Rainiers Blash-Out Another Win, Change Lineup

Tacoma hit four home runs – all two-run shots – and coasted to a 9-4 series-opening win at El Paso on Tuesday night.

Jabari Blash hit a towering two-run homer in the third inning, giving him four straight games with a homer. I’m sure he’ll be in the lineup tonight.

Justin Ruggiano hit two two-run homers: one to dead center, and another opposite-field shot down the right field line.

Stefen Romero also hit a homer, and his also went to the opposite field.

Tacoma has won four straight games, scoring 40 runs on 50 hits during the streak. So, time to change the lineup, right?

Early this morning D.J. Peterson tweeted that he is on his way to joining the Rainiers today. Zach Shank has been transferred back to Jackson to make room on the Rainiers roster.

Peterson was considered a top prospect in the Mariners system prior to the season, but he struggled mightily in both spring training and at Double-A Jackson. He hit .223 with seven home runs and 44 RBI in 358 at-bats in the Southern League, with 31 walks and 90 strikeouts. He had 19 doubles and two triples; his OPS was .636.

Peterson had been hitting a little better recently, batting .259 with three homers in 29 games since the Southern League all-star break.

It appears that Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik is hoping a change of scenery will cause Peterson’s bat to awaken, and the thought isn’t unprecedented.

Two players in the PCL are surging right now despite putting up pedestrian numbers in the lower levels. Both at one time had pedigree as top prospects, and a bump to Triple-A has triggered success.

Reno’s Brandon Drury hit .278 but with just three homers and 11 walks for a .306 on-base percentage during the first half at Double-A Mobile. The Diamondbacks promoted him to Reno in mid-June and the light turned on: he’s hit .325 with a .378 OBP and has 13 doubles in his first 32 Triple-A games.

Another, more extreme example is Salt Lake’s Kaleb Cowart. Cowart played two full seasons in the Double-A Texas League, batting .221-6-42 in 2013 and .223-6-54 in 2014 for Arkansas. This year the Angels sent him down to Class-A Rancho Cucamonga, and even in the high-scoring California League he batted just .242 with two homers in 51 games. Apparently the Angels shrugged their shoulders and said “what the heck,” and pushed their former first round draft pick to Triple-A. All Cowart has done in his first 43 games for Salt Lake is hit .329 with four homers and 35 RBI, with a .922 OPS.

The Mariners are hoping for a similar improvement from Peterson. I’m sure it is no coincidence that Peterson was moved up while the Rainiers are starting a road trip through great hitter’s ballparks in El Paso and Las Vegas.

Peterson plays first and third base, so look for Tacoma manager Pat Listach to move him from corner to corner.

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: The Rainiers continued their physical assault on baseballs, hitting four home runs in a 9-4 win at El Paso. That ended El Paso’s seven-game winning streak.

Roster Move: Tacoma adds 3B/1B D.J. Peterson from Double-A Jackson, and infielder Zach Shank was transferred back to Jackson.

Today: Tacoma (50-54) at El Paso (54-49), 6:05 (Pacific).

Opponent Affiliation: San Diego Padres.

Season Series: El Paso leads, 7-6.

Starting Pitchers: LHP James Gillheeney (1-2, 9.64) at RHP Colin Rea (2-0, 4.86).

Hot Rainiers: Jabari Blash has homered in four straight games; he’s hitting .280-6-15 in 13 games since being promoted from Jackson. Jesus Montero is 14-for-31 with six walks since returning from Seattle, he hit his sixth triple of the season to tie James Jones for the team lead last night.

Look Out For: Outfielder Rymer Liriano had three hits yesterday. Infielder Will Middlebrooks went 2-for-4 yesterday, he’s trying to get back on track after hitting .212 in 83 games for the Padres. Jason Hagerty has a nine-game hitting streak, and Tommy Medica is batting .325 in July after a rough first three months of the season.  

Broadcast: The pregame show starts at 5:50 (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:

Should be interesting tonight!

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