The Rainiers dropped their fifth straight game on Friday night in Sacramento, 11-5.
Sacramento scored seven runs in the first inning, knocking out starter Andrew Carraway before he recorded an out. Tacoma got four back in the top of the second, but Sacramento kept tacking on runs and won with ease.
Tacoma (18-20) needs to get some better starting pitching performances to get back on track – and improved defense would certainly help, too.
No Tacoma starter has lasted six innings in the month of May, and it has happened only seven times over the first 38 games of the season. Blake Beavan‘s seven-inning start on opening day remains the longest outing by a Tacoma pitcher this season.
This has a profound affect on the bullpen. Everyone in the bullpen is now a long reliever, throwing multiple innings day after day. That means that when the Rainiers get into the late innings of a close game, they do not have a selection of fresh relievers that Roy Howell can use to create advantageous match-ups. He can only use the one guy whose arm isn’t hanging, or he has to stick with the same reliever who has already been in the game for two innings.
Defensive issues are compounding the problem. The Rainiers have made 11 errors during the five-game losing streak, and Tacoma ranks dead last in the PCL in fielding percentage (.968).
The good news is that this is the first bad streak the team has been on this season. Even the best Tacoma team I have seen – the 2001 club – had an eight-game losing streak. It happens to everyone at some point.
Hopefully this is the nadir. Tacoma can still emerge from this 12-game road trip with a respectable 5-7 record by winning these last two games in Sacramento.
Saturday’s game starts at 7:05 – the Alaska Airlines Pregame Show begins at 6:50 on South Sound Sports 850 AM and streaming online right here. Tacoma starts RHP Jordan Pries (2-2, 2.00) against Sacramento RHP Zach Neal (2-1, 4.50).
- The Rainiers game story from The News Tribune has Roy Howell‘s reaction to the recent struggles.
- The Mariners comeback bid came up short in Minnesota on Friday night.
- As always, there are lots of nuggets in Bob Dutton’s Mariners Notebook.
- Ryan Divish’s Power Rankings are out a day early.
- Ex-Rainiers star Mike Carp has started seeing more playing time in Boston due to an injury to Shane Victorino.
- In the PCL, Salt Lake’s long nightmare ended with a 5-4 win at Reno. The Bees 11-game losing streak is history – barely! They took a 5-2 lead into the bottom of the ninth, allowed two runs, and Reno had the tying and winning runners on base before Michael Brady got the final out.
- Chris Heston had a strong start and Fresno topped Albuquerque, 4-3.
- Las Vegas knocked around Padres top prospect Matt Wisler on the way to a 10-2 win at El Paso.
- Nashville blew a big lead at home and lost to Oklahoma City, 6-5.
- Three Memphis pitchers combined to shut out Omaha, 4-0.
- Round Rock’s Ryan Feierabend shut down the Iowa Cubs, who are waiting for the next big hitting prospect to get promoted to Triple-A.
- A rehabilitating Wilin Rosario helped Colorado Springs defeat New Orleans, 7-5.