Rainiers Take Dogs For A Walk

Tacoma batters drew nine walks in a 6-3 win over the El Paso Chihuahuas on Monday night, continuing an early-season trend of walking.

After five games (the Rainiers are now 4-1), Tacoma has drawn a PCL-leading 27 walks. They have only struck out 35 times.

This is the recipe the great Sacramento teams of the 2000s used to record four PCL titles in a six-year span, from 2003 through 2008. Patience, patience, patience. Force the opposing pitcher to throw you strikes, and then pounce.

Then there is the other side of the equation: Tacoma’s pitchers haven’t been issuing walks. Tacoma’s staff has walked only nine hitters through five games – the lowest total in the league. Five of those were issued by James Paxton on Saturday, and an impartial scout from another team told me he thought Paxton got squeezed by an erratic plate umpire.

Will this continue? It seems the Rainiers have the right type of hitters and pitchers to keep it going. We’ll keep an eye on it.

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: The Rainiers pulled off a repeat of Friday’s win, scoring all of their runs with two outs in an inning during a 6-3 series-opening win over El Paso. Efren Navarro‘s two-out, two-run single in the bottom of the eighth inning opened up a tight 4-3 game to give Tacoma some breathing room. Donn Roach was solid in his first start, pitching 5.2 innings and allowing two runs.

Today: El Paso (1-3) at Tacoma (4-1), 6:05 (Pacific).

Opponent Affiliation: San Diego Padres.

Season Series: Tacoma leads, 1-0.

Starting Pitchers: RHP Carlos Pimentel (-) at RHP Joe Wieland (0-0, 4.50).

Pimentel was the PCL Pitcher of the Year last year as a member of the Iowa Cubs, going 12-6, 2.95 in 26 starts. Wieland was Tacoma’s opening day starter and he’ll look for a more consistent outing tonight.

Hot Rainiers: Ed Lucas and Mike Zunino each have four-game hitting streaks… Shawn O’Malley and Chris Taylor have reached base with a hit or a walk in all four they have played in… Daniel Robertson has reached base in seven of his 15 plate appearances… Efren Navarro has at least one RBI in four of the first five games.

Look Out For: Carlos Asuaje has homered in back-to-back games, and everything he hit was a line shot last night… speedy outfielder Manuel Margot was the prospect centerpiece of the winter trade which sent closer Craig Kimbrel to the Boston Red Sox… catcher Austin Hedges is known around the game for his ability to throw out basestealers.

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:

PCL Games:

  • Salt Lake’s bid to go 144-0 this year came to an end. Fresno beat the Bees 5-2 last night, with Tony Kemp going 4-for-5.
  • Braden Shipley pitched Reno to a 4-3 win over Albuquerque. Peter O’Brien launched a three-run homer in the first inning.
  • Ex-Rainiers infielder Ty Kelly hit two doubles and drove in three runs, helping his Las Vegas 51s to a 5-2 victory over winless Sacramento.
  • Round Rock did not pound Omaha starter Brooks Pounders. In fact, it was quite the opposite: Pounders pounded the strike zone, notching eight strikeouts in a 5-2 win.
  • Oklahoma City has one of the top prospects in the minors, left-hander Julio Urias. He dealt in his season debut last night, striking out nine over five shutout innings in a 4-0 victory at Memphis.
  • Another lefty prospect is Nashville’s Sean Manaea, who shined in a 7-1 victory over Colorado Springs. Andrew Lambo drove in four runs for the Sounds. MiLB.com has a little video of Manaea.
  • Cubs prospects shined in Iowa’s 9-1 takedown of New Orleans. Catcher Wilson Contreras had four hits, and Javier Baez launched his first homer of the season.

I didn’t make it to Iron Maiden last night. We needed a gametime of 2:25 or less for me to have a chance, and we clocked in at 2:49. But it was a win!

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