Tacoma lost the final game in Salt Lake City last night, 4-2, and now moves on to some important games in Las Vegas.
These will be the final four games of the 2015 regular season, and it turns out that they are going to be decisive.
Las Vegas has been in first place in the Pacific-South division for roughly 95% of the season, but last night they were knocked out of the top spot by El Paso. Las Vegas is a half-game back with four remaining (El Paso plays a five-game series at Reno starting tonight).
Tacoma can “play spoiler” and keep Vegas out of the playoffs by winning some games in this series. Wally Backman‘s club has won the division each of the last two years.
Las Vegas has had two big issues which have hurt down the stretch: the offense has been inconsistent, and there have been some untimely bullpen meltdowns. Las Vegas is 11-16 over the last 27 games.
Not helping is the fact that their parent club the New York Mets are leading the NL East and are concerned about keeping the lead down the stretch. They called up several key players on September 1st, leaving the 51s a bit thin.
This final weekend will be all about Tacoma players trying to finish the season on a positive note, and seeing if the team can knock Vegas out of the playoffs.
Yesterday: The Rainiers had 11 hits but managed only two runs in a 4-2 loss to Salt Lake on Thursday night. The Rainiers lost the series, three games to one, and finished the season 5-11 against the last place Bees.
Injury Update: Outfielder Jabari Blash has missed two games with a sore right knee, and he is day-to-day. He told me he will play this weekend in Las Vegas, but let’s remember that the team trainers always have the final say.
Today: Tacoma (66-74) at Las Vegas (75-65), 7:05.
Opponent Affiliation: New York Mets.
Season Series: Tied, 6-6.
Starting Pitchers: RHP Adrian Sampson (2-3, 6.82) at RHP Dillon Gee (7-3, 4.87)
Hot Rainiers: Jabari Blash has a six-game hitting streak, which includes four homers… James Jones is 9-for-25 with six walks in his seven games since coming off the disabled list… Jesus Montero is 17-for-31 in his last eight PCL games, and is batting .349 in the league.
Look Out For: Las Vegas doesn’t have any hot hitters right now. They were held to one run in each of the last two games against El Paso, and they hit just .169 in the four-game series against the Chihuahuas.
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 concerns the Rainiers inability to beat an awful Salt Lake club this season.
- Fresno third baseman Matt Duffy was named Most Valuable Player in the PCL. Tacoma’s Jesus Montero finished third in the voting (Reno’s Jamie Romak took second). Tacoma’s only PCL MVP in franchise history is Dick Phillips in 1961.
- The Mariners were off yesterday. Ryan Divish has an off-day feature on Brad Miller changing positions.
- Bob Dutton’s Mariners Notebook leads with Miller and touches on some other subjects.
- The big story in the PCL is Las Vegas losing three-of-four to El Paso and dropping out of first place in the Pacific-South. El Paso won 10-1 on Thursday and the Review-Journal has the story.
- Elsewhere, Reno’s Peter O’Brien had a monster game in a 9-5 win at Sacramento.
- Fresno dropped another one to Albuquerque, 4-3, and Tony D needs to get it straightened out before the playoffs – the story makes it clear that he has player personnel issues. Fresno is 3-9 over the last 12 games.
- Omaha obliterated Colorado Springs 11-1 and comes home trying to set a new franchise standard.
- Memphis sent the fans home happy with a 3-2 win over New Orleans in the season’s final game at Autozone Park.
- Round Rock’s Ryan Rua enjoyed a grand salami (on rye with mustard) in an 8-3 win at Nashville.
- Oklahoma City moved 30 games over .500 with an 8-3 victory against Iowa. Oklahoma City hasn’t won more games since 1965.
This is shaping up as a fascinating weekend. We’ve got a combination of: guys trying to play well and get called up on Monday, a holiday weekend in Las Vegas, and trying to knock the 51s out of the playoffs. Four out of five doctors recommend not mixing these ingredients, but here we are.