Searching For Offense In Middle America

There’s got to be some hits somewhere around here, right?

The Tacoma Rainiers are having trouble scoring runs on this road trip to Omaha and Des Moines, and it has been unfortunate because the pitching has been as good as it has all season.

After hitting three homers and scoring seven runs in the road trip opener at Omaha on Wednesday, the bats have gone cold. Like, freezing cold.

Tacoma has scored just four runs over the last four games, with a total of 16 hits. That’s an average of one run on four hits per game.

It should be noted that the wind has been blowing quite strongly in from center field during three of these last four games, which is definitely a factor.

But still, a lineup featuring Leonys Martin, Dan Vogelbach, and Mike Zunino should be a very good Triple-A lineup. And I think it is a good Triple-A lineup; it’s just in a funk right now.

Looking through some stats this morning, I saw that the Rainiers have the PCL’s worst team batting average with runners in scoring position. The club is hitting .245 with RISP, which seems unsustainably poor. With RISP and two outs, the team’s average is .169. That should improve naturally, right?

Thank goodness the pitching has been spectacular. The Rainiers are ten games over .500 despite having one of the worst offenses (statistically) in the PCL!

Here’s hoping the team will break out the bats tonight.

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: Tacoma continued to have trouble scoring, losing the series opener at Iowa, 2-1. Rob Whalen pitched a complete game in the loss, allowing two runs (one earned) over eight innings.

Roster Moves: Amazingly, there were no roster moves yesterday. It’s an Iowa miracle!

Today: Tacoma (25-15) at Iowa (19-21), 5:05 Pacific.

Opponent Affiliation: Chicago Cubs.

Season Series: Iowa leads, 1-0.

Starting Pitchers: RHP Andrew Moore (1-0, 3.86) at RHP Dylan Floro (2-1, 4.74).

Floro is normally a long reliever, so this is a ‘bullpen day’ for Iowa.

Hot Rainiers: Leonys Martin has a six-game hitting streak, during which he has gone 9-for-19 with two homers… Zach Shank returned from an illness and started the second game Thursday, promptly hitting a double. He’s 5-for-his-last-16 with four doubles.

Look Out For: Veteran third baseman Chris Dominguez has hit safely in eight of his last nine games, including an RBI single in the first inning last night… Mark Zagunis has hit safely in five straight games.

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 Reports:

  • Not exactly shocking news: Reno’s series opener at Omaha was rained out, and rescheduled as a Sunday doubleheader.
  • El Paso took a 7-6 lead into the bottom of the eighth inning and scored, um, nine insurance runs in a 16-8 win over Oklahoma City. The El Paso Times also has a feature on starting pitcher Tyrell Jenkins.
  • Las Vegas won at New Orleans, 2-1, on Josh Rodriguez‘s two-run homer in the seventh inning. The New Orleans Advocate has a game story which also checks in on top prospect Amed Rosario of Las Vegas.
  • Rehabilitating Trevor Story homered and Barry Enright pitched six innings in Albuquerque’s 5-0 win over visiting Colorado Springs.
  • Dillon Gee and Round Rock shut out Salt Lake, 8-0. The Austin Statesman has a feature story on hot-hitting Express first baseman Ronald Guzman.
  • Nashville picked up a 6-0 road win at Sacramento, with Renato Nunez blasting his 11th home run. The Tennessean has a feature on Sounds pitcher Josh Smith.
  • Derek Fisher ripped his tenth homer in Fresno’s 10-2 stomping of Memphis.
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