We Needed More Rain

It rained all day on Thursday in Tacoma, but it let up in time for the Rainiers to finish the homestand and go for the sweep against the Nashville Sounds.

Little did we know, what we really needed was more rain.

Nashville blasted four home runs and pounded the Rainiers, 11-2. The Rainiers five-game win streak came to an emphatic end, and so did Tacoma’s hopes of sweeping Nashville.

It was a rough outing for Jeremy Bonderman, who was charged with eight runs over five innings.

Tacoma’s lone highlight was a two-run homer by Nate Tenbink in the fourth inning.

After a 5-3 homestand, it is time to hit the road. The Rainiers visit Reno and Colorado Springs on an important (for this time of year) road trip against divisional rivals. Reno has been a house of horrors for Tacoma over the years, and Colorado Springs is just a half-game behind Tacoma in the standings.

Roster Moves

Yesterday the Rainiers added Jesus Montero and Brandon Bantz to the roster.

Montero was optioned to Tacoma by the Seattle Mariners; he was hitting .208 with 3 home runs and 9 RBI with Seattle. Montero is going to learn to play first base with the Rainiers – minor league infield instructor Chris Woodward is accompanying the Rainiers to Reno and will work closely with Montero.

Bantz returns to the Rainiers after opening the season with Double-A Jackson. Bantz will serve as Mike Zunino‘s back-up at catcher.

To make room for Montero and Bantz, first baseman Rich Poythress was sent to Double-A Jackson, and pitcher Jimmy Gillheeney was placed on the Temporarily Inactive List.

Today, the Mariners are going to call up catcher Jesus Sucre from Tacoma. The announcement was delayed because the Mariners must remove somebody from the 40-man roster to add Sucre. I’m sure we’ll find out the exact move later today.

There could be more Tacoma roster activity today – I’ll update people via Twitter when I get the news; and we’ll have it on the blog tomorrow.

Reno Preview

Reno is pretty much the same team that Tacoma faced at the beginning of May, when the Rainiers took 3-of-4 from the Aces at Cheney Stadium.

The Aces are 18-30 and have lost four of their last five games, including a series loss in Round Rock (three games to one).

Reno ranks 4th in the PCL in runs scored, 5th in batting average, and 12th in home runs. Those numbers are all fine.

The Aces 5.54 team ERA is 15th in the circuit – and just 0.02 points away from being last. That, obviously, is their problem.

One big change since we last saw them is the addition of veteran major league outfielder Juan Rivera. The 35-year-old Rivera was released by the Yankees on the last day of spring training, and he had to wait a month before the Arizona Diamondbacks called. Rivera is batting .286 with eight RBI in his first 16 games for Reno.

Kila Ka’aihue is still the key guy in their lineup. The slugger is hitting .315 with 11 home runs and 43 RBI, although it should be noted that he enters today’s game in a 1-for-18 slide.

The Aces will have former Rainiers and Mariners infielder Willie Bloomquist on a rehabilitation assignment. The Port Orchard, WA native strained his right oblique during spring training and has not played in a game this season. I hope to catch up with “Willie Ballgame” for a pregame interview during the series.

Tonight’s Game

Tonight’s game is at 7:05, and you can hear it on South Sound Sports 850 AM and streaming online right here. For smart phones and iPads, use the TuneIn app. Tacoma starts LHP James Paxton (2-3, 4.35) against Reno RHP Zeke Spruill (1-1, 4.88).

Links:

  • Here is the Rainiers game story from The News Tribune. A 45-minute rain delay before first pitch meant that the game ended too late for the writer to get any quotes – deadline!
  • Ryan Divish showed up at Cheney Stadium and cornered Mariners GM Jack Z.
  • Jerry Brewer has a column on Jesus Montero.

Travel day today, that’s all I have time for on the links. I promise a full slate on Saturday.

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