Minor League Characters: The Wild Pitcher

A classic character of minor league baseball is the young pitcher who throws really hard and has no idea where it is going. If you’ve seen the movie Bull Durham, we’re talking about a Nuke Lalush type.

These are very real players in the low levels of the minor leagues, but we just don’t see them in Triple-A. Pitchers have refined their control by the time they reach this level, or they have washed out.

We had an exception yesterday.

Omaha starter Josh Staumont had the type of outing you just don’t see in Triple-A during the first game of last night’s doubleheader:

  • 6 IP
  • 2 H
  • 1 R
  • 7 BB
  • 8 K

That’s right, seven walks and eight strikeouts. Just two hits. He showed great stuff, with a darting fastball and a sharp-breaking curve. But he was all over the place with his pitches. He walked the leadoff man in five of the six innings! Yet somehow he was able to avoid allowing runs.

The Rainiers finally scored in the sixth inning when Staumont uncorked a wild pitch with Mike Zunino at third base. The pitch hit the backstop on the fly. Tacoma won the game, 1-0.

Omaha took the second game, 5-0, but the Rainiers were happy to get through the day without having a position player pitch. Reliever Paul Paez exceeded expectations in his spot-start in game two, pitching into the fifth inning.

The road trip continues with a four-game series against the Iowa Cubs, starting tonight. This is always a fun trip – downtown Des Moines is compact, we stay in walking distance of the ballpark, and it’s a surprisingly cool city. I had fun walking over to Java Joe’s this morning; it’s in consideration for best coffee in the PCL.

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: Tacoma split another doubleheader in Omaha, and split the series 2-2. The Rainiers won the opener 1-0 as Tyler Cloyd, Emilio Pagan, and Ryne Harper combined on a shutout. It was Omaha’s turn to toss a shutout in the second game, 5-0, with the Rainiers getting just five hits while making a season-high four errors.

Roster Moves: Pitchers Jean Machi and Chase De Jong will report to Tacoma today, giving the staff a much-needed boost.

Today: Tacoma (25-14) at Iowa (18-21), 5:05 Pacific.

Opponent Affiliation: Chicago Cubs.

Season Series: 0-0.

Starting Pitchers: RHP Rob Whalen (0-1, 5.79) at RHP Jake Buchanan (1-2, 5.71).

Hot Rainiers: Leonys Martin has a five-game hitting streak, during which he has gone 8-for-16 with two homers… Zach Shank returned from an illness and started the second game yesterday, promptly hitting a double. He’s 5-for-his-last-15 with four doubles.

Look Out For: Iowa’s Victor Caratini has been one of the top hitters in the PCL, batting .355 with a .915 OPS on the year. He plays catcher and first base… Jeimer Candelario should return today from a ten-day stint in the big leagues; he had three 5-RBI games in the first week of the PCL season… Mark Zagunis leads the active roster with six homers. He’s hitting just .243 but has a .408 on-base percentage.

Local Guys and Ex-Rainiers: After an offseason of being claimed off waivers repeatedly, ex-Tacoma lefty reliever David Rollins landed in Iowa.

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 Game Reports:

  • Iowa scored four runs in the eighth inning to grab a 6-5 comeback win at Las Vegas. The I-Cubs lost the first game in Vegas before winning the next three. They’re probably having a long travel day coming home (the Rainiers had an easy two-hour bus ride from Omaha last night).
  • Christian Walker hit two home runs as Reno pounded Round Rock, 14-4. Walker leads the PCL with 12 homers and 46 RBI.
  • El Paso’s Dinelson Lamet was dealing in a 4-1 win over visiting Colorado Springs.
  • Memphis had 14 hits and Mike Mayers pitched well in a 4-2 win over Albuquerque.
  • Nashville had 19 hits, led by Franklin Barreto‘s 3-for-6, 5 RBI performance, and won at Fresno, 13-3. No word on how many chicken-stuffed pickles – or “chickles” – were sold.
  • Destin Hood doubled and homered to help the New Orleans Baby Cakes coo their way to a 4-2 win over Salt Lake.
  • Sacramento at Oklahoma City was cancelled due to a huge storm. It was the last meeting of the year between the two teams, so it will not be made up.
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