Rainiers Play Final Home Game Tonight

August 31, 2017

Tacoma hosts Salt Lake at 7:05 tonight, and it is the Rainiers final home game of the season.

The Rainiers are 40-30 at Cheney Stadium this year, although the team has sputtered down the stretch both on the road and at home. In fact, the Rainiers need a win tonight to avoid being swept by Salt Lake in the four-game series.

Attendance has been terrific and another large crowd is anticipated tonight. Thanks for supporting the team!

Awards Week continues, and today the Pacific Coast League announced that Oklahoma City’s Wilmer Font is the 2017 PCL Pitcher of the Year.

This was a pretty clear choice. A former major league reliever who got released and converted to starter while pitching in an independent league, Font was a terrific find for the Dodgers.

Font leads the league in ERA and strikeouts, and he is tied for third in wins. He’s 10-8 with a 3.42 ERA, and has 178 strikeouts in 134.1 innings pitched – with only 35 walks and 114 hits allowed.

You may recall Font was the starting pitcher for the PCL in the Triple-A All-Star Game at Cheney Stadium back on July 12.

Memphis starter Luke Weaver was the runner-up, with Salt Lake’s Troy Scribner also receiving votes.

Yesterday the Rainiers used their 52nd pitcher of the season, easily a club record.

Think you can name them all? There is now a Sporcle.

I took the quiz yesterday, when there was still only 51 pitchers, and got 39 of them. You only get ten minutes – and no cheating!

The list includes anyone who pitched in a game. Rehabbing major leaguers, emergency fill-ins from A-ball, position players pitching in blowouts – all count.

Click here to play the game.

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: Tacoma had a 2-1 lead after seven innings, but Salt Lake scored six runs down the stretch and beat Tacoma on Wednesday night, 7-2. Tyler Cloyd had his best start of the year, allowing one run over 5.2 innings.

Roster Move: Yesterday the Rainiers added Puyallup High School graduate Scott Kuzminsky to the bullpen. The 25-year-old was signed out of the independent Frontier League earlier this month, and he made his Triple-A debut last night.

Today: Salt Lake (71-66) at Tacoma (65-72), 7:05.

Opponent Affiliation: Los Angeles Angels Of Anaheim.

Season Series: Salt Lake leads, 10-5.

Starting Pitchers: RHP Osmer Morales (2-1, 3.71) at RHP Sam Gaviglio (3-6, 3.97).

Morales was signed by the Mariners as a teenager out of Venezuela, eventually became a minor league free agent, and is in his first year in the Angels system.

Hot RainiersIan Miller has had at least one hit in 30 of his 37 Triple-A games… Tuffy Gosewisch is 6-for-12 over a four-game hitting streak.

Look Out ForSherman Johnson has a ten-game hitting streak… David Fletcher is 10-for-27 over a six-game streak… Michael Hermosillo has hit safely in eight of his last nine games, and he homered twice on Sunday in Albuquerque.

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:

  • El Paso survived a marathon and beat Fresno in 14 innings, 9-8, as Chase d’Arnaud had the game-ending hit. Hunter Renfroe‘s two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth sent it to extra innings. Fresno’s A.J. Reed took the MiLB home run lead and tied the franchise record by hitting his 33rd of the year. El Paso remains one game behind Salt Lake in the Pac-South race.
  • Reno split a doubleheader at Albuquerque, and the Aces magic number to clinch the Pac-North over Fresno is down to one. Albuquerque’s Ryan Howard hit a walk-off home run in the first game of the twinbill.
  • Las Vegas suffered its seventh straight loss, a 6-1 decision at Sacramento last night. The Rainiers finish the season at Vegas, starting tomorrow.
  • Oklahoma City’s Edwin Rios had four hits, including a grand slam, and drove in six runs during an 11-4 bathing of the Baby Cakes.
  • Ex-Rainier and Washington native Adrian Sampson pitched five scoreless innings in his 2017 PCL debut as Round Rock beat Colorado Springs, 2-1.
  • Memphis made it 89 wins with a 5-4 takedown of the Iowa Cubs. Patrick Wisdom hit his 30th homer for Memphis.
  • Omaha edged Nashville in eleven innings, 4-3, on Hunter Dozier‘s go-ahead RBI single.
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M’s Add Veteran Pitcher

August 30, 2017

The Mariners made a trade this morning, acquiring Mike Leake and cash from the St. Louis Cardinals in exchange for Class-A infielder Rayder Ascanio.

Leake is signed for the next three years. According to online reports, the Cardinals included enough cash to make Leake’s contract quite reasonable when compared to what a similar free agent would get on the open market this winter.

A regular starter for eight years, Leake has been durable and consistent. His career numbers are 80-76 with a 4.02 ERA, although this year he is 7-12, 4.21.

You can find his stats right here.

With Leake set to join the team after the rosters expand on September 1 (which is Friday), his acquisition is unlikely to effect the Rainiers.

Awards Week continues in the PCL, and today the league announced that Las Vegas shortstop Amed Rosario is the PCL Rookie of the Year.

Rosario hit .328 with seven homers in 94 games for Las Vegas, started at shortstop in the Triple-A All-Star Game, and is now the New York Mets starting SS.

Other receiving votes included his own teammate Dominic Smith, Round Rock’s Willie Calhoun, Memphis pitcher Jack Flaherty, and Albuquerque’s Ryan McMahon.

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: Salt Lake took advantage of some substandard Tacoma defense and coasted to an 8-1 win on Tuesday night. Tacoma made four errors and managed just four hits.

Today: Salt Lake (70-66) at Tacoma (65-71), 7:05.

Opponent Affiliation: Los Angeles Angels Of Anaheim.

Season Series: Salt Lake leads, 9-5.

Starting Pitchers: RHP Garrett Richards (-) at RHP Tyler Cloyd (1-1, 6.70).

It’s an injury rehabilitation start for Richards, who has been out since his first start of the season with an irritated nerve in his right biceps.

Hot RainiersIan Miller has had at least one hit in 29 of his 36 Triple-A games… Tuffy Gosewisch had two of Tacoma’s four hits yesterday, and he’s 4-for-8 over a three-game hitting streak.

Look Out ForSherman Johnson has a nine-game hitting streak… David Fletcher had three hits last night and is 9-for-22 over a five-game streak… Michael Hermosillo has hit safely in eight of his last nine games, and he homered twice on Sunday in Albuquerque.

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:

  • El Paso scored nine runs in the third inning, yet still had to sweat out a 13-10 win over Fresno to remain one game behind Salt Lake in the Pac-South. Tony Cruz homered twice and drove in six runs. A.J. Reed hit two bombs for Fresno, giving him 32 and creating a three-way tie for the PCL home run lead.
  • Reno at Albuquerque was rained out, and they’ll try to play a doubleheader today. Reno’s magic number to clinch the Pac-North over Fresno is down to three.
  • Sacramento topped Las Vegas, 3-1, as the 51s lost their sixth straight game.
  • New Orleans catcher Austin Nola had four hits as the Baby Cakes drooled all over Oklahoma City, 8-1.
  • Jorge Soler hit another homer as Omaha pulled away from Nashville, 9-3.
  • Memphis is 40 games over .500 after beating Iowa, 3-2. Tyler O’Neill hit a two-run homer.
  • The Dell Diamond dried out enough for Round Rock to take a 4-1 decision from Colorado Springs.

Leonys Martin Can Steal His Way Into Franchise History

August 29, 2017

Leonys Martin rejoined the Rainiers on Monday night, making an instant impact with his bat and his legs.

Martin had two hits and stole a base – his 25th steal of the season while playing in the Pacific Coast League.

Despite spending a lot of time in the majors this year, Martin ranks second in the PCL in steals. Only Iowa’s John Andreoli has more, and Andreoli leads the league with just 26.

No Tacoma player has led the league in stolen bases since Cleon James swiped 37 bags for the 1971 Tacoma Cubs.

In the 58-season history of the franchise, only one other player topped the circuit in steals: Jose Cardenal of the Tacoma Giants tied San Diego’s Cesar Tovar for the league lead with 40 steals in 1964.

I’ll be pulling for Martin to surpass Andreoli (and hold off some others in the mix – notably Omaha’s Billy Burns, who currently has 24 steals).

Incidentally, it’s been a down year for stolen bases in the PCL. The last time the league leader had fewer than 30 steals was 2001, when Chad Meyers of Iowa took the title with 27.

It’s Awards Week in the PCL.

Yesterday the league announced its annual All-Pacific Coast League Team, the postseason all-star team which recognizes a single player at each position. No Rainiers players were honored (first time we’ve missed out since 2014).

You can check out the All-PCL team right here.

Today the league announced that Memphis skipper Stubby Clapp is the PCL Manager of the Year. This was a shoo-in, with Memphis bidding to become the league’s first 90-win team since the 2006 Tucson Sidewinders.

The press release, including names of others receiving votes, is right here.

Tomorrow the league announces its Rookie of the Year, which is going to be interesting with several great candidates.

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: Tacoma’s late rally came up short in a 3-2 series-opening loss to Salt Lake. The Rainiers had good pitching and nearly came back in the bottom of the ninth inning, loading the bases before the final out was recorded.

Roster Moves: There was an additional move prior to yesterday’s game. The Mariners called up pitcher Christian Bergman, and optioned reliever Dan Altavilla to Tacoma.

Today: Salt Lake (69-66) at Tacoma (65-70), 7:05.

Opponent Affiliation: Los Angeles Angels Of Anaheim.

Season Series: Salt Lake leads, 8-5.

Starting Pitchers: RHP Jaime Barria (1-0, 0.00) at RHP Max Povse (1-3, 7.40).

Hot RainiersIan Miller has had at least one hit in 29 of his 35 Triple-A games… Leonys Martin rejoined the Rainiers yesterday and reached base three times, collecting a pair of hits.

Look Out ForSherman Johnson has an eight-game hitting streak… Rey Navarro has hit safely in five straight games… Michael Hermosillo has hit safely in seven of his last eight games, and he homered twice on Sunday in Albuquerque.

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:

  • Defending PCL Champion El Paso is still in the race. The Chihuahuas trampled Fresno, 10-2, to remain one game behind Salt Lake in the Pac-South.
  • Albuquerque starter Ryan Carpenter was named to the All-PCL team in the afternoon, and then he went out and dealt in the Isotopes 6-2 win over Reno. Reno’s Magic Number to clinch the Pac-North is four.
  • Giants prospect Chris Shaw doubled home the winning run in the bottom of the eighth inning as Sacramento beat Las Vegas, 3-2.
  • Memphis walked-off Iowa, 4-3, on Breyvic Valera‘s game-ending hit. That’s a franchise record 87 wins for the Redbirds.
  • Oklahoma City’s Wilmer Font tossed six shutout innings in a 2-0 win over New Orleans after being named to the All-PCL team.
  • Omaha took down Nashville in 13 innings, 3-2, with Billy Burns driving in the winning run.
  • Colorado Springs at Round Rock was cancelled due to rain.

Final Homestand Starts Tonight

August 27, 2017

The Rainiers return home to Cheney Stadium for the final four home games of the year, starting with tonight’s tilt at 7:05. The Salt Lake Bees are in town.

While the Rainiers are out of contention, the team has an opportunity to make life difficult for the Los Angeles Angels Triple-A club. Salt Lake is in first place in the Pacific-South division, but their lead is just one game over El Paso.

Tacoma just dropped three-of-four at Fresno to fall four games under .500 for the year. The Rainiers need to go 6-2 over the final eight games to finish at .500. The good news is that the team has played very well at home all year, going 40-27 at Cheney Stadium.

After the four-game home series ends on Thursday, the Rainiers close the season with a four-game road series at Las Vegas over Labor Day weekend.

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: Fresno’s Tyler White launched a go-ahead grand slam with two outs in the fifth inning to lead the Grizzlies to a 6-3 win over Tacoma on Sunday night. Dan Vogelbach had three hits for Tacoma, and Zach Shank connected for two hits and two RBI.

Roster Moves: Today the Rainiers are expected to activate Leonys Martin and Gordon Beckham, so infielders Kevin Santa and Gianfranco Wawoe were transferred to Class-A Modesto. Reliever Jeanmar Gomez has opted out of his contract and become a free agent.

Today: Salt Lake (68-66) at Tacoma (65-69), 7:05.

Opponent Affiliation: Los Angeles Angels Of Anaheim.

Season Series: Salt Lake leads, 7-5.

Starting Pitchers: LHP Manny Banuelos (5-5, 5.19) at RHP Cody Martin (0-1, 4.21)

Hot RainiersIan Miller has had at least one hit in 28 of his 34 Triple-A games… Leonys Martin re-joins the Rainiers today; he’s only two stolen bases behind the league leader. Martin has 24, John Andreoli of Iowa has 26.

Look Out For: Ramon Flores has hit safely in 15 of his last 16 games, and has reached base in 18 straight… Sherman Johnson has a seven-game hitting streak… Tony Sanchez hit a grand slam on Friday, and he has reached base in 11 straight games.

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:

  • Reno edged Las Vegas, 4-3, and completed a four-game series sweep. The Aces have a three-game lead and their magic number to clinch the Pac-North is down to 5. Las Vegas outfielder Travis Taijeron was called up for his first time.
  • Michael Hermosillo homered twice as Salt Lake won in Albuquerque, 8-1.
  • El Paso remained one game behind Salt Lake in the Pac-South by walking off Sacramento, 6-5. Pinch hitter Tony Cruz had the game-winning hit.
  • After getting rained out in New Orleans, the Colorado Springs Sky Sox were on a bus ride to Round Rock, Texas when they found out they had clinched their first playoff spot in 20 years. I wonder if they did beer showers on the bus?
  • The Sky Sox clinched when second-place Oklahoma City got shut out by Omaha in the first game of a doubleheader, 3-0. The Dodgers took the second game and earned a split.
  • Iowa played its final home game of the season and lost to Memphis, 4-3. That’s 86 wins for the Redbirds. Aledmys Diaz drove in three runs.
  • Nashville took down Round Rock, 5-0, as Ben Bracewell delivered seven shutout innings.

Danny Muno Saves Rainiers From No-Hitter

August 27, 2017

Tacoma nearly got no-hit on Saturday night in Fresno, dropping the third game of the series by a 1-0 score.

Fresno starter Rogelio Armenteros no-hit the Rainiers for 7.1 innings. He was five outs away from a no-hitter when Danny Muno singled sharply into left field, a low liner beyond the reach of diving Fresno shortstop Reid Brignac.

That, however, was Tacoma’s only hit.

Tacoma has not been no-hit since the 2003 season, when left-hander Lindsay Gulin of Las Vegas pulled off the trick at Cashman Field.

Tacoma can still get a split of the series with a win tonight. It’s Fresno’s last home game of the season, while the Rainiers will fly home and play four games against Salt Lake this week.

Fresno is the Triple-A affiliate of the Houston Astros, and I’m sure many of their players have family and friends they are concerned about in Houston.

The flooding in Houston touches many in baseball. The state of Texas is a baseball hotbed, and many players make their homes in the greater Houston area. We wish them all the best.

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: Tacoma managed just one hit and lost to Fresno on Saturday night, 1-0. Danny Muno broke up Rogelio Armenteros‘ no-hit bid with a one-out single in the eighth.

Today: Tacoma (65-68) at Fresno (73-60), 5:05.

Opponent Affiliation: Houston Astros.

Season Series: Fresno leads, 11-4.

Starting Pitchers: RHP Sam Gaviglio (3-5, 3.55) at RHP Trent Thornton (6-4, 5.44).

Hot RainiersIan Miller has had at least one hit in 27 of his 33 Triple-A games… Kevin Santa lined a double to left-center in his first Triple-A game Friday. He was the Mariners 19th round draft pick this year out of the University of Tampa.

Look Out ForTony Kemp has seven multiple-hit games during a nine-game hitting streak… Tyler White has ten RBI over his last six games… A.J. Reed has hit four homers during a six-game hitting streak; his OPS since the all-star break is 1.058… Carlos Correa is pretty good.

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:


There Is A Reason For Rehabilitation Games

August 26, 2017

Even if you watch Triple-A baseball all of the time, sometimes you forget: when major league players are on rehabilitation assignments, it’s because they aren’t ready to return to the majors.

We saw it early this season at Cheney Stadium, when Felix Hernandez got knocked around by Reno in his first rehabilitation start for Tacoma.

Last night in Fresno, the Rainiers were on the other side of the equation.

Houston Astros No. 2 starter Lance McCullers was making his first appearance since being shut down by a back injury in late July, and instead of dominating the Rainiers he looked just plain rusty.

McCullers walked five batters (one was intentional) over three innings, the Rainiers got to him for three runs, and Tacoma went on to beat Fresno 7-3.

Fresno showed some signs of a team that feels like a playoff spot might be slipping away. They played the infield in with a runner at third and one out in the second inning, with a 2-0 lead. An intentional walk was ordered in the third inning of a 2-2 tie. These are some rather extreme strategies in the early stages of a PCL game.

It was a costly loss for Fresno, which fell three games behind Reno with ten to play. Reno holds the tiebreaker (they won the season series), so Fresno has to finish ahead of the Aces to take the division.

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: Tacoma drew ten walks, Tuffy Gosewisch had two hits and drove in three runs, and the Rainiers won in Fresno on Friday night, 7-3. Evan Marshall was terrific from the bullpen, delivering three scoreless innings.

Today: Tacoma (65-67) at Fresno (72-60), 7:05.

Opponent Affiliation: Houston Astros.

Season Series: Fresno leads, 10-4.

Starting Pitchers: RHP Andrew Moore (3-3, 3.52) at RHP Rogelio Armenteros (6-1, 2.38).

Hot RainiersIan Miller has had at least one hit in 27 of his 32 Triple-A games… Mike Marjama has a four-game hitting streak… Kevin Santa lined a double to left-center in his first Triple-A game yesterday. He was the Mariners 19th round draft pick this year out of the University of Tampa.

Look Out ForTony Kemp has six multiple-hit games during an eight-game hitting streak… Tyler White has ten RBI over his last five games… A.J. Reed has hit four homers during a five-game hitting streak; his OPS since the all-star break is 1.066… Carlos Correa is pretty good.

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:

  • Reno starter Taylor Clarke pitched well and the Aces won in Las Vegas, 4-2.
  • Albuquerque picked up a crucial win against Salt Lake, 3-1, as Yency Almonte pitched six shutout innings.
  • Sacramento at El Paso got rained out, leaving the Chihuahuas a half-game behind Salt Lake in the Pac-South. They’ll try to play two today.
  • Colorado Springs lost at New Orleans on an error in the bottom of the tenth inning, 5-4. The Sky Sox magic number to clinch the American-North remains at three.
  • Omaha at Oklahoma City was rained out yesterday, they’ll play a doubleheader on Sunday. Tonight Clayton Kershaw makes a rehab start for Oklahoma City.
  • Iowa’s Williams Perez pitched well in a 4-2 win over Memphis. It’s starting to look like Memphis isn’t going to reach 90 wins. They’re at 84 with ten games left, but they have lost seven of their last ten.
  • Shortstop Franklin Barreto had a huge game as Nashville topped Round Rock in 11 innings, 6-5.

A Great Ground Out

August 25, 2017

The Rainiers had a rough three innings on Thursday night in Fresno, and it was nearly documented in the Pacific Coast League record book.

The league would not have documented the Rainiers four errors in the first three innings, or the 9-0 deficit the team had accrued. But the Rainiers lineup was on the verge of a permanent spot in the book.

Fresno starting pitcher David Martinez recorded the final out of the first inning via a strikeout. He then struck out all three batters in the second inning. He did it again in the third inning, making seven consecutive strikeouts.

The PCL record for consecutive strikeouts by a pitcher is eight, which has occurred three times since 1910.

We went to the fourth inning, and Martinez had a chance to put his name in the record book. All he needed to do was strike out Ian Miller to tie the mark.

Surely not knowing about the record, Miller took a first pitch strike. But then he saved the day, grounding out to second baseman Tony Kemp to end the string of strikeouts.

Phew!

In the booth, I was the most excited I’ve ever been to call a routine ground out by a Rainiers batter.

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: The Rainiers played their ugliest game of the year, making four errors while collecting just three hits in a 10-1 loss to Fresno. Mike Marjama homered for the Rainiers lone run.

Roster Moves: Yesterday the Rainiers added utility man Gianfranco Wawoe from Class-A Modesto, and infielder Kevin Santa from the Arizona Rookie League. We’re going to see quite a few players up from the low minors down the stretch – especially after September 1. Today the Mariners outrighted Leonys Martin to Tacoma – I’m not sure if he’ll arrive in time for tonight’s game.

Today: Tacoma (64-67) at Fresno (72-59), 7:05.

Opponent Affiliation: Houston Astros.

Season Series: Fresno leads, 10-3.

Starting Pitchers: RHP Max Povse (1-3, 7.97) at RHP Lance McCullers (-).

That’s the Houston Astros No. 2 starting pitcher McCullers, who is rehabilitating a back injury.

Hot RainiersIan Miller has had at least one hit in 26 of his 31 Triple-A games… Kyle Waldrop has a four-game hitting streak… Joey Wong hit just two homers in 390 at-bats at Double-A Arkansas, but there he was pulling a game-winning shot down the right field line in his first game with Tacoma on Tuesday.

Look Out ForTony Kemp has five multiple-hit games during a seven-game hitting streak… Tyler White has ten RBI over his last four games… A.J. Reed hit two homers and drove in six runs on Monday in Reno; his OPS since the all-star break is slightly over 1.000… Carlos Correa is pretty good.

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:

  • Reno held off Las Vegas, 6-3, and maintained a two-game lead over Fresno in the Pac-North.
  • The Rockies asked Jeff Hoffman to pitch one inning for Albuquerque, and he didn’t make it that far in a 12-0 loss to Salt Lake. The Bees still lead the Pac-South by one game.
  • Bryan Rodriguez pitched El Paso to a 6-1 win over Sacramento, and the Chihuahuas kept pace with Salt Lake.
  • Colorado Springs prevented Peter Mooney from hitting any homers in a 1-0 win at New Orleans. Five Sky Sox pitchers combined on the shutout, which lowered the Sky Sox magic number to three.
  • Oklahoma City routed Omaha, 9-1, as the Dodgers prepare for a Clayton Kershaw rehabilitation start on Saturday.
  • Iowa toppled Memphis, 5-3, despite not having Mark Zagunis because of a hand injury.
  • Nashville had 15 hits including a Chris Carter homer in a 9-3 win over Round Rock.