One of the unexpected dramas of the late-season will have its next act tonight, when Roenis Elias faces Sacramento at Cheney Stadium.
I think most Mariners fans expected Elias to be in the Seattle Mariners starting rotation after the trade deadline deal involving J.A. Happ created an opening. But instead, the Mariners decided to transition Vidal Nuno from reliever to starter without sending him down – they’ve essentially had a pair of “bullpen games” in the majors as Nuno gradually increases his pitch load.
The reason Elias has been left in Tacoma is results: after two straight highly successful starts in mid-July, Elias is having a rough time in the PCL. Here are his last three starts:
- July 27 vs. Fresno: 6 IP, 13 H, 8 R
- August 1 at Las Vegas: 0.2 IP, 5 H, 6 R
- August 7 vs. Reno: 6 IP, 8 H, 6 R
Elias needs a strong start to get back on track. He’s certainly capable of it – heck, he’s been a valuable member of the Mariners rotation earlier this season and all of last year.
Hopefully he has a strong outing tonight.
Yesterday: Sacramento took an early 5-1 lead and cruised to a 6-2 win over the Rainiers on Wednesday. Tacoma had 12 hits and two walks, but scored only two runs by hitting into three double plays and stranding ten runners.
Today: Sacramento (55-63) at Tacoma (56-62), 7:05.
Opponent Affiliation: San Francisco Giants.
Season Series: Sacramento leads, 9-5.
Starting Pitchers: RHP Chris Stratton (2-4, 3.52) at LHP Roenis Elias (3-1, 8.03).
Hot Rainiers: Ramon Flores and Chris Taylor have been on-base machines all month. Flores has reached base in all 12 games with Tacoma, posting a .545 OBP. Taylor has batted .426 (20-for-47) since being optioned to Tacoma, and he has drawn 10 walks in his last seven games.
Look Out For: Darren Ford has homered in three straight games, and he has four HRs and 10 RBI in his last six games – not exactly the numbers you associate with a speedy leadoff guy.
Broadcast: The pregame show starts at 6:50 (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.
- The Rainiers game story takes a close look at the accomplishments of new outfielder Ramon Flores.
- We got off the air yesterday just in time to watch the ninth inning of Hisashi Iwakuma‘s no-hitter, which was awesome. Game stories from the Seattle Times (with photo gallery) and The News Tribune, key plays with videos , a sidebar on Kyle Seager‘s great catch, a column from Larry Stone, one of those “storify” things with reaction on social media, fan reaction from Japan, and no-hitter fun facts compiled by the Mariners crack PR staff.
- Iwakuma pitched for Tacoma at Cheney Stadium on June 25 and June 30. The PCL office tweeted this great fact: Iwakuma is the first pitcher to throw a no-hitter after rehabbing in the PCL since Roy Oswalt in 2003.
- Bob Dutton’s Mariners Notebook has tidbits on Nelson Cruz‘s 21-game hitting streak – which is on ice due to a neck strain.
- Jonah Keri writes that failures in player development have doomed the Mariners.
- Mariners minor league hitting coordinator Lee May Jr. has been in town lately, and his son Jacob May hit for the cycle last night.
- John Sickels is noncommittal on the revival of Jesus Montero.
- In the PCL, there is no doubt that Fresno is the best team in the league at the moment. Mark Appel dominated as Fresno beat Albuquerque, 8-2. Appel went eight innings and allowed four hits and one run – at Albuquerque.
- Las Vegas veteran Tim Stauffer tossed a complete-game two-hitter (<< click for an amazing photo of Jason Lane) at El Paso, and the 51s are back to 5.5 games ahead of the Chihuahuas. There were some foul ball shenanigans involving a trash can.
- Salt Lake topped Reno on Roger Kieschnick‘s home run in the eighth inning.
- Omaha ended its five-game losing streak with a comeback win over Memphis.
- Round Rock reaffirmed its spot atop the American-South by sweeping a doubleheader from Colorado Springs.
- Iowa topped Nashville, 3-1, and is considering moving Javier Baez to the outfield.
- Oklahoma City beat New Orleans, 5-2, and amazingly the Zephyrs have lost 18 of their last 22 home games. Yikes! That reminds me, that “Bens Biz” guy took a trip to New Orleans.
- Ballpark Digest reviewed Sacramento’s Raley Field. Read it for the ballpark review, stay for the bizarre attraction to Jack In The Box. What?
It’s our second-to-last Thirsty Thursday of the season tonight. Better take advantage!