led Zeppelin II is dead.

As you may know, the Party Decks down the third base line at Cheney Stadium are reserved for group outings (schools, churches, work events, etc). However, Memorial Day is not big seller for group outings – so the Rainiers are selling individual tables with a special Memorial Day buffet on Monday, and it looks like a pretty good deal. The details are on the Rainiers web site, or call 253-752-7700.

More Roster Moves

May 24, 2012

Tacoma made a few more roster moves before Thursday’s game: Brian Sweeney was activated from the disabled list, and both catcher Brandon Bantz and outfielder Johan Limonta were placed on it.

Limonta has returned to Miami to attend his naturalization hearing, completing the process to become a US citizen.

Catcher Miguel Olivo is not rehabbing with the Rainiers today. Catcher Ralph Henriquez is on his way from Double-A Jackson, but I’ve been told he won’t be coming to Des Moines, and is in fact meeting the Rainiers tomorrow in Tacoma.

That makes super-utilityman Leury Bonilla the back-up catcher for today’s game!

Nice Rebound

May 24, 2012

Tacoma bounced back from the Seven-Error Debacle with a well-played, never really in doubt 8-3 win over the Iowa Cubs on Wednesday afternoon.

Tacoma jumped ahead early, scoring in each of the first three innings for a 4-0 lead. Included was Scott Savastano‘s first career Triple-A home run – a solo blast in the second – and two unearned runs in the third, when Tacoma’s contagious error problem from Tuesday crossed dugouts and infected the Cubs.

Andrew Carraway pitched better than the numbers (6 IP, 3 R) indicate. The wind was blowing out strongly to left field, and fly balls were carrying. He did a nice job, turning in a quality start and earning a win.

Luis Rodriguez went 2-for-4 with a game-breaking two-out, two-run double in the sixth inning that made in 7-1. Rodriguez has an 18-game hitting streak.

The Rainiers have won eight of the last 12 games, and they can come home with a series win and a winning record on the road trip if they can take care of business on Thursday.

Thursday’s game – the final of the road trip – is another 10:05 AM (Pacific) start from Des Moines. Tacoma starts RHP Brian Sweeney (0-0, 5.74) against Iowa LHP Chris Rusin (40-3, 3.02). Rusin is ranked fourth in the PCL in ERA. As always, the broadcast airs on South Sound Sports 850 AM and streams online right here.


  • Here is the Rainiers game story from The News Tribune, and here is the story from the Des Moines paper.
  • Our guy Alex Liddi lined a grand slam, and the Mariners beat the Rangers 5-3. The Mariners take the series from the first-place Rangers, and they have won 5 of 6. Keep it going against the Angels!
  • Larry LaRue asks the question, who gets sent down when Miguel Olivo comes off the Mariners disabled list? We’ll find out very, very soon.
  • At Double-A Jackson, Danny Hultzen absolutely dominated last night. He struck out 12 batters in six innings – don’t be surprised if he’s on the move soon; he’s allowed two runs and ten hits in his last 20 innings and might need a bigger challenge.
  • In the PCL, Trevor Bauer made his second start for Reno, and he was wild. Bauer walked five and threw more balls than strikes, but he still allowed only one run in five innings. Reno lost to New Orleans, 4-2.
  • I received multiple reports that Reno outfielder David Winfree – the former Rainiers star – retired from baseball yesterday. I haven’t been able to find any confirmation online.
  • Jake Odorizzi tossed a gem, Wil Myers homered, and Omaha topped Salt Lake, 5-2.
  • Nashville outfielder Logan Schafer runs into walls.
  • Tucson pitcher Nick Vincent spent two days in the majors, but did not get into a game.
  • Rain is forcing Colorado Springs and Oklahoma City to play a doubleheader today.
  • Fresno pounded Albuquerque as Roger Kieschnick went 4-for-5 with two homers and six RBI.

Dont’ forget, the Rainiers are home all Memorial Day Weekend, and the weather is supposed to be nice. See you at Cheney Stadium!

Wednesday Roster Moves

May 23, 2012

Some moves prior to Wednesday’s early game:

Mike Wilson has been activated from the DL and he is in the starting lineup. Wilson strained a groin while swinging in the Rainiers game on April 7.

Jarrett Grube has been placed on the disabled list with a leg problem of some sort.

Brian Sweeney will be activated from the disabled list and start Thursday’s game. A spot-start is needed because the Rainiers used two regular starting rotation pitchers in the doubleheader on Sunday. Sweeney was on the shelf with a concusion he suffered in Reno two weeks ago – he’s fine now.

Rise and shine – first pitch is at 10:05 AM.