Late Rally Falls Short

Tacoma fought hard in the ninth inning again, but fell one run short in Salt Lake City on Friday night.

The Rainiers were down 4-1 going to the ninth. They rallied to score two runs, and had runners at first-and-second with one out but were unable to get that last hit to tie it up or take the lead.

The loss gave Tacoma a split of the series in Salt Lake, and a split of the season series against the Bees.

Once again the Rainiers played short-handed, with just ten position players and also an open spot in the bullpen.

Two players are coming – hopefully today. Yesterday the Mariners optioned outfielders James Jones and Stefen Romero to Tacoma, and they are expected to meet the team in Albuquerque today or tomorrow.

What the Rainiers really need is an infielder who can play shortstop. The always useful utility man Leury Bonilla has done a nice job filling in at shortstop the last two days, making all of the routine plays and contributing some key hits. There is nobody to back him up, though – and he usually backs up everybody else on the team, and there is currently nobody else in that role while he’s starting at shortstop.

Gabriel Noriega is still on the disabled list (strained quad) and he is not yet taking infield or batting practice – so he’s not real close to returning.

When Willie Bloomquist gets healthy the Mariners might send an infielder back to Tacoma, but in talking to M’s beat writer Bob Dutton yesterday it sounds like that’s not happening soon. Bloomquist isn’t even eligible to come off the disabled list until August 8.

The road trip moves on to Albuquerque today. The Brawling ‘Topes just lost three-of-four at Sacramento, winning the opening game but then losing three straight.

On paper, it appears that Albuquerque has a dangerous lineup. Top prospect and MVP candidate Joc Pederson is still there, Brock Peterson is hitting dingers, Tim Federowicz is hot right now, and Triple-A vets Mike Baxter, Jamie Romak, and Clint Robinson are always tough outs.

Cuban infielders Erisbel Arrubarrena and Alex Guerrero are both back with the club. Arrubarrena touched off that big brawl in Reno, and Guerrero was the victim in the Miguel Olivo, um, incident.

Guerrero looked like a budding star prior to losing part of his ear, homering six times in six games before the dugout fight. Since returning, he’s just 4-for-25.

I assume the Fightin’ ‘Topes still have some players serving suspensions from the big bench-clearer in Reno. I’ll find out today the park.

Saturday’s game starts at 6:05 PM (Pacific) – 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 (2-4, 4.15). Nobody knows who Albuquerque is starting.

Links:

  • Even in a loss, Rainiers manager Roy Howell was happy with the way his team fought until the end. Read about it in the Rainiers game story.
  • The Mariners lost to Wei-Yin Chen and the Orioles, 2-1. The new guys went hitless.
  • Bob Dutton’s Mariners notebook is essential reading for the informed fan. Looks like they’re going to send a pitcher to Tacoma today.
  • Sacramento beat Albuquerque 6-1 on Friday, riding a strong start from Zach Neal. Billy Burns stole two bases in his Triple-A debut – he’s going to be the PCL’s Billy Hamilton for the next few weeks.
  • Mike Freeman hit two triples and a double, helping Reno to a 7-4 win at Fresno. Reno remains four games behind first place Sacramento, while Tacoma is now eight games back.
  • El Paso took down Las Vegas in ten innings, 4-3, to win three-of-four at Vegas. No link as the story wasn’t up on the Las Vegas Review-Journal website when I posted this blog.
  • Former Rainiers and Mariners infielder Josh Wilson had a walk-off RBI single as Round Rock defeated Oklahoma City on Alumni Day. Really – Alumni Day. It’s kind of cool, in my opinion.
  • New Storm Chaser Liam Hendriks racked up a dozen strikeouts as Omaha held off Memphis, 4-3.
  • Colorado Springs scored a grand total of two runs in a doubleheader, yet still managed to earn a split against Nashville.
  • Iowa ripped New Orleans 9-2, and the I-Cubs have a seriously scary lineup right now. I’m glad the Rainiers don’t play them… whoops, they’re coming to town later this month.

That’s it for today – posting this late on Friday night, as Saturday will be spent flying to Albuquerque and we’ll all be hustling from the airport to the hotel check-in to the ballpark.

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