The top two baseball teams in the Pacific Northwest are going through nearly identical struggles right now, as both the Seattle Mariners and the Tacoma Rainiers are in losing skids.
Both are still playing above-.500 baseball, and both are still in the playoff picture. But Seattle has lost 13 of its last 18 games, and the Rainiers have dropped 11 of the last 17 games.
It all starts with the injuries in the Mariners starting rotation. Felix Hernandez, Wade Miley, and now Taijuan Walker are on the shelf, and this has caused overworked bullpens and a flurry of transactions effecting both teams.
The Mariners made more moves today, which are going to have an impact in Tacoma.
Seattle brought back Tom Wilhelmsen, who was released by the Texas Rangers a few days ago. He’s initially joining the big league club, with Jonathan Aro being sent back to the Rainiers. Charlie Furbush was moved to the 60-day disabled list to clear a 40-man roster spot for Wilhelmsen.
The Mariners needed a starting pitcher for Friday’s game, so they acquired veteran lefty Wade LeBlanc from the Blue Jays, and he’ll start that game rather than logical candidate Donn Roach of the Rainiers. Leblanc was 7-2 with a 1.71 ERA for Triple-A Buffalo, and apparently the Mariners wanted a left-hander to start against the St. Louis Cardinals.
Seattle will have to clear another 40-man roster spot for LeBlanc, and open a spot on the 25-man roster as well. That will all happen on Friday, I suppose – don’t be surprised if Wilhelmsen gets optioned to Tacoma, so he can work with Rainiers coach Lance Painter on getting back into form.
These moves strengthen the pitching outlook in Tacoma. Now if we can just find some offense again – four runs total in three games? We’re lucky to have won one of them!
Yesterday: Too many walks issued by Tacoma pitchers, and too few hits by Tacoma batters led to a 4-2 loss in Sacramento on Tuesday night. The good news is that Reno also lost, so Tacoma remains tied in first place.
Roster Move: Recently acquired pitcher Zach Lee reported yesterday, and he’s going to start Thursday. There will be roster moves today – the Mariners optioned Jonathan Aro to Tacoma, and there currently isn’t room for him on the roster.
Today: Tacoma (39-32-1) at Sacramento (30-43), 7:05.
Opponent Affiliation: San Francisco Giants.
Season Series: Sacramento leads, 4-1.
Starting Pitchers: RHP Joe Wieland (5-4, 7.52) at LHP Ty Blach (6-4, 4.41).
Hot Rainiers: The Rainiers are up to four runs over the last 29 innings. Rob Brantly has gone 6-for-17 over his last five games, and he homered last night… Dario Pizzano has hit safely in seven of his last eight games, batting .375 (9-for-24).
Look Out For: Veteran outfielder Gorkys Hernandez is 6-for-13 over his last four games, and he hit a leadoff homer in the first inning yesterday.
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.
- For the second day in a row, the Rainiers game story does not appear online. Hopefully it made The News Tribune’s print edition.
- James Paxton pitched into the eighth inning but the Mariners still lost in Detroit on Tuesday night, 4-2.
- Bob Dutton has a Mariners Notebook, and additional posts on the signing of Tom Wilhelmsen and the acquisition of Wade LeBlanc.
PCL Game Reports:
- Thank you, Las Vegas! The 51s survived a ‘bullpen day’ and beat Reno, 6-3, keeping Tacoma in a first place tie with the Aces.
- Fresno’s Brad Peacock tossed a gem in a 3-1 win over visiting Albuquerque.
- Austin Hedges hit a grand slam to help El Paso knock off Salt Lake, 11-6.
- Memphis coasted to an 11-5 win at Colorado Springs. The Sky Sox have added a pitching prospect in Josh Hader.
- Omaha was unable to come back in the bottom of the ninth inning against New Orleans.
- Former Rainiers reliever Logan Bawcom tossed four shutout innings in a spot start, helping Oklahoma City edge Round Rock, 2-1.
- Nashville at Iowa got rained out – they’re playing two tomorrow.