Let’s Rock

The Rainiers missed out on their chance for a series win in Albuquerque, dropping a 12-5 decision on Sunday afternoon. Tacoma now trails Salt Lake by six games again, because the Bees beat Round Rock on Sunday night.

The good news was that Franklin Gutierrez returned to the lineup for the Rainiers and made an impact. He was 2-for-4 with three RBI. More importantly, he looked like he was moving around better: he got to more balls in right field, and he even stole a base.

Stefen Romero missed his third straight game due to back spasms. The Rainiers hope he returns to the lineup tonight.

We’re on our way to Round Rock, Texas right now – I’m posting this from the Albuquerque airport.

Round Rock is a suburb of Austin, it’s kind of upper-class. Dell Computer is based there, and they bought the stadium naming rights years ago. It’s about 15 miles from the action-packed nightlife of Austin – just far enough to stay away, which is sort of a bummer.

Our team hotel is nice, but it’s on a freeway off-ramp with a couple of chain restaurants to walk to, and that’s it. There are no sidewalks or crosswalks (it’s Texas – nobody walks anywhere) so you play “Frogger” anytime you leave the hotel to go eat. Nothing is ever open after the game. It’s always 100 degrees and humid when the Rainiers visit Round Rock.

As you can probably tell by now, I don’t really like going to Round Rock. The ballpark is great, but the other 21 hours of the day are the exact opposite. This is not a rip on Austin – I like Austin, and go there at least once a year on vacation to visit old friends and go to fun things. It’s just that being stuck on a freeway off-ramp in the suburbs of Texas with no car is no fun.

Round Rock has lost 11 of its last 12 games, snapping a ten-game losing streak on Saturday but then losing again on Sunday.

The Express have two former Rainiers, and both are left-handed pitchers: Ryan Feierabend and Nate Robertson. Robertson has been working out of the bullpen, Feierabend starting. Feierabend is not currently listed as a starter in this series, but they have TBA listed for games three and four – maybe he’ll fill one of those slots.

Round Rock also has a local player: outfielder Aaron Cunningham is on the club; he’s a graduate of South Kitsap High School in Port Orchard – the closest thing we have to a baseball factory, churning out big leaguers Willie Bloomquist, Jason Hammel, and Jason Ellison (who is now retired I believe).

Tonight’s game is at 5:05 (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 LHP James Paxton (7-9, 4.42) against Round Rock RHP Josh Lindblom (8-2, 2.39).

Links:

  • I wrote about a controversial call on an Isotopes home run in the Rainiers game story for The News Tribune. Bottom line: if replay review was allowed in the PCL, it would’ve been overturned. The bottom line below the bottom line: it didn’t really matter, anyway.
  • Felix Hernandez tossed eight shutout innings and the Mariners beat Milwaukee, 2-0. Felix is now the frontrunner for the AL Cy Young Award – it seems that his top competition is Max Scherzer of Detroit.
  • I found a link for my Sunday minor league notebook on The Olympian’s website, so here it is.
  • Salt Lake worked Round Rock, 11-5, to move back to six games ahead of Tacoma. It sounds like Lance Berkman‘s rehab may be over after just two games.

Sorry for the limited links today – it’s not an easy travel process, going from Albuquerque to Round Rock. We leave Albuquerque at 5:30 AM and get to our hotel in Round Rock at about 2 in the afternoon. Plus, I have to research these guys for the broadcast, since we haven’t played them all year, and that means less time for blogging. Only a hotel internet outage would prevent us from being back to Full Blog Capacity (FBC) on Tuesday.

* w/r/t the title of this post: there are at least three teams in the PCL that have their own theme songs that they play at their ballpark. Colorado Springs sings “Sky Sox baseball – having fun!” which is the best of the bunch – it’s actually catchy. The Reno Aces have some sort of countrified theme song, it’s OK. The Albuquerque Isotopes theme song is terrible and should never be heard again by human ears. Here’s what Round Rock needs: a parody of Ratt’s “Round and Round” but of course with Round and Rock. It would work, right? 

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