Rainiers Can’t Capitalize On Unexpected Gem

The Rainiers received a special pitching performance from an unlikely source on Saturday evening, but they were unable to turn it into a win.

With scheduled starting pitcher Rob Whalen called up by Seattle, the organization flew Nathan Bannister up from Modesto, CA to make a spot start.

A 23-year-old right-hander with just five professional appearances under his belt, Bannister delivered 6.2 shutout innings, allowing three hits and no walks, while striking out six. He retired the first 14 batters he faced.

Bannister was the Mariners 28th round draft pick in 2016. This time last year he was pitching in college at Arizona.

Unfortunately, the Rainiers couldn’t score any runs for him. A series of New Orleans relievers managed to keep Tacoma off the scoreboard despite allowing 14 base runners.

We’ll see what happens to Bannister now. This was supposed to be a one-start event, with him going right back to Modesto. Will he get another start here instead?

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: The Rainiers couldn’t score any runs to support Nathan Bannister‘s terrific Triple-A debut, eventually losing in ten innings, 1-0. The Baby Cakes scored the game’s only run on Peter Mooney‘s two-out RBI single in the tenth.

Roster Moves: Yesterday the Rainiers lost listed starting pitcher Rob Whalen and reliever Dan Altavilla to major league call-ups – although Whalen is coming right back to start for Tacoma today, with Christian Bergman replacing him in Seattle. Tacoma added pitchers Nathan Bannister and Michael Rivera (from extended spring training) yesterday. Seattle also optioned Emilio Pagan to Tacoma, though he’s not reporting until tomorrow. We expect more moves today, as top prospect Andrew Moore has arrived in town from Double-A Arkansas, as well as consistent left-hander Kyle Hunter.

Today: New Orleans (11-18) at Tacoma (17-11), 1:35.

Opponent Affiliation: Miami Marlins.

Season Series: New Orleans leads, 1-0.

Starting Pitchers: LHP Justin Nicolino (1-2, 3.58) at RHP Rob Whalen (0-0, 0.00).

Whelen spent Saturday in the big leagues, wasn’t used in the game, and comes right back and makes a start for Tacoma today.

Hot RainiersDario Pizzano went 5-for-12 with three doubles and a homer in the Las Vegas series, and he’s 8-for-24 over his last seven games… Dan Vogelbach saw his ten-game hitting streak end yesterday, but he walked twice and has reached base in 19 straight PCL games… new guy Seth Mejias-Brean has hit safely in his first five games for Tacoma.

Look Out For: Infielder Steve Lombardozzi had his streak of reaching base safely in 12 straight games end yesterday… Brandon Barnes has a five-game hitting streak… second-year New Orleans outfielder Destin Hood is the prime source of power on the roster… scouts like infielder J.T. Riddle, who during a recent call-up hit his first big league homer – a walk-off shot against the Mets.

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, so Bob Robertson joins me in the booth.

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

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