The road trip moves on to Sacramento tonight, where Tacoma opens a four-game series which will take us into the all-star break.
The Rainiers are still holding on to first place in the Pacific-North. Tacoma has a 2.5-game lead over Reno, and Fresno is 3.5 games out.
Tacoma has been in first place every day this season under manager Pat Listach, but now the responsibility falls upon someone else to keep the team in the top spot going into the break.
The Mariners have a new policy this season: all of their minor league managers and coaches are required to take a four-day vacation during the season.
Tacoma pitching coach Lance Painter took his break in May, hitting coach Scott Brosius will take his in early August, and Listach is taking his now.
So the Rainiers are without Listach for the next four days.
Pinch-managing for Pat will be the Mariners new Director of Player Development Andy McKay. Brosius and Painter will be providing lots of input.
McKay has installed a renewed emphasis on winning in the minor leagues, and it has really worked with all four full-season affiliates playing over-.500 baseball. In fact, the first place Rainiers record of 47-38 is actually the worst of the four full-season clubs!
But the pressure is on McKay this weekend: Tacoma won on opening day and has never relinquished first place, and he’s got to keep the club in the top spot going into the break – while Listach sits on a beach somewhere.
Yesterday: Pitching ruled the day as Reno edged Tacoma, 3-2. Cody Martin allowed one run in five innings, taking no decision, and saw his streak of consecutive scoreless innings end at 24. Reno’s Mitch Haniger doubled in the go-ahead run in the bottom of the seventh inning.
Roster Moves: Freshly acquired outfielder Ryan Strausborger is expected to report to Tacoma today.
Today: Tacoma (47-38-1) at Sacramento (36-51), 7:05.
Opponent Affiliation: San Francisco Giants.
Season Series: Tied, 4-4.
Starting Pitchers: RHP Donn Roach (5-4, 4.23) at LHP Ty Blach (8-5, 4.12).
Hot Rainiers: Stefen Romero has a nine-game hitting streak, and he has gone 22-for-56 over his last 13 games… D.J. Peterson had his first 0-fer yesterday after hitting safely in his first six games with Tacoma… Tyler Smith has gone 12-for-34 over his last ten games.
Look Out For: Gorkys Hernandez has been Sacramento’s best position player. He’s reached base in 11 straight games and is coming off a huge June in which he batted .366 with a .440 OBP… infielder Rando Moreno is 16-for-43 over his last 12 games; he’s one of six position players who have been promoted from Double-A Richmond within the last month.
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.
- The Rainiers game story includes reaction from Listach.
- Bob Dutton’s Mariners Notebook focuses on Felix Hernandez, who is tentatively scheduled to start for Tacoma on Friday, July 15. That’s gonna be fun!
- While we get ready for a possible King Felix rehabilitation start at Cheney Stadium, Rob Neyer has a topical story on the history of teams marketing starting pitchers.
- The Mariners lost to Houston despite hitting four home runs on Wednesday.
PCL Game Reports:
- Fresno rallied in the late innings to beat Sacramento last night, 5-2. Some Grizzlies “fans” have trouble deciding who to root for when Sacramento plays Fresno.
- Salt Lake pounded Las Vegas, 12-5.
- Albuquerque lost to El Paso, 6-4, and has the worst record in the PCL after 86 games – and the local paper says the ‘Topes “would like to 86 these last three-and-a-half months.”
- Omaha swept a doubleheader at Iowa, with both games going into extra innings. Iowa’s Dan Vogelbach declined an offer to participate in the Triple-A All-Star Game’s Home Run Derby because he’s worried about disrupting his swing.
- Memphis catcher Michael McKenry homered in the bottom of the ninth inning to beat Nashville, 7-6.
- New Orleans infielder Matt Juengel had three hits and five RBI in a 9-3 win over Round Rock.
- Oklahoma City won its seventh straight game, 3-2 over Colorado Springs. Jose De Leon pitched well, and the team has added Julio Urias.