Today the Tacoma Rainiers released their 2015 schedule.
A few notes on the 2015 schedule:
- The season starts late next year, with the opener (on the road) falling on April 9.
- Labor Day is also late next year: the season ends on the road in Las Vegas on September 7.
- Tacoma’s home opener will be April 17 against the little doggies from El Paso.
- The late home opener – and a weather-friendly home slate with many home dates during the summer months of June, July, and August – is a nice turnabout after the team played 16 of the first 20 at home in 2014 (resulting in a whopping eight rainouts).
- As expected, the Rainiers are on the road during the Chamber’s Bay US Open, June 15-21. The Rainiers requested these dates as away games to the league office for obvious reasons, and the request was granted.
- Team travel seems to be dramatically improved from 2014. Opening in El Paso helps (that’s the toughest Pacific Conference spot for Tacoma to get to – opening there means we can fly in the day before), hitting El Paso and Albuquerque on the same road trip (that’s a four-hour bus ride), another bus trip from Fresno to Reno, a day off before the difficult trip to Iowa so we’ll fly on the off-day, road trips that actually make geographic sense – none of these things happened in 2014.
- Tacoma comes out of the all-star break with a 12-game homestand. Including the break, that’s 15 straight days at home in the middle of the season.
- For the first time in all of my years doing this, the Rainiers close the season in Las Vegas. That means a happy finish for me personally no matter what: either the Rainiers will make the playoffs, or I’ll start my post-season vacation right away. I call that a win-win!
On the whole, this looks like a very Tacoma-friendly schedule for 2015.
The Mariners aren’t done yet. They gained a game on Oakland and now trail the A’s by two games with three remaining.
The A’s are playing at Texas, which you would think is awful, except… the Rangers – using mostly players from the 2014 Round Rock Express – have won 11 of their last 12 games, including a walk-off 2-1 victory over Oakland last night. Maybe Texas will stay hot.
The Mariners will need a minimum of two wins over the Angels, and even if the M’s win all three they still will need help from the Rangers.
Should Seattle and Oakland tie for the final wild card spot, there will be a one-game tiebreaker held on Monday at Safeco Field.
- On Thursday the Times published a Larry Stone column in which he wonders if the Mariners collapse has cost the team the goodwill it had built up.
- Grant Brisbee’s Mariners obit from Thursday is entertaining, if premature.
- Despite those first two links, the Mariners beat Toronto yesterday and they aren’t dead yet.
- The Mariners are going to ask Taijuan Walker and James Paxton to pitch in the off-season, according to Bob Dutton’s Mariners notebook.
- Baseball America named Mariners prospect Alex Jackson the top prospect in the Arizona Rookie League. Fangraphs has a Q&A with scouting director Tom McNamara in which he talks extensively about Jackson.
- Reno Aces skipper Phil Nevin is getting an interview for the Houston Astros manager position.
- The PCL League Office released a season in review.
- The short-season team in Boise has new owners who are looking to construct a new ballpark. The story notes that Boise could be a Triple-A city someday.
- There was no farewell tour, but 1997 PCL MVP Paul Konerko is retiring, too.
Our next post will be on Monday. Maybe we’ll be previewing a Mariners-A’s one-game tiebreaker?