Home Runs Lead To Another Home Win

April 30, 2017

The Rainiers won their eighth straight home game on Saturday night, hitting three early homers before withstanding rainy conditions to hang on for a 7-4 win.

Tyler Smith began the proceedings in the first inning, ripping a solo homer to left-center. Four batters later it was Dario Pizzano pulling a long three-run blast to right field.

Mike Freeman got into the act in the second inning, lining a two-run, opposite-field shot to left. The Rainiers had a 6-0 lead.

Sacramento fought back, eventually making it 6-4 and even putting the tying runners on base in the seventh inning. But the Rainiers bullpen took care of business, and the team added an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth.

The rain started in the second inning, and by the eighth it was really coming down hard and the infield was pretty muddy. The umpires huddled up with both managers in the middle of the eighth inning and decided to play through, giving Sacramento a fair chance in the ninth (it was a 6-4 game at the time of the decision).

Rainiers reliever Emilio Pagan was terrific in the final two innings, pitching in a steady rain. He retired all six batters he faced, striking out four, to earn his first save of the season.

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: Tacoma hit three home runs, building a 6-0 lead in the second inning, and then held on for a 7-4 win despite a muddy track on Saturday evening.

Today: Sacramento (7-15) at Tacoma (13-8), 1:35.

Opponent Affiliation: San Francisco Giants.

Season Series: Tacoma leads, 4-3.

Starting Pitchers: RHP Tyler Beede (1-0, 4.29) at RHP Chris Heston (1-0, 3.18).

Hot Rainiers: Tyler Smith has reached base in ten straight games, and he has hit safely in 11 of his last 13 games, batting .340 (16-for-47) during the stretch… Tuffy Gosewish has reached base in seven straight games… Mike Freeman has a five-game hitting streak in the PCL (he spent a couple of weeks in the majors in the middle of it).

Look Out For: Jae-Gyun Hwang has hit safely in five of his last six games, going 9-for-23 with seven RBI during that span… Orlando Calixte was a one-man wrecking crew last night, hitting two solo homers and adding an RBI single.

Ex-Rainiers: Sacramento has former Tacoma reliever Kraig Sitton. The River Cats are managed by Dave Brundage, who was the Rainiers manager in 2006. Sacramento pitching coach Dwight Bernard had the same role for Tacoma for seven years.

Broadcast: The pregame show starts at 1:20 on South Sound Sports 850 AM. The broadcast also streams online via the TuneIn app – just click here. It’s a Sunday home game, and that means that Bob Robertson joins me in the booth and will call the middle innings.

PCL Scoreboard: Follow all Pacific Coast League games in real-time with links to Gameday screens right here.

Links:

PCL Game Reports:

  • El Paso edged Salt Lake, 8-7. The teams are playing a doubleheader today to make up Friday’s rain out.
  • Las Vegas picked up a 5-4 win over Albuquerque. Heralded prospect Amed Rosario hit his first Triple-A home run in this game, and he’s batting .407 with seven stolen bases. The columnist for the Vegas newspaper spoke with Albuquerque manager Glenallen Hill about his legendary rooftop home run at Wrigley (video included).
  • Jon Kemmer went 5-for-5 as Fresno won at Reno, 6-2.
  • Nashville flattened the Baby Cakes, 10-2.
  • Memphis won a rain-shortened game against Round Rock in five innings, 3-1.
  • Rain wiped out two games in the midwest: Oklahoma City at Omaha, and Colorado Springs at Iowa.

Don’t forget this is a wrap-around weekend series: the Rainiers play one more home game against Sacramento on Monday night before hitting the road.

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Home Trend Carrying Over From Last Year

April 29, 2017

The 2016 Pacific North Division champion Tacoma Rainiers had a tremendous ability to win home games.

Last year’s club went 46-26 at Cheney Stadium, a whopping 20 games over .500. The team played about even on the road (35-36), but the huge home field advantage gave the Rainiers a final record of 81-62 and its first division title since 2010.

It’s still early, but things seem to be trending the same way in 2017.

On Friday night the Rainiers won their seventh consecutive home game, a tight 2-1 victory over Sacramento. Tacoma is 8-1 this year at Cheney Stadium.

The road is a bit of a different story. Tacoma is 4-7 so far in away games. But if the team can hang around .500 on the road, and continue to clean up at Cheney like it did last year, it should contend for another division title.

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: Five Tacoma pitchers combined to limit Sacramento to six hits in a 2-1 Rainiers victory on Friday night. D.J. Peterson‘s two-out, two-run double in the third inning was all of the offense the team needed.

Roster Moves: Prior to yesterday’s game the Rainiers placed infielder Gordon Beckham on the 7-day disabled list with hamstring tightness, and catcher Steve Baron was activated from the DL. Today the Mariners called up outfielder Boog Powell and placed reliever Evan Scribner on the major league 10-day disabled list.

Today: Sacramento (7-14) at Tacoma (12-8), 5:05.

Opponent Affiliation: San Francisco Giants.

Season Series: Tied, 3-3.

Starting Pitchers: RHP Dan Slania (0-2, 7.36) at RHP Sam Gaviglio (0-3, 3.66).

Hot Rainiers: Tyler Smith has hit safely in ten of his last 12 games, batting .348 (15-for-43) during the stretch… Tuffy Gosewish has reached base in seven straight games.

Look Out For: Jae-Gyun Hwang has hit safely in five of his last six games, going 9-for-23 with seven RBI during that span.

Ex-Rainiers: Sacramento has former Tacoma reliever Kraig Sitton. The River Cats are managed by Dave Brundage, who was the Rainiers manager in 2006. Sacramento pitching coach Dwight Bernard had the same role for Tacoma for seven years.

Broadcast: The pregame show starts at 4:50 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.

Links:

PCL Reports:

  • Albuquerque’s Jeff Hoffman finally put it all together and shut out Las Vegas on one hit for seven innings in an 8-4 win at Cashman Field.
  • Pat Listach likes to say that PCL stands for “Potential Comeback League.” Reno took an 8-1 lead over Fresno into the eighth inning and barely held on for an 8-7 win.
  • El Paso at Salt Lake got rained out.
  • Oklahoma City shortstop Charlie Culberson is on a two-day tear at the plate, and he was at it again in a 6-1 road win over Omaha.
  • Luke Voit homered twice, and Daniel Poncedeleon pitched well for Memphis in a 9-1 win over Round Rock.
  • Nashville received a strong start from Paul Blackburn in a 4-1 win over New Orleans. Blackburn – the pitcher the M’s traded to the A’s for Danny Valencia – has a 1.64 ERA after four starts.
  • Hiram Burgos and three Colorado Springs relievers combined to shut out the Iowa Cubs, 7-0. The paper has a story on Iowa’s Chesny Young (I prefer ‘Young Chesny’).

Rain Helps Rainiers Win

April 28, 2017

The local squad mudded out a win last night, beating Sacramento in a rain-shortened game, 4-0.

After a relatively rain-free afternoon, a light rain started as the National Anthem was being sung on Thursday night. The game got started, and the rain never stopped.

Tacoma’s grounds crew did a terrific job of keeping the infield playable for five innings, but eventually the field took too much water and the umpires called for the tarp.

Because five full innings were completed and a team was leading, it was an official game. Tacoma claimed the victory, 4-0.

Christian Bergman tossed five scoreless innings and earned the win, improving his record to 4-0 with a 1.96 ERA.

The Rainiers scored all four runs in the second inning against wild Sacramento starter Ricky Romero. The former Toronto Blue Jays star issued five walks in the inning, two coming with the bases loaded.

Tacoma won the game with just two hits – both singles by Mike Freeman.

Hopefully we’ll have rain-free baseball tonight.

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: The Rainiers got a rain-assisted win, beating Sacramento 4-0 in a game that was called after five innings due to incessant rain which created muddy field conditions. Christian Bergman pitched five innings for the win.

Today: Sacramento (7-13) at Tacoma (11-8), 7:05.

Opponent Affiliation: San Francisco Giants.

Season Series: Sacramento leads, 3-2.

Starting Pitchers: LHP Michael Roth (2-1, 4.26) at RHP Ryan Weber (0-0, 0.00).

Hot Rainiers: Tyler Smith saw his seven-game hitting streak end last night… Boog Powell has been on base 15 times over the last six games.

Look Out For: Ryder Jones has hit safely in nine of ten games since coming off the disabled list… rehabilitating Mac Williamson went 3-for-4 with a homer and five RBI on Tuesday against Vegas.

Ex-Rainiers: Sacramento has former Tacoma reliever Kraig Sitton. The River Cats are managed by Dave Brundage, who was the Rainiers manager in 2006. Sacramento pitching coach Dwight Bernard had the same role for Tacoma for seven years.

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.

Links:

  • The News Tribune has a Rainiers game story, and another article which checks in on Leonys Martin.
  • The Mariners eeked out a 2-1 win at Detroit yesterday, and won their first road series of the year. Just-called-up Ben Gamel had the game-winning hit in the ninth inning. Three takeaways from the game.
  • Guillermo Heredia is making the most of his opportunity with the Mariners. That and more in the Mariners Notebook.
  • Several PCL players and two lower-level Mariners are featured in this week’s edition of the Baseball America Prospect Hot Sheet.

PCL Reports:


New-Look Rainiers Return To Improved Cheney Tonight

April 27, 2017

The Rainiers are back in town tonight, opening a five-game homestand against the Sacramento River Cats at 7:05.

A lot has happened since the team last took the field on Monday night in Albuquerque.

Tuesday’s game was rained out, and Wednesday was a scheduled off day, so the team hasn’t actually played baseball in a couple of days.

Meanwhile, all heck broke loose with the Mariners.

Both Felix Hernandez (shoulder stiffness) and Mitch Haniger (oblique strain) landed on the disabled list after a 19-9 loss on Tuesday. There was some further shuffling of the pitching staff after that game, as you might expect.

Pitchers Chris Heston and Evan Marshall were optioned to Tacoma.

Seattle called up pitchers Chase De Jong, Dillon Overton, and Casey Fien. They also called up outfielder Ben Gamel, to replace Haniger.

We’ve had some further shuffling in Triple-A. Catcher Ryan Scott was shifted to Low-A Clinton, and pitcher Rafael Pineda was sent to extended spring training. Bullpen catcher Alexander Capriata is currently on the active roster.

Pitcher Rob Whalen was activated from the Mariners disabled list and optioned to Tacoma today; he had shoulder inflammation during spring training. We expected him to be in the Rainiers starting rotation entering spring, but they may have changed – I’ll check with pitching coach Lance Painter when I get to the park later today.

Today the team is adding 20-year-old infielder Joseph Rosa from extended spring training. Rosa went to Double-A Arkansas for a few days two weeks ago, getting into two games and going 2-for-7.

Finally, it was just announced that outfielder Leonys Martin has cleared waivers and is outrighted to Tacoma. At “publish” time I’m not yet sure if he’ll be here for today’s game.

If you’re coming to the game tonight, make sure to visit the new beer garden on the top deck down the left field line. It’s been massively improved, and it’s open for the first time tonight.

There is now a fire pit, a full-service bar, a BBQ stand, an outlet from the Tacoma restaurant It’s Greek To Me, and a place that sells massive cookies. I heard something about bocce ball, too?

In the big picture, I’m happy that small improvements continue to be made at Cheney Stadium. As I travel around the league, it’s the ballparks that make improvements every year or two that remain fresh. The Iowa Cubs are experts at this: we go there every other year, and it seems that every trip there is some small improvement at Principal Park. Not big money construction; just smaller projects that make the experience better.

We’ve seen that at Cheney since the 2011 renovation. The R Yard was built in left field, enclosing the park and adding some cool seats. The kid’s playground and whiffle ball field opened. Now a plain concrete deck has morphed into a nice beer garden.

Let us know what you think of the new deck!

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: Tacoma got rained out on Tuesday and had an off day on Wednesday.

Roster Moves: See above.

Today: Sacramento (7-12) at Tacoma (10-8), 7:05.

Opponent Affiliation: San Francisco Giants.

Season Series: Sacramento leads, 3-1.

After opening the season going 3-1 against Tacoma, the River Cats lost ten of their next 11 games. They seem to have pulled out of it, winning two of their last three against Las Vegas.

Starting Pitchers: LHP Ricky Romero (0-1, 4.85) at RHP Christian Bergman (3-0, 2.50).

Yes, that is the former Toronto Blue Jays star. In baseball, left-handers have nine lives.

Hot Rainiers: Tyler Smith has a seven-game hitting streak, and he’s 14-for-38 over his last ten games… Boog Powell has been on base 14 times over the last five games.

Look Out For: Jae-Gyun Hwang was a star in the Korean League who took a gamble and is trying to make it in the USA. This is his first season, and he’s hitting .300 with 12 RBI in 17 games. He carries a four-game hitting streak into tonight’s game… Ryder Jones has hit safely in eight of nine games since coming off the disabled list… rehabilitating Mac Williamson went 3-for-4 with a homer and five RBI on Tuesday against Vegas.

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.

Links:

The whole PCL was off yesterday, but there are some good stories:


Rained Out In Albuquerque

April 25, 2017

Tuesday’s morning game in Albuquerque has been rained out. It was the final game of the series, so it will be made up when the Rainiers return to Albuquerque in July.

The make-up will be a doubleheader on Tuesday, July 18, with the first game starting at 3:35 (Pacific).

Both the Rainiers and this blog are taking Wednesday off. Tacoma will be home on Thursday to host Sacramento in a five-game series, and we’ll have a game preview post going up early that afternoon.


Rainiers Up Early Today

April 25, 2017

No time, super early game today, let’s get to it. Rainiers need a win today to finish with a 4-4 record on this road trip. It’s cloudy here and rain is in the forecast throughout the day.

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: We got our high-scoring game, and it wasn’t a lot of fun. Albuquerque scored five runs in the first inning, went ahead 8-1 in the third, and won the game 12-8. The teams combined for 33 hits. Boog Powell went 4-for-5, and Tyler O’Neill hit two doubles and a homer.

Roster Moves: Before yesterday’s game infielder Mike Freeman was optioned to Tacoma, pitcher Chase De Jong reported, and pitcher Brett Ash was transferred to Double-A Arkansas. And we solved the mystery of the missing reliever Jonathan Aro: he has been suspended 50 games by the Commissioner’s Office for an unspecified violation of the Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. I’m not sure if it’s retroactive to opening day.

Today: Tacoma (10-8) at Albuquerque (9-10), 10:05 AM (Pacific).

Opponent Affiliation: Colorado Rockies.

Season Series: Tacoma leads, 4-2.

Starting Pitchers: LHP Dillon Overton (1-0, 8.44) at LHP Ryan Carpenter (1-1, 3.18).

Tacoma is using Ryan Weber to follow Overton, who is cleared for roughly 70-75 pitches. Carpenter is filling in for top prospect German Marquez, who got called up by the Rockies.

Hot Rainiers: Ben Gamel has a six-game hitting streak, and he has reached base in 16 straight games… Tyler Smith has a seven-game hitting streak, and he’s 14-for-38 over his last ten games… Boog Powell has been on base 14 times over the last five games.

Look Out For: Noel Cuevas has a ten-game hitting streak, and he’s 11-for-19 against left-handed pitchers… Raimel Tapia is 6-for-15 in this series, and Daniel Castro is 6-for-11 in the series.

Broadcast: The pregame show starts at 9:50 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.

Links:

  • It’s bad when the headline to the Rainiers game story in the local paper is “Isotopes Score Early, Often.”
  • The Mariners were off yesterday, but Bob Dutton has his notebook with several interesting items.

PCL Recaps:


Runs Scarce In Albuquerque?

April 24, 2017

The first two games of Tacoma’s series at mile-high Isotopes Park have been surprisingly low scoring, and the trend may continue tonight.

On Saturday there were extreme winds blowing in from right field, making hitting difficult. Tacoma won that game, 5-3, on a four-run rally which was spurred by walks.

Yesterday was a calm day, and there were even some breezes blowing out to left field. But strong pitching by Sam Gaviglio and Albuquerque’s Zach Jemiola kept the runs at bay, and the Isotopes won 3-2.

Tonight the weather report calls for more strong winds. If the wind is coming in from right field again, we could have another low scoring game.

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: Tacoma’s three-game win streak came to a halt with a 3-2 loss in Albuquerque on Sunday afternoon. Anthony Bemboom tripled and scored the go-ahead run in the seventh on Raimel Tapia‘s infield dribbler. Sam Gaviglio had another hard-luck loss, pitching well into the seventh inning.

Roster Moves: Yesterday the Mariners called up Dan Vogelbach and Chris Heston, optioned Chase De Jong to Tacoma, and designated Leonys Martin for assignment. If Martin clears waivers – a dubious proposition – he’ll be outrighted to Tacoma.

Today: Tacoma (10-7) at Albuquerque (8-10), 5:35 (Pacific).

Opponent Affiliation: Colorado Rockies.

Season Series: Tacoma leads, 4-1.

Starting Pitchers: RHP Rafael Pineda (-) at LHP Harrison Musgrave (0-1, 5.40).

This was supposed to be Chris Heston’s start, but since he was called up it’s now a bullpen day. Pineda will be making the fourth start of his career and first above the Class-A level. He has not pitched in a game in 2017.

Hot Rainiers: Ben Gamel has a five-game hitting streak, and he has reached base in 15 straight games… Tyler Smith has a six-game hitting streak, and he’s 12-for-32 (.375) over his last nine games… Boog Powell has been on base ten times over the last four games.

Look Out For: Noel Cuevas has an nine-game hitting streak, and he’s 10-for-18 against left-handed pitchers.

Broadcast: The pregame show starts at 5:20 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.

Links:

  • We’ll start with a recap of yesterday’s Rainiers game.
  • The Mariners whacked the A’s on Sunday, 11-1, as Taylor Motter hit a grand slam. Three takeaways from the game.
  • The surprising roster moves are the subject of the Mariners Notebook.
  • John McGrath has a column on the Leonys Martin era.

PCL Reports:

  • A three-run homer by Fresno’s Colin Moran helped end Salt Lake’s eight-game winning streak. Fresno won the game, 5-2.
  • Sacramento ended it’s eight-game losing streak with a 7-6 win over Las Vegas, as Christian Arroyo‘s fourth hit of the game was the winner. The paper has an article on ex-Rainier Michael Morse, who is currently with Sacramento.
  • Reno’s Anthony Banda struck out eleven Chihuahuas in a 4-3 win at El Paso.
  • Colorado Springs staved off a ferocious Nashville rally and won 6-5 on Sunday. The Sky Sox took a 6-0 lead into the ninth. Sonny Gray is rehabbing for Nashville later this week.
  • Oklahoma City lost another close game at home, this one a 4-3 decision against Memphis. The paper has an article on Justin Masterson‘s comeback bid.
  • Omaha starter Josh Staumont says a strong wind in New Orleans helped him toss five innings of one-hit ball in a 4-2 victory.
  • In the game of the day, Round Rock blew a 5-0 lead in the ninth to visiting Iowa and went to extra innings. Each team scored two runs in the tenth, with the Express getting a pinch-hit two-run homer from Jared Hoying. Travis Snider‘s RBI double gave Round Rock an 8-7 win in the 13th inning.

The road trip will end with an early game on Tuesday – 10:05 AM first pitch!


Rainiers Blow Into Albuquerque, Get Win

April 23, 2017

An extreme change in weather made a big impact on the Rainiers series-opener at Albuquerque on Saturday night.

When the Rainiers took batting practice at 5:15, it was sunny, 75 degrees, and calm. Not a cloud in the sky. Perfect weather, really.

By 7:15 there was a strong wind blowing in from right field.

An hour later – around the third inning – it was very cold, and the wind was getting stronger by the minute.

Gusting winds made hitting a chore. Routine fly balls became adventures with surprise endings. And it was absolutely frigid.

Even the pitches were moved by the wind, which continued to strengthen as the night went on. Reliever Casey Fien – who got a five-out save – told me his fastball was moved laterally by the wind.

Tacoma scored four runs in the top of the first inning, before the wind became a huge factor. Then the wind came, and the pitchers had a big advantage – as long as most of the fly balls were caught.

The Rainiers won it, 5-3. Tacoma has won three straight games, and eight of the last ten, moving four games over .500 for the first time this season.

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: Tacoma scored four runs in the first innings on the way to a 5-3 victory at Albuquerque. Extreme winds blowing in from right field made both hitting and fly ball catching a challenge. Christian Bergman pitched into the seventh inning, allowing two runs, to get the win.

Roster Moves: Tacoma will be playing short-handed today as the Mariners are making moves. Gotta wait for them to announce it, but a look at last night’s box score should reveal one move.

Today: Tacoma (10-6) at Albuquerque (7-10), 12:35 (Pacific).

Opponent Affiliation: Colorado Rockies.

Season Series: Tacoma leads, 4-0.

Starting Pitchers: RHP Sam Gaviglio (0-2, 3.38) at RHP Zach Jemiola (1-1, 9.53).

Hot Rainiers: Dan Vogelbach has hit safely in eight straight games, he has nine RBI over the last four games, and he has reached base via hit or walk in 15 straight games… Ben Gamel has reached in 14 straight games… Tyler Smith has a five-game hitting streak, and he’s 10-for-28 over his last eight games… D.J. Peterson has homered three times during a six-game hitting streak.

Look Out For: Noel Cuevas has an eight-game hitting streak, and he’s 10-for-18 against left-handed pitchers… after a slow start Jordan Patterson appears to be heating up. He has a four-game hitting streak.

Broadcast: The pregame show starts at 12:20 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.

Links:

PCL Reports:


Shank Slams Rainiers To Victory

April 22, 2017

Tacoma won the final game in El Paso on Friday night, 11-8, getting an unlikely lift.

Zach Shank lined a pinch-hit grand slam in the top of the fourth inning to give Tacoma a 7-4 lead. The Rainiers led for the remainder of the game.

It was the first pinch-hit home run of any kind for the Rainiers since Luis Rodriguez lined one to right field at Cheney Stadium against Colorado Springs on July 15, 2012.

The last pinch-hit grand slam? Who knows. We hardly ever have pinch-hitters, due to the designated hitter!

The reason Shank was pinch-hitting was because Gordon Beckham left the game after getting hit by a pitch on the left forearm in his first at-bat. Beckham stayed in the game, batted one more time, and then came out. We’ll get an update on his status later today.

It was the first home run of the season for Shank, who hit three for Tacoma last year. His career high for homers in a season is ten, at the Class-A level. Shank does a lot of things to help the Rainiers win, but the pinch-hit grand slam was a huge surprise.

Tacoma won despite losing scheduled starting pitcher Chase De Jong to a call-up. Brett Ash was promoted from Arkansas, and he ended up earning the win in relief in his Triple-A debut. Ash allowed four runs in 3.2 innings, but Shank’s slam gave him a lead to work with.

Ash was a 12-game winner at Double-A Jackson last year. He was 1-1, 3.00 for Arkansas in two appearances this season.

With De Jong gone, the team has to decide if it wants to put Ryan Weber back into the rotation, or have Ash fill the spot.

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: Tacoma got a big lift when Zach Shank hit a go-ahead, pinch-hit grand slam in the fourth inning and went on to beat El Paso, 11-8. Boog Powell and Dario Pizzano each reached base four times in the win. The Rainiers split the four-game series.

Roster Moves: Yesterday starter Chase De Jong was called up by Seattle, and reliever Dan Altavilla was optioned to Tacoma (he’ll probably report today). Tacoma added pitcher Brett Ash from Double-A Arkansas, and pitcher Rafael Pineda from extended spring training. Catcher Steve Baron was placed on the 7-day disabled list, retroactive to Tuesday. Finally, rehabilitating Steve Cishek started for Tacoma last night, then returned to Arkansas after the game.

Today: Tacoma (9-6) at Albuquerque (7-9), 6:05 (Pacific).

Opponent Affiliation: Colorado Rockies.

Season Series: Tacoma leads, 3-0.

Tacoma swept a three-game series from the Isotopes at Cheney Stadium last weekend.

Starting Pitchers: RHP Christian Bergman (2-0, 2.31) at RHP Matt Flemer (1-1, 5.06).

Hot Rainiers: Dan Vogelbach has hit safely in seven straight games, he has eight RBI over the last three games, and he has reached base via hit or walk in 14 straight games… Ben Gamel has reached in 13 straight games… Tyler Smith has a four-game hitting streak, and he’s hitting .375 (9-for-24) over his last seven games… D.J. Peterson has homered in three of the last five games.

Look Out For: Noel Cuevas has a seven-game hitting streak, and he’s 9-for-17 against left-handed pitchers… catcher Ryan Hanigan has an eight-game hitting streak… Albuquerque did not have outfielder Raimel Tapia in Tacoma last weekend; he’s never faced the Rainiers before but reportedly he can really hit.

Broadcast: The pregame show starts at 5:50 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.

Links:

PCL Reports:


Rainiers Win Thriller In El Paso

April 21, 2017

The Rainiers won a thriller in ten innings at El Paso on Thursday night, 6-5, in a game the exhibited how much things can swing over the course of an evening.

For the first five innings it looked like Tacoma had no chance of winning.

El Paso jumped out to a 5-0 lead at the end of the third inning, hitting a pair of homers and knocking Tacoma’s starter out early.

Chihuahuas starting pitcher Dinelson Lamet broke the franchise record for strikeouts… in the fifth inning! He had 12 strikeouts by the end of the fifth, and was working on a one-hit shutout.

The Rainiers got on the scoreboard in the top of the sixth when Gordon Beckham launched a solo homer to left field, making it 5-1. But in reality things really started to swing Tacoma’s way much earlier.

In the third inning El Paso scored two runs and had runners at first and third with one out. It was 5-0, and they were about to blow the game wide open.

Tacoma brought in Ryan Weber from the bullpen, and he got Diego Goris to ground into an inning-ending double play.

That was the start of an incredible stretch for Weber. He retired the side on four pitches in the fourth inning: a ball, a ground out, a ground out, and another ground out. He went on to pitch 5.2 scoreless innings, getting 14 of the 17 outs on infield grounders.

Weber has now tossed 13.2 shutout innings this season. His long relief work keyed Tacoma’s comeback last night.

Shortly after Beckham’s homer in the top of the sixth, Lamet reached 95 pitches and was pulled from the game. He finished with 13 strikeouts in 5.1 innings, which should remain the El Paso record for a while. The Chihuahuas went to the bullpen and Tacoma kept striking out – the Rainiers whiffed 18 times in the game – but a comeback was made.

In the seventh inning Tuffy Gosewish hit a one-out double, and Zach Shank Walked. Beckham followed with a fly ball to shallow center, and El Paso outfielder Franchy Cordero initially went back on the ball – costing him the chance to make a catch. It dropped for a single, and the bases were loaded for Dan Vogelbach.

Vogelbach ripped Carlos Fisher‘s first pitch on a low line to right field. This laser beam was timed at 107 mph coming off the bat, and it banged into the brick structure above the right field fence for a game-tying grand slam.

The Rainiers threatened in both the eighth and ninth innings, but did not score. Jean Machi relieved Weber in the bottom of the ninth, pitched a scoreless inning, and we were going to extras for the first time this season.

Boog Powell opened the tenth by pulling a hard double down the right field line against El Paso reliever Michael Dimock, bringing up Gosewisch. Gosewisch fouled off two bunt attempts, falling behind in the count, and then lifted a fly ball that carried to deep right field. El Paso’s Rafael Ortega tried to catch it at the wall, but it dropped to the ground and Powell scored the go-ahead run on a close play at the plate.

Machi and Dean Kiekhefer took care of the bottom of the tenth inning, and the Rainiers had their first extra-innings victory of the season.

It was an incredible turnaround. The game felt like a loss and it turned into a win.

After tonight’s game the Rainiers get to enjoy a rare Pacific Coast League bus trip, a three-and-a-half hour midnight ride through the desert to Albuquerque. The most exciting sight we’ll see on the drive, in all likelihood, will be the bright lights of Las Cruces, New Mexico.

A four game series against the Albuquerque Isotopes starts on Saturday night.

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: The Rainiers beat El Paso in ten innings, 6-5, in the team’s best win of the season. Tacoma needs a win today to get a split of the four-game series.

Today: Tacoma (8-6) at El Paso (7-8), 6:05 (Pacific).

Opponent Affiliation: San Diego Padres.

Season Series: Tacoma leads, 4-3.

Starting Pitchers: RHP Chase De Jong (2-0, 1.74) at RHP Bryan Rodriguez (1-0, 0.75).

Hot Rainiers: Dan Vogelbach has hit safely in six straight games, he’s homered in the last two, and he has reached base via hit or walk in 13 straight games… Ben Gamel has reached in 12 straight games… Gordon Beckham was a four-game hitting streak, during which he has hit three home runs.

Look Out For: Cory Spangenberg is on a tear. He has a seven-game hitting streak, going 13-for-28 during it, and is 6-for-13 during this series… Jamie Romak, Jose Pirela, and Diego Goris have five-game hitting streaks.

Ex-Rainiers and Locals: Former Rainiers reliever Logan Bawcom is now a Chihuahua. He signed with the Padres as a free agent during the offseason… ex-Rainiers outfielder Jabari Blash was optioned to El Paso on Saturday; let’s try to keep him in the ballpark… El Paso pitching coach Bronswell Patrick pitched for the Tacoma Tigers for two years, 1993-1994.

Broadcast: The pregame show starts at 5:50 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.

Links:

  • The game story from the El Paso Times focuses on the impressive outing by Dinelson Lamet. There is another photo gallery with the story.
  • Limet appears on Baseball America’s weekly Prospect Hot Sheet, which includes a note on Mariners Double-A base stealing machine Ian Miller.
  • The Mariners lost in Oakland, 9-6, as James Paxton allowed runs for the first time this season. Three takeaways from the game.
  • The Mariners Notebook leads off with Mitch Haniger‘s impressive play.
  • A wonderful tribute to former Mariners broadcaster Dave Niehaus was posted on SI today. It’s written by Ken Levine, one of his former broadcast partners.

PCL Reports: