O’Neill Hit Cloud-Scraping Homer To Win It For Rainiers

June 30, 2017

The Rainiers won Thursday night’s game against Las Vegas on a walk-off home run by Tyler O’Neill in the bottom of the ninth inning. The two-run homer gave Tacoma a 7-5 win.

Ahead in the count 3-1, O’Neill hit Hansel Robles‘ pitch high in the sky towards left field. This fly ball was a skyscraper, a true towering fly ball, hit so high in the sky you had to wonder if it was going to get out of the park.

Las Vegas left fielder Josh Rodriguez thought he might have a play on it. He went back to the fence, looked up, found the ball, had time to move about 15 feet to the right, was camped under it again, and then… realized it was a few feet beyond the fence, and nothing could be done.

O’Neill circled the bases, and the celebration was on. Note the expert-level pouring accuracy Dan Vogelbach displays in his emptying of the Gatorade cooler:

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: The Las Vegas series wrapped up with another thriller, as the Rainiers lost a 4-1 lead in the top of the eighth, tied the game in the bottom of the eighth, and won it on Tyler O’Neill‘s homer in the ninth. Tacoma took three-of-four from Vegas.

Today: Albuquerque (38-41) at Tacoma (41-37), 7:05.

Opponent Affiliation: Colorado Rockies.

Season Series: Tacoma leads, 4-2.

Starting Pitchers: LHP Harrison Musgrave (3-1, 6.84) at RHP Rob Whalen (0-5, 6.38).

Hot RainiersAndrew Aplin has an eight-game hitting streak, and he is 14-for-40 with 11 RBI over his last 15 games… Boog Powell is 17-for-33 with two homers over his last eight games… Dan Vogelbach has a seven-game hitting streak… Leonys Martin is batting .340 in June, and he has been successful in his last 16 stolen base attempts.

Look Out For: Albuquerque was shut out on one hit last night, ending all hitting streaks. All-Star outfielder Noel Cuevas had the hit… infielder Ryan McMahon has been the big story for the Isotopes, batting .429 in 26 games since being promoted from Double-A Hartford. He’s had four games of four-or-more hits, and he had back-to-back two-homer games against Fresno, June 15-16.

Ex-Rainiers and Local Guys: Albuquerque doesn’t have any.

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:

PCL Game Reports:

  • Just optioned to Fresno, Joe Musgrove tossed seven innings of one-hit ball as the Grizzlies shut out Albuquerque, 8-0.
  • Salt Lake missed out on a sweep of Reno, dropping the final game in ten innings 3-2. Rudy Flores had the game-winning hit.
  • Sacramento won a thriller at El Paso, 11-10. Chris Shaw had four hits, two homers, and four RBI for Sacramento.
  • Royals ace Danny Duffy made a rehabilitation start for Omaha on the road at Colorado Springs. The Sky Sox won it long after he was gone, scoring seven runs in the eighth inning for an 8-4 win and a five-game series sweep.
  • Iowa topped New Orleans, 5-2. The paper has a story on new Iowa reliever and PCL All-Star Matt Carasiti.
  • Patrick Wisdom homered twice as Memphis beat Oklahoma City, 8-2. Hopefully later this season when Reno plays Memphis, Wisdom and Socrates (Brito) will sit down and have a long talk.
  • Round Rock and Nashville used gimmicky team names last night, and Round Rock won 10-0 behind Clayton Blackburn.
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International League Delivers Prospects To Tacoma

June 29, 2017

The International League announced its All-Star Team today, and will send several highly ranked prospects to Tacoma to take on the PCL All-Stars on July 12. You can see the entire IL All-Star roster right here.

Charlotte (White Sox) infielder Yoan Moncada leads the way. He is currently ranked the No. 1 prospect in all of minor league baseball by MLB.com. Moncada is listed as the IL’s starting second baseman.

Durham’s Willy Adames is ranked the No. 1 prospect in the Tampa Bay Rays farm system, and he’s set to start at shortstop.

I’m excited to get a look at Lehigh Valley catcher Jorge Alfaro, who has been on the prospect radar since he was 16 years old. He’s one of five Philadelphia Phillies prospects on the team, including bash brothers Rhys Hoskins and Dylan Cozens.

Norfolk catcher Chance Sisco was named the Baltimore Orioles top prospect by Baseball America prior to the season.

Other highly ranked prospects include infielder Ozzie Albies of the Gwinnett Braves, outfielder Dustin Fowler of the Yankees, and Louisville outfielder Jesse Winker.

There are also a pair of ex-Rainiers on the IL team. Pitchers Andrew Kittredge (Durham) and Edgar Olmos (Pawtucket) will make their returns to Cheney Stadium on July 12.

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: Tacoma used a pair of fourth inning homers to snap a 2-2 tie and take a 6-2 lead over Las Vegas, and for the first time in the series there was no comeback and the Rainiers cruised to a 7-2 win on Wednesday night. Leonys Martin had three hits with a solo homer, and Boog Powell‘s three-run blast opened up the game.

Today: Las Vegas (30-49) at Tacoma (40-37), 7:05.

Opponent Affiliation: New York Mets.

Season Series: Tacoma leads, 7-3.

Starting Pitchers: RHP Ricky Knapp (3-9, 6.24) at RHP Christian Bergman (5-0, 3.21).

Hot RainiersAndrew Aplin has an eight-game hitting streak, and he is 14-for-40 with 11 RBI over his last 14 games… Boog Powell is 15-for-29 with two homers over his last seven games… Steven Baron is 8-for-12 over his last three games. He went 4-for-5 on Friday, and 3-for-4 Tuesday night… Dan Vogelbach has a six-game hitting streak.

Look Out ForDominic Smith has a 15-game hitting streak, and he has hit safely in 22 of his last 23 with the only hitless game at Tacoma on June 11… Kevin Plawecki has an 11-game hitting streak, with three homers during the streak… after hitting .404 in April and .322 in May, top prospect Amed Rosario is batting just .231 in June.

Ex-Rainiers and Local Guys: Las Vegas doesn’t have any.

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:

PCL Game Reports:

  • Just a few hours after Salt Lake’s Troy Scribner was named to the PCL All-Star Team, he delivered a gem in a 5-2 win over Reno. Scribner allowed one run over seven innings, striking out 11 for his league-leading ninth win. This result pulled Tacoma within seven games of first place.
  • Fresno made it six straight wins with an 8-5 victory over Albuquerque, and the Grizzlies are tied in second place with Tacoma.
  • The River Cats swarmed the Chihuahuas, 11-3, as Chris Shaw had three hits and three RBI.
  • New Orleans picked up a 6-4 win at Iowa.
  • Colorado Springs continued its hot play with a 4-1 win over Omaha, and the local paper has a feature on All Star first baseman Garrett Cooper.
  • Nashville out-slugged Round Rock, 11-9, as All Star Renato Nunez blasted his PCL-leading 21st home run.
  • Memphis All Star Luke Weaver tossed six shutout innings in a 7-2 win over Oklahoma City. Weaver is 7-1 with a 1.93 ERA.

 


Vogelbach, Machi Are PCL All-Stars

June 28, 2017

Tacoma’s Dan Vogelbach and Jean Machi were named Pacific Coast League All-Stars today, and they’ll represent the hometown club in the Triple-A All-Star Game on July 12 at Cheney Stadium.

And while the field has not yet been set, don’t be surprised if Vogelbach also is named a contestant in the Triple-A Home Run Derby on Monday, July 10.

You can see the entire PCL All-Star Team right here. Keep in mind, there will be a few changes: inevitably, a player or two gets called up to the majors between now and July 12.

There are a number of young prospects on the PCL squad who are projected to have long major league careers. Among them are Las Vegas shortstop Amed Rosario, Omaha shortstop Raul Mondesi, Fresno outfielder Derek Fisher, Oklahoma City outfielder Alex Verdugo and second baseman Willie Calhoun, and Memphis catcher Carson Kelly. Touted Memphis pitching prospect Luke Weaver is on the squad as well.

And for one day only, we’ll allow you to cheer for the Reno Aces murderers row of Ildemaro Vargas, Oswaldo Arcia, and Christian Walker. They’re all on the squad – but no Ketel Marte; he got called up by the Diamondbacks today.

We’ll keep you posted on any changes to the roster. The International League announces its all-stars tomorrow.

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: Vegas turned the tables on Tacoma, picking up its own comeback win by scoring four runs in the eighth and the game-winner in the ninth. Amed Rosario tripled and scored on Dominic Smith‘s single to bring Las Vegas an 8-7 win.

Today: Las Vegas (30-48) at Tacoma (39-37), 7:05.

Opponent Affiliation: New York Mets.

Season Series: Tacoma leads, 6-3.

Starting Pitchers: RHP Wilfredo Boscan (3-5, 4.58) at RHP Casey Lawrence (0-0, 5.74).

Hot Rainiers: Andrew Aplin is 13-for-36 with 11 RBI over his last 13 games… Boog Powell is 12-for-25 with a homer over his last six games… Steven Baron is 8-for-12 over his last three games. He went 4-for-5 on Friday, and 3-for-4 last night.

Look Out For: Dominic Smith has a 14-game hitting streak, and he has hit safely in 21 of his last 22 with the only hitless game at Tacoma on June 11… Kevin Plawecki has an 11-game hitting streak, with three homers during the streak… Matt Reynolds has homered three times in the last five games… after hitting .404 in April and .322 in May, top prospect Amed Rosario is batting just .230 in June.

Ex-Rainiers and Local Guys: Las Vegas doesn’t have any.

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:

PCL Game Reports:


Epic Comeback In Homestand Opener

June 27, 2017

After it was all said and done last night, I said on the air that I wouldn’t blame anybody for turning off the game when Las Vegas took an 8-0 lead in the top of the sixth inning.

At that point the Rainiers had been outscored 17-1 over the previous 15 innings, manager Pat Listach had been ejected three innings prior, and Las Vegas ace Tyler Pill had tossed five shutout innings. It certainly didn’t feel like a winnable game. The outlook was grim.

In the bottom of the sixth inning, Tyler O’Neill continued his recent surge with a solo homer to right-center, making it 8-1. Then Leonys Martin singled to right, and one out later Andrew Aplin homered to make it 8-3 at the end of the sixth inning.

OK, 8-3 is a little better, going to the seventh inning, but it still didn’t feel like a winnable game.

Nick Hagadone pitched a scoreless top of the seventh, and Las Vegas brought in reliever Logan Taylor to pitch the bottom of the inning.

Boog Powell singled with one out, and with two outs Martin lined a change-up over the right field fence for a two-run homer. Suddenly, it was 8-5 and the Rainiers were in striking distance.

Hagadone pitched another scoreless inning in the eighth – he was the unsung hero, going 2.2 shutout innings to enable the comeback.

Taylor helped out the Rainiers in the bottom of the eighth inning, walking Aplin and D.J. Peterson to start the inning. This is when the comeback started to feel real, like it was going to happen. A big comeback always requires a mistake or two by the opposition, and these walks were the mistakes.

Tyler Smith struck out for the first out, and Las Vegas brought in left-hander Alberto Baldonado to face Danny Muno. Muno singled to right center, scoring Aplin to make it 8-6 and putting the tying runners on base.

Tuffy Gosewisch was the next hitter, and Baldonado started him off with two strikes. Gosewisch then pulled the 0-2 pitch down the left field line and into the corner, scoring Peterson and Muno with the tying runs.

Now the Rainiers had to take the lead.

Powell flied out to deep right field, allowing Gosewisch to tag up and advance to third, but there were two outs.

That brought up O’Neill, and he singled to right-center, scoring Gosewisch with the go-ahead run.

Emilio Pagan came in from the bullpen and struck out the side in the top of the ninth, sealing the 9-8 victory.

It was an utterly remarkable comeback. Down 8-0 in the sixth inning, score nine unanswered runs, win it 9-8.

I’m pleased to report that it looked like the majority of the Monday night crowd of 3,125 stuck around for the finish. When Tacoma was trailing 8-0 in the sixth inning, the sun was still shining and it wasn’t even 8:00 yet. It was too early to go home! Then the comeback began, and the fans were there to see it.

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: What a comeback! (see above)

Today: Las Vegas (29-48) at Tacoma (39-36), 6:05.

Opponent Affiliation: New York Mets.

Season Series: Tacoma leads, 6-2.

Starting Pitchers: RHP Donovan Hand (1-3, 6.99) at RHP Andrew Moore (3-1, 3.19).

Hot Rainiers: Andrew Aplin is 12-for-31 with ten RBI over his last 12 games… Boog Powell is 10-for-20 with a homer over his last five games… Jonathan Aro had two outstanding relief appearances in Reno, pitching 4.1 shutout innings allowing one hit.

Look Out For: Dominic Smith has a 13-game hitting streak, and he has hit safely in 20 of his last 21 with the only hitless game at Tacoma on June 11… Kevin Plawecki has a ten-game hitting streak, with three homers during the streak… Matt Reynolds has homered three times in the last four games… after hitting .404 in April and .322 in May, top prospect Amed Rosario is batting just .221 in June.

Ex-Rainiers and Local Guys: Las Vegas doesn’t have any.

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 Game Reports:


Rainiers Look To Recover From Rough Reno Trip

June 26, 2017

The Rainiers got blown out on Sunday, 9-1, and ended up losing three of the four games at Reno. Tacoma is now nine games out of first place, and the Rainiers all-time record in that ballpark now stands at 19-49.

But here’s some good news: the Rainiers are home now, and this team has played great baseball at Cheney Stadium. Tacoma is 23-12 at home this year, and an eight-game homestand starts tonight.

Las Vegas comes to town, bringing the second-worst record in the PCL with them. The 51s are 29-47 this year, and have lost seven of their last nine games.

Top prospects Amed Rosario and Dominic Smith are still with Las Vegas, despite New York Mets fans clamoring for a call-up of Rosario. Rosario has tapered off at the plate, batting just .231 in June, but Smith is on an extended hot streak right now.

After the four games with Las Vegas, the Albuquerque Isotopes comes to town for four games culminating with the July 3rd Fireworks Spectacular (or is it an Extravaganza? I can never remember. Either way, it’s awesome).

It’ll be a great homestand and we hope you can make it out to the park.

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: Reno coasted to an easy 9-1 win over the Rainiers on Sunday, opening up a nine-game lead in the Pac-North standings. Tacoma had just five hits in the loss, with Andrew Aplin‘s homer being the only run.

Today: Las Vegas (29-47) at Tacoma (38-36), 6:05.

Opponent Affiliation: New York Mets.

Season Series: Tacoma leads, 5-2.

Starting Pitchers: RHP Tyler Pill (4-1, 2.04) at RHP Chase De Jong (3-3, 4.89).

Hot Rainiers: Andrew Aplin is 10-for-28 with eight RBI over his last 11 games… Boog Powell is 8-for-15 with a homer over his last four games… Jonathan Aro had two outstanding relief appearances in Reno, pitching 4.1 shutout innings allowing one hit.

Look Out For: Dominic Smith has a 12-game hitting streak, and he has hit safely in 19 of his last 20 with the only hitless game at Tacoma on June 11… Kevin Plawecki has a nine-game hitting streak, with three homers during the streak… after hitting .404 in April and .322 in May, top prospect Amed Rosario is batting just .231 in June.

Ex-Rainiers and Local Guys: Las Vegas doesn’t have any.

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 Game Reports:


Rainiers Look To Split Reno Series Today

June 25, 2017

Tough loss for the Rainiers last night, when immediately following a game-tying homer the team allowed four runs on just one hit. Walks, a wild pitch, a hit batter, and a three-run homer by Oswaldo Arcia gave Reno the win.

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: Immediately after Dan Vogelbach hit a game-tying three-run homer in the top of the eighth inning, Tacoma surrendered four runs in the bottom of the frame and lost in Reno on Saturday night, 9-5. Tacoma needs a win today to split the series.

Today: Tacoma (38-35) at Reno (47-28), 1:05.

Opponent Affiliation: Arizona Diamondbacks.

Season Series: Reno leads, 5-2.

Starting Pitchers: RHP Rob Whalen (0-4, 5.08) at LHP Erik Jokisch (5-3, 5.82).

Hot Rainiers: Andrew Aplin is 9-for-25 with seven RBI over his last ten games… Boog Powell is 8-for-15 with a homer over his last four games… Zach Shank has reached base in 12 straight games.

Look Out For: Jack Reinheimer has a nine-game hitting streak, going 14-for-37 during the streak… Kristopher Negron is 8-for-12 with four triples during a four-game hitting streak… Oswaldo Arcia has homered in back-to-back games.

Ex-Rainiers and Local Guys: Reno has former Rainiers infielder Ketel Marte. Catcher Hank Conger spent much of his youth growing up in Federal Way.

Broadcast: The pregame show starts at 12:50 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:

 


Rainiers Draw To 21 Hits, Win In Reno

June 24, 2017

One day after sinking to last place in the PCL in runs scored, the Tacoma Rainiers had the offensive explosion we have been waiting for.

The Rainiers banged out 21 hits, Tyler O’Neill had his biggest game of the season, and Tacoma romped its way to a 13-6 win in Reno on Friday night.

O’Neill’s night was huge: 3-for-6, with two homers, a double, and seven runs batted in.

The just-turned 22-year-old entered last night’s game batting .214 with six homers on the year. He’s been having trouble adjusting to Triple-A pitchers who are able to command their breaking pitches, and use advanced pitch sequencing to get him out.

But O’Neill was having fun on Friday.

Facing veteran major league finesse lefty Aaron Laffey for the second time this month, O’Neill pulled a towering fly-ball for a two-run homer in the top of the fourth inning. It was the second time he has homered off Laffey this season.

O’Neill hit with the bases loaded in the sixth, against Daniel Gibson – a lefty reliever. This time O’Neill did something that has been very rare for him this season: he drove a pitch to the opposite field, lining the ball high off the right field fence for a two-run double that was nearly a grand slam.

In the ninth he came up against right-handed reliever Louis Coleman, who spent the 2016 season in the Los Angeles Dodgers bullpen. O’Neill got under a pitch but was still able to pull it out to left field for his second homer of the game. This one, admittedly, was something of a “Reno homer,” a fly ball that carried out in the high elevation and probably would have been caught in a lot of sea level ballparks.

The opposite-field double was the most impressive hit of the three. Hopefully this big game helps O’Neill get going for the second half of the season (which began yesterday for Tacoma).

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: Tacoma pounded a season-high 21 hits, scored seven runs in the sixth inning, and rolled to a 13-6 win in Reno on Friday night. Tyler O’Neill hit two homers and drove in seven runs, while both D.J. Peterson and Steven Baron hit four singles. The series is tied, 1-1.

Roster Moves: Prior to yesterday’s game, the Mariners activated Felix Hernandez from the disabled list and optioned Andrew Moore to Tacoma. Because the M’s have two days off this coming week (everyone in the PCL: “what?”), they don’t need a fifth starter until July 4th.

Today: Tacoma (38-34) at Reno (46-28), 7:05.

Opponent Affiliation: Arizona Diamondbacks.

Season Series: Reno leads, 4-2.

Starting Pitchers: RHP Christian Bergman (5-0, 2.17) at LHP Anthony Banda (6-4, 4.96).

Hot Rainiers: Andrew Aplin is 8-for-24 with seven RBI over his last nine games… Boog Powell is 8-for-13 with a homer over his last three games… Zach Shank has reached base in 11 straight games… Gordon Beckham has hit safely in four straight games.

Look Out For: Jack Reinheimer has an eight-game hitting streak, going 13-for-33 during the streak… Kristopher Negron has tripled in three straight games for Reno, going 6-for-9 with four three-baggers during the unusual streak. He gets out of the box in a hurrry.

Ex-Rainiers and Local Guys: Reno has former Rainiers infielder Ketel Marte. Catcher Hank Conger spent much of his youth growing up in Federal Way.

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.

Triple-A All-Star Game: We’re hosting it at Cheney Stadium on July 12, and fan balloting is live now – go here and vote for who you want to see.

Links:

PCL Game Reports: