Rainiers Fall In Electric Opener

Fans seemed to be having fun at the Tacoma Rainiers home opener on Friday night, but unfortunately most of the excitement came in the pregame ceremonies.

Edgar Martinez arrived via helicopter to throw out the first pitch, and he received his PCL Hall of Fame plaque (now we’ve got to get him into that other Hall).

With the teams lined up along the baselines, Rhubarb The Raindeer made his flag-waving entrance running between on-field fireworks. He managed to do this without igniting his Rainiers flag, so we’re calling it a win.

We had an A-grade color guard and a performance of the Star Spangled Banner.

A crowd of over 6,500 packed the house and provided good energy throughout the game.

Then the Rainiers struck out 14 times and lost to El Paso, 4-2.

There were some good moments. The svelte Jesus Montero had two hits including a long double, and he showed his improved mobility by tagging up from second and taking third base on a fly out. James Jones and Ketel Marte stole bases, and the Rainiers brought the tying run to the plate in the bottom of the ninth.

But there was a lot of concern for Jones, who was helped off the field after a play at third base in the third inning.

Running on the pitch, Jones went into third with a head-first dive. The third baseman Brett Wallace was covering the bag, and Jones banged his head against Wallace’s knee. Jones was taken to the hospital to be checked for a concussion. We should learn more about his status today.

We’ll do it again this afternoon/evening – hopefully with a better result for the hometown nine.

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: The Rainiers lost to El Paso, 4-2, in the home opener at Cheney Stadium. Tacoma batters struck out 14 times, and starting pitcher Mike Kickham allowed just two runs in five innings but both scored on bases-loaded walks.

Today: El Paso (5-4) at Tacoma (3-6) 5:05 PM (Pacific).

Opponent Affiliation: El Paso is the San Diego Padres farm club.

Season Series: El Paso leads, 3-2.

Starting Pitchers: LHP Mike Montgomery (1-0, 1.50) vs. RHP Bryce Morrow (0-1, 1.80)

Montgomery was terrific in his Tacoma Rainiers debut on Monday in Albuquerque, allowing just one run over six innings while generating lots of ground ball outs. Tacoma has never faced Morrow before.

Rehabber: Chris Taylor continued his rehabilitation assignment on Friday, playing the entire game at shortstop and going 1-for-4 at the plate. He made his first error when a grounder kicked off his glove.

Injury Update: James Jones left the game in the third inning with a possible concussion; we should learn more about his status today. Stefen Romero missed his fourth straight game with back tightness.

Hot Rainiers: Jesus Montero singled in Tacoma’s first run and later added a double. He has hit safely in all nine games this season.

Look Out For: Veteran corner infielder Brett Wallace has a eight-game hitting streak. Catcher Austin Hedges has an RBI in five straight games (nine total RBIs in that span).

Broadcast: The pregame show starts at 4:50 (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 sets the scene and includes a couple of nice photos.
  • Jack Zduriencik reveals that the Mariners hope to assign Danny Hultzen to minor league affiliate in May.
  • The Mariners dropped their fourth straight game yesterday. On the bright side, at least they pitched well.
  • Good quote from Fernando Rodney which reveals the mindset that a closer must have.
  • Todd Milles caught up with Mariners rookie reliever Tyler Olson.
  • The big story in the PCL last night was the grand opening of First Tennessee Park in Nashville. The new ballpark has a major league feel, fans say. The Sounds beat Colorado Springs on Max Muncy‘s walk-off. The Tennessean has a photo gallery.
  • Las Vegas nearly overcame a 9-1 deficit but ended up losing to Fresno 11-10 in the Cashman Field opener. Fresno is 7-2 on the year.
  • The Salt Lake Bees lost their home opener to Sacramento and are now 1-8 on the year. Now that’s a rough start.
  • Hall of Famer Randy Johnson‘s pregame talk to the Reno Aces didn’t work – they got creamed in their home opener by Albuquerque, 11-2.
  • The Iowa Cubs played a Kris Bryantless home opener and lost to Oklahoma City, 3-2. The Register has a photo gallery.
  • I love this headline, about a triple play hurting the momentum for Omaha. Indeed, triple plays tend to do that. New Orleans beat the Storm Chasers, 5-3.
  • The Round Rock Express are experiencing more weather issues that they would like. Their home opener against Memphis was suspended in the second inning due to rain.

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