Vogelbach Wins It In Rainiers Comeback

July 31, 2016

Tacoma had a stunning come-from-behind, walk-off 7-6 win over Albuquerque in Saturday night.

You could write a college term paper on this game, but no time for that with the day game today. So, some quick hits:

  • Tacoma’s scheduled starter Cody Martin got called up, so the Rainiers had a “bullpen game.”
  • The Rainiers played a doubleheader on Thursday, and the pitching staff wasn’t in good shape for a bullpen day.
  • The Mariners sent two very inexperienced pitchers from Everett to help out.
  • Pat Listach knew that he could only cover nine innings with his regular guys if everything went perfectly. Odds were, at least one of the young kids was going to pitch.
  • Kraig Sitton was selected to make his first professional start, after nearly 300 career relief appearances. He was the most rested reliever.
  • Sitton made it through three innings, and left with the score 1-1. So far, so good.
  • Then two of Tacoma’s regular relievers (Kevin Munson and Paul Fry) struggled in the 4th and 5th innings, and now the Rainiers were down 6-2.
  • Time to bring in one of the kids. Robert Dugger was brought in for the sixth inning – he was an 18th round draft pick in June out of Texas Tech, and he had exactly four career professional appearances – all in the Arizona Rookie League. But, he pitched in the College World Series this year. The big crowd wouldn’t spook him.
  • Dugger pitched two shutout innings.
  • Tacoma rallied to score three runs in the bottom of the seventh. They were gifts from the Albuquerque bullpen: four walks and one hit, a two-run single by Stefen Romero to make it 6-5.
  • With the game close, Listach went to David Rollins in the eighth. He pitched two scoreless innings.
  • We get to the ninth, and Albuquerque brings in veteran Brian Schlitter to close it out.
  • Dario Pizzano leads off with a pinch-hit single, and Daniel Robertson walks. Zach Shank sacrifices the runners to second and third.
  • Albuquerque elected to pitch to Romero, but when Schlitter fell behind in the count 3-1 they put him on to load the bases.
  • The brought up Dan Vogelbach, who was 1-for-18 on the homestand. He lined a two-run single to right field, ending the game.

It was Tacoma’s seventh walk-off win of the season, and the Rainiers moved to a season-best 19 games over .500. The team hadn’t been 19 games over .500 since 2004.

The Rainiers have won three straight games, and each has been a one-run game. On to Sunday!

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: Tacoma scored twice in the bottom of the ninth to beat Albuquerque, 7-6. It was the opener of a four-game series.

Today: Albuquerque (46-60) at Tacoma (63-44-1), 1:35 (Pacific).

Opponent Affiliation: Colorado Rockies.

Season Series: Tacoma leads, 8-5.

Starting Pitchers: RHP Christian Bergman (1-3, 5.20) at RHP Jarrett Grube (1-2, 4.46)

Hot Rainiers: Daniel Robertson has a ten-game hitting streak, going 15-for-41 during the run… Rob Brantly has hit safely in five straight games… Dario Pizzano is 6-for-10 over his last four games.

Look Out For: Stephen Cardullo has a nine-game hitting streak, with multiple hits in six of the games… Tom Murphy is batting a torrid .569 in July (33-for-58), with eight home runs… catcher Dustin Garneau has hit safely in nine of his last ten games, with three homers.

Broadcast: The pregame show starts at 1:20 on South Sound Sports 850 AM. The broadcast also streams online via the TuneIn app – just click here. It’s a Sunday home game, so Bob Robertson joins me in the booth and he’ll call the middle innings.

PCL Scoreboard: Follow all Pacific Coast League games in real-time with links to Gameday screens right here.

Links:

PCL Game Reports:

  • The two teams chasing the Rainiers – Reno and Fresno – are playing each other now. Reno took a 4-2 lead into the ninth inning last night, only to see Fresno score *eight* runs in the top of the ninth and win the game, 10-4. Tacoma leads Reno by four games, and Fresno by 4.5 games.
  • Las Vegas lost the opening game of a key series against El Paso, 6-5, and is now 7.5 games out of first place. These teams have seven head-to-head games remaining.
  • Salt Lake’s Troy Scribner pitched a complete game, two-hit shutout at Sacramento in his Triple-A debut. Yowza.
  • Jose De Leon gave Oklahoma City a strong start in an 8-4 win at Colorado Springs.
  • Round Rock had a six-run third inning in a 13-7 shellacking of Memphis.
  • Lefty Ross Detwiler pitched Nashville to a 2-0 win at New Orleans.
  • Omaha starter Christian Binford has had a rough season, but everything came up aces for him in a 6-4 win over Iowa last night.

I’m excited about this double-dip: the Rainiers day game, followed by Felix and the Mariners on Sunday Night Baseball.

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Rainiers Win Terrific Duel

July 30, 2016

We had a great pitcher’s duel last night, with Tacoma eventually beating El Paso, 2-1.

Tacoma starter Sam Gaviglio pitched 7.2 shutout innings in his longest start of the year. He was fantastic, getting ahead in the count repeatedly and eliciting tons of weak ground balls in the infield. Gaviglio did not walk a batter and allowed just four hits. Only one runner reached second base against him.

But Gaviglio left the game in a 0-0 tie.

El Paso starter Frank Garces carried a one-hitter into the eighth inning. Patrick Kivlehan‘s long double in the fifth inning was the only blemish on his record.

It was Kivlehan who led off the bottom of the eighth against Garces, and he got him again – this time for a homer to left-center, giving Tacoma a 1-0 lead.

The Rainiers added another run when Jesus Sucre singled to center, knocking out Garces. Rob Brantly pinch-ran for Sucre at first base.

With two outs, Daniel Robertson worked a full count before doubling sharply down the left field line, scoring Brantly from first base to make it 2-0.

That extra run proved crucial, because El Paso scored in the top of the ninth before Blake Parker recorded the final out to secure the win.

It was a fun game with an entertaining finish in front of a sellout crowd on a Friday night. These types of games – scoreless in the eighth inning – are rare in the Pacific coast League.

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: Tacoma topped El Paso in a pitcher’s duel, 2-1. Sam Gaviglio tossed 7.2 shutout innings, and the Rainiers scored two runs in the bottom of the eighth to win it. Tacoma won the series, 3-2.

Roster Move: The Mariners called up pitcher Cody Martin, who was scheduled to start for Tacoma today. The Rainiers added 20-year-old righty Marvin Gorgis from Everett to help the staff. Robert Dugger is still here, too – one of these kids is probably going to pitch today.

Today: Albuquerque (46-59) at Tacoma (62-44-1), 7:05 (Pacific).

Opponent Affiliation: Colorado Rockies.

Season Series: Tacoma leads, 7-5.

Starting Pitchers: LHP Harrison Musgrave (6-5, 4.83) at LHP Kraig Sitton (1-2, 2.12)

Cody Martin was supposed to start, but he got called up. It’s a ‘bullpen day,’ and Sitton will make the first start of his professional career.

Hot Rainiers: Daniel Robertson has a nine-game hitting streak, going 14-for-38 during the run… Rob Brantly has hit safely in four straight games.

Look Out For: Stephen Cardullo has an eight-game hitting streak, with multiple hits in six of the games… Tom Murphy is batting a torrid .569 in July (33-for-58), with eight home runs… catcher Dustin Garneau has hit safely in eight of his last nine games, with three homers.

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:

  • The Rainiers game story focuses on Oregon State Beavers staring for Tacoma on the team’s Washington Huskies Night. The Rainiers currently have five Beavers on the active roster.
  • The Mariners got blasted by the Cubs on Friday, 12-1.
  • Bob Dutton’s Mariners Notebook leads with the call-up of Guillermo Heredia. He also reports that Taijuan Walker will make a rehab start for Tacoma on Monday.
  • During the Mariners broadcast today, Dave Simms and Mike Blowers discussed this famous home run by current Albuquerque manager Glenallen Hill.

PCL Game Reports:


Long Night Ends With Push

July 29, 2016

The Rainiers first (and hopefully only) doubleheader of the year ended with a split.

El Paso won the first game, 5-3, with a grand slam by veteran catcher Hector Sanchez serving as the game-winning hit.

Tacoma bounced back in the second game and won it, 5-4. Trailing 4-1 in the bottom of the fourth inning, Tacoma scored four times  – Daniel Robertson‘s two-run double gave Tacoma the lead. The Rainiers had excellent relief work from Andrew Kittredge and Blake Parker.

All told, it was about five-and-a-half hours of baseball. The proceedings started at 6:05 and ended at 11:28.

A glance at the standings this morning shows Tacoma’s lead over second-place Reno at three games, and Fresno is 4.5 games back.

Tonight we wrap up the El Paso series, and then Albuquerque comes to town on Saturday.

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: Tacoma and El Paso split the doubleheader yesterday, and the series is tied 2-2 going into the fifth and final game today.

Roster Move: The Mariners called up outfielder Guillermo Heredia and optioned reliever David Rollins to Tacoma. They wanted an extra position player for the NL-style series at Wrigley Field.

Today: El Paso (60-46) at Tacoma (61-44-1), 7:05 (Pacific).

Opponent Affiliation: San Diego Padres.

Season Series: Tacoma leads, 7-4.

Starting Pitchers: LHP Frank Garces (4-4, 5.10) at RHP Sam Gaviglio (0-0, 5.40)

Hot Rainiers: Daniel Robertson has an eight-game hitting streak, going 13-for-34 during the run… Rob Brantly has hit safely in four straight games.

Look Out For: Hector Sanchez hit a grand slam yesterday and has six RBI over the first four games of this series… Hunter Renfroe leads the PCL with 25 home runs… catcher Austin Hedges went on an epic home run binge right before the all-star break, but his pace has slowed lately. Still, he has 15 homers in his last 34 games.

Ex-Rainiers: El Paso has popular ex-Rainiers slugger Jabari Blash, who made his major league debut with the San Diego Padres earlier this season… Brandon Morrow is working out of the El Paso bullpen.

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:

  • The Rainiers game story talks about D.J. Peterson making a rare start at third base in the opening game of the doubleheader.
  • The Mariners were off yesterday. They’re hoping a change of scenery will help new reliever Drew Storen.
  • Now the M’s are playing at Wrigley Field – a place that John McGrath loves.
  • Mariners Double-A outfielder Tyler O’Neill is heating up again, and he made an appearance on Baseball America’s weekly Prospect Hot Sheet.
  • There is some serious drama going down in the Florida State League for those who love team names: the Brevard County Manatees (great name!) are in their final season, and are moving to Kissimmee next year. Kissimmee is down to six finalists for their new name… a list which includes the Rodeo Clowns.

PCL Game Reports:

What’s the line? Win a game, win a series?


Let’s Play Two!

July 28, 2016

The Rainiers play their first doubleheader of the year today, with two seven-inning games against El Paso starting at 6:05.

It’s incredible that we have made it this long without playing a doubleheader. Today we are making up the April 12 game that was rained out.

As a refresher, here are some basics on the doubleheader:

  • Gates open at 5:00, baseball starts at 6:05.
  • One ticket gets you in for both games – we are not emptying the stadium between games.
  • Each game will be seven innings long. This is a Minor League Baseball rule for all doubleheaders.
  • There will be a break of roughly 25 minutes between games.

It’s going to be a long night of baseball. Most doubleheaders end up being splits – but not all of them. Maybe the Rainiers can get two wins tonight.

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: Tacoma had 15 hits (14 singles and one double) in an 11-1 win over El Paso last night. Dario Pizzano led the way, going 3-for-5 with two runs and three RBI. Joe Wieland lasted seven innings and allowed one run, and Paul Fry worked the final two innings – effectively preserving the pitching staff for today’s doubleheader.

Roster Move: Tacoma has added pitcher Robert Dugger from the Arizona Rookie League to provide some insurance for today’s doubleheader. Tacoma had an open roster spot.

Today: El Paso (59-45) at Tacoma (60-43-1), 6:05 (Pacific).

Opponent Affiliation: San Diego Padres.

Season Series: Tacoma leads, 6-3.

Starting Pitchers:

Game One: RHP Michael Kelly (5-1, 4.41) at RHP Zach Lee (0-2, 5.81)

Game Two: RHP Bryan Rodriguez (4-3, 4.83) at RHP Donn Roach (6-5, 4.01)

Hot Rainiers: Daniel Robertson has a six-game hitting streak… Guillermo Heredia has missed four games with a shoulder injury, he’s day-to-day. He has hit safely in 21 of 25 games since joining the Rainiers.

Look Out For: Manuel Margot had his 16-game hitting streak end last night… Hunter Renfroe leads the PCL with 25 home runs… catcher Austin Hedges went on an epic home run binge right before the all-star break, but his pace has slowed lately. Still, he has 15 homers in his last 33 games.

Ex-Rainiers: El Paso has popular ex-Rainiers slugger Jabari Blash, who made his major league debut with the San Diego Padres earlier this season… Brandon Morrow is working out of the El Paso bullpen.

Broadcast: The pregame show starts at 5:50 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:

  • The Rainiers game story focuses on Dario Pizzano.
  • The Mariners got worked over by Pittsburgh on Wednesday, 10-1. They are off today before starting the series at Wrigley on Friday.
  • Bob Dutton’s Mariners Notebook suggests that we may see a Taijuan Walker rehabilitation start for the Rainiers on Monday.

PCL Game Reports:

Let’s do this doubleheader.


Rainiers Lose After Odd Delay

July 27, 2016

We had a new one last night: the start of Tacoma’s home game against El Paso was delayed 35 minutes due to umpire travel problems.

The PCL has official league umpires, and they travel throughout the circuit just like the teams do. But we never hear about umpire travel problems – and I’m guessing this is because there are only three of them in a crew, so if they have flight problems it is comparitively easy for them to redirect or book different flights.

Yesterday we had a crew coming in from Las Vegas, and they had one flight cancelled and another one delayed. They landed in SeaTac around 5:30 – but their suitcases (including their umpiring equipment) ended up on a different plane. They had to wait another thirty minutes for that plane to land, then wait for the baggage, and then negotiate the SeaTac-to-Tacoma traffic corridor at 6:30 on a weekday.

The Rainiers helped them along the way – our Director of Baseball Operations Ashley Schutt met them at the airport and hustled them down to Tacoma as quickly as possible – but we still couldn’t get the game started until 7:40.

In retrospect, maybe we would have been better off with a postponement. Tacoma managed just two hits and lost, 6-0.

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: Carlos Pimentel and Michael Dimock held Tacoma to just two hits in what was probably the best-pitched game against Tacoma so far this year. El Paso won, 6-0.

Today: El Paso (59-44) at Tacoma (59-43-1), 7:05 (Pacific).

Opponent Affiliation: San Diego Padres.

Season Series: Tacoma leads, 5-3.

Starting Pitchers: RHP Daniel McCutchen (9-6, 5.78) at RHP Joe Wieland (8-5, 6.07).

Hot Rainiers: Daniel Robertson is 9-for-26 with three walks since returning to Tacoma from Seattle… Guillermo Heredia has missed three games with a shoulder injury, he’s day-to-day. He has hit safely in 21 of 25 games since joining the Rainiers.

Look Out For: Manuel Margot has a 16-game hitting streak, going 25-for-72 during the run… Hunter Renfroe leads the PCL with 25 home runs… catcher Austin Hedges went on an epic home run binge right before the all-star break, but his pace has slowed lately. Still, he has 15 homers in his last 32 games… Hector Sanchez hit a two-run double last night, and he has a nine-game hitting streak.

Ex-Rainiers: El Paso has popular ex-Rainiers slugger Jabari Blash, who made his major league debut with the San Diego Padres earlier this season… Brandon Morrow is working out of the El Paso bullpen.

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:

PCL Game Reports:

Let’s see if the Rainiers can even-up the series tonight.


Rainiers Sweep Bees, Head Home

July 25, 2016

Look out Tacoma – the Rainiers are coming in hot!

The team returns home for a nine-game, eight-day homestand starting with Tuesday’s game against El Paso, and this team is scorching:

  • The Rainiers just finished a four-game road series sweep at Salt Lake. It was Tacoma’s first sweep at Salt Lake since 2010.
  • Tacoma has won 12 of its last 14 games.
  • The team is 59-42 on the year – that’s the best record in the PCL.
  • At Cheney Stadium, Tacoma is 32-15. That’s the best home record in the league.

The guys are having fun. Being around it every day, I can tell you that the players are enjoying this team success and aren’t wrapped up in individual results.

It’s five games in four days against El Paso – there is a doubleheader on Thursday at 6:05, a makeup from an April rainout – and this series might be a playoff preview. Both teams are in first place, and would face each other in the first round if they hang on and win their respective divisions.

El Paso is good. They have the league’s home run leader, an electrifying leadoff man, a catching prospect having a breakout season, and a dangerous former Tacoma slugger.

It’s going to be a good series.

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: Rob Brantly had the big hit, a go-ahead three run homer in the sixth inning as Tacoma beat Salt Lake 6-4, completing a four-game series sweep. Cody Martin pitched six innings to earn the win, and Daniel Robertson got things off to a fast start by hitting the first pitch of the game for a very long home run to left. Tacoma finished the season 13-3 against Salt Lake – the best single-season record against Salt Lake in franchise history.

Today: El Paso (58-44) at Tacoma (59-42-1), 7:05 (Pacific).

Opponent Affiliation: San Diego Padres.

Season Series: Tacoma leads, 5-2.

The first seven games were all played during the first two weeks of the season, and the Rainiers clearly had the upper hand back then. It’s been a long time since they have seen each other.

Starting Pitchers: RHP Carlos Pimentel (9-5, 6.04) at RHP Jarrett Grube (1-1, 4.15).

Hot Rainiers: Stefen Romero has a five-game hitting streak in which he has gone 9-for-20 with two homers among his five extra-base hits… Guillermo Heredia has missed two games with a shoulder injury, he’s day-to-day. He has hit safely in 21 of 25 games since joining the Rainiers… Zach Shank went 8-for-16 at Salt Lake… Daniel Robertson was 7-for-20 at Salt Lake.

Look Out For: Manuel Margot has a 15-game hitting streak, going 24-for-68 (.353) during the run… Hunter Renfroe leads the PCL with 25 home runs, including four in his last nine games, but much of his damage is done in his home ballpark. Renfroe might have the best outfield arm in the PCL, and the Rainiers won’t be running on him… catcher Austin Hedges went on an epic home run binge right before the all-star break, but his pace has slowed lately. Still, he has 15 homers in his last 31 games.

Ex-Rainiers: El Paso has popular ex-Rainiers slugger Jabari Blash, who made his major league debut with the San Diego Padres earlier this season.

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:

PCL Game Reports:

We were only gone for four days, but it’s great to be heading home again!


Rainiers Not Bothered By Bees

July 25, 2016

Tacoma took down Salt Lake in the tenth inning last night, 7-5 and has won the first three games of this four-game series against the Bees. The Rainiers go for a sweep tonight.

This year’s Rainiers team has had nearly unprecedented success against Salt Lake. Going into tonight’s final meeting of the season between the clubs, Tacoma has a 12-3 advantage in the season series.

Only one time since the Bees rejoined the PCL in 1994 has Tacoma had similar domination against Salt Lake. That was in 2010, when Tacoma went 12-4 against the Bees. You may recall that was a very good season for the Rainiers – a season which ended with a PCL championship.

That was also the last year that Tacoma swept Salt Lake on the road – a four-game whitewashing, July 4-7, 2010.

In the older days of the PCL, the 1962 Tacoma Giants are the only team in franchise history to beat Salt Lake City 13 times in one season – and back then, the teams played each other 22 times!

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: Patrick Kivlehan‘s flare down the right field line brought in two runs in the top of the tenth inning, leading to Tacoma’s 7-5 win over Salt Lake. Dan Vogelbach hit another home run, and Zach Shank had a big two-run double. The Rainiers go for a four-game series sweep tonight.

Today: Tacoma (58-42-1) at Salt Lake (47-52), 6:05 (Pacific).

Opponent Affiliation: Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

Season Series: Tacoma leads, 12-3.

The Rainiers went 7-1 against Salt Lake at home, and are 5-2 so far in Salt Lake City.

Starting Pitchers: RHP Cody Martin (8-6, 3.91) at RHP Kyle McGowin (4-7, 5.70).

Hot Rainiers: Stefen Romero has a four-game hitting streak in which he has gone 8-for-18 with two homers among his five extra-base hits… Guillermo Heredia left Saturday’s game with a “jammed shoulder” suffered while diving into a base and he was off yesterday; he has hit safely in 21 of 25 games since joining the Rainiers…Zach Shank is 7-for-12 in this series.

Look Out For: Kaleb Cowart has an eight-game hitting streak, going 14-for-32 during the run… Rafael Ortega is 6-for-14 in this series, and is 17-for-35 over his last nine games… speedster Quintin Berry has been successful in his last 15 stolen base attempts.

Ex-Rainiers: Salt Lake has former Rainiers reliever Lucas Luetge, and former Mariners shortstop Brendan Ryan.

Broadcast: The pregame show starts at 5:50 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:

PCL Game Reports:

Tonight is the final game of the super-quick four-day road trip. We’re back home Tuesday for nine games during an eight-day homestand, which includes a Thirsty Thursday doubleheader (which should be sponsored by Uber). Come see the Rainiers, these guys are good!