No Sweep For Tacoma, Home Opener Tonight

Tacoma was unable to complete its first four-game sweep of Sacramento since 2001, falling on Thursday night by a score of 5-4.

The Rainiers certainly had an opportunity – mostly because the River Cats defense seemed intent on giving the game away. Sacramento made four errors in the game, directly leading to three of Tacoma’s runs. But in the end, River Cats reliever Mike Ekstrom stranded the tying runner on third (with no outs!) and nailed down a difficult save.

Despite the loss in the final game, it was an excellent road trip for Tacoma. A 5-3 mark on the road, including a 3-1 series win at always-tough Sacramento, is a great way to start the season.

Now it’s the home opener – one of my favorite days of every calendar year. We expect a very nice crowd, although tickets should be available at the door if you are making a last-minute decision. The latest forecast says we have a chance of rain so be prepared. Shocking in April, I know. Don’t worry – it will be a fun night regardless!

We’ve got the great new food options, post-game fireworks, and the team looks good right now, too.

Tonight’s game is at 7:10, and if you can’t make it to Cheney Stadium please tune in to South Sound Sports 850 AM or the online stream. Tacoma starts LHP James Paxton (0-0, 4.50) against Salt Lake RHP A.J. Schugel (0-0, 3.60).

For clarity, a run-down of the flurry of Rainiers transactions from the last 48 hours:

  • LHP Bobby LaFromboise and OF Endy Chavez were called up to Seattle.
  • RHP Steven Hensley was traded to Colorado and he’ll report to Double-A Tulsa.
  • LHP Lucas Luetge optioned to Tacoma and he should join the team today.
  • OF Joe Dunigan activated from the disabled list and he is ready to play.
  • INF Stefen Romero sent on a rehab assignment to High Desert; he’s been out since early March with a strained oblique. We should see him soon.
  • RHP D.J. Mitchell was designated for assignment and the team is hopeful that he will clear waivers – possibly in time to make his scheduled start for Tacoma tomorrow.

That was a busy stretch!

Links:

  • For all of the details on last night’s Rainiers game, check the story from The News Tribune.
  • Guess which Rainiers player ranks on Baseball America’s first Prospect Hot List of the year. OK, that was too easy.
  • The Mariners lost to Texas, and Felix Hernandez is having a hard time getting career win No. 100. Michael Morse was hit on the hand and is going to be out for a few days.
  • Here is the news story on the Mariners trade of Steven Hensley for Aaron Harang.
  • Michael Saunders is on the 15-day disabled list. Hopefully that is all the time he’ll miss.
  • Jerry Brewer wrote a column on  Felix Hernandez being the face of the franchise.
  • Ji-Man Choi is a hot hitter for the Mariners Class-A Advanced High Desert affiliate.
  • Admit it: you are surprised that the foul-ball-in-beer-cup guy is a Washington alum, and not a Coug.
  • In the PCL, several teams have their home openers tonight. The Reno newspaper has a preview of the Aces, and a look at top prospects around the league.
  • Salt Lake is off to a 6-2 start. They are an older team, and yesterday it was veteran catcher Chris Snyder who had a big game and led them to a win.
  • Colorado Springs had two walk-off wins in a doubleheader against Tucson yesterday.
  • Fresno got lambasted by Las Vegas, 14-3. Las Vegas plays its home opener tonight, and it’s time for 51s fans to meet the Mets. Vegas just added former Rainiers left-hander Sean Henn.
  • Shortstop Dee Gordon did everything except pitch in Albuquerque’s 3-2 win over Omaha.
  • Congrats to former Isotopes broadcaster Robert Portnoy, who landed a plum job down in the Duke City.
  • The Omaha Storm Chasers unveiled a Bob Gibson statue at Werner Park (picture included).

I am saddened to hear about the passing of Hall of Fame basketball coach Marv Harshman, who was a legend in these parts. I only met him late in his life, but I have heard from scores of people who’s lives he impacted. He was a giant in a game of giants.

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