Topes Take Series; Chihuahuas Arrive Tonight

The weather was decent on Sunday – dry with spots of sunshine – but the Rainiers lost the game to the Albuquerque Isotopes, 9-3. The Isotopes won the series, two games to one.

Anthony Fernandez allowed eight hits and four runs over 4.1 innings in his Triple-A debut. He left the game trailing 4-2 in the fifth inning, and ended up taking the loss.

Tacoma’s offense was quiet. The team had just five hits, with Cole Gillespie and James Jones each getting two. Nick Franklin had the other hit.

Franklin and Gillespie have hit safely in all three games this season, and have been the leaders of the offense in the early going.

Tacoma used five relievers with varying degrees of success. Jonathan Arias, Logan Kensing, and Clay Rapada looked sharp. Lucas Luetge gave up a pair if runs (although he wasn’t helped by an error in the infield), and Carson Smith couldn’t find the strike zone in his Triple-A debut.

Now the Rainiers welcome the new PCL team to town: the El Paso Chihuahuas arrive for a four-game series that will take us through Thursday.

Formerly the Tucson Padres, El Paso is the Triple-A affiliate of the San Diego Padres. A new downtown stadium is being completed in El Paso, but it won’t be ready until May so the Chihuahuas are opening the season on a 28-day road trip.

Manager Pat Murphy moved from Tucson to El Paso with the club, and he guided them to a four-game series split st Reno.

The Chihuahuas have two ex-Rainiers on the roster: reliever Bobby LaFromboise and catcher Adam Moore. The biggest name on the squad belongs to former major league outfielder Jeff Francoeur, who hit the first home run in Chihuahuas history on Thursday. I suppose their top prospects are pitchers Burch Smith and Keyvius Sampson.

Tonight’s game is 6:05 – pregame starts at 5:50 on South Sound Sports 850 AM and streaming online right here. El Paso starts RHP Branch Kloess against Tacoma RHP Chance Ruffin.

Bob Robertson joins me on the broadcast tonight, and he’ll work all Monday home games this season. Bob will call play-by-play during the 4th, 5th, and 6th innings.

Links:

  • Rainiers manager Roy Howell told The News Tribune that falling behind in the count was the big problem for Tacoma pitching yesterday.
  • The Mariners dropped the final game of their road trip in Oakland, 6-3. Still, a 4-2 road trip is an excellent start to the season. The Mariners home opener is Tuesday.
  • One positive from the big leagues yesterday was the scoreless inning tossed by reliever Dominic Leone in his major league debut.
  • Last year’s Rainiers first baseman Rich Poythress tweeted that he has signed with the Miami Marlins organization. We wish him the best.
  • If you want to read about what’s going on in the major leagues, start with Jonah Keri’s “The 30.
  • In the PCL, Reno wiped out El Paso yesterday, 9-1. Top prospect Archie Bradley tossed five scoreless innings for the Aces in his Triple-A debut. Archie Bradley is not Aces mascot Archie.
  • Las Vegas manager Wally Backman had one of his patented ejections, and it spurred the 51s to a 6-5 walk-off win over Fresno. Zach Lutz had the game-winning hit.
  • Salt Lake lost to Sacramento, 9-6, for a series split. The Bees were happy to see Taylor Lindsey knock his first Triple-A homer.
  • Top prospect Javier Baez had a brutal first week in Triple-A, getting ejected and into a fight with an Iowa teammate, but he did launch a pinch-hit homer for his first Triple-A dinger on Sunday. Iowa beat Memphis, 4-3.
  • Omaha received a strong start from Danny Duffy in a 6-5 win over Nashville.
  • Colorado Springs edged New Orleans, 2-1, and took three-of-four on the road.
  • No link today (story is behind a paywall), but Oklahoma City downed Round Rock, 9-1, behind five perfect innings from starter David Martinez. The RedHawks use a “tandem starter” system at the beginning of the season, so Martinez was going to be pulled after five innings regardless of the results.
  • Broadcasting tip: taking care of your equipment is a necessary part of the job. Buster Olney tells us how he breaks in a new microphone.

It’s a nice day today in Tacoma. Come on out to the ballpark!

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