When the Rainiers were travelling to Reno on Wednesday morning, the talk around the team was about how Tacoma could clinch the division title by winning four of the five games in Reno.
Things have worked out a bit differently.
Reno has won the first four games of the series, and pulled within 2.5 games of Tacoma. The series finale today is a big swing game in the standings: Tacoma will return home tomorrow with either a 3.5- or a 1.5-game lead over the Aces.
The Rainiers finish the season with an eight-game homestand: four against Fresno, followed by four against Reno.
Saturday’s game was the first close one of the series: Tacoma grabbed an early 6-2 lead in the third inning, but didn’t add-on in a ballpark which requires teams to add runs all game to win. Reno battled back, took advantage of some Rainiers defensive problems, and eventually won it 8-7.
Even if Reno sweeps, Tacoma will still have a 1.5-game lead. But the difference between that and a 3.5-game lead… well, today’s game is huge.
Yesterday: We finally had a close game, but Reno prevailed 8-7. Zach Borenstein‘s pinch-hit, two-run triple with two outs in the bottom of the eighth inning snapped a 6-6 tie and led Reno to the win.
‘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 (75-59-1) at Reno (73-62), 1:05.
Opponent Affiliation: Arizona Diamondbacks.
Season Series: Reno leads, 9-2.
Reno has won six of the seven games played this year at Greater Nevada Field, and the Rainiers are 17-46 all-time in this ballpark.
Starting Pitchers: RHP Cody Martin (9-7, 3.93) at LHP Anthony Banda (4-3, 3.64)
Hot Rainiers: Stefen Romero has hit safely in his last nine PCL games, with three home runs… Daniel Robertson has hit safely in nine of his last ten games. He is hitting .346 since the all-star break… Tyler Smith is batting .323 in August, and he is 7-for-17 at Reno… James Ramsey has gone 8-for-19 over his last five games.
Look Out For: Everybody. Reno has scored 44 runs on 55 hits over the first four games of this series. Both Socrates Brito and Kyle Jensen have 11-game hitting streaks.
Broadcast: The pregame show starts at 12:50 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 details the intense but ultimately unsatisfying game.
- My weekly minor league notebook for the paper leads off with the incredible base stealing of Double-A Jackson outfielder Ian Miller.
- Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times has a good column on the demise of the Mariners Class-A Bakersfield affiliate.
- The Mariners dropped an ugly one in Chicago, 9-3 to the White Sox.
- Bob Dutton’s Mariners Notebook leads off with the latest roster moves, and has some fun stuff on the promotion of reliever Dan Altavilla.
- Ryan Divish has an interesting article on the Texas Rangers recent acquisition of Carlos Gomez.
- You can’t miss John McGrath’s weekly MLB Power Rankings, can you?
- McGrath has a column on the melting pot that is the 2016 Mariners.
PCL Game Reports:
- Matt Flemer tossed a gem as Albuquerque toppled El Paso, 5-4, to pull within 4.5 games of first place. The paper has a story on a dip in the Isotopes attendance, which seems to be weather-related.
- Fresno: not dead yet. The Grizzlies lit up a rehabbing Matt Cain and beat Sacramento, 6-2. Fresno trails Tacoma by six games and Reno by 3.5.
- Gabriel Ynoa delivered eight shutout innings as Las Vegas beat Salt Lake, 9-0.
- Oklahoma City swept a doubleheader from Colorado Springs and is on the verge of clinching the American-North division title. A win on Sunday will do it.
- Catcher Tomas Telis had a big game and helped New Orleans beat Round Rock, 5-2.
- Jake Buchanan and Iowa shut out Omaha, 4-0. Both teams are playing out the string.
- Nashville clinched the American-South on Friday and was supposed to have a hangover game on Saturday, but instead they beat Memphis, 2-1. Dillon Overton had a strong start and won his 13th game.