We have a playoff series.
El Paso bounced back from Wednesday’s 12-inning loss to handle the Rainiers relatively easily on Thursday, 7-1.
Credit starting pitcher Walker Lockett and infielder Diego Goris. Lockett carried a shutout into the seventh inning, and Goris had a pair of two-out RBI doubles to give El Paso an early 3-0 lead. The Chihuahuas kept tacking on runs, and won without being threatened.
The best-of-five series is now tied, 1-1.
As much as the Rainiers would have liked to sweep the road games after winning the opener, a 1-1 split on the road isn’t bad at all. Tacoma has home field for the rest of the series, and Tacoma went 46-26 at Cheney Stadium this year.
After the game, manager Pat Listach said the split of the first two games is fine with him. El Paso has to win two-of-three at Tacoma, and that’s been hard for teams to do this season.
Listach used an interesting tactic on Thursday: with Tacoma down 4-0 in the bottom of the sixth, and starter Cody Martin done for the day (104 pitches), he used starter Zach Lee (bumped from the playoff rotation by Wade LeBlanc) as a long man to finish the game. This made it so the regular relievers got rested up for the remainder of the series, in the wake of the 12-inning opener on Wednesday. Listach decided to play the long game, getting his pitching staff ready for the home games.
That’s it for this update – we have a very tough travel day Friday, and so does El Paso, of course. Both teams are up before 5 AM and land about 1:30 – which means getting to Tacoma around 3:00 or 3:30. Friday’s game might come down to which clubhouse has stronger coffee. Slip ’em some decaf, Fergus.
Today: Tacoma (81-62-1) at El Paso (73-70), 7:05
Series: Best-of-five, tied 1-1.
Opponent Affiliation: San Diego Padres.
Starting Pitchers: RHP Bryan Rodriguez (4-8, 5.11) at LHP Wade LeBlanc (-)
This will be LeBlanc’s first appearance in a Rainiers uniform. He was designated for assignment by the Mariners on August 25, cleared waivers, and agreed to come to Tacoma and pitch in the playoffs. LeBlanc had a 4.50 ERA in 50 innings for Seattle. He was originally signed by the Padres in 2006, but he probably doesn’t know anyone with the current El Paso group other than radio guy Tim Hagerty.
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 the PCL playoff games in real-time with links to Gameday screens right here.
- The Rainiers game story from The News Tribune has reaction from manager Pat Listach.
- The report from the El Paso Times focuses on the pitching of El Paso starter Walker Lockett.
- Here’s a report on the game from MiLB.com, who was not present but got some quotes over the phone from El Paso’s hitting coach.
- In the American Conference Finals, ex-Rainiers pitcher Logan Bawcom delivered six fine innings as Oklahoma City took down Nashville, 5-2. That series is tied too, 1-1. The Oklahoman has a a series notebook.
- The Mariners picked up another win, taking down Texas 6-3.
- Bob Dutton’s Mariners Notebook tells us Tom Wilhelmsen is about to come off the disabled list. Are you sure you don’t want to do a rehab inning for us this weekend, Tom?
- Every Mariners minor league team except for Tacoma won its playoff game last night: AA-Jackson improved to 2-0 in its best-of-five series against Montgomery, Advanced-A Bakersfield staved off elimination with a 7-1 win over San Jose, Low-A Clinton edged Peoria to advance to the Midwest League semifinals, and Short Season-Everett won in Spokane.
And if anyone knows why Spokane gave up home field advantage to play Game Two against Everett at Safeco Field tonight, please let me know – I am unable to find the reason anywhere. It will be fun for the players, though.