Rainiers Hang On As Bullpen Survives

Tacoma held on to a slim lead in the late innings and beat Las Vegas on Wednesday night, 6-4.

The Rainiers have won three out of four in this series so far, with the final game tonight at 7:05. Tacoma continued its long stretch of good play, and is now 25-14 over the last 39 games.

Last night the Rainiers scored four runs in the fourth inning to take a 6-3 lead, with third baseman Gabriel Noriega contributing the key go-ahead two-run double.

After taking the lead, Tacoma pitchers had to overcome something new: a tiny strike zone.

Relievers Lucas Luetge, Logan Kensing, Todd Coffey, and Carson Smith issued seven walks over the last four innings, and were constantly in trouble, yet managed to maintain the lead and secure the win.

For the most part, these pitchers weren’t particularly wild. A lot of pitches that seem to normally be called strikes were balls on this particular night.

It made for four stressful innings down the stretch, but the relievers were able to get the key outs when they needed to and Tacoma held on for the win.

Thursday’s game starts at 7:05 PM (Pacific) – 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 (6-6, 3.96) against Las Vegas RHP Logan Verrett (8-2, 4.58).

The Mariners made a trade today, sending Tacoma reliever Stephen Pryor to the Minnesota Twins in exchange for DH Kendrys Morales.

Recovering from shoulder surgery, Pryor appeared in 24 games for Tacoma, going 2-1 with a 4.65 ERA. He had 27 strikeouts and 18 walks in 31.0 innings.

The big thing for Pryor has been getting healthy, and his velocity has improved over the course of the season where recently he was hitting 94 mph (note: PCL scoreboard radar guns, so accuracy is questionable). Now, he was upper-90s before the surgery, and we don’t know if that will ever come all the way back for him, but it’s a gamble the Twins are taking.

Morales has been simply awful for the Twins, posting a .584 OPS. We all know he’s better than that, though – and he had no spring training, after sitting out the first two months. Clearly the Mariners are hoping he can show his 2013 form in a return to the team.

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Today is the final game of the year between Tacoma and Las Vegas. The Rainiers need a win to finish with an 8-8 season series split.

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