Ten Is The Limit

Apparently the maximum number of consecutive wins allowed by the Washington Department of Fish, Wildlife & Baseball is ten. Tacoma lost it’s bid for 11 straight on Saturday evening, getting silenced by Reno 7-0.

Tacoma has won ten in a row four times since affiliating with the Mariners and becoming the Rainiers in 1995: once each in 2005, 2006, 2008, and now 2013. The Rainiers have not reached 11 in a row (the 1961 Tacoma Giants won a franchise-record 16 in a row).

I thought it might be interesting to see what happened in the streak-ending game each of the four times Tacoma lost it’s bid to win 11 in a row. Let’s take a look.

June 18, 2005: Tacoma had already won the first game of a series in Las Vegas for No. 10. Pitchers like Cha-Seung Baek, Andrew Lorraine, Jeff Harris, and some kid named Felix were dealing during the streak. The run ended with a 6-3 loss to Heath Totten and the Las Vegas 51s. Tacoma was down 4-0 after five, scored three runs in the 6th to make it 4-3, but Vegas scored two big insurance runs off Mike Bumstead and it slipped away, 6-3.

June 29, 2006: Hmmm. This one also ended in Vegas. The Rainiers had won two at Sacramento, swept a five-game home series from a bad Portland team, and then won the first three in Vegas for ten straight. There were a pair of extra-inning games during the streak, longer ones of 11 and 12 innings. The streak ended when friend-of-the-blog and all-around-good-dude Rich Dorman started and got wrecked in Vegas, allowing seven runs in two innings. Delwyn Young homered twice in the Las Vegas 8-5 win. The Las Vegas starter was Joel Hanrahan, who is currently the Red Sox closer and has 100 career saves.

Of note: the 2006 team won four more right after the loss, for a total of 14 wins in 15 games. Something to shoot for?

August 9, 2008: A mediocre Rainiers team suddenly got hot, picking up a getaway-day win in Memphis before sweeping an eight-game home stand against Round Rock and Albuquerque. The team won the first game in Tucson for ten straight, but then fell to the Sidewinders, 7-4. Evan MacLane – a pitcher the Rainiers put a number of beatings on over the years – had Tacoma’s number that day, allowing three earned runs in six innings. Interestingly, Rich Dorman took the loss in this one, too. He gave up a triple to Trent Oeltjen and a two-run homer to Jeff Salazar. Dorman is now a pitching coach in the Mariners system – was he in the Tacoma dugout with the other 15 coaches* last night?

May 4, 2013: The Rainiers simply got shut down by a pitcher who had great command. Charles Brewer of Reno limited the Rainiers to three singles and two walks over eight shutout innings, and Reno picked up an easy 7-0 win. Tacoma had very few hard-hit balls and went down pretty quietly.

Now the team tries to get back in the win column today. Why not start another streak?

Sunday’s game is at 1:35, and Part Two of Throwback Weekend is a tribute to the Tacoma Giants (1960-1965). Tacoma starts LHP Jimmy Gillheeney (1-0, 0.00) against Reno LHP Tyler Skaggs (2-3, 6.15). The broadcast airs on South Sound Sports 850 AM and streaming right here.

It’s an interesting pitching match-up: Gillheeney exceeded all expectations in his Triple-A debut against Tucson, delivering 6.2 shutout innings with nine strikeouts. Skaggs is considered an elite prospect and reportedly has great stuff. Should be fun!

Links:

  • We start with the Rainiers game story from The News Tribune, complete with the money quote from manager John Stearns.
  • Dustin Ackley hit a grand slam and the Mariners beat the Blue Jays, 8-1. Don’t look now but the M’s are only two games under .500.
  • I wrote a Sunday minor league notebook for The News Tribune, on some strange things that have happened in Tacoma recently – and the messed-up schedule the Mariners Double-A team faces down in Jackson, Tennessee.
  • Over at The Seattle Times, Larry Stone has an excellent Sunday column on Rainiers infielder Nick Franklin. Stone also has an entertaining MLB notebook, power rankings, and thumbs up-and-down.
  • Former Rainiers catcher Guillermo Quiroz is backing up Buster Posey in San Francisco this year. Quiroz inserted himself into Giants-Dodgers rivalry history by hitting a walk-off home run in the 11th inning last night.
  • In the PCL, Colorado Springs pulled within 1.5 games of first-place Tacoma with an 8-3 win at Fresno.
  • Salt Lake got walloped by Tucson, 9-3 – but at least they raised a bunch of money for the fight against breast cancer. We tip our hats to you, Bees!
  • Sacramento out-slugged Las Vegas, 11-7. That game was at pitcher-friendly Raley Field, not Vegas – sometimes you get a slugfest when you least expect it.
  • The Reno paper has a feature on slugger Kila Ka’aihue, who now considers himself an older guy and is trying to provide veteran leadership.
  • Brian Cavazos-Galvez is on Isotopes billboards around town, and he is called “Mr. Albuquerque” by his teammates – in Double-A Chattanooga. The Topes lost to New Orleans last night, 6-5.
  • I enjoyed this “Five Questions” with veteran Salt Lake outfielder Brad Hawpe, who seems like he is embracing life in the PCL.
  • Infielder Wilson Valdez loves Albuquerque.
  • Brad Mills is now the ace of the Round Rock Express, improving to 4-0 with a win over Nashville last night.
  • The games in the Midwest were rained out last night (Oklahoma City at Iowa, and Memphis at Omaha).

It’s another beautiful day for baseball – come on out to the park!

* with this mid-season managerial change, the Mariners have flown seemingly every single member of their player development staff to Tacoma. There are more coaches and executives in the locker room than players right now!

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