Step One Complete

The Rainiers took Must-Win Game No. 1 last night, emphatically beating Salt Lake 11-5. Tacoma scored four runs in the first inning, Blake Beavan pitched well into the sixth inning, and Leury Bonilla had four hits.

One down, three to go.

Tacoma is now four games behind Salt Lake with seven games remaining – and three in the current series, in which they can gain a game each day with a win.

The Rainiers should add a player tonight: catcher Mike Zunino is expected to start a rehabilitation assignment. Zunino (broken hamate bone) is supposed to catch five innings tonight, and look for him to bat high in the order to maximize plate appearances.

Hopefully Zunino will help with Must-Win Game No. 2 tonight.

PCL awards week is underway.

Yesterday the league office announced the All-PCL team, or post-season all-star team. No Rainiers made it this year – and there weren’t any real surprises, except for possibly the omission of Oklahoma City’s George Springer. Springer hasn’t been in the league for very long and there are several teams (including Tacoma) who never faced him.

The full all-star team is available in the links below.

Today the league announced the Rookie of the year, and it is Reno shortstop Chris Owings. The rookie crop was very strong this year, with Wilmer Flores, Dean Anna, Corey Dickerson, Springer, and Michael Choice other excellent candidates.

Coming up later this week, we’ll have the Pitcher of the Year, the MVP, and the Manager of the Year.

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 LHP James Paxton (7-11, 4.64) against Salt Lake RHP Billy Buckner (7-2, 4.60).

Links:

  • We start with the Rainiers game story from The News Tribune.
  • Here is video of Ji-Man Choi‘s first Triple-A home run.
  • The entire All-PCL Team can be found right here.
  • Chris Owings put up big numbers at a young age to win the PCL Rookie of the Year.
  • The Mariners activated Franklin Gutierrez from the disabled list and released Aaron Harang. Seattle will need a starting pitcher for Friday, which is Taijuan Walker‘s day in the Tacoma rotation.
  • Meanwhile, the Mariners lost their fourth in a row and fell 12 games under .500 – that’s the lowest they have been in a while.
  • Geoff Baker has an in-depth feature on former Rainiers infielder Nick Franklin.
  • Former Rainiers outfielder Wladimir Balentien is closing in on the single-season home run record in Japan.
  • The Seattle Times caught up with my Monday Nights broadcast partner Bob Robertson. Bob told me he decided to step away from the play-by-play back in the spring, he is totally on-board and is looking forward to visiting Auburn this weekend.
  • Las Vegas went in to Colorado Springs and swept a doubleheader in the opening game of a six-game series.
  • Sacramento got shut out at home by Fresno and fell 3.5 games behind the Sky Sox. The River Cats six-year streak of division titles is on the ropes.
  • Reno got creamed by Tucson.
  • Omaha continued its remarkable path of losing its way to the American-North title.
  • New Orleans shut out Memphis 1-0 and the Redbirds still trail Omaha by two games.
  • Oklahoma City’s 17-game home winning streak came to an end. The RedHawks magic number to clinch the American-South is one.
  • Albuquerque edged Round Rock and is not eliminated yet. The story has some crucial season-end stats about 50-Cent Hot Dog Nights.
  • Jim Callis is leaving Baseball America – this is a shocker.

Another huge game tonight!

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