Rainiers Face Lincecum Tonight

Tacoma beat Salt Lake last night, 5-1, to even-up the series and set the stage for tonight’s rather interesting pitching match-up.

Today is the beginning of the comeback road for two-time Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum, who makes the start for the Salt Lake Bees.

Lincecum is a 2003 graduate of Liberty High School in Renton, and he pitched three seasons for the University of Washington before becoming a San Francisco Giants legend.

He won back-to-back Cy Young Awards in 2008 and 2009, he’s pitched two no-hitters, and he was a part of three World Series Championships with San Francisco (2010, 2012, 2014).

Last year Lincecum was sidelined by a hip injury, eventually requiring surgery. This coincided with his free agency, so he had to continue to rehab his injury and prove he was healthy enough to pitch before anyone would consider signing him.

That happened on May 20, when the Los Angeles Angels signed him to a one-year contract. Lincecum is scheduled to make two minor league starts and join the Angels big league rotation after that.

Today is the first of the two minor league starts. Tim told me yesterday he’s up to 95 pitches in his workouts, but the Angels coaches will ultimately decide how long he goes tonight.

Lincecum has pitched in one Triple-A game at Cheney Stadium, in 2007 when he was with Fresno just two weeks prior to his MLB debut. He also pitched in a showcase event at the ballpark, when he was a senior in high school. Interestingly, he recalled pitching a high school game at the field up the hill at Foss – must have been a WIAA regional, or something along those lines.

Facing Lincecum is Tacoma’s Adrian Sampson, who is also a Western Washington native. Sampson graduated from Skyline High School in Sammamish in 2010, and spent two years at Bellevue Community College before starting his pro career in 2012. Sampson looked up to Lincecum during his early baseball years.

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: Tacoma beat Salt Lake, 5-1, as Brad Mills earned his first win for Tacoma. Mills recovered from two first inning walks to last six innings, giving up three hits and one run. Patrick Kivlehan had three hits in his return to the Rainiers, and rehabilitating Ketel Marte was 2-for-4 with two runs and a double.

Roster Move: Joe Wieland apparently isn’t returning soon – despite what I had been hearing – as he was placed on the 7-day disabled list with tricep tightness. Tacoma has added Andrew Kittredge from Double-A Jackson to help bolster the staff; he was 1-1, 4.50 in 24 innings for Jackson.

Today: Salt Lake (26-25) at Tacoma (31-21-1), 7:05.

Opponent Affiliation: Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

Season Series: Tacoma leads, 5-1.

Starting Pitchers: RHP Tim Lincecum (-) at RHP Adrian Sampson (5-3, 2.95).

Hot RainiersJonathan Aro has allowed just one earned run on two hits over his last 16 innings, spanning 11 appearances. They’re batting .043 against him during that time… In his last seven appearances, Blake Parker has allowed just two hits and no runs over 7.1 innings. He’s also 9-for-9 in save opportunities this season… Daniel Robertson is 6-for-11 with three RBI over his last three games.

Look Out For: Kaleb Cowart was just sent down by the Angels and he had two hits yesterday; he’s gone 8-for-17 with four doubles over his last four PCL games… Drew Jackson‘s ten-game hitting streak ended with an 0-for-3 yesterday.

Ex-Rainiers and Local Dudes: Salt Lake has former Rainiers players Lucas Luetge, Ji-Man Choi, and Erik Kratz, as well as Washington natives Tim Lincecum and Kyle Kendrick.

Broadcast: The pregame show starts at 6:50 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:

  • In the Rainiers game story we learn that manager Pat Listach was just happy his pitching staff covered nine innings – which could be a concern over the next few days. How quickly we went from too many pitchers to ‘uh-oh.’
  • Filling in for the injured Felix Hernandez, James Paxton had a rough game and the Padres got some revenge on Seattle with a 14-6 win.
  • Jeff Sullivan of Fangraphs has a breakdown of the “horrible and promising” start by James Paxton last night.
  • Bob Dutton’s Mariners Notebook has details on Felix’s injury, and more.
  • The Seattle Times has some pictures of the Mariners road trip dress-up day.

There were some wild games in the league last night – here are the PCL Game Reports:

  • Trailing 6-3 going to the bottom of the ninth, Reno beat Las Vegas on Peter O’Brien‘s two-out, walk-off grand slam. You know it’s a tough loss (or a day that ends with ‘y’) when Las Vegas manager Wally Backman‘s quotes all include “expletive.”
  • Jabari Blash went 4-for-4 and El Paso walked off Sacramento, 6-5, scoring the winning run on a botched double play grounder.
  • Albuquerque and Fresno got rained out in New Mexico, and they’ll play two today. Yesterday was supposed to be the Albuquerque debut of suspended shortstop Jose Reyes, who did talk to the media.
  • Nashville’s nine-game win streak ended in a ridiculous fashion. Trailing Round Rock 8-2 going to the bottom of the ninth, Nashville scored six runs to send the game into extra innings – only to see Round Rock put up a seven-spot in the top of the tenth and win it, 15-9. Brett Nicholas hit a grand slam in the tenth for the Express.
  • Colorado Springs swept a doubleheader from Omaha.
  • Top prospect Alex Reyes fanned 11 New Orleans Zephyrs, and Memphis picked up a 3-2 victory.
  • Oklahoma City’s comeback attempt fell one run short in a 5-4 loss to visiting Iowa.

This should be a fun one tonight – I hope you can make it to the park!

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