We saw both pitchers acquired in the Ichiro trade make their Rainiers debuts on Thursday night.
D.J. Mitchell started. He’s a skinny, 6-foot right-hander with really good complimentary pitches. His fastball topped out at 89 miles per hour, and sat at 86-87. That’s not very fast – but, he made up for it by using a very good change-up, which faded away from left-handed hitters and got some swings-and-misses.
Mitchell also showed a strong curve ball, which he was able to throw for strikes. While he struggled with his fastball command, he was able to throw the other two pitches for strikes, and he often “pitched backwards” and threw first-pitch curves or changes to the batter.
Mitchell lasted five innings and allowed one run on four hits. He walked two and struck out four. He also ended up taking the loss, because the Rainiers were shut out on three hits, 1-0.
The other new Tacoma pitcher is reliever Danny Farquhar, who pitched a scoreless eighth inning. Farquhar is a small guy by baseball pitcher standards, standing 5-foot-10. Don’t be fooled by his size – he has some arm strength, topping out at 94 miles per hour on the Rainiers gun.
Farquhar walked the leadoff man and allowed a one-out single, getting himself into a 1st-and-3rd, one-out jam with clean-up hitter Matt Clark at the plate. Farquhar was able to bear down. He got Clark to pop up on the infield and then retired the next hitter to escape the jam.
Justin Smoak had two of Tacoma’s three hits, including a long double to right-center.
And immediately after I lauded him as being major-league ready, Darren Ford went 0-for-4, ending his ten-game hitting streak. It was only Ford’s third hitless game in 34 games in a Rainiers uniform.
We had some news before the game: the Mariners released veteran reliever Scott Patterson.
It wasn’t because of performance – Patterson has a 2.94 ERA this year. It was simply because of the addition of the two new pitchers, and the fact that the Mariners did not see the 33-year-old Patterson as a part of their youth movement.
Scott pitched for Tacoma for three seasons, getting into 91 games. His 19 career saves ties him for 17th on the Tacoma All-Time Saves list. He was a part of the 2010 PCL Championship run, and he participated in many Tacoma community events over the years. We’re going to miss him.
Patterson actually made the rounds during the game, saying goodbye to office workers and some fans while the game was being played. He stopped by the radio booth in the top of the ninth inning of a 1-0 game, thoroughly disrupting my flow.
Hopefully he’ll latch on with another team for the stretch run.
More late-breaking roster news: the Rainiers have sent reliever Jandy Sena back to Double-A Jackson, and hard-throwing right-hander Carter Capps is coming up.
Capps has been known to reach 100 miles per hour on the radar gun. At Jackson, he had 19 saves, a 1.26 ERA, and 72 strikeouts with only 12 walks in 50 innings pitched. Reportedly, he has recently improved his off-speed pitch to warrant the promotion.
Tonight’s homestand finale is at 7:05, and it’s Friday Night Fireworks after the game. Tacoma starts LHP Steve Garrison (0-3, 5.76) against Tucson RHP Bear Bay (2-5, 4.81). Catch the broadcast on South Sound Sports 850 AM and streaming online right here.
- We lead off with the Rainiers game story from The News Tribune, inked by Doug Pacey.
- In Seattle, Jason Vargas tossed a gem and said that he doesn’t want to be traded.
- The Mariners have added Alvin Davis to the minor league coaching staff as a roving instructor.
- Larry Stone has a blog post about how the contract extension signed by Cole Hamels might effect Felix Hernandez.
- The non-baseball event of the year at Cheney Stadium is this Sunday, and entry is free. It’s The Moveable Feast, Tacoma’s first-ever food truck festival, and it will be in (where else) the Cheney Stadium parking lot. Here’s a preview from The News Tribune.
- Oh, yeah! Taijuan Walker had a dominant start last night and the Mariners pitching prospect took home the No. 1 spot on Baseball America’s weekly Prospect Hot Sheet.
- In the PCL, there was umpire controversy and a late rally as Sacramento beat Salt Lake, 11-7. Also, actor Bill Murray was there.
- Fresno edged Las Vegas, 2-1, and now the 51s trail Sacramento by 2.5 games in the South.
- Details are limited, but Reno beat Colorado Springs in 11 innings last night, 11-10. The Sky Sox went into Aces Ballpark with all of the momentum and only 5.5 games back – and now they trail by 8.5 and are in danger of being swept.
- Oklahoma City allowed two runs in the top of the tenth inning, and then scored three in the bottom of the tenth to beat Iowa and move back into first place in the American-South. New catcher Chris Wallace had the game-winning pinch-hit two-run single. In the notes: the Astros moved top pitching prospect Jarred Cosart up to Triple-A and he starts for Oklahoma City tonight.
- Nashville pitching prospect Wily Peralta was dealing and the Sounds beat Memphis. Peralta struck out 11.
- Outfielder Chris Aguila set the New Orleans franchise home run record in a 5-1 win over Omaha last night. It was his 57th, passing slugger J.R. Phillips. Tacoma’s record is 72, set by Rick Renick in the 1970s.
- Round Rock avoided extra innings and beat Albuquerque, 3-2. They’ve played extra innings in three of the last five games – which is nothing. Make it four-of-six with an 18-inning juego mixed in and then call me.
- New Rainiers head groundskeeper David Schutt needs to read this story so that he can decide where to put a pit on the field at Cheney Stadium. On the field, David – not on the press level, thanks!
Friday Night Fireworks – see ya at the yard, Meat.*
* sorry for the mid-1990s baseball slang, it slips out sometimes. Don’t worry, “Meat” was a respectful pronoun back in the day. You’re good.