The last game in Oklahoma City was a real nail-biter, and the Rainiers lost it, 1-0.
That completed a four-game series sweep for Oklahoma City – their first against Tacoma since 2005. Hmmm…. the Rainiers won their division and reached the PCL Championship Series that year. Maybe the sweep is a good omen?
In any 1-0 game there are always a couple of turning points. Mistakes get magnified, and so do plays involving luck. For example, right fielder Eric Thames plunging through a faulty bullpen gate while trying to catch a deep fly may have cost the Rainiers the game.
I wrote the details in the game story – the first link down below – if you want to read about the turning points, and the great start by Jimmy Gillheeney.
Now we are in The Big Easy. However, New Orleans isn’t New Orleans anymore: the Zephyrs changed their visiting hotel, and we no longer get to stay in the French Quarter. Instead, we stay out by the airport (and near the ballpark). This change deserves a gigantic BOOOOOOOOO!!!!
New Orleans Preview
The New Orleans Zephyrs are the Triple-A affiliate of the Miami Marlins. They moved over the .500 mark with an extra-innings win over Salt Lake last night, 3-2, to improve their record to 17-16 on the year.
Their coaching staff is manager Ron Hassey, pitching coach Charlie Corbell (a former Tacoma Tigers pitcher), and hitting coach Damon Minor (Fresno Grizzlies For Life!).
New Orleans has won five of their last seven games, including a 3-1 series win against Salt Lake. The Zephyrs have lingered right around .500 since opening day: they have not been more than two games over or under .500 yet this year.
The position players are mostly a veteran group. Ed Lucas is off to a good start this year; the former Omaha infielder is batting .319 with five homers. Bryan Peterson is a tough out, he’s hitting .282 with a .386 OBP. Ben Lasater is hitting just .230 but he leads the team with 18 RBI.
The Zephyrs have an excellent pitching staff, and they play in one of the true pitcher’s parks in the PCL. Their team ERA of 3.73 is one of the few in the league better than Tacoma’s 3.81.
They don’t have many top prospects – the Marlins top young talent is in Double-A and they have already jumped a couple of guys straight from AA to the big leagues (most notably power outfield prospect Marcel Ozuna). Twenty-two year old starter Jacob Turner is a pitcher to watch – he’s coming off a gem in his last outing and starts game three on Monday.
There is one former Rainiers and Mariners pitcher on their roster, and he’s a good one: reliever David Aardsma is throwing well, with a 3.38 ERA in eight games. I hope to catch him for a pregame show at some point during this series.
The series starts this afternoon at 4:00 (Pacific). Tacoma starts RHP Andrew Carraway (4-1, 3.40) against New Orleans RHP Doug Mathis (1-2, 2.22). The broadcast will be on 850 AM and streaming online right here, with you iPadders going here instead.
- We start with the Rainiers game story I wrote for The News Tribune.
- In Baseball America’s Minor League Transactions, we learn that former Rainiers outfielder Johan Limonta was picked up by the San Diego Padres. For now, he’s at Double-A San Antonio.
- Rob Neyer wrote about Jack Z and the problem with prospects.
- The Mariners beat the A’s yesterday, and if they win today they’ll move into second place in the AL West.
- In the PCL, Drew Pomeranz was dealing and Colorado Springs sporked Iowa, 11-1. The Sky Sox moved into first place and lead the division by a half-game over Tacoma.
- New Orleans needed ten innings to dispatch Salt Lake, 3-2. Gorkys Hernandez had the game-winning sacrifice fly.
- Omaha had a big sixth inning to beat Reno and earn a series split.
- Tucson beat Albuquerque, and the paper has a story on players getting their first MLB call-up. Excellent Daren Brown story in here, involving catcher Rene Rivera.
- Port Orchard’s Aaron Cunningham had four hits as Round Rock rolled in Las Vegas, 12-6.
- It didn’t end until 1:00 AM, but Fresno topped Nashville in 12 innings, 5-4. Heath Hembree nailed down a difficult save.
- Sacramento got lit up in Memphis, 10-3. Oscar Taveras was 4-for-5 with a homer for the Redbirds.
We got off the plane and could immediately feel the humidity. Haven’t had this yet this season – maybe it will get all of our Southern guys hot at the plate.