Saturday was a bad day for the Rainiers, as Tacoma blew a 4-1 lead after the seventh inning stretch, and first place Salt Lake won easily in Reno.
That result means that the Rainiers are now five games behind Salt Lake with nine to play. The four-game series between the top two teams in the Pacific-North division starts in Tacoma on Monday.
First, the Rainiers play their final road game of the season tonight in Tucson (Tacoma is 35-36 on the road this year). A win is virtually mandatory tonight if the Rainiers are going to have a legitimate shot at running down the Bees.
Win or lose tonight, Tacoma is going to have to sweep Salt Lake in the series that starts tomorrow. Going 3-1 against the Bees would only pick up two games in the standings – and that’s not going to cut it.
Tucson also has a playoff problem, but of a different ilk: Tucson has gone 12-4 in the last 16 games, yet has lost a game in the Pac-South standings during that stretch. Las Vegas has gone 13-3. Tucson is five games back, and the Padres finish the season with a four-game series at Las Vegas.
Tonight’s game is at 7:05 (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 Taijuan Walker (4-3, 3.86) against Tucson RHP Sean O’Sullivan (7-4, 3.88).
- The blow-by-blow of last night’s game can be found in the Rainiers game story from The News Tribune.
- My minor league notebook for the paper has an update on injured Rainiers pitcher Brian Sweeney, and more.
- The Mariners are having some offensive problems.
- Reno helped out Tacoma three days in a row, but that streak ended last night as Salt Lake beat the Aces, 7-2.
- Las Vegas opened up a three-game lead in the Pac-South by edging Fresno, 2-1. The 51s have won seven straight games – talk about a stretch run!
- Kent Matthes and the Colorado Springs Sky Sox knocked Sacramento further back in the standings.
- New Orleans topped Omaha in the tenth inning on Kevin Kouzmanoff‘s game-winning hit. Omaha (66-69) still leads the American-North despite a sub-500 record. No PCL team has made the playoffs with a losing record since the current format was established after the Triple-A merger in 1998.
- Memphis still trails Omaha by two games after losing to Iowa, 8-5, with former big league Cal Eldred in the stands.
- Oklahoma City moved closer to clinching the American-South by knocking off Round Rock, 6-3.
- In El Paso, the independent team is going away with Triple-A baseball coming next year. The local paper has a history of baseball in the city.
Night game on a Sunday? Yup. It’s too hot in Tucson this time of year to play day games.