Omaha Strikes First

The Omaha Storm Chasers won the opening game of the best-of-five PCL Championship Series on Tuesday night, picking up a 6-2 road win at Reno.

The way the game started was ominous for Reno: Omaha scored three runs in the top of the first inning, knocking out Reno starting pitcher Clayton Richard in the process. Reno used four pitchers to cover the remainder of the game, with former starter Bo Schultz picking up 4.1 innings to save the rest of the bullpen.

Omaha was ahead 6-0 in the second inning and coasted to the win behind Aaron Brooks, who lasted seven innings. Brooks had a streak of 25 consecutive scoreless inning end when Andy Marte connected for a two-run homer in the sixth.

Offensively, Omaha drilled 11 hits although they were mostly singles. They hit nine singles and two doubles, but were able to string together the hits over the first two innings to amass the six runs.

Game Two of the series is tonight at 7:05.

The Mariners stretch run continues tonight with the final game of a three-game series against the suddenly-pretty-good Houston Astros (they have won 8-of-their-last-11 and are playing above .500 ball for roughly the last two months).

Tonight Houston starts RHP Nick Tropeano, who will be making his Major League debut.

Tacoma faced Tropeano at Cheney Stadium on June 22, scoring three runs against him in 5.2 innings. Michael Saunders was on rehab with the Rainiers at the time, and his RBI triple keyed a two-run rally in the third inning.

The 23-year-old ended up going 9-5 with a 3.03 ERA in his first Triple-A season. He closed the season on a real roll, allowing just three runs over his final 23 innings pitched.

The late surge enabled Tropeano to lead the PCL in earned run average, as he dropped below the 3.38 ERA of Fresno’s Chris Heston to win the title.

One thing was very clear in the PCL: Tropeano has a reverse platoon split, due to his outstanding change-up. Left-handed batters hit just .156 against him, while right-handers batted .241. This was over 124 innings pitched, so “small sample size” does not apply here. The Mariners may not be able to take advantage of this split, due to the heavily left-handed roster composition.

At any rate, I think this will be an interesting match-up to watch.

The popular food truck festival – The Moveable Feast – is this Saturday at Cheney Stadium. The lunch session is free entry and the dinner session is paid admission, 21+, live bands, beers, etc. TNT Diner has a post which includes descriptions of many of the food trucks that will be present.


  • The Reno newspaper has a detailed report on the opening game of the series. In the story, Reno manager Phil Nevin explains his quick hook of Clayton Richard.
  • The game story has reaction from Omaha starter Aaron Brooks.
  • In the International League Finals, Pawtucket won the opener against Durham, 3-2. For blurbs on all of the minor league championships, check out this Baseball America round-up.
  • The Mariners offense was shut down by Astros mystery man Collin McHugh, who has quietly been one of the better starters in baseball for the last two months.
  • James Jones discussing base stealing is the leadoff item in Bob Dutton’s Mariners notebook. The story also includes a Dustin Ackley injury update.
  • Oakland A’s beat writer Susan Slusser got some interesting player quotes regarding the rumored A’s affiliation change from Sacramento to Nashville.
  • Speaking of the A’s, Jonah Keri writes about their fall, and Bruce Jenkins writes that Billy Beane made a bad trade.

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