Tacoma’s four-game winning streak got snapped yesterday, 9-0, by the Las Vegas 51s. More importantly in the big picture, the Rainiers lost third baseman Alex Liddi.
When the Mariners called up Brad Miller yesterday, they needed to add him to the 40-man roster. That meant designating someone for assignment, and that someone was Alex Liddi. Liddi is currently on waivers and can be claimed by any other team as long as they place him on their own 40-man roster.
I think Liddi will be claimed, and perhaps already has. He’s simply too young and talented to slip past 29 other big league clubs.
That being understood, it makes total sense from the Mariners perspective to let him go. While he has been tried at other positions, Liddi has shown us that he is a third baseman first and foremost. Much of his value as a player comes from his strong defensive skills at third. The Mariners don’t have an opening at that position, and don’t figure to for several years.
Some team that needs a third baseman in the majors or at Triple-A will claim Liddi on waivers, and that will end his time with Tacoma.
This creates a huge hole in the Tacoma lineup. Yes, the Rainiers received Carlos Triunfel back from Seattle when Miller was called up, so they got a quality player back in that exchange. But Liddi leaves without anyone filling the slot – and he was Tacoma’s cleanup or No. 3 hitter in the lineup all season.
Compounding the problem is the continued injury woes of Stefen Romero, who missed his fourth straight game with wrist soreness yesterday.
The Rainiers don’t have much thunder in the lineup right now. There isn’t anyone knocking on the door from Double-A, except possibly outfielder Julio Morban, who would not be counted on to provide much in his first taste of Triple-A.
There is still a chance that Eric Thames and/or Liddi might clear waivers. In Thames case, he’s still injured and probably won’t be playing until late July or August.
One bat that could help soon is Jesus Montero. He was injured May 29, with the torn meniscus in his knee, and was said to be out for 4-to-6 weeks. We’re four weeks into that period, so he should be coming back soon. Tacoma can play him at first base, and move Rich Poythress to DH, and that should help the offense.
Tacoma did activate Scott Savastano from the disabled list yesterday, and he went 1-for-4 in his return to the lineup. It was his first game since suffering an elbow injury on June 2.
It’s a good thing that the Rainiers have this prospect-laden starting rotation right now. We could be in for a stretch of low-scoring games.
Now that I’ve typed the previous sentence, get ready for a 13-11 slugfest tonight.
Tonight’s game is at 7:05, and as always it can be heard on 850 AM, streamed online right here, or picked up on an iPad or smart phone via the TuneIn app. Tacoma starts RHP Erasmo Ramirez (2-2, 2.23) against Las Vegas RHP Jacob deGrom (0-0, 0.77).
- We start with the Rainiers game story from The News Tribune, in which manager John Stearns talks about dealing with the losses to the lineup.
- Ryan Divish has more on the Mariners roster moves.
- The Mariners beat the Cubs on Mike Zunino‘s RBI single in the bottom of the tenth inning.
- Colorado Springs picked up a game on the Rainiers by beating Tucson, 4-2. Ben Paulsen had the go-ahead two-run homer in the eighth inning.
- Fresno tallied 19 hits in a 9-6 win over Salt Lake. Former Rainiers pitcher Yusmeiro Petit returned from the disabled list for Fresno.
- Reno crushed Sacramento, 8-1. Alfredo Marte had a big game at the plate.
- Former Royals closer Joakim Soria made his Round Rock debut last night. Not sure if he changed the spelling of his first name, or if that’s a bad typo in the Austin Statesman.
- Justin Sellers had the big hit as Albuquerque topped Memphis, 4-3.
- The Iowa Cubs mashed 16 hits in a 5-1 win at Omaha.
- Oklahoma City swept a doubleheader from Nashville.
This should be an interesting one tonight – I’m very curious to see how the Rainiers offense does. Furthermore, Erasmo tossed eight scoreless innings the last time he faced Vegas. Can he do it again?