Tacoma played its final game of the 2014 season against El Paso on Sunday, and that’s a good thing.
The Rainiers allowed three runs in the eighth inning and lost to the Chihuahuas, 6-4. That closed a miserable season series against the San Diego Padres Triple-A club, which saw the Rainiers lose 12 of the 16 games.
Tacoma didn’t get creamed by the C-Dogs (that’s what they call them here; I am not making that up). Ten of the 16 games were settled by two runs or less.
The games in El Paso were particularly crazy, as this is one of those hitter’s parks like Reno and Albuquerque and Colorado Springs where no lead is safe.
Tacoma made a nice rally in the 7th to take the lead, and two pretty cool things happened.
Xavier Avery homered for his fourth time in 36 hours. This from a man who hit two homers in his first 247 at-bats of the season. Avery told me he made a mechanical adjustment to help him stay back on the ball a little longer, and welp… here we are!
Abraham Almonte hit two triples in the game, and he switch-hit the them: one from the right side, and one from the left side of the plate. Two triples in one game is a very rare feat, but switch-hit triples? That’s gotta be super-rare.
Now the Rainiers return home and face division rival Reno in a four-game series. This will be an important series for the team if it is going to make a run at the division: you gotta make headway against the teams you are trying to chase down.
Reno just went 3-2 in a five-game series at Albuquerque. It appears that right now the Aces are getting good starting pitching but their offense is erratic. They are in transition, too: impressive infielder Nick Ahmed was called up, they claimed MLB veteran Ronny Cedeno off waivers, and they acquired another vet in Argenis Diaz.
The most shocking thing from my research was learning that Mike Jacobs is actually in a slump. He’s hitting .172 with two homers in June, and this guy has been crushing the PCL for three years.
On the other hand, outfielder Alfredo Marte is currently with them, and he’s been terrorizing the PCL while waiting for his next big league opportunity. Marte hit two homers yesterday in Albuquerque.
A word of wisdom for Rainiers base runners: don’t try to steal when Bobby Wilson is catching. He’s been gunning down runners for years, and he’s nailing them at a 47% clip this season.
It should be a good series, and it is an important one for Tacoma considering the time of year. If the Rainiers are going to make a run, now would be a good time to start a winning streak.
Monday’s game starts at 6:05 PM – the Alaska Airlines Pregame Show begins at 5:50 on South Sound Sports 850 AM and streaming online right here. Tacoma starts RHP Erasmo Ramirez (1-3, 4.55) against Aces RHP Zeke Spruill (3-4, 6.75).
- Here’s the Rainiers game story from The News Tribune.
- Felix Hernandez was dealing – seriously dealing – and the Mariners one-hit the Indians on Sunday, 3-0.
- The Mariners are calling up Taijuan Walker and optioning Stefen Romero to Tacoma. Romero will get a lot of at-bats and get back on track with the Rainiers.
- Here’s the story from the Albuquerque paper about the Isotopes offensive struggles which helped Reno win that series. My opinion: Reno actually has a decent pitching staff.
- Tacoma now trails first-place Sacramento by 9.5 games because the River Cats beat Las Vegas 2-1 on a Nick Buss homer.
- Salt Lake scored a salt lick’s worth of runs in the tenth inning and beat Fresno, 9-3.
Sorry for the lack of links – the El Paso-to-Tacoma travel day is a real beast. Both of the Rainiers road trips to El Paso this year were there-and-back – which makes no sense from a league travel perspective. El Paso is an easy bus ride from Albuquerque, and the league should schedule teams to visit both cities on the same road trip.
Off my soap box – let’s see if the Rainiers can have a good series against Reno!