Tacoma opens a four-game series at Fresno tonight, and the Rainiers can make a big impact on the Pacific-North playoff race.
Fresno has fallen two games behind Reno in the standings, having just lost three-of-four in a head-to-head series. With just 12 games remaining the Grizzlies need wins, badly.
Tacoma should have a bit of momentum, winning the last two games against El Paso including a thriller with players stepping up and making huge plays in key situations on Tuesday night.
The Rainiers face a Fresno team that has seen its lineup ravaged by injuries and call-ups. This has caused Fresno to go just 6-15 so far in August, included losses in eight of its last ten games.
But the Grizzlies have some ringers in this series: star shortstop Carlos Correa begins a rehabilitation stint tonight, and Lance McCullers is supposed to make a start against Tacoma tomorrow. Major league relievers Tony Sipp, Will Harris, and Michael Feliz are also set to begin rehab assignments.
Maybe Tacoma will bury Fresno in this series. – or perhaps it will go the other way, and Fresno will get back on track. Or we could have a split, and Reno and Fresno will go right down to the wire.
On Tuesday the Class-A California League announced the circuit’s Manager of the Year award winner, and Modesto’s Mitch Canham received the honor.
That made me think about the strength in the quality of the managers in the upper levels of the Mariners organization.
We’ve got Pat Listach here, a former PCL Manager of the Year winner and man with five years of experience on major league coaching staffs.
At Double-A Arkansas there is Daren Brown, longtime Tacoma skipper who has even managed 50 games in the major leagues.
And now the young up-and-comer Canham is getting accolades from his peers at the Advanced-A level.
The M’s farm system may lack impact prospects on the field, but it is loaded with high-quality managers.
Yesterday: The Rainiers were off yesterday. On Tuesday they won a thriller against El Paso, when Joey Wong hit a go-ahead two-run homer in the bottom of the seventh inning, and left fielder Zach Shank threw out the tying runner at the plate in the eighth. Tacoma split the four-game series with El Paso.
Roster Moves: On Tuesday the Mariners had to place reliever Tony Zych on the disabled list, so they called up Dan Altavilla from the Rainiers. Tacoma placed Shawn O’Malley on the disabled list with a concussion. The Mariners made a move which may impact Tacoma: they activated David Phelps from the disabled list, and designated Leonys Martin for assignment. This time of year DFA’s take just 48 hours to clear, so Martin could rejoin Tacoma soon.
Today: Tacoma (64-66) at Fresno (71-59), 7:05.
Opponent Affiliation: Houston Astros.
Season Series: Fresno leads, 9-3.
Starting Pitchers: RHP Christian Bergman (9-3, 5.02) at RHP David Martinez (6-11, 4.81).
Hot Rainiers: Ian Miller has an eight-game hitting streak, and he has had at least one hit in 26 of his 30 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 For: Tony Kemp has five multiple-hit games during a six-game hitting streak… Tyler White hit three homers and drove in eight runs during the Grizzlies just-completed four-game series at Reno… A.J. Reed hit two homers and drove in six runs on Monday in Reno… 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.
- Here’s the recap of Tacoma’s win on Tuesday.
- The Fresno Bee previews the series, featuring the return of Carlos Correa.
- The Mariners beat Atlanta last night, 9-6, and took the series to improve to 4-2 so far on the 12-game road trip. Three takeaways from the game.
- Mariners top pitching prospect Nick Neidert won the California League Pitcher of the Year award.
- Even the Mariners top two draft picks in July have gotten injured. Here’s an update.
- ESPN has a feature on ex-Rainier Chris Taylor, who is now batting leadoff for the best team in the majors. The story details the swing adjustments he made with a Dodgers hitting coach which changed his career.
PCL From Tuesday:
- Reno scored three runs in the bottom of the seventh inning and beat Fresno, 3-1, to open up a two-game lead in the Pac-North. Zach Borenstein hit a go-ahead two-run homer.
- Salt Lake remained one game ahead of El Paso in the Pac-South, losing at Las Vegas 8-1. Bees outfielder Eric Young Jr. has overcome family tragedy to have a memorable season. <<< good story alert!
- Albuquerque could have picked up ground on both El Paso and Salt Lake, but they lost at Sacramento on an errant pickoff throw in the bottom of the ninth inning. The ‘Topes remain 2.5 games out of first.
- Colorado Springs topped Oklahoma City, 3-1, to take a nine-game lead in the American-North with 12 games to play. The 20-year playoff drought is nearly over…