Opener Goes To The (Little) Dogs

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.

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

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.

Links:

Game two is coming up in a few hours!

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