Early Game Today!

The Rainiers close out their longest homestand of the season this morning, and they hope to finish it off with some momentum.

After a rough stretch which saw 11 losses in 13 games, the Rainiers have notched back-to-back wins against division leading Fresno. A three-game win streak to finish the homestand would be very beneficial going into the eight-game road trip which starts on Tuesday in El Paso.

The key to these two wins is simple: the bats have come alive. The lineup is back in place, with Jesus Montero, Stefen Romero, Justin Ruggiano, and the apparently much-improved Jabari Blash anchoring the middle of the order.

Along with the shaking-off-the-rust Ketel Marte, the group seems to be gelling now. The team has scored 20 runs on 24 hits the last two days. I am curious to see if they can keep up the ferocious offensive attack on Monday.

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: Jabari Blash snapped a 5-5 tie with a two-run homer in the bottom of the sixth inning, Tacoma scored five more runs and beat Fresno on Sunday afternoon, 12-5.

Today: Fresno (58-44) at Tacoma (48-54), 11:35 AM.

Opponent Affiliation: Houston Astros.

Season Series: Tacoma leads, 9-6.

The Rainiers have clinched the 16-game season series against Fresno, which is not unusual. Tacoma has won or tied the season series against Fresno in all but two years since the Grizzlies joined the league in 1998, and Tacoma is 142-112 all-time against Fresno.

The weird thing is that this year Fresno is actually really good (they usually aren’t), and Tacoma has still beat them in the season series.

Starting Pitchers: RHP Brady Rodgers (8-5, 4.26) at LHP Roenis Elias (3-0, 6.14).

Hot Rainiers: Jabari Blash has hit the go-ahead homer in back-to-back games. He has four homers and 11 RBI in 11 games since being promoted from Jackson. Jesus Montero is 10-for-25 (.400) since returning from Seattle.

Look Out For: Tyler White has a 13-game hitting streak. Joe Sclafani has hit safely in ten straight games. Matt Duffy has reached base safely in 23 straight games; he’s also homered twice during a eight-game hitting streak.

Broadcast: The pregame show starts at 11:20 (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.

Links:

  • We start with the Rainiers game story from The News Tribune.
  • Franklin Gutierrez hit a walk-off homer and the Mariners beat Toronto on Sunday, 6-5. Click on this one for Elaine Thompson’s terrific photo of Guti getting “doused” by a bucket of… individually wrapped Double-Bubbles?
  • The Mariners turned a triple play yesterday. We have a video and series of photos from SB Nation, and a story from MLB.com detailing the play with quotes from players involved. This seems like a good time to mention that Tacoma hasn’t turned a triple play since 1995 and we are overdue.
  • The News Tribune’s Mariners Notebook details the triple play and has some additional items.
  • University of Washington baseball product Jake Lamb comes to Seattle with his Arizona Diamondbacks this week, and Larry Stone caught up with him.
  • Much of the Hall Of Fame ceremony coverage in our area has deservedly focused on former Mariners pitcher Randy Johnson. For another view, check out Jeff Passan’s article on Pedro Martinez‘s speech.
  • In the PCL, El Paso keeps pressuring first place Las Vegas in the Pacific-South. The Chihuahuas won their sixth in a row – this time on a tenth inning three-run homer by Tim Federowicz to beat Salt Lake, 6-3.
  • Las Vegas, however, remained 4.5 games ahead of El Paso. The 51s throttled Reno, 15-9. A nine-run inning pretty much settled things.
  • Sacramento at Albuquerque was thunderstormed out – they are playing two today.
  • Aaron Brooks pitched Omaha to its seventh straight win, a 3-1 decision over visiting Colorado Springs. Two of Omaha’s top pitchers were traded to the Reds – but they see opportunity in the change of scenery.
  • Oklahoma City held on for a 4-2 win at Round Rock, and remained five games ahead of Omaha in the American-North.
  • Iowa lost at Memphis on Greg Garcia‘s walk-off two-run double, as Brian Schlitter blew the save.
  • New Orleans won its fourth in a row, a 9-6 road victory at Nashville. I’m more impressed that the Zephyrs stole a base for the second time in their last 32 games.

I will update the round-up, but we may not have much in the way of links for you on Tuesday. The wake-up call is at 2:45 AM for the team’s travel to El Paso, and we don’t even arrive there until afternoon. El Paso has a great ballpark and vibrant fanbase, but it is by far the toughest city for Tacoma to get to in the entire PCL.

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