The Rainiers open an eight-game road trip in Des Moines, Iowa today, facing the Iowa Cubs at 4:35 (Pacific). It will be a four-game series at Iowa, followed by four games in Omaha.
This road trip is the start of a 16-game portion of the schedule in which the Rainiers play teams from the American Conference. Each series will mark the only time Tacoma faces that opponent this season.
The Iowa series is a return for Tacoma manager Pat Listach, who served as a hitting coach and manager for the I-Cubs for six years.
The Rainiers had a roster shake-up on the off-day: the trade for major league catcher Welington Castillo meant that Jesus Sucre was optioned to Tacoma… and that meant that Rainiers back-up catcher John Baker was released. I’ll miss Baker, who is an interesting and outgoing personality.
Also, the Mariners are taking a flier on veteran reliever Kevin Gregg, who they signed to a minor league contract. He was recently let go by the Reds – here are his career stats.
Yesterday: The entire PCL was off on Wednesday. In the Rainiers last game on Tuesday, they were shut out by Duane Below and Las Vegas, 2-0. It was Below’s first career complete game and shutout.
Roster Moves: The Mariners optioned catcher Jesus Sucre to Tacoma, and released catcher John Baker. Reliever Rafael Pineda was sent back to Class-A Bakersfield, and Tacoma is adding major league veteran Kevin Gregg to the bullpen. Gregg was recently released by Cincinnati after going 0-2, 10.13 in 11 major league games. Also the Mariners announced they activated LHP Edgar Olmos from the disabled list and optioned him to Tacoma, but it is unclear when he will report (the Rainiers will need to open a roster spot for him).
Today: Tacoma (17-23) at Iowa (19-19), 4:35 (Pacific).
Opponent Affiliation: Iowa is the Chicago Cubs affiliate.
Season Series: Today is the first game.
Starting Pitchers: LHP Mike Montgomery (3-3, 3.73) at RHP Felipe Paulino (—)
Montgomery is looking to bounce back from his first rough outing caused by control issues: he walked a total of seven batters over his first six starts, and then issued five walks in 4.1 innings last time out. Still, he’s turned in a Quality Start in five of his seven games.
Paulino is a 31-year-old major league veteran who is making his first appearance of the season. The Red Sox released him in spring training and the Cubs decided to give him a look.
Hot Rainiers: Ketel Marte is tied for the PCL lead with a .346 batting average and his 55 hits tops the circuit. Reliever Mayckol Guaipe earned the save yesterday; he has allowed one run in his last 13 innings.
Look Out For: Power-hitting infielder Javier Baez is warming up at the plate, going 13-for-32 (.406) over his last nine games. Taylor Davis has gone doubles-crazy, hitting five of them in his last two games.
Broadcast: The pregame show starts at 4:20 (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.
- We’ll start with the game story on the Rainiers 2-0 loss to Las Vegas on Tuesday.
- Bob Dutton’s Mariners Notebook is packed full of items of interest to Tacoma fans today, including Austin Jackson‘s timetable.
- Roenis Elias tossed a gem as the Mariners topped Baltimore on Wednesday night.
- The Mariners have pulled struggling top prospect Alex Jackson off the field due to a shoulder problem. Ryan Divish has the full report.
- Albuquerque catcher Ryan Casteel is the subject of much joking among his teammates.
- On Tuesday Round Rock’s doubleheader at Colorado Springs was rained out. They only meet for one more series, so it will be six games in four days at Round Rock in August – and Colorado Springs loses two scheduled home games.
- Late Show host David Letterman retired. Here are his Top Ten Baseball moments. Now he’ll have time to see his favorite minor league team play.
Long travel day today – will be interesting to see how the team responds. Iowa, by the way, hasn’t played since Monday.