Rainiers Power Up Against Chihuahuas

In a rematch of the Pacific Conference Finals from last September, Tacoma faced El Paso today on Field 3 of the Peoria Sports Complex.

Unlike the PCL playoff series which ended with an El Paso victory, today’s game ended in a 3-3 tie. As we’ve been saying all week: hey, its spring training.

Tacoma did hit a couple of homers, and there was an impressive pitching performance. Quick hits from today’s game:

  • Tacoma scored first, when Boog Powell lifted a solo home run against El Paso starter Cesar Vargas. Powell continues to have an excellent spring training – he had three hits today.
  • The Rainiers added another run in the inning: Dan Vogelbach singled to the opposite field, and scored all the way from first base when D.J. Peterson‘s single to left-center was misplayed by El Paso’s centerfielder.
  • Tall right-hander Max Povse started for Tacoma, working 4.2 innings and allowing two runs. He was facing something that looked like El Paso’s opening day lineup – basically the same guys who were with the Chihuahuas in the playoffs last year, minus Hunter Renfroe, Manuel Margot, and Austin Hedges.
  • Povse was around the plate with his pitches and had a good pace on the mound. He is quite tall – 6-foot-8 – and has a high release point which gives him a downward angle towards home plate. He’ll probably start the year at Double-A Arkansas and join Tacoma later on.
  • Povse was pulled with the bases loaded and two outs in the fifth inning, and lefty reliever Paul Paez got out of that jam and worked a scoreless sixth inning. Paez was a Minor League Rule 5 draft pick from the Mets organization, where he finished the 2016 season at Double-A Binghampton.
  • Vogelbach connected for a line drive homer in the sixth inning against reliever Mike Dimock. Vogelbach made sharp contact in all three games I watched this week.
  • D.J. Peterson played third base and handled the couple of grounders that were hit his way. Manager Pat Listach said Peterson will play first base, third base, and corner outfield – he’s been working with outfield instructor Brant Brown during camp.
  • Ryne Harper and Ryan Horstman finished up the pitching for Tacoma. Both have pitched in Double-A but never in Triple-A before. Harper had an easy 1-2-3 inning, while Horstman issued some walks over two innings.

We’re just four days away from the Tacoma club breaking camp and flying north, and there are still many questions about who will make the final roster. Today’s injury news (see below) is going to have a trickle-down throughout the organization, and there are still a ton of relievers in camp. The position players are an easier guess right now.

The final members of the opening day roster are going to fly to Tacoma on Sunday, have a few days to find housing and settle in, get moved into Cheney Stadium, and then travel to Sacramento for the start of the PCL season next Thursday.

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