Pitching Prospect Showdown In Vegas

We’re back and (hopefully) refreshed after an off-day in Las Vegas.

The team beat Salt Lake on Tuesday afternoon, 2-1, as Brian Sweeney, Lucas Luetge, and Logan Bawcom shut ’em down. The Rainiers earned a split of the four-game series.

The Rainiers lost Carlos Peguero to the big league club, and so far there is no word on any replacement for him here in Tacoma. With Michael Saunders supposedly close to returning from the disabled list, we may not get a replacement for Peguero from below.

The club arrived in Vegas late on Tuesday night, and enjoyed an off-day here yesterday. Now we gear up for a four-game series starting tonight at 7:05.

This should* be a real treat tonight. Top pitching prospects Danny Hultzen (3-1, 2.78) and Zack Wheeler (0-1, 4.91) go head-to-head. Catch the broadcast on South Sound Sports 850 AM and streaming online right here.

You will note that Wheeler’s stats aren’t all that great. He reportedly is dealing with some serious blister problems, causing him to issue 12 walks in 18.1 innings. However, he easily reaches 97 mph and has 21 strikeouts.

Las Vegas Series Preview

Las Vegas is a team that just wants to get out on the field and play. Their last game was Sunday in Colorado Springs – scheduled games on Monday and Tuesday were postponed due to snow and will be made up in late August.

The 51s are now the Mets affiliate, and they are 10-8 on the season. They had a four-game win streak end with a tough walk-off loss on Sunday in the Springs. Las Vegas has beaten up on Sacramento this year, going 6-2 against the Pac-South powerhouse.

Las Vegas is managed by Wally Backman, who is quite a personality. The former Mariners infielder played for the World Series champion 1986 Mets, where he was teammates with Rainiers hitting coach Howard Johnson (they are buddies).

Other than Wheeler, the top prospect on the team is catcher Travis d’Arnaud – but he is injured (again) and will not play in this series.

The 51s feature PCL star Andrew Brown, who has been one of the best hitters in the league for a few years now. He’s hitting .343 with 15 RBI so far. First baseman Josh Satin is batting .344 with four home runs, and young third baseman Wilmer Flores is hitting .279-1-10 in his first Triple-A season.

This is not the first time the Rainiers have ever faced a Mets affiliate. New York had a player development contract with New Orleans for two seasons, 2007-2008.

I’ll be curious to see if the Mets affiliation helps Las Vegas draw at the gate. After losing the Dodgers, Vegas attendance plummeted during the four years of the Blue Jays era. There are a lot of New York transplants here in Vegas; perhaps this affiliate will pay off for the team.

Links:

  • From Wednesday’s News Tribune, the Rainiers game story on the 2-1 win at Salt Lake.
  • I didn’t think I was going to be typing this sentence this season, but here it is. The Mariners are a disaster.
  • Larry Stone shows us that the Mariners 8-15 start will probably lead to 95-100 losses.
  • Dave Cameron writes that the Mariners poor start could lead to some job openings.
  • Rob Neyer wrote about Felix Hernandez reaching 100 career wins.
  • Former Rainiers Wladimir Balentien and Kam Mickolio appear in this video footage of a dust-up in Japan.
  • The entire PCL was off yesterday, but there is an interesting story in the Springs on the Colorado Rockies quarterback fascination. They are the team that drafted Russell Wilson, among several others.
  • The Toronto Blue Jays are using the waiver wire to help their Triple-A team win games. The Jays GM comes right out and says it in this story – and it’s refreshing to hear.

Sorry, no great Vegas stories for you… yet, anyway. We still have three more days here.

* it seems like all too often these pitching prospect showdowns end in a 15-12 slugfest. I would love to see a real pitcher’s duel tonight!

One Response to Pitching Prospect Showdown In Vegas

  1. Gaylord Perry says:

    How come Poythress isn’t playing? not on DL……..

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