Tacoma won the rubber match against Tucson, 6-4, and took the series two games to one.
Maybe this year’s Rainiers are really good at rubber matches? There’s a chance for another one against Las Vegas at the very end of June. Hold your breath…
Yesterday Vinnie Catricala came alive. The Mariners Minor League Player of the Year last year hit .349 with 25 homers and 106 RBI between Class-A and Double-A. However, in his first month of Triple-A baseball, he didn’t hit much at all.
Yesterday, Catricala went 4-for-5. He raised his batting average from .196 to .225.
Catricala hit a three-run homer in the first inning – his first Triple-A home run, a drive to left-center off Tucson starter Jorge Reyes (from Warden, WA). He added singles in his next two at-bats, and then doubled in his fourth.
The Rainiers – and, I suspect, Catricala himself – really needed a game like this. As manager Daren Brown said after the game, “Hopefully this will get him kick-started.”
Another thing the Rainiers needed was a good starting pitching performance. Jeff Marquez delivered.
Marquez allowed three unearned runs in the first inning. They were unearned, but he still allowed three straight two-out hits after errors had extended things, and I was concerned. Fortunately, Marquez settled down and pitched very well from the second inning on. He lasted 6.2 innings, giving up four runs (one earned) with just two walks.
Marquez got the win – becoming the first Tacoma starting pitcher to earn a win since April 19. He was also the first Tacoma starter to pitch into the seventh inning since that same date.
Before the game, Brown announced a change to the Rainiers starting rotation.
The team is bumping Forrest Snow up to today, and inserting Brian Sweeney into the rotation to start on Saturday. Anthony Vasquez, Jarrett Grube, and Jeff Marquez follow in that order.
Left-hander Mauricio Robles has changed roles and will now pitch out of the bullpen.
Tonight Tacoma plays at Reno, and first pitch is set for 6:35 pm (pre-game show at 6:20). The broadcast is on South Sound Sports 850 AM and streaming online right here. Tacoma starts RHP Forrest Snow (0-3, 7.30) against Reno LHP Zach Kroenke (2-1, 4.50).
- I wrote the Rainiers game story for The News Tribune, and they confirmed that they received it, but it does not appear on their website. Sorry, no link.
- The Mariners lost in Tampa and got swept in a four-game series, and Larry Stone writes that Chone Figgins role as the leadoff hitter is in jeopardy.
- Larry LaRue caught up with first-year Mariners hitting coach Chris Chambliss to get his take on the team’s offensive struggles. I wouldn’t want to be Chambliss right now – the M’s have a recent history of scapegoating the hitting coach during times like these.
- Take a five-minute break and allow yourself to be entertained by John McGrath’s preview column on the Mariners series with the bumbling Minnesota Twins. He even pauses to throw a friendly elbow at Ron Fairly.
- There are no Mariners farmhands on this week’s edition of the Baseball America Prospect Hot Sheet – but there is good news: a person named Miles Head is on it.
- Old-school baseball columnist Bruce Jenkins has a brief piece on Bryce Harper.
- In the PCL, Collin Cowgill had three hits to help Sacramento beat Colorado Springs, 6-1. River Cats outfielder Michael Taylor was called up by Oakland.
- The Sacramento Bee has an interesting story on the family of pitcher Brad Peacock.
- Salt Lake’s seven-game losing streak ended in Fresno last night. Fresno is 21-7, but the Giants have attacked their roster.
- Neil Ramirez tossed a gem for Round Rock, and the Austin newspaper really needs to hire someone to write headlines. Tanner Scheppers is healthy and closing.
- Memphis walked off Iowa on Eugenio Velez’s game-winning hit.
- Albuquerque had 24 hits in a 15-5 win over Oklahoma City, and Scott Van Slyke homered twice.
- Nashville was unable to polish off a four-game sweep of Omaha.
- Attendance is up in Omaha – and that’s a rarity in the PCL right now, as the April numbers appear to be down throughout the league. April attendance is fickle – I expect the crowds to rebound to normal levels over the course of the summer.
Buckle your seat belts – the ball always jumps out of Aces Ballpark, and today it is really, really windy.