James Paxton followed up his shutout with a quality outing on Saturday night, holding Reno to three runs over seven innings. However, he took the loss as the Rainiers bats continued their slumber.
Tacoma managed just six hits and lost to Reno, 4-1. It was the third straight game in which the Rainiers scored just one run.
The Rainiers have 18 hits in the last three games, and are batting .188 in the series (18-for-96). This has happened against a Reno pitching staff which entered the series ranked 15th among the 16 PCL teams in ERA (they have moved up to 14th and will likely jump another team into 13th if they shut down the Rainiers again on Sunday).
There isn’t anywhere to turn for offense right now – the Rainiers hitters currently on the team need to figure things out. Believe it or not, the Double-A Jackson team is hitting even worse than the Rainiers right now – the Generals have scored four runs on a total of 19 hits during a five-game losing streak.
One hope for after the all-star break is the return of Jesus Montero. However, he seems to be slow getting back into a groove after missing six weeks: he’s just 3-for-16 with four strikeouts so far during his rehab assignment against the kids in the Arizona Rookie League.
More alarming is that the Rainiers lead in the Pacific-North has dwindled down to one game over second-place Salt Lake. The Bees won their third in a row at Colorado Springs last night, keeping the Sky Sox four games out of first.
Tacoma has been in first place for 43 days, and a win today will keep that streak alive – and stave off a sweep by the last-place Reno Aces.
Today’s game is at 1:35, and you can hear it on South Sound Sports 850 AM, streaming right here, and available via the TuneIn app for iPads and smart phones. Tacoma starts RHP Blake Beavan (3-2, 4.91) against Reno RHP Garrett Mock (6-4, 6.10).
- We start with the Rainiers game story from The News Tribune.
- Programming note: if you are reading this before 11:00 AM, turn on ESPN2 and watch Taijuan Walker pitch in the MLB All-Star Futures Game. He’s supposed to be the first man out of the bullpen for the USA team, so look for him in the second or third inning.
- My Minor League Notebook for the TNT is about the Triple-A All-Star Game, and includes an explanation from the league why Carlos Peguero isn’t in the home run derby.
- Felix was brilliant and Justin Smoak had a big game as the Mariners beat the Angels on Saturday.
- Mariners catcher Mike Zunino has been effective against the running game, Geoff Baker writes.
- A gigantic Tacoma Rainiers congratulations to local guy Tim Lincecum, who pitched a no-hitter last night against San Diego. Here is Bernie Wilson’s Associated Press story. For a fun look at it, check out Grant Brisbee’s 50 Awesome Things About The No-Hitter from McCovey Chronicles.
- Larry Stone has his Sunday baseball package from the Times: a chock-full-o-logic column about the all-star game, a major league notebook, power rankings, and thumbs up-and-down.
- Salt Lake pulled within one game of Tacoma by barely holding onto a nine-run lead in Colorado Springs for a 12-10 victory. Dick Vitale threw out the first pitch.
- Sky Sox manager Glenallen Hill has done a lot of interesting stuff.
- Las Vegas pulled within 2.5 games of first place Tucson in the Pac-South by beating the Padres, 6-2.
- Former Rainiers starter Yusmeiro Petit pitched Fresno to a 6-4 win at Sacramento, with Brett Pill hitting the key home run.
- New Orleans hit some late home runs to win at Oklahoma city, 4-2.
- Memphis put three on the board in the top of the ninth to stun Nashville, 5-4.
- Omaha’s Justin Marks and Kelvin Herrera combined to shut out Round Rock, 2-0.
- Iowa’s Chris Rusin is looking forward to the Triple-A All-Star Game – but he got roughed up by Albuquerque last night.
That’s it for a few days, you guys. It’s the all-star break.
Before I worked in baseball, I hated the all-star break. No games – what? That’s just wrong. How can we not have baseball games FOR THREE WHOLE DAYS?
But once I started working in the game, I did a complete 180. The all-star break is the mid-season vacation for those of us who didn’t make the all-star game. That applies to everyone: players, managers, coaches, trainers, broadcasters, umpires, etc.
So, like a bitter big leaguer sent to Triple-A against his will, I’m taking my 72 hours. I’ll give you a short reminder before the Triple-A All-Star Game on Wednesday, but we won’t have a proper post until the second half* starts on Thursday in Fresno.
Have a great all-star break – I know I will!
* “second half” is just nomenclature – at the all-star break, Tacoma has played 98 of its 144 games. The season is nearly 70% complete.