Road To Glory Or Ruin?

The Rainiers lost at home to Fresno on Monday night, 2-1 (their third straight one-run game), and now the team hits the road.

Tacoma plays 15 of the next 19 games away from Cheney Stadium, and it’s time for some honesty: it’s going to be tough for Tacoma to maintain first place when this stretch of away games ends at the all-star break.

Reno is red-hot and has moved into a tie with Tacoma for first place in the division – both teams are 39-31. Tacoma has been in first place since winning on opening day, and once had a 7.5 game lead over Reno.

But Tacoma has had a lot of roster turmoil over the past three weeks, which has led to uneven play. Meanwhile, Reno has gone on a 15-5 surge over its last 20 games.

Now the Rainiers have to hit the road – and the road has been unfriendly this season. Tacoma is 15-20 away from Cheney Stadium.

So Tacoma might fall out of first here in the next three weeks – or maybe not. We’ll see how they hold up during this long stretch away from home.

There is good news coming: the schedule turns in Tacoma’s favor after the all-star break.

Sixteen of the first 20 games after the break are at home. And after a couple of August road trips, the team closes the season with eight straight home games against division rivals Fresno and Reno.

If this upcoming stretch of road games goes poorly, it’s not the end of the season – as long as it doesn’t go too poorly.

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: In another pitcher’s duel, Fresno edged Tacoma 2-1 to steal a split of the four-game series at Cheney Stadium. Cody Martin was terrific, allowing one run in seven innings, but he took the loss. Stefen Romero‘s homer in the bottom of the ninth was Tacoma’s only run.

Roster Move: The Rainiers placed outfielder Mike Baxter on the disabled list prior to yesterday’s game with a fracture in his left wrist. The injury occurred when he was hit by a pitch in the 11th inning of Sunday’s game. At this time we don’t know how long he’ll be out for, but we can assume at least a month.

Today: Tacoma (39-31-1) at Sacramento (29-43), 7:05.

Opponent Affiliation: San Francisco Giants.

Season Series: Sacramento leads, 3-1.

Starting Pitchers: LHP Brad Mills (3-1, 3.93) at RHP Chris Heston (1-8, 3.96).

Hot Rainiers: All of the hot Tacoma hitters cooled off during the last two games, in which the Rainiers scored a total of two runs over 21 innings. But the pitching staff has been solid!

Look Out For: Mac Williamson is back in Triple-A Whoops! He just got called up by the Giants. He’s a power hitter and he went deep yesterday in a win over El Paso… veteran outfielder Gorkys Hernandez is 5-for-10 over his last three games.

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:

  • For some reason there is no Rainiers game story on The News Tribune’s website today.
  • The Mariners lost again, this time in Detroit in the 12th inning. They’re having a rough time right now, and injuries are a key factor (which has effected the Rainiers, too).
  • Bob Dutton’s Mariners Notebook gives us an update on Taijuan Walker, and it is concerning.
  • Mariners prospect Kyle Petty won the California-Carolina League All-Star Home Run Derby, which was held on the deck of an aircraft carrier, with players launching home runs into the sea. Everything in that last sentence is true.
  • Larry Stone has an interesting column comparing the 2001 Mariners to the 2015-2016 Golden State Warriors.

PCL Game Reports:

This is going to be a hot road trip – it’s supposed to be 95+ all eight days in Sacramento and Fresno.

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