After a day off on Wednesday, the Tacoma Rainiers return to action tonight at 7:05. The team opens a four-game series against the Fresno Grizzlies at Chukchansi Park.
This marks the beginning of the final stretch of the Rainiers toughest away-game section of the 2017 season. Ending on Sunday, the team will have played 16 of its last 20 games away from Cheney Stadium.
So far it has gone… just fine, I guess? The Rainiers are 8-8 over the first 16 games of this stretch, with splits everywhere: the team went 2-2 at Omaha, 2-2 at Iowa, 2-2 at home against Fresno, and 2-2 at Salt Lake.
It should be noted that Fresno has heated up since we saw them last week at Cheney Stadium. Tacoma won the first two games of that series, but Fresno took the final two – and then won three-of-four at home against Albuquerque, so the Grizzlies have won five-of-six overall.
They have done it with lots of offense. Fresno has scored 44 runs over the last six games, an average of 7.3 runs per game.
Tacoma enters tonight’s game in second place in the Pacific-North division standings, one game behind Reno. The Aces visit Tacoma for the first time this season on Monday.
Yesterday: We had a day off on Wednesday, which we spent here in Fresno. Tacoma pitched a shutout on Tuesday in Salt Lake City, winning 4-0 behind Andrew Moore‘s terrific eight innings of work. D.J. Peterson hit a three-run homer in the win.
Roster Moves: Lots happening today, and here’s what I know so far: pitcher Cody Martin is coming off the disabled list; he’s been out since spring training with elbow soreness. Reliever Ryne Harper has returned from three days with the Mariners, where he did not get into a game. Pitcher Kyle Hunter has been placed on the seven-day disabled list, and left-hander Lane Ratliff has returned to extended spring training. Tacoma has added Aruban Eugene Helder from extended spring to provide some infield depth.
Today: Tacoma (31-20) at Fresno (23-30), 7:05.
Opponent Affiliation: Houston Astros.
Season Series: Tied, 2-2.
Starting Pitchers: RHP Rob Whalen (0-2, 4.09) at RHP Francis Marte (0-2, 4.55).
Marte is the Houston Astros No. 1 prospect according to Baseball America.
Hot Rainiers: Leonys Martin saw his streak of reaching base safely in 16 straight games come to an end on Tuesday… D.J. Peterson has a five-game hitting streak, going 9-for-26… Danny Muno has reached base safely in 14 of his last 15 games.
Look Out For: Outfield prospect Derek Fisher is on a tear. He’s homered in three straight games, has 12 hits during a six-game hitting streak, and has reached base in 13 straight games… catcher Juan Centeno has returned from the major leagues and picked up a 19-game PCL hitting streak… Colin Moran has a six-game hitting streak… Preston Tucker has hit four homers over his past six games.
Local Guys and Ex-Rainiers: Casey Coleman was a productive reliever for Tacoma last year; he’s in Fresno’s starting rotation right now… reliever Aaron West was drafted out of the University of Washington in 2012, he’s a product of Snohomish High School.
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.
- The Triple-A All-Star Game online voting results are out, and after one week not a single Tacoma player ranks in the Top 5 at any position. Let’s get to work, eh?
- Clear your calendar: it looks like both Felix Hernandez and Mitch Haniger could be rehabbing with the Rainiers during the week-long homestand which begins on Monday.
- The Mariners won their fourth game in a row last night, as James Paxton returned and helped shut out the Rockies, 5-0. Three takeaways from the game.
- Larry Stone writes that how the Mariners perform in June will determine if the team sells off its assets at the trade deadline.
- The News Tribune has a look at Sam Gaviglio, one of many pitchers to go from Tacoma to Seattle this season.
- Ryan Divish took a deep dive into the home plate slide rule which cost the Mariners a run in Colorado.
- Double-A Arkansas outfielder Chuck Taylor just keeps hitting. He went 3-for-5 yesterday and raised his Texas League-leading batting average to .386. On Tuesday’s radio pregame show I asked farm director Andy McKay if Taylor might get promoted this season and he pointed out that the Rainiers don’t have an outfield opening right now, but he didn’t rule out the possibility.
- From Baseball America’s Minor League Transactions we learn that the Mariners released Double-A hitters Chantz Mack and Jay Baum, as well as reliever Kody Kerski who pitched in a game for Tacoma earlier this season.