Luis, Luis Goes Deep, Deep

Luis Jimenez is on an absolute tear right now.

The Rainiers designated hitter blasted two more home runs in Memphis on Monday night, during the Rainiers 6-4 win. Tacoma got a split of the four-game series because of his homers.

Jimenez hit a two-run shot to left-center in the second inning, and added the go-ahead two-run shot to center in the sixth.

Both home runs came off breaking pitches that were up in the strike zone. Jimenez put calm, simple swings on them and he is so strong that he hit both balls out of the park.

In the last three games, Jimenez is 7-for-12 with four home runs and nine RBI. Can he carry the hot streak into Nashville’s Greer Stadium? We’ll find out tonight.

Danny Hultzen returns to the Tacoma starting rotation tonight, after missing two starts because the Mariners want to monitor his innings pitched total for the season. It’s Hultzen’s first professional season and this is the first time in his life he’s had a five-day rotation workload.

Hultzen worked in the bullpen with Tacoma pitching coach Dwight Bernard during his time off. He will be on a short leash tonight – manager Daren Brown will tell me the pitch limit later today, but I don’t expect it to be more than 50-60 pitches.

Tonight’s game is at 5:05 (Pacific) and you can hear it on South Sound Sports 850 AM and streaming online right here. Tacoma starts LHP Danny Hultzen (1-2, 5.23) against Nashville RHP Hiram Burgos (0-1, 4.96).

A little about the Sounds: they have been playing .500 ball since the all-star break, and it appears that they have a pretty good pitching staff right now, but might be a bit challenged offensively. The Milwaukee Brewers affiliate opened the season a dreadful 4-17, but they’ve played two games over .500 for the long haul since then.

Nashville just split a series with Salt Lake, losing the final game in 12 innings last night.

Links:

  • My Rainiers game story from The News Tribune includes a money quote from Daren Brown about Luis Jimenez‘s hot streak. Luis spoke with the Memphis newspaper in this story.
  • The Mariners ran into the red-hot Tampa Bay Rays. One bad inning doomed Blake Beavan. In the story, Larry Stone suggests that Justin Smoak is on his way to rejoin the Mariners – that certainly appears to be the case. Smoak has been hitting the ball hard for the last three games here.
  • Geoff Baker has a blog post about the Mariners lack of MLB-ready Triple-A corner infielders in Tacoma.
  • The Mariners have signed a 16-year-old left-handed pitcher from Brazil.
  • Everybody loves Reds Double-A prospect Billy Hamilton, who is about to break the minor league stolen base record.
  • This link exists only because I want my new favorite name in baseball – Socrates Brito – to appear on the blog. Please, Socrates, make it to Triple-A and play at Cheney someday.
  • Interesting story from Oakland about how A’s general manager Billy Beane has traded his team into contention.
  • Portland’s Johnny Pesky passed away at age 92.
  • In the PCL, Round Rock scored five runs in the top of the ninth to beat Colorado Springs, 11-6.
  • Salt Lake topped Nashville in the 12th inning, 5-4. Efren Navarro had the game winning RBI.
  • It’s been a long, winding road this season for Las Vegas infielder Luke Hughes. Vegas crushed Iowa, 14-7.
  • There was anger and frustration in Tucson during Omaha’s 33-hit, 20-run blowout on Sunday – even the coaches got into it, a player quit the game on the spot, and suspensions were issued. Omaha finished off the four-game sweep with a more benign 5-2 score on Monday.

I had a final Elvis Week experience yesterday: I stumbled, quite accidentally, into a conference room at the Peabody Hotel where they were displaying the items that would be sold in the year’s biggest auction of Elvis memorabilia. A book about Andrew Jackson, checked out of the school library by Elvis in eighth grade, with the library check-out card signed by young Elvis? Expected to fetch $4000. Really!

Also of note: in one of the Peabody’s historical displays, they have a Babe Ruth autograph. I sure didn’t expect to see that while wandering aimlessly in Memphis yesterday afternoon.

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