The Rainiers were down 10-3 and 13-5 early to Salt Lake last night, and they made it interesting – only to lose in the end.
A six-run top of the sixth inning made it 13-11, and Tacoma had the tying runners on base in the 7th and 8th innings. It just didn’t happen.
The Rainiers entered the game having allowed only 9 home runs in the first 18 games of the season. That was the lowest total of all PCL pitching staffs.
I guess we were due for some correction, because Salt Lake hit four dingers last night. Two players – Roberto Lopez and Jimmy Swift – hit their first career Triple-A homers off James Paxton in the second inning.
Paxton had a very rough outing, Jhonny Nunez gave up a grand slam, and even Bobby LaFromboise served up a three-run dinger to a left-handed hitter (Brad Hawpe).
The Rainiers hitters stayed patient and drew eight walks, which led to the big sixth inning. Give some credit to Salt Lake center fielder Scott Cousins, who made a diving catch of Leury Bonilla‘s liner to end the eighth – if that ball wasn’t caught, it probably would have tied the game.
Tacoma can still get a split of the series, but the Rainiers need a win in the early game today.
First pitch is at 11:05 AM (Pacific). Tacoma starts RHP Brian Sweeney (1-0, 4.63) against Salt Lake RHP Matt “The Cobbler” Shoemaker (1-2, 3.79). The broadcast will be live on 850 AM and streaming online here.
Both team’s bullpens are spent. The team with the most effective starter will have a big advantage.
- Here is the Rainiers game story from The News Tribune.
- Congratulations to former Rainiers pitcher Felix Hernandez, who won his 100th career game yesterday.
- Outfielder Franklin Gutierrez strained a hamstring last night. If he has to go on the disabled list, there are two Rainiers outfielders on the 40-man roster: Eric Thames and Carlos Peguero. Thames has clearly been better in the PCL, but Peguero put up big numbers in spring training – the last time Eric Wedge saw either of these guys. Which will it be? It could be neither; Michael Saunders is set to come off the disabled list on Friday.
- Scott Van Slyke of Albuquerque is matching Mike Zunino in PCL run production. Van Slyke hit his league-leading 7th home run yesterday, and he’s batting .446 with 23 RBI. Zunino is ahead of him by two RBI, with five homers and a .259 average.
Sorry for the lack of links, the long game (3:56) last night and the early start today have kept this blog brief. There will be no new blog on Wednesday (our first off day of the season!), and I’ll be back with something new on Thursday around 1:00 or 2:00. We are spending the off day in Las Vegas so perhaps I’ll have a Vegas tale for you… or perhaps whatever happens will just have to stay in Vegas. We’ll see.