Rainiers Need Win – Iwakuma Pitches Today

Tacoma is one loss away from being swept in Las Vegas, so why not turn to a rehabilitating major leaguer who took third place in the American League Cy Young Award voting to try to get a win.

Hisashi Iwakuma makes a rehabilitation start for Tacoma today in Las Vegas. Iwakuma went 14-6 with a 2.66 ERA for the Mariners in 2014 and placed third in the Cy Young voting behind Yu Darvish and winner Max Scherzer.

Iwakuma has been out of action since early spring training with a tendon strain in the middle finger of his throwing hand. He pitched a simulated game at Safeco Field on Tuesday and should be ready to throw somewhere between 70 and 80 pitches today.

The Rainiers need him. Tacoma lost its third in a row on Saturday night, dropping an 11-3 decision to the best team in the PCL (Las Vegas is now 18-5 on the year). The Rainiers fell to 10-10.

Walks were the big issue on Saturday. Rainiers pitchers issued eight walks, and four of them came around to score runs. Another one occurred with the bases loaded, forcing in a run.

The Rainiers three hot hitters kept it going: Jesus Montero was 2-for-4, extending his hitting streak to ten games. Chris Taylor had another multiple-hit game, going 3-for-5. He’s 15-for-31 during a seven-game stretch. Gabriel Noriega hit a pair of doubles, and he now has a seven-game hitting streak.

Sunday’s game starts at 12:05 – the Alaska Airlines Pregame Show begins at 11:50 on South Sound Sports 850 AM and streaming online right here. Tacoma starts RHP Hisashi Iwakuma (Triple-A debut) against Las Vegas RHP Logan Verrett (1-1, 4.67).

Links:

  • We’ll start with the Rainiers game story from The News Tribune. Apparently manager Roy Howell was not pleased by the microscopic strike zone of rookie PCL umpire Brendon Henson.
  • My minor league notebook for the TNT has items on Chris Taylor and Carlos Peguero.
  • The Mariners lost to Texas on Saturday evening, 6-3.
  • Bob Dutton has a lot of good stuff in his Mariners notebook.
  • Ryan Divish’s Sunday baseball pieces for the Seattle Times include a column about the end of the month-long transfer rule problem in MLB, plus some power rankings.
  • Adam Jude wrote an interesting story on the sites of Seattle’s old sports stadiums.
  • In the PCL, Albuquerque tossed a rare double-shutout in a doubleheader sweep at Fresno. They won 2-0 and 1-0. Matt Magill and Stephen Fife made the starts. Fresno had five hits – total, in the two games. Yikes!
  • Reno prospect Archie Bradley had a rough night and the Aces lost to Salt Lake, 8-5. I’m going to try one of Reno’s local sausages when we go there this year.
  • Marcus Walden and the Sacramento bullpen shut down El Paso in front of a sellout crowd, 2-1. Former Japanese league star Leon Lee is having a ball with Johnny Doskow on River Cats radio broadcasts.
  • Washington State Cougars product Adam Conley tossed seven shutout innings in a 3-0 New Orleans win over Omaha.
  • Round Rock’s Nick Tepesch tossed a complete game five-hit shutout against Nashville. It was the first nine-inning shutout of the season in the PCL.
  • Iowa Cubs second baseman Arismendy Alcantara had five hits in a 13-inning, 9-6 win at Colorado Springs. The Sky Sox, by the way, are amused by the Michael Pineda pine tar incident.
  • Nashville hit three homers and beat Oklahoma City, 6-3. No link because The Daily Oklahoman‘s website seems to be down.

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