Welcome To Albuquerque

The Rainiers arrived in Albuquerque today, opening a four-game series with the Isotopes tonight at 6:05 (Pacific). It’s going to be an eight-game road trip, with four games in Round Rock, TX on the second leg.

The Isotopes are the Los Angeles Dodgers Triple-A club. At the major league level, the Dodgers are one of the red-hot teams, completely turning around their season and surging to the top of the NL West standings.

Much of the Dodgers early-season struggles were due to injury. They’ve had two big difference-makers: Hanley Ramirez got healthy and started playing like a superstar, and Yasiel Puig came up from Double-A and made an instant impact.

The Isotopes have a lot of players who were in the majors at the beginning of the year, when Los Angeles had all of the injury problems. They are mostly a veteran bunch with big league experience: guys like John Baker, Drew Butera, Tony Gwynn Jr, and Justin Sellers.

They have one former Rainiers player on their roster: ex-Washington Huskies and Mariners pitcher Sean White. He fits the Albuquerque mold: MLB veteran, having a good season in AAA, ready to go help the Dodgers if needed.

The Isotopes are 64-54 on the year, in second place in the American-South. They trail streaking Oklahoma City by four games. Albuquerque just finished up an eight-game road trip to Sacramento and Fresno, going 2-6 on the jaunt.

Isotopes Park is a launching pad – get ready for some high-scoring games.

We have news on the roster front: pitcher Carter Capps was called up on Tuesday, and outfielder Franklin Gutierrez‘s 20-day rehabilitation assignment ended.

The Rainiers have moved Tom Wilhelmsen into the starting rotation – he went two innings on Tuesday, with James Paxton “piggy-backing” with him Wilhelmsen is expected to start again on Saturday. The Mariners say they are doing this to control his appearances; they have not come out and said they are stretching him into a 100-pitch starter.

Tonight’s game is at 6:05 (Pacific), 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 Andrew Carraway (6-5, 4.87) against Albuquerque RHP Matt Palmer (6-5, 3.69).

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Nice and sunny here in Albuquerque – feels like good baseball weather.

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