Rainiers Miss Out On Sweep, Shuffle Pitching Staff

The Rainiers missed out on a sweep of El Paso, dropping the last game of the three-game series 6-2 on Thursday night. Now the Albuquerque Isotopes come to town for a four-game series. It’s our first Friday Night Fireworks of the 2019 season.

The Isotopes flew in from Reno this morning, where they lost two-of-three to the Aces including a tough 7-6 defeat last night. They have been scoring a lot of runs to open the season – we’ll see if that continues in their first games played at sea level.

Tacoma sends Justus Sheffield to the hill tonight for his second start. Sheffield was wild in his Tacoma Rainiers debut on Sunday in Sacramento, struggling mightily with control of his fastball. Look for him to turn it around tonight.

The Mariners made some roster moves with the pitching staff earlier today. They optioned Erik Swanson to Tacoma, and he’ll re-join the Rainiers starting rotation when he reports. Also coming to Tacoma is reliever Matt Festa, who will be making his Triple-A debut (well after his MLB debut) when he appears in a game.

Tacoma reliever Ruben Alaniz was summoned to Seattle and will probably make his big league debut this weekend; the right-hander has terrific stuff and will hopefully contribute up north. Seattle also activated Shawn Armstrong from the injured list.

With the incredible numbers that the Mariners lineup is putting up in the big leagues, it appears that the majority of the roster moves early in the season will involve the pitching staff.

RAINIERS DAILY

YESTERDAY: Tacoma’s bid for a three-game sweep of El Paso did not come to fruition, as the Chihuahuas were able to salvage the final game of the series, 6-2. A three-run homer by outfielder Michael Gettys sealed the game for El Paso in the sixth inning.

ROSTER MOVES: Today the Mariners optioned pitchers Erik Swanson and Matt Festa to Tacoma, they called up reliever Ruben Alaniz, and activated reliever Shawn Armstrong from the injured list.

TODAY: Albuquerque (5-3) at Tacoma (3-5), 7:05.

OPPONENT AFFILIATION: Colorado Rockies.

OPPOSING MANAGER: Glenallen Hill.

SEASONS SERIES: 0-0.

PITCHERS: LHP Evan Grills (1-0, 0.00) at LHP Jordan Sheffield (0-1, 7.71)

Sheffield had trouble harnessing his fastball control in his Rainiers debut on Sunday; he’s looking to get that squared away tonight. Evan Grills is an incomplete sentence. What is he grilling? Burgers?

HOT HITTERS: J.P. Crawford has a six-game hitting streak, going 8-for-23 during the stretch… all other Rainiers hitting streaks ended last night, as only Crawford and Eric Young Jr. were able to get hits.

OPPONENT NEWS: Albuquerque opened the season by going 4-1 in a homestand against Salt Lake, but then they went to Reno and lost two-of-three… rookie first baseman Roberto Ramos homered in his first three Triple-A games to open the season… Noel Cuevas went 5-for-5 with a cycle and two homers on Wednesday, he followed that up by going 2-for-4 with another homer last night… Dom Nunez has homered in his last two games.

FAMILIAR FACES: the Isotopes don’t have any former Rainiers or local players on the roster, but they do have David Holman who is part of the Pitching Holman Family that has Mariners ties. His father Brian pitched three seasons for Seattle (1989-1991), and his uncle Brad is a former Mariners minor league pitching coach who had a brief stint in the majors with the club.

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 the PCL:

  • Reno’s Kevin Cron homered and drove in four runs in a 7-6 win over Albuquerque.
  • Jorge Mateo and Sean Murphy each had four hits as the Las Vegas Aviators blew out Sacramento for the third day in a row to finish a sweep. However, is was Sacramento’s Zach Green who hit the first home run in the history of Las Vegas Ballpark.
  • Down 3-0 in the bottom of the eighth, Salt Lake scored five runs and emerged with a 5-4 win over Fresno. Matt Thaiss had three hits.
  • Dixon Machado launched a walk-off homer and Iowa beat New Orleans, 5-4. The Des Moines Register has a story on Ian Happ and his surprising demotion to Triple-A.
  • Round Rock’s four-run eighth inning led to an 8-6 victory over Nashville. Myles Straw doubled, tripled, and scored three runs.
  • Memphis won at San Antonio, 6-3, as Rangel Ravelo drove in three runs.
  • Oklahoma City at Omaha was postponed, and the Storm Chasers have already postponed tonight’s game due to “high winds and bitter cold.”
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