Albuquerque Can’t C The Z (Control the Zunino)

The Mariners new mantra “C the Z” (controlling the strike zone) has taken a new turn lately, as the PCL is having some serious difficulty controlling Mike Zunino.

The Rainiers catcher hit two more home runs on Monday in Albuquerque, pulling a deep one to left field in the second inning, then lofting an elevation-aided three-run homer to right field in the eighth.

That’s five straight games with a homer for Zunino, who takes this incredible streak into El Paso tonight. It’s another good hitter’s park, but not as extreme as Albuquerque.

Zunino is two games away from the PCL record of seven straight games with a homer – a record which is not coincidentally held by a pair of Albuquerque players: Claude Westmoreland did it in 1977, and Dallas McPherson tied the record in 2008.

The hot start has already resulted in accolades: Zunino was named the PCL’s Player of the Week, which technically covers the first week-and-a-half of the season. Zunino hit .441 with four homers during the week, and his two homers yesterday gave him a jump-start on repeating the award.

Tune in today at 5:35 to see if Zunino can keep this streak going!

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: Despite Zunino’s two homers, the Rainiers got whacked by Albuquerque on Monday, 11-6. The ‘Topes scored three runs in the first inning, and seven more in the second to take a 10-2 lead and that pretty much settled it. Jonathan Aro saved us from seeing a position player pitch by delivering 3.1 innings of solid relief, allowing one run.

Today: Tacoma (8-3) at El Paso (3-7), 5:35 (Pacific).

Opponent Affiliation: San Diego Padres.

Season Series: Tacoma leads, 3-0.

Starting Pitchers: RHP Cody Martin (2-0, 2.38) at RHP Jeremy Guthrie (0-2, 6.23).

These two met up on Thursday night at Cheney Stadium, with each starter carrying a no-hitter into the sixth inning. Tacoma won it, 4-1.

The Rainiers are really hoping to get at least five innings from Martin – the bullpen is taxed, having covered 13.2 innings over the past two days.

Hot Rainiers: Mike Zunino has an nine-game hitting streak, and he has homered in five straight games… Ed Lucas extended his hitting streak to ten games, and he was robbed of a homer by left fielder Stephen CardulloStefen Romero has multiple hits in seven of the 11 games he has played in…Efren Navarro has quietly built a seven-game hitting streak, collecting 13 hits… Chris Taylor has an eight-game hitting streak… as a team the Rainiers are batting .381 (24×63) with runners in scoring position and two outs.

Look Out For: the Chihuahuas also have a hot-hitting catcher. Austin Hedges has hit safely in eight straight games, with homers in his last two, and he was 3-for-4 with three RBI yesterday… Jemile Weeks had four hits yesterday, and is 7-for-14 with two triples in his last three games… top prospect Manuel Margot enjoyed his first really good Triple-A game yesterday, hitting a triple and a homer against Reno.

Broadcast: The pregame show starts at 5:20 (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:

PCL Reports:

  • El Paso hammered Reno on Monday night, 14-4. That was a series split.
  • Salt Lake completed a four-game series sweep at Sacramento with a 6-2 win on Monday. The Bees are 10-2 this season, which includes an 8-0 mark against Sacramento. So are the Bees really good, or are the River Cats really awful?
  • A smart play by a veteran shortstop helped Fresno hold on for a 4-3 win over Las Vegas. Touted prospect A.J. Reed hit his third homer for Fresno.
  • Oklahoma City’s offense was clicking, and starting pitcher Zach Lee escaped jams in a 6-2 win over Nashville. Lee is 3-0, 1.56.
  • After consecutive snow-outs, Memphis and Colorado Springs were supposed to play two on Monday. After a 3-1 Sky Sox win in 34-degree temperatures, they scrapped game two and will make it up in the summer.
  • Omaha got shut out in New Orleans by Jose Urena and the Zephyrs bullpen.
  • Iowa at Round Rock was suspended in the first inning due to rain. Lots of weather issues in Texas yesterday.

Quick reminder: early day game on Wednesday!

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