Tacoma ran its win streak to five straight games on Sunday afternoon, completing a four-game series sweep of Las Vegas with a 5-3 victory.
It was Tacoma’s first four-game sweep at Cashman Field since April 12-15, 2004. The winning pitchers for Tacoma in that sweep? The foursome of Cha-Seung Baek, Bobby Madritsch, Clint Nageotte, and Jeff Heaverlo.
Tacoma (14-10) is four games over the .500 mark for the first time since the final day of the 2010 season (the PCL Championship year).
The Rainiers five-game win streak is the longest since early in the 2011 season, and the four-game sweep was Tacoma’s first since a 2010 sweep of Salt Lake on Independence Day.
The team is a remarkable 11-5 on the road this year – but only 3-5 at home. Time to turn that around! An eight-game homestand opens tonight, with the Tucson Padres coming to town.
Players Of The Week
Tacoma swept the PCL Player of the Week awards for the week that ended yesterday.
Andrew Carraway won the Pitcher of the Week award, with his Las Vegas no-hit bid earning the award. He ended up pitching seven shutout innings in one of the league’s launching pads. Carraway talked a lot about that game in this story.
Nick Franklin won the Hitter of the Week award. Franklin played in six games this week, hitting .474 (9-for-19) with six walks and one strikeout. He had a 5-for-5 game on Thursday, and a home yesterday. He’s driven in at least one run in five straight games.
The Rainiers are adding pitcher Jimmy Gilheeny to the roster, up from Double-A Jackson where he went 2-0 with a 1.21 ERA in four starts. He actually met the team at the airport on Sunday night and bussed down to Tacoma with his new club.
I am assuming that Gilheeny is taking Danny Hultzen‘s spot in the rotation, but I’ll need to confirm that with Daren Brown when I get to the ballpark today. Gilheeny does not need to actually be added to the 25-man roster until it’s his day to pitch – which would be Tuesday. Placing Hultzen on the disabled list will open a spot for him.
On another front, when the Mariners activate Michael Saunders from the disabled list today, they are going to have to send someone to Tacoma. There are a few options here – but no matter who they choose, the Rainiers will then have 26 players – one too many. We’ll have to wait and see.
Tucson Series Preview
The Padres are coming in hot. They have won eight of their last 11 games, after starting out an abysmal 3-9, to pull within one game of .500 at 11-12. Tucson beat Colorado Springs the last two days, helping the Rainiers in the standings.
Tucson has a hot leadoff hitter in Daniel Robertson. The vertically challenged outfielder is a real pest at the plate, grinding out at-bats while hitting .386 with a .472 OBP. Nobody has been able to keep him off base yet this season.
Veteran Travis Buck is in the lineup and he can be a tough out – he’s hitting .267 but leads the team with 17 RBI.
Outfielder Jaff Decker is worth keeping an eye on. First of all, he pronounces his name “Jeff” – a real disappointment for us broadcasting types. He’s a patient hitter who draws a lot of walks and has a touch of power.
The Padres – like the Mariners – seem to have semi-exclusive manufacturing rights to produce major league relief pitchers. The Tucson bullpen is full of guys who have already had success in the majors and are trying to get back up there: Brad Boxberger, Nick Vincent, Miles Mikolas, and Tommy Layne all pitched well in San Diego last year.
Tucson has one former Rainiers player on its roster: catcher Rene Rivera, who appeared in grand total of 19 games for Tacoma from 2004 to 2006. Rivera also caught 51 games for the Seattle Mariners during that time.
Tacoma outfielder Stefen Romero and Tucson reliever Jorge Reyes were teammates for at least one season at Oregon State University.
Mondays With Bob
It’s a Monday night home game, so that means that Pacific Northwest broadcast legend Bob Robertson will be joining me in the booth, and he’ll call the middle innings.
Tonight’s game is at 6:05, and you can hear it on South Sound Sports 850 AM and streaming online right here (note: the stream was not working yesterday due to technical problems, but I hope it will be working today). Tacoma starts RHP Brian Sweeney (2-0, 3.78) against Tucson knuckleballing RHP Eddie Bonine (0-1, 6.00).
- We start with the Rainiers game story from The News Tribune.
- Jason Bay hit an important home run and the Mariners beat the Angels on Sunday.
- John McGrath wonders if it is possible that the Mariners are lucky that Josh Hamilton chose the Angels over Seattle.
- Rainiers hitting coach Howard Johnson and Las Vegas manager Wally Backman reminisced about the 1986 World Series.
- Lookout Landing has a feature on Rainiers left fielder Stefen Romero.
- Great story out of San Francisco on the 30th anniversary of Lee Elia‘s famous blow-up. “Cubs fans don’t even have jobs – that’s why they’re at the game!” (expletives removed).
- In the PCL, Tucson beat Colorado Springs yesterday and earned a series split. Daniel Robertson reached base four times and Gregorio Petit went 4-for-4.
- Charles Brewer tossed a gem and Reno was able to avoid being swept at home by Fresno.
- Sacramento finished off Salt Lake, 7-2, earning a four-game sweep. Salt Lake loses at Raley Field like the Rainiers lose at their own house of horrors, Aces Ballpark.
- Salt Lake is reeling, and their most dangerous hitter was traded to the Orioles.
- Memphis swept a very un-PCL-like doubleheader at Nashville, 1-0 and 2-1.
- Iowa hit four home runs in a 10-6 win at Omaha.
- Chris McGuiness had the game-winning hit in the bottom of the ninth as Round Rock defeated Albuquerque, 4-3.
It’s great to be back home. See you at Cheney Stadium!