Rainiers Walk Away With Win

July 31, 2017

Tacoma set a season-high by drawing ten walks in a 5-3 win over Oklahoma City on Sunday evening.

The Rainiers No. 8 and No. 9 batters in the lineup drew five of the ten walks, which I’m sure infuriated the Oklahoma City coaching staff. Zach Shank and Steven Baron really grinded out their plate appearances last night.

The victory was the third in a row for Tacoma, which has now won eight of the last 11 games. That seems hard to believe, because all three of the losses in this stretch were lopsided defeats that came consecutively in Colorado Springs. Funny how the brain works – they’ve gone 8-3 in the last 11 games, but it doesn’t feel that way because of the three blowouts.

After a disastrous start to the road trip, the Rainiers are now 3-3 on this eight-game journey. Hopefully they can keep it going tonight!

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: Tacoma topped Oklahoma City, 5-3. Dan Vogelbach‘s two-out, three-run double in the second inning was the key hit in the game, Danny Muno had two hits including a homer, and Thyago Vieira reached 101 mph with his fastball while collecting his second Triple-A save.

Roster Moves: Two additional moves happened prior to last night’s game: outfielder Dario Pizzano rejoined the team from Double-A Arkansas, and reliever Dean Kiekhefer was activated from the disabled list.

Today: Tacoma (55-53) at Oklahoma City (56-50), 5:05 Pacific.

Opponent Affiliation: Los Angeles Dodgers.

Season Series: Tacoma leads, 2-0.

Starting Pitchers: RHP Chase De Jong (3-5, 6.34) at RHP Walker Buehler (0-1, 9.00).

Buehler is considered to be the Los Angeles Dodgers top pitching prospect. Reportedly he throws very hard and can be very wild. This is his third Triple-A start.

Hot RainiersDan Vogelbach has a 15-game hitting streak… Boog Powell has hit safely in 11 straight games, but he has missed the last two games with a back problem… Gordon Beckham has hit .338 since the all-star break… Ian Miller has hit safely in nine straight games.

Look Out ForMike Freeman has gone 9-for-20 over his last six games… Willie Calhoun is one of the best hitters in the PCL. He homered in three straight games last week. He also hit two doubles in the Triple-A All-Star Game at Cheney Stadium earlier this month… Edwin Rios has hit safely in nine of his last ten games.

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:

  • Reliever Eric Stout escaped a jam and helped Omaha to a 5-2 victory over Fresno.
  • Reno pulled within one game of first place Fresno by downing Memphis, 6-4, despite another home run by Tyler O’Neill.
  • Salt Lake was trailing in Nashville, 6-2 after five innings… and then scored ten times in the top of the sixth, eventually defeating the Sounds 12-7. It was Salt Lake’s first ten-run inning since 2012.
  • Albuquerque fell out of a first place tie in the Pac-South with a 5-4 loss to Iowa, as Stephen Bruno had the go-ahead two-run double in the eighth inning. Isotopes infielder Ryan McMahon is having a big season and might be a trade chip.
  • Catcher A.J. Jimenez had a big game and helped Round Rock defeat El Paso, 7-3.
  • Sacramento “left the Baby Cakes battered,” 6-2, in a nice display of headline writing.
  • Las Vegas had an offensive eruption in a 12-6 win over Colorado Springs.
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Singles Night

July 30, 2017

‘Sixteen Singles’ sounds like the name of a John Hughes movie, and it’s also how the Rainiers beat Oklahoma City last night in the series opener at Bricktown Ballpark.

Tacoma hit 16 singles and one double in a 17-hit attack, leading to a 14-9 win over the Dodgers.

Offensively, the Rainiers were sublime. Tacoma hitters were lacing base hits all around the field, they took advantage of some wildness from Oklahoma City’s pitchers (drawing seven walks), and they ran the bases well.

The other parts of the Rainiers game were not as smooth. Oklahoma City’s nine runs came on just six hits (originally just five hits; there was a controversial postgame scoring change). Tacoma was sloppy on defense, Rainiers pitchers walked five batters and hit two more, and nothing seemed to come easy when the team was in the field.

But it all added up to a win, and the Rainiers are back over the .500 mark.

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: Tacoma banged out 17 hits – 16 of which were singles – in a 14-9 win over Oklahoma City in the series opener on Saturday night. Ian Miller, Gordon Beckham, and Taylor Motter each had three hits.

Roster Moves: Today the Mariners called up Leonys Martin and designated D.J. Peterson for assignment to make room on the 40-man roster. That leaves just eight available position players on the Rainiers roster, so somebody will be coming from Double-A Arkansas, which is currently playing in nearby Tulsa. Pitcher Cody Martin was optioned to Tacoma and is flying in tonight; hopefully he’ll arrive in time to be used at some point in this evening’s game. Finally, shortstop Tyler Smith was claimed by the Texas Rangers and optioned to Round Rock. The Mariners DFA’d him on Friday.

Today: Tacoma (54-53) at Oklahoma City (56-49), 4:05 Pacific.

Opponent Affiliation: Los Angeles Dodgers.

Season Series: Tacoma leads, 1-0.

Starting Pitchers: TBA at RHP Scott Barlow (1-2, 7.81).

As of midnight last night the Rainiers coaching staff was unsure who would start today’s game, which serves as a microcosm of the 2017 Tacoma Rainiers season as a whole.

Hot RainiersDan Vogelbach has a 14-game hitting streak… Boog Powell has hit safely in 11 straight games… Gordon Beckham has at least one hit in ten straight games, and 16 of his last 17… Ian Miller has hit safely in eight straight games.

Look Out ForMike Freeman has gone 8-for-16 over his last five games… Willie Calhoun is one of the best hitters in the PCL. He homered in three straight games earlier this week. He also hit two doubles in the Triple-A All-Star Game at Cheney Stadium earlier this month… O’Koyea Dickson has homered three times in his last seven games.

Broadcast: The pregame show starts at 3:50 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:

  • Rogelio Armenteros and the Fresno bullpen shut out a depleted Omaha club, 5-0. The Grizzlies are 21-5 in July and now lead the Pac-North by two games.
  • Memphis had a long travel day flying to Reno, then waited out a two-hour rain delay before blasting the Aces 14-8. Tyler O’Neill had two hits, a triple, and three RBI.
  • Nashville took down Salt Lake in a pitcher’s duel, 2-1, and the Bees are no longer alone in first place in the Pac-South.
  • Albuquerque moved into a first-place tie with Salt Lake by crushing Iowa, 8-1. Jordan Patterson homered twice, giving him 21 on the year.
  • The Round Rock Express inducted Keith Ginter into their Hall of Fame, then pounded El Paso 9-2.
  • The Las Vegas 51s rescued veteran Jonathan Albaladejo from the independent Atlantic League, and he repaid them by tossing seven shutout innings in a 3-0 win over Colorado Springs.
  • Ryder Jones homered twice to lead Sacramento to a 4-3 win over visiting New Orleans.

See Ya, Springs – On To Okie City

July 28, 2017

The Rainiers managed to salvage the final game in Colorado Springs, taking a 4-3 decision in ten innings due to some outstanding pitching.

It was kind of sad leaving that ballpark for the final time, but also somewhat lifting. Games there are so long, and so high-scoring, that they are a burden to call. But they have a lot of good people working there I’ll miss. Hopefully they’ll get a playoff run this year, and have a fun final season in 2018.

Now we move on to Oklahoma City, and face the Dodgers.

Oklahoma City second baseman Willie Calhoun was one of the eye-opening players in the Triple-A All-Star Game earlier this month, and the Rainiers need to beware of him. He’s built like Kirby Puckett and lashes line drives all over the place – including over the fence.

On to the round-up. Long travel day today, so links are limited.

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: Tacoma won its final game at Colorado Springs, 4-3, on Gordon Beckham‘s tenth inning homer. Sam Gaviglio had a strong start, allowing just one run over 5.2 innings. Jonathan Aro worked 2.1 stressed innings without allowing a run, and Dan Altavilla earned the save.

Roster Moves: Prior to Friday’s game, the Mariners called up pitchers Cody Martin and Casey Lawrence, optioned Andrew Moore to Tacoma, and designated for assignment infielder Tyler Smith. We’ll have to wait a few days to see if Smith gets picked up by another team.

Today: Tacoma (53-53) at Oklahoma City (56-48), 5:05 Pacific.

Opponent Affiliation: Los Angeles Dodgers.

Season Series: 0-0.

Starting Pitchers: LHP Marco Gonzales (1-0, 4.50) at RHP Justin Masterson (9-4, 3.88).

Hot Rainiers: Dan Vogelbach has an 13-game hitting streak… Boog Powell has hit safely in 11 straight games… Gordon Beckham has at least one hit in nine straight games, and 15 of his last 16… Ian Miller has hit safely in seven straight games.

Look Out For: Mike Freeman has gone 8-for-16 over his last five games… Willie Calhoun is one of the best hitters in the PCL. He homered in three straight games earlier this week. He also hit two doubles in the Triple-A All-Star Game at Cheney Stadium earlier this month… O’Koyea Dickson has homered three times in his last six games.

Broadcast: The pregame show starts at 5:45 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:

That’s it for today due to travel – but Fresno remained one game ahead of Reno in the Pac-North, as both teams won. Reno split a four-game series at Oklahoma City, where the Rainiers open tonight.


Final Night In The Springs

July 28, 2017

Here it is, the Tacoma Rainiers last game in Colorado Springs.

And after the first three games of this series, anyone rooting for the Rainiers will say “good riddance!”

The Sky Sox have crushed the Rainiers in three straight games, winning by scores of 13-4, 12-4, and 16-9.

That adds up to 41 Sky Sox runs in three games. No Tacoma starting pitcher has been able to slow them down.

This marks the first time this season the Rainiers have allowed 10+ runs in three straight games. The team had allowed 10+ runs in back-to-back games only once all season before arriving in the Springs on Tuesday.

Colorado Springs is batting .414 as a team over the first three games, with a .500 on-base percentage. Every other batter is reaching base. At least they have only hit four homers!

Every Sky Sox batter is hitting at least .333 in this series, except for Chris Colabello – and he has a homer and four RBI.

We are seeing first-hand why the Sky Sox are 24 games over .500. They have contact hitters who take advantage of the huge outfield in this ballpark, collecting a plethora of hits.

Today is the Rainiers final game here, because they do not travel to Colorado Springs in 2018, and the franchise is relocating to San Antonio in 2019. It sure would be nice if the Rainiers could get out of here with a win.

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: Colorado Springs continued to score at will in this series, picking up a 16-9 win on Thursday night. Thyago Vieira pitched well in relief for Tacoma, allowing one run in 2.1 innings. Utilityman Zach Shank was pressed into duty to work the eighth inning, and he delivered a rare (for this series) shutout inning. Leonys Martin hit a grand slam for the Rainiers.

Roster Moves: I anticipate some before the game tonight.

Today: Tacoma (52-53) at Colorado Springs (63-39), 6:00 Pacific.

Opponent Affiliation: Milwaukee Brewers.

Season Series: Sky Sox lead, 3-0.

The Rainiers swept the Sky Sox last year. They’re getting their revenge this year.

Starting Pitchers: RHP Sam Gaviglio (3-4, 3.89) at RHP Bubba Derby (2-0, 3.09).

I know, I know. Trust me. I looked it up online and checked with multiple in-person sources. Bubba Derby is the name of a Triple-A pitcher.

Hot RainiersLeonys Martin has a 12-game hitting streak… Dan Vogelbach also has an 12-game hitting streak… Boog Powell has hit safely in ten straight games… Gordon Beckham has at least one hit in eight straight games, and 14 of his last 15… Ian Miller has hit safely in six straight games.

Look Out ForIvan DeJesus Jr. has reached base in 42-straight games, tied for the longest in the PCL this year… Nick Noonan has a ten-game hitting streak, and he’s 6-for-15 with six RBI in this series… Kyle Wren is 6-for-12 in the series, and he has a seven-game hitting streak… we could keep going; every one of their hitters is tearing it up in this series.

Familiar Faces: Colorado Springs currently has ex-Rainiers Forrest Snow and Tom Wilhelmsen on the pitching staff.

Broadcast: The pregame show starts at 5:45 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:

  • There is a recap of last night’s Rainiers game on MiLB.com because a Sky Sox player – Mauricio Dubon – scored five runs, which is a rare feat.
  • The M’s have brought back an old friend, trading Steve Cishek to the Tampa Bay Rays for Erasmo Ramirez. Erasmo gives them a true long-man and a spot-starter.
  • The Mariners were off yesterday, and host the Mets today. The Times has a story on James Paxton‘s new cheering section, the “Maple Grove.”
  • Fangraphs says the Mariners should go all-in for Sonny Gray.
  • This week’s edition of the Baseball America Prospect Hot Sheet includes a Sky Sox (Dubon) and a kid from Puyallup (Logan Ice).
  • I like this. Sam Miller has a fun piece on what would surprise an informed fan in 1987 about baseball in 2017. The lack of stolen bases is so true.

PCL Game Reports:


Most Memorable Rainiers Game In Colorado Springs

July 27, 2017

The Tacoma Rainiers last-ever series in Colorado Springs has been very wet.

The first game of the series on Tuesday night was delayed 1 hour, 44 minutes prior to first pitch.

Yesterday we had the quick-turnaround 12:30 start (local time), and it started raining heavily in the bottom of the eighth inning. With a lopsided score of 12-4, the umpires called for the tarp – and thirty minutes later they called the game.

It’s appropriate for the Rainiers final games here to be impacted by the weather. My first-ever trip to Colorado Springs – in April of 1999 – featured a game that was suspended due to snow.

Over the years, the Rainiers have had games in Colorado Springs postponed or suspended due to rain, snow, lightning, wind, smoke from forest fires, and fog.

The fog game was incredible. It came on May 4, 2006.

The game started amid some pretty serious fog, which only thickened as the game progressed. From my spot in the broadcast booth I could not see the outfielders, and could barely make out second base. When a batter it a ball in the air, it completely disappeared from my view.

I used to cover the Rainiers games for The News Tribune back then, and this is the story I filed:

COLORADO SPRINGS – When the outfielders cannot see home plate, it’s hard to play baseball.

Yesterday’s Tacoma Rainiers game at Colorado Springs was suspended due to fog in the top of the third inning, with Tacoma leading 1-0.

The game will be completed when the Rainiers return to Colorado Springs, June 3-6.

The fog was present at the start of the game, but it got very thick in the bottom of the second inning. Tacoma right fielder TJ Bohn said that he was unable to see the groundout the ended the second inning.

“I couldn’t see anything at all. I couldn’t even see the stands,” said Bohn.

Bohn was the second player to bat in the third inning. With the outfielders invisible to the naked eye, Bohn lifted a normally routine fly ball to right field.

“I knew when I hit that ball that the outfielder couldn’t see anything,” said Bohn.

When Bohn’s ball plopped to the grass in front of Sky Sox right fielder Jeff Baker for a single, the umpires called the teams off the field.

It’s the first game to be suspended due to fog in Colorado Springs since May 25, 1993.

That is the Rainiers game in Colorado Springs which sticks out in my memory more than any other.

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: Colorado Springs starter Taylor Jungmann was perfect until there was one out in the sixth inning, and the Sky Sox hit like you’re supposed to in Colorado Springs, leading to a 12-4 win over Tacoma. The Rainiers have been out-scored 25-8 over the first two games of this series.

Today: Tacoma (52-52) at Colorado Springs (62-39), 5:40 Pacific.

Opponent Affiliation: Milwaukee Brewers.

Season Series: Sky Sox lead, 2-0.

Starting Pitchers: RHP Christian Bergman (8-1, 3.34) at RHP Pablo Espino (4-1, 3.84).

Hot RainiersLeonys Martin has an 11-game hitting streak… Dan Vogelbach also has an 11-game hitting streak… Boog Powell has hit safely in nine straight games… Gordon Beckham has at least one hit in 13 of his last 14 games.

Look Out ForIvan DeJesus Jr. has reached base in 42-straight games, tied for the longest in the PCL this year… Nick Noonan has a nine-game hitting streak… Yadiel Rivera entered this series in a 1-for-33 slump, and he has gone 5-for-8 during the first two games.

Familiar Faces: Colorado Springs currently has ex-Rainiers Forrest Snow and Tom Wilhelmsen on the pitching staff.

Broadcast: The pregame show starts at 5:25 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:


Quick Turnaround In The Springs

July 26, 2017

After waking up at 3:30 AM for travel before enduring a 1 hour, 44 minute rain delay prior to first pitch, the Tacoma Rainiers got wiped out in Colorado Springs 13-4 on Tuesday night.

Luckily, there is no time to dwell on it.

The teams come right back and play a day game today at 11:30 AM (Pacific).

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: Colorado Springs scored multiple runs in the fourth, fifth, and sixth innings to build an 11-1 lead, eventually winning 13-4. Tacoma starter Casey Lawrence was perfect for the first three innings before getting derailed in the fourth. Tacoma eventually had infielder Danny Muno on the mound in the eighth inning.

Today: Tacoma (52-51) at Colorado Springs (61-39), 11:30 Pacific.

Opponent Affiliation: Milwaukee Brewers.

Season Series: Sky Sox lead, 1-0.

Starting Pitchers: RHP Chase De Jong (3-4, 5.67) at RHP Taylor Jungmann (5-1, 2.92).

Hot RainiersLeonys Martin has a ten-game hitting streak… Dan Vogelbach also has a ten-game hitting streak… Boog Powell has hit safely in eight straight games… Gordon Beckham has at least one hit in 12 of his last 13 games.

Look Out ForLewis Brinson is ranked as the No. 1 Brewers prospect, and he brings an 18-game hitting streak into today’s game – but he may be on his way to joining Milwaukee today… Ivan DeJesus Jr. has reached base in 41-straight games, tied for the longest in the PCL this year… Nick Noonan has an eight-game hitting streak.

Familiar Faces: Colorado Springs currently has ex-Rainiers Forrest Snow and Tom Wilhelmsen on the pitching staff.

Broadcast: The pregame show starts at 11:15 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:

  • We won’t have any game reports during this series in Colorado Springs, since the local paper stopped covering the games when the Rockies bolted for Albuquerque. Sometimes they run a player feature, but not today.
  • The Mariners outlasted Boston, winning 6-5 with a 13th inning rally. They’re back at the .500 mark, but face Chris Sale today.
  • James Paxton has his own cheering section.
  • Mike Zunino is improving his defense behind the plate.

PCL Game Reports:


Tacoma’s Final Series At Colorado Springs Starts Tonight

July 25, 2017

For what is almost certainly the final time in Tacoma franchise history, we have made it to Colorado Springs and are ready to open a four-game series here tonight.

The Sky Sox are moving to San Antonio for the 2019 season, and the Rainiers do not travel to Colorado Springs in 2018. This is Tacoma’s last trip to Security Service Field – unless these teams meet in the PCL Championship Series either this season or next.

Colorado Springs is the pinnacle of high elevation PCL baseball. The ballpark site roughly 6,400 feet above sea level, and there are often strong winds. Weather here is always a crapshoot regardless of the time of year.

I’m hoping for at least one classic ultra-high scoring game in this series, to close out the Springs in style. Maybe we can get an 18-17 score, or something like that. The day game on Wednesday feels like a possibility.

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: Marco Gonzalez was solid in his first start for Tacoma, delivering five shutout innings before getting touched for three runs in the sixth. He earned the win as the bullpen protected a one-run lead in the Rainiers 4-3 win. Tacoma has won five straight games, and swept Sacramento in a four-game series for the first time since 2001.

Roster Moves: Yesterday the Rainiers added infielder Taylor Motter from Seattle, and placed pitcher Dean Kiekhefer on the Temporarily Inactive List.

Today: Tacoma (52-50) at Colorado Springs (60-39), 5:40 Pacific.

Opponent Affiliation: Milwaukee Brewers.

Season Series: 0-0.

Starting Pitchers: RHP Casey Lawrence (2-3, 3.44) at RHP Angel Ventura (4-2, 4.17).

Hot RainiersLeonys Martin has a nine-game hitting streak… Dan Vogelbach also has a nine-game hitting streak… Boog Powell has hit safely in seven straight games… Gordon Beckham has at least one hit in 11 of his last 12 games.

Look Out For: Lewis Brinson is ranked as the No. 1 Brewers prospect, and he brings an 18-game hitting streak into tonight’s game. He’s reached base via hit or walk in 28 straight games… Ivan DeJesus Jr. has reached base in 40-straight games, tied for the longest in the PCL this year.

Familiar Faces: Colorado Springs currently has ex-Rainiers Forrest Snow and Tom Wilhelmsen on the pitching staff.

Broadcast: The pregame show starts at 5:25 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:

Sorry, but that’s all of the links I have time for today due to travel – oh, Reno moved back into sole possession of first in the Pac-North, with a one-game lead over Fresno. Tacoma sits eight games back.