Tacoma pitched a shutout on ‘bullpen day’ Tuesday night, beating Las Vegas 4-0. The win gave Tacoma a split of the four-game series, and it gave Tacoma a 6.5-game lead over second place Reno in the Pacific-North standings.
Now Tacoma heads to Reno for a five-game series, starting tonight at 7:05.
The Aces have fallen back a bit lately. They just lost three straight games to Sacramento, and it’s easy to find the culprit: Sacramento scored 35 runs during the three games. Yikes!
Tacoma can clinch its first division title since 2010 on this road trip, but it would take an emphatic series win. The Rainiers have to win four of the games in order to clinch in Reno. Otherwise, it will happen at home if it happens.
Looking at it from the Reno perspective, they probably feel like they need to win four (or five) in the series to get back into the race. If Reno takes three of the five games, they would be 5.5 games back with eight games left and that’s not a good spot for them. If Reno wins four of the five games, they are 3.5 games back with eight left and have a chance.
If the Aces win all five games, we’re going to be biting our nails up until Labor Day.
At any rate, it should be a fun series. A Tacoma win tonight in the opener would be a huge step toward the division title.
Yesterday: Four Tacoma pitchers combined on a three-hit shutout as Tacoma beat Las Vegas, 4-0. Paul Fry, Emilio Pagan, Pat Venditte, and David Rollins turned ‘bullpen day’ into ‘library day’ for the Las Vegas hitters. Their bats were quiet. Get it? Stefen Romero and Dae-Ho Lee hit back-to-back homers for Tacoma in the fourth inning.
Roster Moves: An additional move was made prior to last night’s game, after I “published” the blog: the Mariners activated Tony Zych from the disabled list, and optioned Stefen Romero to Tacoma. Today Cody Martin reports to the Rainiers, and pitcher Marvin Gorgas is returning to Everett.
‘Magic Number’: Seven. That’s the total number of Tacoma wins + Reno losses needed for the Rainiers to clinch the Pacific-North division title.
Today: Tacoma (75-55-1) at Reno (69-62), 7:05.
Opponent Affiliation: Arizona Diamondbacks.
Season Series: Reno leads, 5-2.
Starting Pitchers: RHP Zach Lee (0-6, 5.45) at RHP Matt Koch (2-2, 2.54)
Koch pronounces his name “Cook” and I find this problematic.
Hot Rainiers: Daniel Robertson is 11-for-25 over a six-game hitting streak, and he is hitting .351 since the all-star break… Stefen Romero has hit safely in his last five PCL games, with two home runs… Dae-Ho Lee has at least one hit in all four games he has played in, and he has homered twice.
Look Out For: Kyle Jensen has been one of the most productive hitters in the PCL this year, and he’s on a seven-game hitting streak right now… Socrates Brito also has a seven-game hitting streak, but he’s easy to pick off because he’s constantly philosophizing on the basepaths and not paying attention to the game… OK, that last part wasn’t true. He’s a good player, though… Diamondbacks star A.J. Pollock has been with the club on a rehabilitation assignment.
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 centers on the terrific bullpen game, and Rob Brantly‘s reaction to his recent turn at third base.
- The Mariners got shut down by ol’ CC Sabathia and the Yankees, 5-1. It’s tough to win when you get just four hits.
- Bob Dutton’s Mariners Notebook tells us that Hisashi Iwakuma is about to hit incentives which roll his contract over for another year. This strikes me as a good thing.
- Larry Stone has a column on the Mariners resiliency.
- John Sickels did a “Rookie Report” on Guillermo Heredia.
- Reno starter Matt Buschmann wrote an excellent column for ESPN on what it is like to get your first call-up to the major leagues at age 32. He starts against Tacoma on Saturday.
- Only click on this link to an Onion satire about minor league baseball if you have a sense of humor! Otherwise, please don’t.
PCL Game Reports:
- Sacramento rolled Reno for the third straight game, 12-4. The Reno paper has a feature on Aces star Kyle Jensen.
- Albuquerque’s Brandon Barnes hit a walk-off home run in the tenth inning to beat Fresno, 6-4. Fresno is now eight games behind Tacoma and just about cooked.
- El Paso’s collapse continued with a 4-2 home loss to Nate Smith and Salt Lake. The Chihuahuas lead over Albuquerque is down to 4.5 games – and they start a five-game series tonight.
- Round Rock scored in the eighth inning and beat Colorado Springs, 3-2.
- Nashville’s Josh Rodriguez reportedly hit a 465-foot grand slam in a 7-0 win at Omaha. Daniel Mengden tossed five shutout innings for the win.
- Oklahoma City and New Orleans were tied after nine innings, 1-1, and then the Dodgers scored six runs in the top of the tenth. The rally included a Corey Brown grand slam.
- Rehabilitating outfielder Chris Coghlan reported to Iowa and watched the I-Cubs beat Memphis, 3-2.