Rainiers Fall In 13th; On Verge Of Elimination

Tacoma lost to the Salt Lake Bees in the 13th inning last night, 8-6. It was a 5 hour, 7 minute marathon game that ended amid some light showers at 12:15 in the morning.

The loss put the Rainiers 2013 playoff hopes on life support. Tacoma trails Salt Lake by four games with five to play, and the Bees can clinch the division with a victory in the series final tonight.

It was a frustrating game that saw Salt Lake score two unearned runs due to Tacoma errors, including the tying run in the top of the seventh inning. Then the Rainiers had the go-ahead runner at third base with one out in the bottom of the eighth, and couldn’t get him in.

Tacoma did not threaten to score after the eighth, and Salt Lake rallied for two runs on four singles in the 13th.

The Bees were pretty excited to get the win. They’ve been crawling to the finish line, losing eight of ten games prior to last night. They’re going to have a massive dogpile on the infield if they win tonight.

I don’t want to see that celebration. Hopefully Tacoma can take this game tonight and send them on their way.

The worst-kept secret in the Pacific Northwest became public before the game yesterday, when Taijuan Walker was announced as the Mariners starting pitcher for tomorrow’s game at Houston.

Walker is coming off a six inning, one run, nine strikeout gem at Tucson in his last outing – it was one of his best games at the Triple-A level.

All of us with the Rainiers are rooting for Walker tomorrow. If anything, it should be entertaining!

Prior to the game yesterday, it was not known who would take Walker’s spot in Tacoma’s rotation.

Today the Pacific Coast League announced that Reno shortstop Chris Owings in the winner of the 2013 Most Valuable Player award. Owings is hitting .329 with 12 homers and 74 RBI and an .833 OPS while showing good range (albeit with 28 errors) at shortstop.

I did not vote for the 22-year-old Owings, and here’s why: Reno is 29 games under .500, and has been in last place all season. Call me old school if you must, but I’m not giving an MVP vote to a player on an awful team unless he is far and away the best player in the league – and Owings is not.

Owings also benefited from his home ballpark, which is a great place to hit. He has a .905 OPS at home, and a rather pedestrian .755 OPS on the road. He’s harder to walk than Carlos Triunfel, with just 18 unintentional walks drawn in 550 plate appearances.

The league press release said that nine different players received MVP votes, which is remarkable since there were only 32 votes cast (voters do no rank a top three like they do in the majors; here in the PCL you list one name). This must have been an extremely close vote.

For the record, I voted for Tucson shortstop Dean Anna.

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 Hector Noesi (3-2, 4.82) against Salt Lake RHP Jarrett Grube (7-5, 4.39).

Links:

  • Here is the Rainiers game story from The News Tribune.
  • The Mariners lost their sixth in a row as Felix got roughed up.
  • Here is the TNT’s story on Taijuan Walker‘s call-up. Baseball Prospectus subscribers can read this report on Walker. Jeff Sullivan thinks it will be interesting.
  • Ryan Divish has additional thoughts on Walker – and also news on Michael Morse, who has apparently been claimed on revocable waivers.
  • Well, if there is one benefit to not making the playoffs, I suppose getting to attend this would qualify.*
  • Las Vegas split a doubleheader at Colorado Springs, and now leads the Pac-South by two games. Las Vegas holds the tiebreaker on Sacramento, so this is effectively a 2.5-game lead.
  • Sacramento’s Anthony Aliotti homered in the ninth to give the River Cats a 4-3 win over Fresno.
  • Tucson is hosting its final Triple-A baseball game tonight. Greg Hansen has a column.
  • Omaha lost in Iowa, with a rare catcher’s balk factoring in the game. Omaha leads the American-North by one game, because…
  • Second place Memphis blew a 7-4 lead in the tenth inning and lost to New Orleans in the 11th. The American-North is a war of attrition. (One of these two sub-.500 teams will probably sweep through the playoffs and win the whole ball of wax).
  • Springer, Springer, Springer. We just can’t get enough George Springer!
  • It sounds like Albuquerque is the big winner, travel-wise, with the new PCL alignment for 2014. The Topes picked up a 2-1 win in 11 innings last night.
  • Jim Caple has an ESPN feature article on keeping score.

It’s the last Thirsty Thursday of the year, you guys.

* this event has been booked for months – the Rainiers will be on the road in the playoffs on Saturday if they pull off a miracle.

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