The Rainiers return home to start an 11-game homestand tonight at Cheney Stadium, and they are getting a boost to the starting rotation.
Yesterday the Mariners announced that top prospect Taijuan Walker is being promoted to Tacoma from Double-A Jackson. Walker is set to make his Triple-A debut as the starting pitcher on Tuesday night, at home against Fresno.
Walker didn’t get much run support at Jackson, posting a won-loss record of 4-7. Look deeper, however, and the numbers jump off the page: he had a 2.46 ERA, he pitched 84 innings and allowed only 58 hits, the league batting average against him was .195. He led the Southern League with 96 strikeouts, while walking 30.
Walker had a 12-strikeout masterpiece on Thursday night in his final Double-A start. If nothing else, he should be fun to watch.
Furthermore, News Tribune reporter Ryan Divish learned that Danny Hultzen is set to throw five innings in a rehab start in Arizona today, and if all goes well he will return to Tacoma and start Thursday’s game against Las Vegas.
These moves lead to a Tacoma starting rotation of James Paxton, Erasmo Ramirez, Brandon Maurer, Walker, and Hultzen. I would assume that Hector Noesi and Brian Sweeney are going to the bullpen, which could definitely use some right-handed help.
It will be interesting to see what happens when Andrew Carraway is ready to go again. Carraway is not on the disabled list, but he did not pitch on this road trip because of some muscular trouble in his back. It’s not thought to be serious. Carraway has been the Rainiers most consistent and successful starter since opening day.
The Rainiers lost the final game in Colorado Springs, 8-3, and dropped the series to the Sky Sox, three games to one. Game details are in the first link down below.
It was the first series loss for Tacoma since the team was swept in Oklahoma City, May 7-10. That was a nice run of successful series.
Tacoma went 6-6 on the marathon road trip – not bad in my opinion, although manager John Stearns wasn’t satisfied with that result (as he says in the game story).
Tonight’s game is at 7:05, and praise the Baseball Gods for it is being played at Cheney Stadium in lovely Tacoma, WA! We’ll have the broadcast on 850 AM, and streaming online, and via the TuneIn app for smart phones and iPads. Tacoma starts LHP James Paxton (4-5, 5.18) against Fresno RHP Mitch Lively (3-1, 7.16).
- Here is my Rainiers game story from The News Tribune.
- The moved-in fences at Safeco Field may have been a factor last night, as the Mariners lost a dinger-fest to the Oakland A’s.
- The Mariners signed second-round pick Austin Wilson out of Stanford University. I’ve never seen him, but everything I read about him reminds me of Sacramento’s Michael Taylor.
- John McGrath makes some really good points in his column about bringing back the relevance of the World Series.
- Salt Lake kept up the pressure from third place, beating Sacramento 5-2. The Bees are three games back – they have won 17 of their last 22 games.
That’s all of the links I can get to today, due to the travel day. Make plans to come out and see the team this homestand, this starting rotation right now looks one-of-a-kind for Triple-A.