The Final Series: At El Paso

August 30, 2018

Really quick post tonight, due to our last brutal travel day of the season (4 AM alarm after a night game? That’s how to finish PCL style!). Tomorrow I promise info on the PCL MVP, all of the call-ups and subsequent roster moves, etc.

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

YESTERDAY: Tacoma lost its final game at Cashman Field, 8-6, and got swept in the three-game series as ex-Rainier Patrick Kivlehan homered in all three games. The team has lost five in a row overall. Cameron Rupp went 4-for-5 with a triple and a homer, Cameron Perkins had three hits, and Garrett Kennedy reached base four times.

ROSTER MOVES: It sure seems like there are going to be a lot tonight!

TODAY: Tacoma (64-71) at El Paso (80-55), 6:05 Pacific.

OPPONENT AFFILIATION: San Diego Padres.

SEASONS SERIES: El Paso leads, 7-5.

PITCHERS: LHP Ross Detwiler (2-5, 5.21) at RHP Walker Lockett (5-9, 4.69).

HOT HITTERS: David Freitas has reached base safely in 17 straight games… Cameron Rupp had four hits yesterday and has reached base in 13 of his last 14 games.

OPPONENT NEWS: El Paso just lost two-of-three at Fresno in the Pacific Conference playoffs preview series. They start the real playoffs – best-of-five – on Wednesday… Shane Peterson has a ten-game hitting streak, with 18 hits and 11 RBI during the stretch… Carlos Asuaje is back from the big leagues; he’s been going up-and-down this year.

FAMILIAR FACES: Former Rainiers pitchers Jonathan AroCarter Capps, and Dillon Overton all play for El Paso.

BROADCAST: The pregame show starts at 5:50 on South Sound Talk 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:

Around the PCL:

The American-North became closer, as Oklahoma City picked up a 4-2 win at Iowa behind the pitching of Daniel Corcino, while first place Colorado Springs got hammered in Omaha. The Dodgers are 1.5 games behind the Sky Sox going into their five-game series which starts tonight in the Springs.


Rainiers Score, Freitas Triples, Trade For Negron, Goodbye Cashman

August 30, 2018

We did a news round-up yesterday, and now we have another one because it’s coming fast and furious here at the end of the season.

  • Tacoma ended its streak of scoreless innings at 23 when David Freitas homered to lead off the fourth inning last night. The Rainiers went on to score five runs, but it wasn’t enough to win. Tacoma has lost four straight games and is guaranteed to finish under .500 for the year.
  • Freitas hit a triple last night, on a drive to right-center that involved a little bit of outfield tomfoolery but not enough to warrant an error being charged. It was the second triple of the catcher’s nine-year professional career.
  • The Mariners have acquired super utilityman Kristopher Negron from Reno in exchange for cash considerations. Negron is a terrific Triple-A player, due to his ability to play everywhere on the diamond including up-the-middle spots like shortstop and center field. This would have been an impact addition for Tacoma if it had happened earlier in the summer – Negron is a free agent after the season. I’m not sure when he will report.
  • Seattle released the names of the prospects who will play in the Arizona Fall League, and included is Tacoma outfielder Ian Miller. Modesto first baseman Evan White is the top name in the group.
  • The PCL Pitcher of the Year Award goes to… Memphis ace Dakota Hudson, who leads the league in wins and ERA. The press release said he received 85% of the vote, which is something of a landslide. He also received my vote for MVP – which he probably won’t win, but is going to be very interesting when announced tomorrow. I’ve talked to four voters about their MVP selection, and each chose a different player.
  • Tonight is the final Tacoma Rainiers game at Cashman Field. Next year the Las Vegas (fill in the blanks) are changing their name and moving to a brand new ballpark which is under construction now. I will not miss the “open air broadcast booth.”

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

YESTERDAY: The Rainiers scored some runs, but not enough in a 7-5 loss to Las Vegas. David Freitas tripled and homered, and Zach Vincej hit a two-run triple. Today is Tacoma’s last ever game at Cashman Field.

ROSTER MOVE: Reliever Dan Altavilla was activated from the Mariners disabled list and optioned to Tacoma, filling the Tacoma roster at 25.

TODAY: Tacoma (64-70) at Las Vegas (67-68), 7:05.

OPPONENT AFFILIATION: New York Mets.

SEASONS SERIES: Las Vegas leads, 8-7.

PITCHERS: RHP Bryan Evans (6-2, 3.84) at RHP Kevin McGowan (4-2, 4.44).

HOT HITTERS: David Freitas has reached base safely in 17 straight games… Zach Vincej is 18-for-51 over his last 15 games… Seth Mejias-Brean has reached base in 12 straight games.

OPPONENT NEWS: Both Luis Guillorme and Matt den Dekker have hit safely in eight of their last nine games… den Dekker has hit four of his 14 home runs this season against Tacoma… Patrick Kivlehan has hit 11 homers this month, and he has an OPS of 1.332 in the month of August.

FAMILIAR FACES: Former Rainiers Patrick KivlehanTy Kelly, and Cody Martin all play for Las Vegas (although Martin is out for the season with an injury). Puyallup’s Tim Peterson has rejoined Las Vegas and he recorded the save last night.

BROADCAST: The pregame show starts at 6:50 on South Sound Talk 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:

  • The Rainiers game story notes a key play that preserved the lead for Las Vegas.
  • The Mariners lost in San Diego and were swept in the two-game series. The season is on the line with a four-game series at Oakland starting tonight – they need to pick up some ground head-to-head.
  • Bob Dutton wonders why teams extend the contracts of managers and GMs during the season.
  • Congratulations to my pal Doug Scopel of the Nashville Sounds for winning Ballpark Digest’s 2018 Minor League Executive of the Year award. He’s come a long way from being my PR intern in Class-A Rancho Cucamonga.

Around the PCL:

Yesterday there was a big move in the last remaining PCL pennant race. Colorado Springs swept a doubleheader at Omaha, while Oklahoma City got swept in a doubleheader at Iowa. That puts the Sky Sox 2.5 games ahead of the Dodgers with six to play – but they have five games left head-to-head this weekend, including a make-up doubleheader.


Wednesday News Round-Up

August 29, 2018

Let’s touch on a number of end-of-season news items on this Wednesday in Las Vegas:

  • Tacoma was shut out yesterday, 6-0, and the team is in one of those offensive funks that seem to happen every time Dan Vogelbach is not in the lineup. The Rainiers have not scored in 20 innings, and they have not had a runner reach second base in 17 straight innings.
  • The Rainiers annual team awards were presented on Monday prior to the final home game of the season. Offensive Player of the Year went to Dan Vogelbach, Defensive Player of the Year to Seth Mejias-Brean, and Pitcher of the Year to Shawn Armstrong.
  • Here in Las Vegas the Rainiers are getting a look at New York Mets star third baseman David Wright as he attempts to return from shoulder and back injuries. He went 1-for-4 with a broken-bat single last night, while making a couple of nice plays on defense. Wright has not played in the major leagues since 2016.
  • Memphis Redbirds skipper Stubby Clapp won the PCL Manager of the Year award yesterday, taking that trophy for the second straight year. He is the first PCL manager to win the award in back-to-back seasons since Tacoma’s Dan Rohn did it in 2004 and 2005.
  • Today the league announced that Albuquerque Isotopes third baseman Josh Fuentes is the PCL Rookie of the Year. The press release noted that it was a very close race between Fuentes and Reno’s Kevin Cron.
  • Yesterday the News Tribune posted an article on the naming of the Bob Robertson Broadcast Booth at Cheney Stadium.

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

YESTERDAY: Las Vegas starter Drew Gagnon tossed a 97-pitch, two-hit shutout as the 51s beat the Rainiers on Tuesday night, 6-0. Gagnon faced one batter over the minimum, and no Tacoma runners advanced past first base.

ROSTER MOVE: Yesterday the Mariners finally called up reliever Shawn Armstrong, and optioned Nick Rumbelow to Tacoma. Also, the Rainiers added outfielder Sebastian Ochoa from the Arizona Rookie League.

TODAY: Tacoma (64-69) at Las Vegas (66-68), 7:05.

OPPONENT AFFILIATION: New York Mets.

SEASONS SERIES: Tied, 7-7.

PITCHERS: RHP Casey Lawrence (7-4, 2.58) at LHP P.J. Conlon (3-9, 6.88).

HOT HITTERS: David Freitas has reached base safely in 16 straight games… Zach Vincej is 16-for-47 over his last 14 games… Seth Mejias-Brean has reached base in 11 straight games.

OPPONENT NEWS: Two weeks ago Las Vegas moved over .500 for the first time all season, but they lost nine of the next 14 games to fall under… both Luis Guillorme and Matt den Dekker have hit safely in seven of their last eight games… Patrick Kivlehan has hit ten homers this month, and he has an OPS of 1.298 in the month of August.

FAMILIAR FACES: Former Rainiers Patrick KivlehanTy Kelly, and Cody Martin all play for Las Vegas (although Martin is out for the season with an injury).

BROADCAST: The pregame show starts at 6:50 on South Sound Talk 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:

Around the PCL (home team in CAPS):

SALT LAKE 10, Reno 6 – the Bees had 17 hits and three home runs, with Jabari Blash hitting his 27th of the year to move into a tie for the PCL lead.

SACRAMENTO 2, Albuquerque 1 – tie game, two outs, bottom of the ninth inning… a swing and it’s gone! Gregor Blanco hit a walk-off homer for the River Cats.

FRESNO 9, El Paso 4 – Garrett Stubbs drove in four runs and Kyle Tucker hit yet another homer as the Grizzlies won the opening game of the Pacific Conference playoff preview series.

Colorado Springs 4, OMAHA 3 – the Sky Sox moved back into first place in the American-North, a half-game ahead of Oklahoma City. Both contenders play doubleheaders today. Tyler Saladino and Christian Bethancourt each had two hits and two RBI for the Springs. Recap from Omaha.

IOWA 8, Oklahoma City 3 – Jason Vosler hit a grand slam in the first inning and Iowa never trailed. Rehabilitating Kris Bryant went 1-for-2 with a pair of walks. Story from Des Moines.

Nashville 7, NEW ORLEANS 3 (10) – Anthony Garcia hit a pair of solo homers for the Sounds, upping his season total to 23. Story from New Orleans.

ROUND ROCK 5, Memphis 3 – Express closer R.J. Alvarez notched his league-leading 24th save with a scoreless ninth.


Final Road Trip Starts Tonight – Vegas Style

August 28, 2018

Last night was the Rainiers last home game of the season, and we are off on the season-ending seven-game road trip. Gotta get some sleep, so let’s get to the info box.

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

YESTERDAY: The Rainiers lost the final home game of the year to El Paso, 1-0, finishing the season a disappointing 34-36 at home. The pitching was terrific, but Tacoma had just five hits and did not advance a runner past first base over the final eight innings.

ROSTER MOVE: Yesterday the Mariners called up outfielder Guillermo Heredia.

TODAY: Tacoma (64-68) at Las Vegas (65-68), 7:05.

OPPONENT AFFILIATION: New York Mets.

SEASONS SERIES: Tacoma leads, 7-6.

PITCHERS: LHP David Rollins (0-1, 6.55) at RHP Drew Gagnon (5-6, 5.04).

Gagnon leads the PCL in strikeouts with 155.

HOT HITTERS: Cameron Rupp has reached base in ten straight games… David Freitas has reached base safely in 15 straight games… Zach Vincej is 16-for-44 over his last 13 games… Shawn Armstrong has allowed just two earned runs over his last 26 games, covering 27.1 innings pitched.

OPPONENT NEWS: Two weeks ago Las Vegas moved over .500 for the first time all season, but they have lost nine of the last 15 games to fall under… Christian Colon carries an eight-game hitting streak into tonight’s contest… both Luis Guillorme and Matt den Dekker have hit safely in seven of their last eight games… Patrick Kivlehan has hit nine homers this month.

FAMILIAR FACES: Former Rainiers Patrick Kivlehan, Ty Kelly, and Cody Martin all play for Las Vegas (although Martin is out for the season with an injury).

BROADCAST: The pregame show starts at 6:50 on South Sound Talk 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:

  • In his final Rainiers game story of the season, Josh K. of The News Tribune reveals that the Rainiers are Fortnight addicts (like everyone else in the minor leagues).
  • The Mariners were off yesterday; they play at San Diego tonight. The Padres are calling up El Paso second baseman Luis Urias and the 21-year-old will likely make his MLB debut tonight.

Around the PCL (home team in CAPS):

Las Vegas 4, SACRAMENTO 3 (10) – Peter Alonso hit a two-run homer and Matt den Dekker‘s sac fly brought in the winning run for Vegas.

ALBUQUERQUE 9, Reno 8 – Jordan Patterson‘s 25th home run of the year was a three-run shot, helping the ‘Topes earn the win.

Salt Lake at FRESNO – cancelled. A broken water main left the stadium and other parts of downtown Fresno dry, and they cancelled the game.

Colorado Springs 7, OKLAHOMA CITY 0 – Adrian Houser delivered seven shutout innings as the Sky Sox pulled back within a half-game of first place in the American-North.

MEMPHIS 2, Nashville 0 – rehabilitating Adam Wainwright tossed four scoreless innings, and Tyler Lyons pitched five more in a combined four-hit shutout.

OMAHA 7, Iowa 6 – Brian Goodwin hit two doubles and drove in three runs for Omaha, and they held the rehabbing Kris Bryant to an 0-for-3.

ROUND ROCK 5, New Orleans 1 – former Rainiers pitcher Adrian Sampson tossed six strong innings for the Express, and he was helped by a first inning three-run homer from Andy Ibanez.


Bergman Starts It, And Finishes It

August 27, 2018

Today is the end of the season, as far as Tacoma Rainiers home games go.

Tacoma plays its final home game of 2018 tonight at 7:05. There are still seven games left after this one, all on the road at Las Vegas and at El Paso.

Fittingly, the Rainiers starting pitcher tonight will be Christian Bergman. Bergman also started the home (and season) opener back on April 5th, tossing 5.2 shutout innings in a 5-0 win over Sacramento.

First pitch will be at 7:05, and the game will be broadcast live from the Bob Robertson Broadcast Booth at Cheney Stadium. (I just wanted to type that out for the first time).

Crowds have been terrific all season, especially during the last few homestands. You guys have really been filling up the park! Thanks for coming out all season.

The All-PCL Team was announced today, as voted by league managers and media members (mostly broadcasters).

Here’s a hot take for you: Shawn Armstrong got robbed.

The Rainiers relief ace should have been named the lone reliever on the team, but instead it went to league saves leader R.J. Alvarez of Round Rock.

This was a case of league managers just looking to see who leads the league in saves and writing that name on the ballot.

Nothing against Alvarez, who had a solid season, but which of these relievers would you rather have on your team?

Player A Player B
Games 49 43
IP 56.0 42.0
H 38 39
R 17 20
ER 11 17
HR 3 1
BB 26 17
K 82 41
BA Against .192 .250
WHIP 1.14 1.33
ERA 1.77 3.64

Player B, Alvarez, had 23 saves so he took the award over Player A Armstrong and his 15 saves.

You can see the complete All-PCL Team right here.

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

YESTERDAY: Down 4-0 early, Tacoma battled back to tie it with big hits from Andrew Aplin, Seth Mejias-Brean and Cameron Perkins, only to lose on three straight walks in the ninth inning (we kind of got a taste of our own medicine with that ending). El Paso won the game, 5-4.

ROSTER MOVE: Yesterday the Rainiers activated catcher Garrett Kennedy from the disabled list prior to the game.

TODAY: El Paso (78-53) at Tacoma (64-67), 7:05.

OPPONENT AFFILIATION: San Diego Padres.

SEASONS SERIES: El Paso leads, 6-5.

PITCHERS: LHP Logan Allen (3-0, 1.06) at RHP Christian Bergman (8-9, 5.15).

Keep an eye on Allen, who is just 21-years-old and is at the crest of a wave of Padres pitching prospects who we’ll be seeing with El Paso next year.

HOT HITTERS: Cameron Rupp had his eight-game hitting streak end yesterday… David Freitas has reached base safely in 14 straight games… Zach Vincej is 15-for-41 over his last 12 games… Shawn Armstrong has allowed just two earned runs over his last 26 games, covering 27.1 innings pitched.

OPPONENT NEWS: El Paso’s ten-game winning streak ended Saturday. They are 24-5 over the last 29 games… Luis Urias has hit safely in 15 straight games, with eight multiple hit games during the streak… Shane Peterson has gone 13-for-24 during a six-game hitting streak… Francisco Mejia is considered a top prospect; the Padres acquired him at the trade deadline when they traded all-star reliever Brad Hand to Cleveland.

FAMILIAR FACES: Recent former Rainiers pitchers Dillon Overton and Jonathan Aro are on the El Paso staff, although Aro is currently on the disabled list.

BROADCAST: The pregame show starts at 6:50 on South Sound Talk 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:

Around the PCL (home team in CAPS):

OKLAHOMA CITY 3, Colorado Springs 1 – the Dodgers opened up a 1.5-game lead over Colorado Springs in the American-North. Kyle Lobstein pitched six shutout innings, and Kyle Farmer hit a two-run homer. These teams have six remaining head-to-head games left: one more tonight, and then five games in four days over Labor Day Weekend in the Springs. Recap from OKC.

FRESNO 10, Salt Lake 9 (10) – he didn’t hit a homer, but Kyle Tucker walked it off with an RBI single in the bottom of the tenth inning. This guy is as hot of a hitter as we have seen in the PCL in a long time.

Reno 7, ALBUQUERQUE 6 – Ildemaro Vargas continues his late-season surge, going 3-for-5 with a double and two runs scored. Story from Albuquerque, with the Isotopes team award winners.

SACRAMENTO 5, Las Vegas 1 – four Sacramento pitchers combined on a seven-hitter, striking out 12. Kelby Tomlinson had three hits.

ROUND ROCK 3, New Orleans 2 – Express starter Chris Rowley allowed one run over six innings and won the PCL Pitcher of the Week award. Scott Heineman hit a pair of solo homers.

Nashville 7, MEMPHIS 3 – former Rainiers outfielder Boog Powell scored three runs for the Sounds.

OMAHA 7, Iowa 2 – steady as a rock all season long, Omaha first baseman Frank Schwindel hit his 23rd homer of the year, a two-run shot. Story from Omaha.


Three Teams Clinch PCL Division Titles; We Honor Bob Robertson Today

August 26, 2018

Yesterday did indeed turn out to be Clinching Day in the Pacific Coast League, and today will be Bob Robertson Day in Tacoma.

Three PCL teams clinched their divisions last night, and all in dramatic fashion.

In the American Conference, Memphis walked off Nashville with two runs in the bottom of the ninth inning to win the South. The defending champions celebrated at home, and will play either Oklahoma City or Colorado Springs in the playoffs.

Here in Tacoma, El Paso was trying to win the Pac-South by beating the Rainiers – but our Rainiers had a nice game offensively and won, 8-5. The Chihuahuas headed into their locker room after the final out and learned the Fresno scored five runs in the bottom of the ninth to stun Salt Lake, 7-6, which made the Chihuahuas division champions. They celebrated indoors, goggles and all.

The Fresno comeback clinched the Pac-North for the Grizzlies in about as exciting fashion as you can imagine. They will play El Paso in the first round of playoffs.

Today is going to be a special one at Cheney Stadium: we will be honoring Bob Robertson during the game, and christening the radio booth as the Bob Robertson Broadcast Booth from here on.

There will be an in-game presentation, and Bob will join me on the air and we’ll talk about his career. He’s going to be quite busy with a lot of visitors, but I’ll try to get him to do an inning of play-by-play.

He’s had an amazing career and it has been a joy to work Sunday games with him the last eight years.

You’ve probably heard by now, but just in case we need to let you know that the Rainiers will not have Dan Vogelbach for the final week of the season.

The team leader in just about every offensive category, Vogelbach suffered a hamstring injury running the bases on Friday night and was placed on the seven-day disabled list.

The severity of the injury is not yet known. Here’s hoping it is not too bad and he is able to be activated by the Mariners in September.

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

YESTERDAY: The Rainiers won a back-and-forth game against El Paso, 8-5. After an early 4-0 lead disappeared in the top of the seventh inning, David Freitas homered in the bottom of the inning to tie the game 5-5. Adam Law‘s three-run triple in the eighth was the game-winning hit. Bryan Evans had another strong start, while Tyler Higgins and Shawn Armstrong pitched well out of the bullpen.

ROSTER MOVE: Yesterday first baseman Dan Vogelbach was placed on the disabled list with a hamstring injury. Pitcher Ross Detwiler will be activated today to make his start, and reliever Anthony McIver was transferred to Class-A Modesto.

TODAY: El Paso (77-53) at Tacoma (64-66), 1:35.

OPPONENT AFFILIATION: San Diego Padres.

SEASONS SERIES: Tied, 5-5.

PITCHERS: RHP Walker Lockett (5-9, 4.73) at LHP Ross Detwiler (2-5, 5.15).

HOT HITTERS: Cameron Rupp has an eight-game hitting streak… David Freitas has reached base safely in 13 straight games… Zach Vincej is 15-for-38 over his last 11 games… Shawn Armstrong has allowed just two earned runs over his last 26 games, covering 27.1 innings pitched.

OPPONENT NEWS: El Paso’s ten-game winning streak ended last night. They are 23-5 over the last 28 games… Luis Urias has hit safely in 14 straight games, with eight multiple hit games during the streak… Shane Peterson has gone 13-for-24 during a six-game hitting streak… Francisco Mejia is considered a top prospect; the Padres acquired him at the trade deadline when they traded all-star reliever Brad Hand to Cleveland.

FAMILIAR FACES: Recent former Rainiers pitchers Dillon Overton and Jonathan Aro are on the El Paso staff, although Aro is currently on the disabled list.

BROADCAST: The pregame show starts at 1:20 on South Sound Talk 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:

  • The Rainiers game story in The News Tribune has reaction from manager Pat Listach.
  • The Mariners had one of their super-dramatic wins on Saturday night in Arizona. Kyle Seager and Denard Span starred, and Edwin Diaz notched his 50th save.
  • Ryan Divish did one of his Mariners Q&As.
  • Hisashi Iwakuma is making a rehabilitation start for Everett today. He’s been out all season with a shoulder injury.

Around the PCL (home team in CAPS):

FRESNO 7, Salt Lake 6 – the Grizzlies scored five runs in the bottom of the ninth inning to stun Salt Lake and clinch both Pacific division titles (the North for Fresno, and the South for El Paso). Kyle Tucker hit the walk-off three run homer – his ninth homer in the last eight games. Story from MiLB.com.

Reno 5, ALBUQUERQUE 3 – Ildemaro Vargas hit two doubles and scored two runs to support a strong start by Matt Koch. Story from Albuquerque.

Las Vegas 6, SACRAMENTO 0 – starter Kevin McGowan tossed seven shutout innings and his catcher Jose Lobaton homered and drove in four runs.

MEMPHIS 4, Nashville 3 – down 3-2 in the bottom of the ninth, Memphis scored twice on Wilfredo Tovar‘s single to win the game and clinch the American-South division title. Team report.

OKLAHOMA CITY 4, Colorado Springs 2 – the Dodgers moved back into first place by a half-game, with Tim Locastro‘s double scoring the go-ahead run in the bottom of the seventh inning. These teams have six games left head-to-head to hash out the American-North title. The newspaper has a story on Stetson Allie and his 100-mph fastball.

OMAHA 3, Iowa 2 – Kansas City Royals infield prospect Nicky Lopez hit a two-run homer to lead the Storm Chasers. Story from Omaha.

New Orleans 8, ROUND ROCK 7 (10) – Cristhian Adames had two hits, scored two runs, and drove in three for the Cakes.


Is Today Clinching Day In The PCL?

August 25, 2018

El Paso won the series opener at Cheney Stadium last night, 3-1 in a tight contest. It was the tenth straight win for the Chihuahuas, who have a ‘magic number’ of one to clinch the Pacific-South division title for the fourth straight year.

Today could be Clinching Day in the Pacific Coast League: three different teams have a magic number of one going into tonight’s action.

El Paso will win the Pac-South with a victory tonight over Tacoma, or a Salt Lake loss at Fresno.

Fresno will lock up the Pac-North with a win over Salt Lake, or a Reno loss in Albuquerque.

Defending PCL Champion Memphis can secure the American-South with a win over second-place Nashville tonight.

The only division title that cannot be locked up is the American-North, which looks like it is going to go down to the final weekend.

The Rainiers will try to spoil the Chihuahuas celebration plans tonight. They’re going to have to get some more hits to do it – last night’s six singles aren’t likely to get the job done.

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

YESTERDAY: The Rainiers managed just six hits – all singles – and lost to El Paso, 3-1, wasting a strong pitching performance by Casey Lawrence. Lawrence went seven innings and allowed just one run, yet took the loss. Dan Vogelbach‘s left hamstring tightened up on him when he was thrown out trying to score the tying run in the eighth inning, he had to leave the game and is day-to-day for now.

TODAY: El Paso (77-52) at Tacoma (63-66), 7:05.

OPPONENT AFFILIATION: San Diego Padres.

SEASONS SERIES: El Paso leads, 5-4.

PITCHERS: RHP Luis Perdomo (6-2, 3.10) at RHP Bryan Evans (6-2, 3.92).

HOT HITTERS: Cameron Rupp has a seven-game hitting streak… Cameron Perkins had his seven-game hitting streak end last night… David Freitas has reached base safely in 12 straight games… Shawn Armstrong has allowed just two earned runs over his last 25 games, covering 26.1 innings pitched.

OPPONENT NEWS: the Chihuahuas are about to clinch the Pacific-South, with a “magic number” of one over second place Salt Lake… El Paso is red-hot, currently on a ten-game winning streak and 23-4 over the last 27 games… Luis Urias has hit safely in 13 straight games, with eight multiple hit games during the streak… Shane Peterson has gone 12-for-21 during a five-game hitting streak… Francisco Mejia is considered a top prospect; the Padres acquired him at the trade deadline when they traded all-star reliever Brad Hand to Cleveland.

FAMILIAR FACES: Recent former Rainiers pitchers Dillon Overton and Jonathan Aro are on the El Paso staff, although Aro is currently on the disabled list.

BROADCAST: The pregame show starts at 6:50 on South Sound Talk 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:

Around the PCL (home team in CAPS):

Salt Lake 7, FRESNO 5 – the Bees staved off elimination for a day by winning this one in the late innings. Alberto Triunfel hit a go-ahead solo homer in the eighth inning, and Jared Walsh hit another homer in the ninth. Kyle Tucker homered twice as noted in the story from MiLB.com – he has eight homers in his last seven games.

ALBUQUERQUE 2, Reno 1 – Isotopes starter David Holmberg had his third straight strong start, holding Reno to one unearned run over six innings. The Aces wore Isotopes hats due to a shipping snafu – story from Albuquerque.

SACRAMENTO 4, Las Vegas 0 – Shaun Anderson went seven scoreless innings and Derek Law finished up a combined five-hit shutout for the River Cats.

Colorado Springs 6, OKLAHOMA CITY 5 – the Sky Sox took the opener of the series and passed the Dodgers to take a half-game lead in the American-North standings. The Dodgers left the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth. This is going to be quite the series.

MEMPHIS 9, Nashville 3 – the Redbirds can clinch with a win today. Kevin Herget allowed one run over six inning to earn the win.

Iowa 8, OMAHA 3 – the I-Cubs scored all eight runs in the first two innings. Jason Vosler hit a three-run homer in the top of the first to get things started. Story from Omaha.

New Orleans 9, ROUND ROCK 2 – it was a game of Peters for the Cakes: Peter Mooney had three hits, Peter O’Brien hit a three-run homer, and Dillon Peters pitched seven innings for the win.


Beckham Web Gem Saves Day, Rainiers Host El Paso Tonight

August 24, 2018

Tacoma held off Reno last night, as four pitchers combined on a shutout and the Rainiers had a defensive gem to preserve it.

With the Rainiers leading 2-0 in the top of the eighth inning, Reno loaded the bases with two outs and PCL MVP candidate Kevin Cron was at the plate. Then this happened:

To top it off, Beckham pulled a solo homer to left field in the bottom of the inning and the Rainiers went on to win the game, 3-0.

Tacoma won the series against Reno, two games to one, and the Rainiers are now 6-4 over the past ten games.

But El Paso is coming to town, and they are hotter than the desert that surrounds their city.

The Chihuahuas have won nine straight games, and are 22-4 over their last 26. They are on the verge of clinching the Pac-South, with a ‘magic number’ of two over Salt Lake.

Tacoma has not played El Paso in a long time – not since May 24, to be exact – but will now face them eight times over the final 11 days of the season.

Tonight is the Rainiers final Friday Night Fireworks of the season, as we enter the final four home games. Try to get out to the ballpark this weekend if you can, or else your going to have to wait until April!

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

YESTERDAY: Gordon Beckham made a game-saving defensive play and tacked on a homer as the Rainiers beat Reno last night, 3-0. David Rollins, Justin Grimm, Ryan Cook and Chasen Bradford combined on a six-hit shutout. The Rainiers finished the season series with an 8-8 record against Reno – the best single-season result for Tacoma against Reno since the Aces joined the league in 2009.

ROSTER MOVES: This morning the Mariners announced that infielder Zach Vincej and pitcher Ross Detwiler both cleared waivers and were outrighted to Tacoma. Look for Vincej to report today. Yesterday the Rainiers added Chasen Brsadford to the active roster and transferred Noah Zavolas back to Everett.

TODAY: El Paso (76-52) at Tacoma (63-65), 7:05.

OPPONENT AFFILIATION: San Diego Padres.

SEASONS SERIES: Tied, 4-4.

PITCHERS: LHP Eric Lauer (2-1, 3.00) at RHP Casey Lawrence (7-3, 2.69).

This is a rehabilitation start for Lauer, who the Padres placed on the disabled list July 31st with a forearm strain. He opened the year with El Paso, making three starts before joining the Padres rotation. He’s 5-7, 5.30 in 18 major league starts so far during his rookie campaign.

HOT HITTERS: David Freitas has 25 hits over his last 16 games… Cameron Rupp has a six-game hitting streak… Cameron Perkins has a seven-game hitting streak… Shawn Armstrong has allowed just two earned runs over his last 25 games, covering 26.1 innings pitched.

OPPONENT NEWS: the Chihuahuas are about to clinch the Pacific-South, coming into town with a “magic number” of two over second place Salt Lake… El Paso is red-hot, currently on a nine-game winning streak and 22-4 over the last 26 games… Luis Urias has hit safely in 12 straight games, with eight multiple hit games during the streak… Ty France has homered in three straight game, and he has a six-game hitting streak… Dusty Coleman has a six-game hitting streak… Shane Peterson has ten hits during a four-game streak.

FAMILIAR FACES: Recent former Rainiers pitchers Dillon Overton and Jonathan Aro are on the El Paso staff, although Aro is currently on the disabled list.

BROADCAST: The pregame show starts at 6:50 on South Sound Talk 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:

  • The Rainiers game story in The News Tribune focuses on Gordon Beckham‘s game-saving defensive play.
  • The Mariners were off yesterday, they play at Arizona tonight.
  • MiLB.com has an article on Double-A Arkansas first baseman Joey Curletta, who could play for the Rainiers next year.

Around the PCL (home team in CAPS):

Fresno 15, SACRAMENTO 1 – the Grizzlies pounded out 19 hits and moved closer to clinching the Pac-North, eliminating third place Tacoma in the process. Kyle Tucker had four hits and a homer, A.J. Reed homered and drove in four raising his league-leading RBI total to 103, and J.D. Davis homered yet again. Story from MiLB.com.

EL PASO 14, Albuquerque 2 – that’s nine straight wins for the Chihuahuas, and a magic number of two. Dusty Coleman had three hits, a homer, and five RBI to support starter Cal Quantrill‘s six solid innings.

Salt Lake 8, LAS VEGAS 6 – first baseman Matt Thaiss homered and drove in four runs as the Bees picked up a win. Story from Las Vegas.

OKLAHOMA CITY 3, Omaha 2 – ex-Rainiers pitcher Logan Bawcom delivered six good innings as the Dodgers held onto their half-game lead over Colorado Springs in the American-North. Recap from OKC.

COLORADO SPRINGS 8, Iowa 1 – Sky Sox starter Aaron Brooks allowed just one run over seven innings to earn the win. Union High School product Clint Coulter made his Triple-A debut, going 3-for-4 with a homer and two RBI.

Memphis 5, NEW ORLEANS 3 – the Redbirds got back on track as both Patrick Wisdom and Adolis Garcia homered.

Nashville 4, ROUND ROCK 2 – infield prospect Franklin Barreto continued his strong August, going 2-for-3 with a homer and two runs scored to pace the Sounds offense.


Rainiers Cruise (Walk?) To Victory Over Reno

August 23, 2018

Tacoma took down Reno with ease yesterday, 11-1. The team had great pitching from starter Christian Bergman, and the lineup produced five extra-base hits including three homers.

The Rainiers also did something that has been a trademark of the 2018 team: they took advantage of wildness by the opposing pitchers.

Tacoma continues to lead all of professional baseball in walks drawn, with 582 on the season including eight last night.

One of the walks last night came with the bases loaded, forcing in a run. Tacoma has drawn 24 bases loaded walks this season, the top figure on Triple-A baseball (and maybe all of professional baseball, too – that’s not an easy statistic to research quickly).

Tacoma scored two more runs on wildness last night: Reno pitchers hit Tacoma batters with a pitch twice with the bases loaded to force in a run. I could only find one other instance this season when the Rainiers scored on a bases loaded HBP before last night, and then it happened twice in one game.

Say what you will about the Rainiers offense this season, but we know this: they are a patient group of hitters.

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

YESTERDAY: Christian Bergman tossed seven scoreless innings of one-hit ball, and the Rainiers hit three homers on the way to an 11-1 win over Reno. Dan Vogelbach, Cameron Rupp, and Cameron Perkins each went deep. The Rainiers also took maximum advantage of some wildness by Reno pitchers.

ROSTER MOVES: An additional move was made prior to yesterday’s game: left-handed reliever Anthony McIver rejoined the team from Class-A Modesto.

TODAY: Reno (66-62) at Tacoma (62-65), 7:05.

OPPONENT AFFILIATION: Arizona Diamondbacks.

SEASONS SERIES: Reno leads, 8-7.

PITCHERS: RHP Joel Payamps (0-2, 7.56) at LHP David Rollins (0-1, 13.50).

HOT HITTERS: David Freitas had his nine-game hitting streak end yesterday, but he reached base two times anyway… Cameron Rupp has a six-game hitting streak… Cameron Perkins has a six-game hitting streak… Shawn Armstrong has allowed just two earned runs over his last 25 games, covering 26.1 innings pitched.

OPPONENT NEWS: Ildemaro Vargas had his 35-game hitting streak end on August 12 in Las Vegas, and in the eight games since it ended he has gone 16-for-34… Christian Walker has hit three homers over his last eight games… catcher Alberto Rosario has five hits and five RBI over his last two games.

FAMILIAR FACES: There are no former Rainiers or local players on the Reno roster.

BROADCAST: The pregame show starts at 6:50 on South Sound Talk 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:

Around the PCL (home team in CAPS):

Fresno 10, SACRAMENTO 8 – down 8-4 going to the ninth inning, Fresno scored six runs to win it. Kyle Tucker hit a game-tying grand slam before Sacramento relievers walked in a pair of runs to finish the collapse. Fresno has an eight-game lead with 12 to play. Story from MiLB.com.

EL PASO 7, Albuquerque 2 – that’s eight straight wins for the Chihuahuas, who trimmed their “Magic Number” to clinch the Pac-South over Salt Lake down to three. They are on track to celebrate at Cheney Stadium this weekend, much to the joy of our visitor’s clubhouse manager. Javy Guerra went 4-for-4 with a homer and four RBI. Recap from El Paso.

LAS VEGAS 7, Salt Lake 4 – Scott Copeland had a solid start for Las Vegas, going six innings and allowing two runs. Story from Las Vegas.

OKLAHOMA CITY 5, Omaha 2 – the Dodgers maintained a thin grip on first place in the American-South as Travis Taijeron doubled, homered, and drove in two runs. Recap from OKC.

Iowa 2/3, COLORADO SPRINGS 3/4 – a remarkable doubleheader sweep for the Sky Sox, in which Domingo Santana had a walk-off hit in each game of the twinbill. Colorado Springs is one game behind Oklahoma City in the American-North.

NEW ORLEANS 4, Memphis 2 – UW product Jeff Brigham went seven innings for the Cakes, allowing two runs to improve to 5-1, 2.85 since being promoted to Triple-A. Story from New Orleans.

ROUND ROCK 7, Nashville 4 – Willie Calhoun hit a two-run homer for the Express, pushing Nashville to the brink of elimination in the American-South. Story from MiLB.com.


Rainiers Drop Winnable Game On An Unusual Tuesday

August 22, 2018

When you arrive at the ballpark after an off day in the middle of a homestand, you don’t expect Triple-A baseball’s version of mayhem. But that’s what happened yesterday at Cheney Stadium.

First, we had the smokey skies (which continue today, although the latest reports say that the smoke will start getting blown out of town tonight). The skies left an eerie feeling hanging over things.

I got to the park at 3:45 and sat in the press box, enjoying a fine lunch that I had brought with me, watching early batting practice when things started to be… not normal.

Pat Listach was throwing batting practice when a trainer came out of the dugout with a phone and handed it to Pat – on the mound. Batting practice was halted.

Fifteen minutes later Josh K. from The News Tribune showed up for work and asked, “why did I just see Ross Detwiler in the parking lot, getting into a car with his baseball bag?”

Good question, young reporter. I guess it’s time finish this sandwich and find out what’s going on.

Detwiler, who was scheduled to start for Tacoma, was going to Safeco Field instead. Just three hours before the game, Tacoma was without a starting pitcher.

A ‘bullpen day’ was enacted, with reliever Mike Morin tabbed to make the start. The pitchers did a great job, holding a good Reno lineup to two earned runs over ten innings, but Tacoma lost the game 3-2.

And about Reno… the Rainiers opponent didn’t even arrive at the ballpark until 5:15.

Flying from Reno to Tacoma, the Aces didn’t take the direct flight and instead flew to Las Vegas, changed planes, and then flew to SeaTac. The second leg of their journey was delayed several hours due to the smoke-related visibility problems at SeaTac Airport, and it was close to 4:00 when they finally landed.

We’re glad they made it here safely, and we were able to start the game on time. But it was an unusual feeling, sitting there at the ballpark at 5:00 with no starting pitcher, creepy smoke in the sky, and no one in the opposing clubhouse to play against.

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

YESTERDAY: Reno toppled Tacoma in ten innings, 3-2, in a frustrating loss for the Rainiers. Yasmany Tomas starred for Reno, homering in the eighth to snap a scoreless tie before singling home the go-ahead run in the top of the tenth inning. Tacoma pitched well despite having scheduled starter Ross Detwiler called up hours before the first pitch. For the first time this season, the Rainiers lost a game that they were leading after eight innings.

ROSTER MOVES: The wheel keeps spinning. Yesterday the Mariners called up Ross Detwiler, optioned Chasen Bradford to Tacoma, and designated Zach Vincej for assignment. Reliever Noah Zavolas was added to Tacoma’s roster from Everett (for depth). Today the Mariners designated Detwiler and called up Nick Rumbelow.

TODAY: Reno (66-61) at Tacoma (61-65), 7:05.

OPPONENT AFFILIATION: Arizona Diamondbacks.

SEASONS SERIES: Reno leads, 8-6.

PITCHERS: RHP Neftali Feliz (5-4, 4.85) at RHP Christian Bergman (7-9, 5.44).

HOT HITTERS: David Freitas has hit safely in nine straight, and 13 of his last 14 games, collecting 24 hits during that time… Cameron Rupp has a five-game hitting streak… Shawn Armstrong has allowed just two earned runs over his last 25 games, covering 26.1 innings pitched.

OPPONENT NEWS: Ildemaro Vargas had his 35-game hitting streak end on August 12 in Las Vegas, and in the seven games since it ended he has gone 15-for-30… Christian Walker has hit three homers over his last eight games… catcher Alberto Rosario has five hits and five RBI over his last two games.

FAMILIAR FACES: There are no former Rainiers or local players on the Reno roster.

BROADCAST: The pregame show starts at 6:50 on South Sound Talk 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:

Around the PCL (home team in CAPS):

Fresno 9, SACRAMENTO 2 – it’s not just Tacoma pitching. J.D. Davis had three hits including a three-run homer as the Grizzlies maintained a seven-game lead in the Pac-North, with 13 to play.

EL PASO 6, Albuquerque 4 – outfielder Shane Peterson had two hits, scored two runs, and drove in another as the Chihuahuas opened up an 8.5-game lead in the Pac-South.

LAS VEGAS 13, Salt Lake 6 – five different players homered for the 51s, including former Rainier Patrick Kivlehan who also had two doubles. Story from Las Vegas.

Omaha 13, OKLAHOMA CITY 2 – Frank Schwindel collected three hits, including his 22nd home run, and drove in five as the Storm Chasers coasted to a win.

Iowa at COLORADO SPRINGS – rained out, and the Sky Sox are now one game behind Oklahoma City in the American-North.

NEW ORLEANS 5, Memphis 0 – Zac Gallen tossed six scoreless innings and Peter O’Brien ripped a three-run homer for the Cakes. Story from New Orleans.

ROUND ROCK 2, Nashville 0 – Chris Rowley and three relievers combined on a three-hit shutout for the Express.