The Rainiers lost to the Topes on Friday night, 6-1. We have a couple of quick Saturday morning notes for you:
- Stefen Romero was a late scratch from the lineup yesterday, with back spasms. The grand slam man would’ve had a chance with the bases loaded in the third inning if he had been in the lineup. Lots more on the game in the first link down below.
- Hector Noesi allowed five runs in five innings, but he pitched much better than the stats indicate. He struck out a season-high seven, and he escaped some tough jams and prevented innings from snowballing on him. There were some defensive issues that didn’t help him.
- Leury Bonilla was activated from the disabled list – there was room for him on the roster, Tacoma had been a man short.
- Franklin Gutierrez starts his all-time, never-to-be-beaten-record fourth 20-day rehabilitation assignment of the season tonight.
- Tom Wilhelmsen is expected to start and throw two innings tonight, with Taijuan Walker following him from the bullpen. However, don’t be surprised if the roles swap before first pitch – they did this with James Paxton on Tuesday, and Paxton just didn’t look the same in his first career relief appearance.
The Rainiers fell six games behind Salt Lake, with 24 to play. The more important chase in my eyes is to pull within four games of the Bees in the next 16 days. This is because with eight games left, the Rainiers start a four-game home series with Salt Lake. If Tacoma is four or fewer games out of first place when that series begins, anything can happen.
The turning point was July 10, when the Rainiers were a season-best 16 games over .500 and had a four-game lead over the Bees. Tacoma is 8-18 since that date, while Salt Lake has gone 18-8 to force a ten-game swing.
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 Tom Wilhelmsen (0-1, 13.50) against Albuquerque RHP Matt Magill (4-0, 2.34).
- We start with my Rainiers game story from The News Tribune. Pleased to report that my description of Brian Wilson as a “hairy right-hander” made it past the editing desk.
- The Albuquerque newspaper’s story focuses on Wilson’s rehabilitation outing.
- The Mariners played a sloppy game and lost to the Brewers on Friday night – and former Rainiers infielder Yuniesky Betancourt hit a grand slam.
- At the Seattle Times, Jerry Brewer has a column on Ken Griffey Jr, and there is a list of Top Ten Griffey Moments. Griffey is being inducted into the Mariner Hall Of Fame tonight.
- Speaking of the Times, they officially announced that Larry Stone is sliding over from national baseball writer to sports columnist. This means the end of the Sunday “Inside Pitch,” and I’m sad.
- The Mariners Advanced-A affiliate in High Desert beat Lancaster 30-8 last night. They scored ten runs in each of the first two innings – here’s the box score.
- Round Rock is not helping the Rainiers. The Express lost their tenth in a row, 5-1 to Salt Lake.
- Yordano Ventura was dealing and Omaha beat Sacramento, 9-4, ending the River Cats eight-game winning streak.
- Las Vegas missed out on an opportunity to tie Sacramento in first place, dropping a 6-4 decision to Oklahoma City. RedHawks outfielder George Springer joined the 30-30 club.
- There was a lot of baseball in Reno last night, as the Aces swept a doubleheader from Memphis.
- Iowa held off Fresno, 5-4. The story focuses on hitting prospect Mike Olt.
- Tucson knocked off New Orleans, 7-6. Interesting story on Zephyrs manager Ron Hassey, who won titles at all levels.
- The Nashville Sounds watched it rain for two hours and 18 minutes in Colorado Springs before Sky Sox management called the game.
With Wilhelmsen and Walker on the mound tonight, the Rainiers are going to be throwing heat all game. Should be fun!