Well, at least the home crowd enjoyed it.
A sellout crowd of 10,047 Chihuahuas fans saw El Paso take down Tacoma on opening night, 11-4.
After giving up a pair of runs in the bottom of the first inning, Tacoma rallied and took the lead in the third. The Rainiers scored four times that inning, grabbing a 4-2 lead. But El Paso’s five-run fifth inning – in which they knocked out Tacoma starter Jordan Pries – put the game firmly in the hands of the Chihuahuas.
Bad result aside, two Tacoma players stood out from my perspective:
Third baseman Carlos Rivero is very spry on defense despite being a large man. Rivero covered a lot of ground charging slow rollers, and he made a nice play on a difficult grounder over the third base bag. If one game is any indication, I think he’s going to be a big help on defense. He also went 2-for-4 at the plate with a solo home run.
Catcher John Hicks showed exactly why the Mariners like him enough to have added him to the 40-man roster last winter. He threw out two-of-three attempted base stealers on Thursday night, both times quickly unleashing strong, accurate throws.
The final result was a bummer, but there are still… (counts on fingers and toes)… 143 games left this season. Including one tonight.
Yesterday: Tacoma lost the season opener in El Paso, 11-4. El Paso had 18 hits.
Today: Tacoma (0-1) at El Paso (1-0), 6:05 (Pacific).
Affiliations: Tacoma is the Mariners affiliate; El Paso is the San Diego Padres farm club.
Starting Pitchers: LHP Roenis Elias vs. RHP Aaron Northcraft
Elias drew the short straw in spring training, losing the battle for the Mariners fifth starter spot to Taijuan Walker. Northcraft makes his Padres organization debut tonight; he was acquired from the Atlanta Braves in the first big Padres-Braves trade involving an Upton brother.
Hot Rainiers: Ketel Marte, Stefen Romero, Jesus Montero, Franklin Gutierrez, and Carlos Rivero each had two hits in the season opener for Tacoma.
Look Out For: Holy smokes, ex-Rainiers and Mariners outfielder Abraham Almonte went 5-for-5 and scored four runs on opening night for El Paso. He was the first PCL player to collect five hits on opening day since Shane Robinson of Memphis in 2011. Take a break, Abe!
Broadcast: The pregame show starts at 5:50 PM 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.
- A familiar face wrecked the Rainiers on opening night. The game story includes a Chris Taylor update.
- Former Tacoma Giants star Gaylord Perry heads the 2015 Pacific Coast League Hall of Fame class.
- USS Mariner’s marc w previewed the Rainiers and, more thoroughly, the Rainiers schedule.
- Bob Dutton catches up with Taijuan Walker, who makes his first start of the season for the Mariners against the A’s tonight. In the Bay Area, they’re talking about the A’s facing the “touted Mariners.”
- Tacoma’s Ketel Marte is the fourth-youngest player in the Pacific Coast League. Baseball America compiled a list of the ten youngest players in every league.
- The game story from the El Paso Times focuses on Abraham Almonte. The paper also has a story on the fan experience.
- Albuquerque lost its home opener to Reno, 8-2. Fans are getting used to the ‘Topes being a Rockies affiliate instead of the Dodgers. Top prospect Jonathan Gray took a beating.
- Giants fans came out in droves as the Sacramento River Cats walked off the Salt Lake Bees, 1-0. Adam Duvall ended it with a ninth inning dinger. Photo gallery.
- Fresno topped Las Vegas, 2-1, in its first game as a Houston Astros affiliate. The funniest mascot in the PCL (sorry, Rhubarb – you’re funny, too!) arrived via helicopter. Fresno Bee columnist Marek W. has a story on some of the behind-the-scenes stuff at the ballpark. Here’s a photo gallery. Top prospect Steven Matz pitched well for Vegas.
- Colorado Springs won its first game as a Brewers affiliate, although Nashville’s switch-pitching reliever Pat Venditte drew the attention. Here’s a photo gallery from the Springs.
- Mr. Dodger himself – that’s Tommy Lasorda – showed up for the first game in Oklahoma City Dodgers history. Dodgers starter Scott Baker pitched well in a 2-0 loss to Round Rock.
- Two-time defending PCL champs Omaha picked up right where it left off, winning at New Orleans 10-6. Here’s a photo gallery from the “Shrine on Airline.” Sadly, there are no photos of the Zephyrs mascot, which is a giant rat.
- Iowa lost at Memphis, 7-4, and Kris Bryant did not homer. Looks like 2015 will be another season of no links from Memphis, due to the Fort Knox-level security on the Memphis Commercial-Appeal’s website.
- Nashville is putting the final touches on its new ballpark (the opener is April 17), and The Tennessean has a “nine inning multimedia series celebrating Nashville’s baseball history.” The first installment is on the man who spearheaded the stadium project – check it out.
- Two PCL teams made Baseball America’s list of the ten most talented minor league teams.
- On the Mariners farm, Double-A Jackson tossed a combined shutout with starter Stephen Landazuri leading the way. High-A Bakersfield lost 3-2 but starter Edwin Diaz dealt for five innings. Low-A Clinton was hailstormed out, so Alex Jackson and his teammates will open their season tonight.
Game two is coming up in a few hours!