Pitching Leads Rainiers To Third Straight Win

The Rainiers won their third in a row on Saturday evening, downing Fresno 5-1. Tacoma goes for a four-game series sweep today.

The key to the recent success has been pitching. The Tacoma pitching staff has allowed a grand total of 22 runs over the last nine games, for an average of 2.3 runs allowed per game.

A run of pitching like that should turn around a losing streak, and for the Rainiers it has: they were 2-9 in 11 games prior to this streak. The Rainiers are 6-3 during this run of great pitching, and they weren’t scoring much at the start. That seems to have resolved itself now.

They’ll try to keep it going today, and see if the sweep comes to fruition.

THROWBACK WEEKEND PART TWO

Today the Rainiers are throwing it back to the Tacoma Cubs of 1966 to 1971.

Tacoma spent six seasons as the Triple-A affiliate of the Chicago Cubs, and that happened to coincide with a period in which the Chicago club was actually… wait for it… good.

The success tricked down to Triple-A, too. The 1969 Tacoma Cubs won the PCL championship, going 88-60 during the regular season before beating Eugene in the PCL Championship Series, three games to two.

The Tacoma Cubs reached the playoffs again in 1971 but lost the championship series to Salt Lake City.

Two names from this period stand above all.

Whitey Lockman managed the Tacoma Cubs for four seasons, from 1967 to 1970, and he became the winningest manager in Tacoma franchise history until Dave Myers passed him in 2000 (this list has changed a lot in the last 15 years – Daren Brown now tops it, with 433 wins).

Lockman was involved in one of the most famous moments in baseball history: he was on base when Bobby Thomson hit the Shot Heard ‘Round The World on October 3, 1951.

As for Tacoma Cubs players, nobody has left a longer lasting mark on the franchise record book than Adrian “Smokey” Garrett. Garrett hit 43 home runs in 1971, establishing a single-season record which no Tacoma player has even come close to surpassing.

He was a left-handed hitter, and Garrett once told me he pulled most of his homers down the right field line. He hit 19 of them at Cheney Stadium, which also remains the record for “home” home runs by a Tacoma player in a single season.

Garrett said that when he played for Tacoma in 1971, players talked about the giant wall in center field. It was known that nobody had ever cleared it with a home in a game at that time, and Garrett said he never came close to doing it.

The first 1,000 fans in the gate today (gates open at 12:30) get this free Tacoma Cubs replica hat (the one on the left):

The free hat is on the left. If the Tacoma Cubs existed today, the first thing they would do is sue the Texas Rangers.

The free hat is on the left. If the Tacoma Cubs existed today, the first thing they would do is sue the Texas Rangers.

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: Stefen Romero homered twice, Sam Gaviglio, Joe Beimel, and Mark Lowe combined on a four-hitter, and Tacoma picked up a 5-1 win over Fresno. It was the third straight win for the Rainiers, who go for a series sweep on Sunday.

Today: Fresno (11-11) at Tacoma (10-13) 1:35 PM (Pacific).

Opponent Affiliation: Fresno is the Houston Astros affiliate.

Season Series: Tacoma leads, 3-0

Starting Pitchers: RHP Asher Wojciechowski (—) at LHP Mike Kickham (0-2, 7.94).

Asher W. opened the season in the Houston Astros rotation and made four starts, going 0-1, 7.31. This will be his first Triple-A appearance of the season. Kickham has struggled with control but was better last time out, walking just two through the first five innings before issuing two more to start the sixth.

Hot Rainiers: The entire pitching staff. Reliever Logan Bawcom hasn’t allowed a run in his last five appearances, covering 9.1 innings. Infielder Ketel Marte has an eight game hitting streak.

Look Out For: Fresno outfielder Preston Tucker leads the PCL in home runs (9) and RBI (29). He’s homered in four of the last eight Fresno games.

Broadcast: The pregame show starts at 1:20 (Pacific) on South Sound Sports 850 AM. The broadcast also streams online via the TuneIn app – just click here. It’s a Sunday home game, so enjoy a blast from the past as Bob Robertson joins me in the booth and he’ll call the middle innings.

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

Links:

  • Everyone was pretty happy with the win yesterday, which you can read about in the Rainiers game story from The News Tribune.
  • My weekly Minor League Notebook for the paper looks at the massive decrease in the length of Rainiers games so far this season, and also peeks at Kyle Seager‘s kid brother Corey.
  • Ryan Divish talked to both Danny Hultzen and Daniel Missaki who had important nights in the Mariners farm system on Friday.
  • I considered not linking to the Mariners game story, but we always do, so here it is if you really want to see it.
  • Bob Dutton’s Mariners Notebook includes video of the amazing Humberto Quintero throw. It’s truly a thing of beauty. I haven’t had a belly laugh like that in a long time.
  • John McGrath has his power rankings.
  • In the PCL, Las Vegas won it’s ninth in a row with a 3-0 shutout of Reno. Noah Syndergaard dominated on the mound, striking out ten over seven innings. The 51s drew 5,040 on Fight Night.
  • The Chihuahuas had no trouble with the River Cats on Saturday night in Sacramento.
  • Albuquerque ended an eight-game losing streak by hanging on to beat Salt Lake, 12-10.
  • Round Rock’s Jared Hoying won the team’s Kentucky Derby pool and then he won the game with a walk-off two-run double in the ninth. Round Rock has won eight of nine.
  • Oklahoma City improved to 18-5 with a 4-1 win at Iowa. The Des Moines newspaper has a story on Corey Seager.
  • New Orleans had 15 hits in a 5-2 win over Memphis.
  • Quality relief from Josh Roenicke would helped Colorado Springs defeat Omaha, 4-2. We’re up to 17 misused “woulds” in the recap.

Today is the last game of the short homestand. The Rainiers hit the road for an eight-game trip through Salt Lake City and Fresno starting Monday.

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