Rotation Change

April 30, 2015

The Rainiers return to action tonight after enjoying a rare PCL off day yesterday. The team flew home from Sacramento in the morning, and the guys had the afternoon and evening to themselves.

We have a little bit of team news that came in on Tuesday: there has been a change to the starting rotation.

Tacoma lost a starter when Roenis Elias was called up by Seattle to fill in for the injured Hisashi Iwakuma. Originally Forrest Snow made the spot-start in Elias’s place for the Rainiers, but the team has decided to go with Justin Germano moving forward. Germano will make his first start of the season on Friday night.

A 32-year-old veteran, Germano has quietly been very productive as a long man in the bullpen, allowing just two runs and five hits in 14.2 innings, with a 1.23 ERA. He’s been a starter for most of his professional career, so this is familiar territory for him.

Snow will now be the chief long man in the bullpen – a role he has been in before.

While we’re on the subject of the starting rotation, Danny Hultzen is set to make his first appearance since 2013 when he starts for Double-A Jackson on Friday night. Out for over a year with shoulder surgery, this is the beginning of the comeback for the Mariners 2011 first round draft pick. Hopefully he does well and we’ll get to see him in Tacoma soon.

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: Yesterday was the Rainiers first off day of the season. On Tuesday the Rainiers missed out on some early scoring opportunities and lost to Sacramento, 3-1. Mike Montgomery had another excellent start and took a tough loss.

Today: Fresno (11-8) at Tacoma (7-13) 7:05 PM (Pacific).

Opponent Affiliation: Fresno is the Houston Astros affiliate.

Season Series: 0-0.

Starting Pitchers: LHP Brett Oberholtzer (first rehab appearance) at RHP Jordan Pries (1-1, 7.29).

Injury Update: outfielder James Jones has been taking batting practice and looks close to returning. He’s been on the disabled list with a concussion since April 17; he must be cleared by doctors before he can be activated.

Hot Rainiers: Infielder Ketel Marte has a pair of three-hit games during a five game hitting streak. He’s boosted his batting average to .317.

Look Out For: outfielder Preston Tucker leads the PCL in home runs (8) and RBI (27). He’s homered in three of the last five Fresno games. Third baseman Matt Dominguez has a six-game hitting streak.

Broadcast: The pregame show starts at 6:50 (Pacific) on South Sound Sports 850 AM. The broadcast also streams online via the TuneIn app – just click here.

PCL Scoreboard: follow all Pacific Coast League games in real-time with links to Gameday screens right here.

Links:

The entire PCL was off yesterday, so we don’t have any game summaries.

Don’t forget it’s Throwback Weekend at Cheney Stadium – and we’re supposed to have some pretty good weather, too. Come on out to the ballpark it will be fun!


Rainiers Need Win To Salvage Split

April 28, 2015

The Rainiers dropped a tense, back-and-forth game to Sacramento on Monday night, 6-5 in ten innings.

This game had multiple junctures where you could play a “what if” game and second-guess strategy that was used by both teams. Unfortunately, a couple of the Rainiers strategic moves backfired this time.

Tacoma can still get a split of the four-game road trip (and series) with a win today. Mike Montgomery gets the start, and he’s been really sharp in two of his first three outings. The Rainiers are hoping for more of that tonight.

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: Sacramento’s Jarrett Parker struck again, contributing two key hits including the game-winning RBI single in the bottom of the tenth inning as the River Cats won, 6-5. Three times the Rainiers scored a go-ahead run in the top of an inning, only to see Sacramento answer in the bottom of the same inning.

Today: Tacoma (7-12) at Sacramento (10-9) 7:05 PM (Pacific).

Opponent Affiliation: Sacramento is the San Francisco Giants affiliate.

Season Series: Sacramento leads, 2-1.

Starting Pitchers: LHP Mike Montgomery (1-1, 3.68) at RHP Austin Fleet (0-1, 7.88).

Roster Move: Today Lucas Luetge is expected to report to Tacoma – he was optioned by the Mariners on Sunday. To make room on the roster, pitcher Andrew Kittredge was transferred to extended spring training.

Hot Rainiers: Multi-positionalist Pat Kivlehan has gone 12-for-32 (.375) over his last nine games, with three home runs.

Look Out For: Sacramento’s Jarrett Parker is 7-for-9 with seven RBIs in the last two games. Ronny Cedeno is having a big series at the plate, going 6-for-12 including a game-tying homer last night.

Broadcast: The pregame show starts at 6:50 (Pacific) on South Sound Sports 850 AM. The broadcast also streams online via the TuneIn app – just click here.

PCL Scoreboard: follow all Pacific Coast League games in real-time with links to Gameday screens right here.

Links:

The Rainiers are off on Wednesday and start a quick four-game Throwback Weekend homestand on Thursday night. There will be no blog update on Wednesday – check back mid-day Thursday!


Win Streak Ends; Bawcom Climbs

April 27, 2015

The Rainiers three-game win streak ended in Sacramento on Sunday afternoon, but I want to highlight something that happened on Saturday night.

Third-year Rainiers reliever Logan Bawcom nailed down a save by pitching 3.1 scoreless innings (the longest outing of his career) in Tacoma’s 6-1 victory. This was the first save of the season for Bawcom, and the 28th of his Tacoma career.

Twenty-eight saves ranks Bawcom fourth on Tacoma’s all-time career saves list. Let’s take a look:

    SAVES

  1. Jim Corsi – 36
  2. Bruce Walton – 35
  3. Todd Williams – 33
  4. Logan Bawcom – 28
  5. Joe Bitker, Dick LeMay, Sandy Wihtol – 27

Corsi pitched for the Tacoma Tigers for all or parts of four seasons: 1988-1990 and 1992. His opportunity to pitch in the majors came later than most and he ended up having a long career.

Walton was a teammate of Corsi’s, pitching four years for the Tigers from 1988 through 1991. He enjoyed a few cups of coffee before becoming a pitching coach (he was with the Iowa Cubs last season).

Todd Williams collected 32 of his 33 saves in one season – 2000 – which remains the Tacoma single-season record. He played several seasons in the majors, seeing the most action with Baltimore.

Bawcom served as the Rainiers closer for nearly the entire 2013 season, nailing down 21 saves. He was used mostly as a set-up reliever in 2014 but still notched six saves. This year it’s hard to say what his role is – the way things have gone so far, it’s whoever is available in the bullpen pitches – but it wouldn’t be surprising to see him close games at some point.

He’s got a decent chance to be the all-time saves leader by the end of 2015.

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: Tacoma couldn’t solve lefthander Ty Blach, who changed speeds effectively in Sacramento’s 6-2 win over the Rainiers on Sunday afternoon. Tacoma’s only runs came on solo dingers by Stefen Romero and Pat Kivlehan. Tacoma’s three-game win streak came to an end (as did Sacramento’s six-game losing streak).

Today: Tacoma (7-11) at Sacramento (9-9) 7:05 PM (Pacific).

Opponent Affiliation: Sacramento is the San Francisco Giants affiliate.

Season Series: Tied, 1-1.

Starting Pitchers: LHP Mike Kickham (0-2, 8.25) at RHP Jake Dunning (1-1, 6.75).

Roster Move: On Sunday the Rainiers lost Roenis Elias to Seattle, and added pitcher Andrew Kittredge from extended spring training. The Mariners optioned Lucas Luetge back to Tacoma on Sunday morning; I’m not sure when he’s going to report but since he pitched 2.1 innings for Seattle on Saturday night he’s probably not physically available to pitch until Tuesday.

Hot Rainiers: The bullpen, as a unit. Tacoma relievers have pitched a total of 12 scoreless innings during the last four games. Jesus Montero was off on Sunday; he has hit safely in 15 of 16 games this season.

Look Out For: Sacramento’s Jarrett “Inside The” Parker went 4-for-4 with two homers and four RBI yesterday, and the second of his homers was an inside-the-park shot. The Rainiers did hold him to an 0-for-4 in the series opener on Saturday, so we’ll see what happens today.

Broadcast: The pregame show starts at 6:50 (Pacific) on South Sound Sports 850 AM. The broadcast also streams online via the TuneIn app – just click here.

PCL Scoreboard: follow all Pacific Coast League games in real-time with links to Gameday screens right here.

Links:

  • As always, we’ll start with the Rainiers game story from The News Tribune.
  • The Mariners had a frustrating day at the plate in a 4-2 loss to the Twins on Sunday. Roenis Elias did pitch well, however – better than he did in any of his three starts for the Rainiers. Lloyd McClendon got ejected.
  • John McGrath writes that the Mariners should call up Jesus Montero to inject some life into the offense.
  • Christian Caple pinch-hit for Bob Dutton on the Mariners Notebook.
  • Bob Condotta has an interesting look back to a weird time in baseball: he catches up with one of the Mariners replacement players during 1995 spring training.
  • In the PCL, El Paso continued to play well by taking a 2-1 decision from Salt Lake. The Chihuahuas have won ten of the last 12 games.
  • Two Princeton alums took the mound in the Albuquerque at Las Vegas game, allowing the newspaper to use the words “spread sheet” in the headline.
  • Fresno used the longball to batter the Aces, 9-2. Domingo Santana homered twice and Preston Tucker launched his PCL-leading seventh tater.
  • Oklahoma City is the first PCL team to reach ten games over .500, improving to 14-4 with a 3-1 win over Omaha on Sunday.
  • Derek Dietrich hit his fourth homer as New Orleans edged Nashville, 4-3.
  • Colorado Springs was rained out at home against Iowa. Sky Sox shortstop Luis Sardinas grew up idolizing former Mariner Omar Vizquel.
  • Round Rock stayed hot with a 5-4 win at Memphis. The Express have won seven of its last eight.

Three Straight Wins For Tacoma

April 26, 2015

The Rainiers opened up this quick four-game road trip with a victory in Sacramento on Saturday night. For details on how it happened, check the first link down below.

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: The Rainiers had terrific pitching from Forrest Snow, Joe Beimel, and Logan Bawcom in a 6-1 series-opening win at Sacramento on Saturday night. The Rainiers went 4-for-4 stealing bases, including a delayed double steal of home plate with Carlos Rivero and Pat Kivlehan.

Today: Tacoma (7-10) at Sacramento (8-9) 1:05 PM (Pacific).

Opponent Affiliation: Sacramento is the San Francisco Giants affiliate.

Season Series: Tacoma leads, 1-0.

Starting Pitchers: RHP Sam Gaviglio (1-1, 3.60) at LHP Ty Blach (0-2, 5.60).

Roster Move: Yesterday the Rainiers added Joe Beimel from extended spring training, filling Lucas Luetge‘s spot on the roster. Today the Rainiers are losing Roenis Elias to Seattle, and adding pitcher Andrew Kittredge from extended spring training.

Hot Rainiers: The bullpen, as a unit. Tacoma relievers have pitched a total of ten scoreless innings during this three-game win streak. Jesus Montero had another hit last night; he has hit safely in 15 of 16 games this season. Chris Taylor has three straight two-hit games.

Look Out For: Sacramento’s Adam Duvall has been one of the top hitters in the league so far, batting .400 with four homers and 16 RBI. He hit for the cycle on Sunday in Salt Lake City.

Broadcast: The pregame show starts at 12:50 (Pacific) on South Sound Sports 850 AM. The broadcast also streams online via the TuneIn app – just click here.

PCL Scoreboard: follow all Pacific Coast League games in real-time with links to Gameday screens right here.

Links:

Daytime baseball in Sacramento. Let’s see if the Rainiers can make it four in a row.


Rainiers Top ‘Topes With Pitching, Defense

April 25, 2015

We had a spectacular finish to Tacoma’s 3-2 win over Albuquerque on Friday night.

Nursing a one-run lead in the ninth, reliever Mayckol Guaipe allowed a leadoff triple to Albuquerque’s Ben Paulsen. Obviously this was big trouble.

With the infield drawn in, Guaipe struck out Ryan Casteel for the first out.

Next up, the dangerous Tim Wheeler pulled a hard chopper to the right side. First baseman Jesus Skinny Montero – now featuring cat-like reflexes –  made a lunging backhand stab of the ball, froze the runner at third, and then raced to first and slid in to beat Wheeler to the bag. His feet-first slide allowed him to pop back up onto his feet and make sure Paulsen hadn’t budged from third.

Guaipe then retired the next hitter on a flyout to end the game.

Montero’s defensive play serves as a snapshot of how his physical transformation has changed him as a player. There was no way he could have made this play last year. No chance.

There is more on Montero in the game story below.

Tacoma has had great starting pitching for two days in a row, with Mike Montgomery and Jordan Pries turning in consecutive terrific starts. Both days the bullpen has followed with shutout relief.

Friday’s win earned a series split with Albuquerque. Tacoma has won back-to-back games for the second time this season, and looks to make it three straight for the first time tonight.

The Rainiers open a four-game series in Sacramento tonight. Then the team returns home to host Fresno starting on Thursday and lasting through the weekend.

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: Tacoma pitchers Jordan Pries and Mayckol Guaipe shut down Albuquerque, with Guaipe nailing down a tough save. Jesus Montero drove in a pair of runs and made a game-saving web gem at first base in the ninth inning.

Today: Tacoma (6-10) at Sacramento (8-8) 7:05 PM (Pacific).

Opponent Affiliation: Sacramento is the San Francisco Giants affiliate.

Season Series: 0-0.

Starting Pitchers: RHP Forrest Snow (0-1, 5.40) at LHP Braulio Lara (0-2, 8.78)

Snow is filling in for scheduled starter Roenis Elias, who is “not available” for reasons which should be clear tomorrow.

Roster Move: yesterday the Mariners placed Hisashi Iwakuma on the disabled list and recalled reliever Lucas Luetge from Tacoma. Tacoma now has an open roster spot which could be filled before today’s game.

Hot Rainiers: Jesus Montero had two more hits and two RBIs last night. He has hit safely in 14 of 15 games this season.

Look Out For: Sacramento’s Adam Duvall has been one of the top hitters in the league so far, batting .424 with four homers and 16 RBI. He hit for the cycle on Sunday in Salt Lake City.

Broadcast: The pregame show starts at 6:50 (Pacific) on South Sound Sports 850 AM. The broadcast also streams online via the TuneIn app – just click here.

PCL Scoreboard: follow all Pacific Coast League games in real-time with links to Gameday screens right here.

Links:

  • The Rainiers game story has quotes from Jordan Pries and Jesus Montero.
  • Felix Hernandez pitched a shutout and the Mariners beat the Twins on Friday night, 2-0. Seattle has won four of the last six games and is now 7-9 on the season.
  • Bob Dutton’s Mariners Notebook has the low-down on the Hisashi Iwakuma situation and a note on a record Felix is closing in on.
  • Ex-Rainiers outfielder Michael Saunders is about to be activated by the Toronto Blue Jays.
  • In the PCL, the El Paso Chihuahuas broke out their brooms and swept away the Sacramento River Cats with a 6-1 victory on Friday. Jason Lane tossed a gem.
  • Las Vegas starter Steven Matz had a no-hitter broken up with two outs in the seventh inning of a 12-0 defrocking of Reno.
  • Fresno at Salt Lake was suspended due to rain in the tenth inning with the score tied 3-3. The teams don’t see each other again until June, so this game is going to be in limbo for a long time.
  • Jerad Eickhoff had a Triple-A debut to remember: the newest pitcher on the Round Rock Express had a no-hit bid spoiled with one out in the ninth inning against Colorado Springs. He had to settle for an 11-strikeout, 7-2 victory.
  • Triple-A rookie Max Muncy had a big game at the plate and Nashville put away Oklahoma City early. The A’s called up Muncy today.
  • Memphis closer Sam Tuivailala survived a wild ninth to slam the door on an 8-7 win at Omaha.
  • Iowa turned four double plays in a 2-1 win over New Orleans, but may have lost pitcher Barret Loux in the process.

Rainiers Pitch First Shutout

April 24, 2015

Ever have a day where everything goes your way? That’s the way things went for the Rainiers last night.

It didn’t look like we were going to even have a game. It rained all day, and the forecast was gloomy.

Then at six o’clock sharp, the clouds disappeared and the sun poured down on Cheney Stadium. There was a beautiful rainbow beyond the right field fence, stretching over Foss High School.

The grounds crew was totally prepared – they had the field covered all day, so it was quick and easy for them to pull the tarp and get things ready for an on-time start.

Then the Rainiers took the field and pitched a three-hit shutout, beating the Albuquerque Isotopes, 3-0.

Tonight is the last game of the homestand, and the Rainiers need a win to earn a series split with the ‘Topes. Win or lose, we’ll have Friday Night Fireworks after the game.

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: The Rainiers pitched their first shutout of the season, with Mike Montgomery, Joe Saunders, and Mark Lowe combining on a three-hitter. Tacoma beat Albuquerque, 3-0.

Today: Albuquerque (9-6) at Tacoma (5-10) 7:05 PM (Pacific).

Opponent Affiliation: Albuquerque is now a Colorado Rockies affiliate.

Season Series: Albuquerque leads, 5-2.

Starting Pitchers: RHP Leuris Gomez (0-0, 6.35) at RHP Jordan Pries (0-1, 9.20)

This is a “bullpen day” for Albuquerque, due to the team losing two starting pitchers to injury in the last week (John Lannan and Jair Jurgens). Gomez is a reliever who will be first up on the hill. Meanwhile, Tacoma’s Pries is looking for his first strong outing of the season – although he pitched much better in his last start, even if the stats didn’t show it.

Hot Rainiers: Jesus Montero had two more hits and an RBI last night, and he just doesn’t seem to be all that interested in making any outs right now. He has hit safely in 13 of 14 games this season.

Look Out For: Isotopes shortstop Cristhian Adames has reached base with a hit or a walk in all 15 games this season, and he hit two homers on Tuesday night.

Broadcast: The pregame show starts at 6:50 (Pacific) on South Sound Sports 850 AM. The broadcast also streams online via the TuneIn app – just click here.

PCL Scoreboard: follow all Pacific Coast League games in real-time with links to Gameday screens right here.

Links:

  • The Rainiers game story from The News Tribune explains why Mike Montgomery came out of the game while working on a one-hit shutout.
  • Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times was slinking around Cheney Stadium yesterday afternoon and he filed this report on Chris Taylor, James Jones, and Carlos Quentin.
  • Bob Dutton’s Mariners Notebook discusses how unlucky Logan Morrison has been in April.
  • In the PCL, Rymer Liriano homered twice and El Paso rocked Sacramento, 7-3. The Chihuahuas have won eight of their last nine.
  • A late Reno rally came up one run short in an 8-7 loss to Las Vegas.
  • Salt Lake lefty Tyler DeLoach tossed seven shutout innings of one-hit ball in his Triple-A debut and the Bees beat Fresno, 1-0. It was only the ninth 1-0 game in 22 years of PCL baseball at Smith’s Ballpark.
  • Oklahoma City scored four runs in the second inning and called it a night, beating Nashville 4-2. OKC has the best record in the league: 12-3.
  • Round Rock topped Colorado Springs, 5-3, and everyone is going fishing.
  • The butler did it. Cheslor Cuthbert went 3-for-4 with a double, homer, and three RBIs in Omaha’s 6-5 comeback win over Memphis.
  • New Orleans picked up a 9-2 win at Iowa as Pat Misch tossed five scoreless innings.
  • A few PCL players (but no Rainiers or Mariners farmhands) made Baseball America’s Prospect Hot Sheet.

Let’s close out this homestand with a win.


Rainiers Add Veteran Bat

April 23, 2015

The Tacoma Rainiers early season issues have been more mound-related than bat-related, but that didn’t prevent the Mariners from signing another accomplished hitter to join the Rainiers.

Yesterday Seattle announced the signing of major league veteran Carlos Quentin to a minor league contract. He took batting practice with the club yesterday, and he is expected to be activated for tonight’s game. A roster move will need to occur to make that happen.

Quentin, 32, is an outfielder by trade though he played some first base in spring training with the Padres. He was traded to Atlanta in the Craig Kimbrel deal at the end of spring training, and was subsequently released by the Braves.

A one-time MVP candidate (2008 – he finished fifth in the voting), Quentin has had a lot of trouble with knee problems the last three years. He’s had two surgeries on his right knee and last year he missed much of the season with a bruised left knee.

Despite the knee problems, Quentin has been a dangerous major league hitter as recently as 2013. You can see his career stats right here.

The Mariners are simply taking a look here. Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reported it is only a 21-day contract, so look for the Mariners to carefully watch Quentin and determine if he can help the big league club soon.

For us Rainiers fans, we’ll get to follow along and see if a former major league all-star has anything left in the tank.

Carlos Quentin Fun Fact: he holds the PCL record for most times getting hit by pitches in a single season. He actually broke it twice: in 2005 with Tucson he set a new mark by getting drilled 29 times, and then the following season he broke his own record by getting nailed 31 times (in just 85 games!). That record still stands.

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: The Isotopes took advantage of five walks in the first three innings to build a 4-1 lead, and held off another late Rainiers rally for a 5-3 win. Justin Germano pitched very well for Tacoma in long relief, allowing one hit (a solo homer) in 4.1 innings.

Today: Albuquerque (9-5) at Tacoma (4-10) 7:05 PM (Pacific).

Opponent Affiliation: Albuquerque is now a Colorado Rockies affiliate.

Season Series: Albuquerque leads, 5-1.

Starting Pitchers: LHP Chris Rusin (1-0, 9.00) at LHP Mike Montgomery (0-1, 6.23)

Which Montgomery will we see today? The one that absolutely dealt in his Rainiers debut, holding Albuquerque to one run over six innings at Isotopes Park on April 13? Or the one that was knocked out in the third inning by El Paso on Saturday? Stay tuned and find out!

Hot Rainiers: Chris Taylor‘s hitting streak ended at eight games last night, but Jesus Montero homered again and has hit safely in 12 of 13 games this season. Montero is batting .352 with three homers.

Look Out For: Tacoma finally held Ben Paulsen and Tim Wheeler hitless last night. One guy we’ll probably see this evening is Isotopes reliever Tommy Kahnle, who was very impressive against the Rainiers in Albuquerque last week. He hasn’t pitched in the last three games so he’s due.

Broadcast: The pregame show starts at 6:50 (Pacific) on South Sound Sports 850 AM. The broadcast also streams online via the TuneIn app – just click here.

PCL Scoreboard: follow all Pacific Coast League games in real-time with links to Gameday screens right here.

Links:

Have a great Thirsty Thursday!