Home, Finally, To Face Memphis

After a stretch in which Tacoma played 18 out of 22 games on the road, we are finally home to begin a seven-game homestand at Cheney Stadium, starting with tonight’s game against the Memphis Redbirds at 6:05.

The Rainiers finished the 22-game mostly-away stretch with a solid 12-10 record, which includes the highly successful just completed 6-3 road trip to Salt Lake and El Paso.

Fans coming to Cheney this week are going to see a barely recognizable Tacoma Rainiers team. The roster has mutated so much in the last three weeks, with the M’s suddenly changing gears and signing experienced Triple-A talent other teams are parting ways with. Expect this to continue. If the Mariners trade away major league players for lower-level prospects, they can’t fill the major league roster with kids from extended spring training – can they?

(On that subject, the Robert Perez Revelation continues. The 18-year-old homered again on Saturday, then added a double on Sunday, and he’s made a appearance in our hot hitters section down below.)

The Rainiers begin inter-conference play tonight, with the next 14 games coming against American Conference opponents.

First up is Memphis, the St. Louis Cardinals affiliate, two-time defending PCL Champions, a powerhouse in the American Conference in recent years, and… ummmmm… wait a minute. Memphis comes into this series on a 12-game losing streak.

They started the season their usual way, chugging along and quickly reaching five games over .500 at 17-12, and then it all stopped. The Redbirds have lost 23 of the last 29 games.

The Redbirds have had many problems, but here is the immediate one: they have scored two or fewer runs in seven of the last eight games. And this comes in our new, even higher-scoring era of PCL baseball.

It’s unlikely the Rainiers will sweep the three-game series. Nobody loses 15 straight games in baseball, and that’s what a sweep would do to Memphis. But hopefully the Rainiers can win this series, and get cross-conference play off to a good start.

RAINIERS DAILY

YESTERDAY: Was an off day for the Rainiers. Tacoma lost the last game in El Paso on Sunday, 5-3, as the Rainiers hit a couple of solo homers but couldn’t put together one of their multiple-hit rallies. The bullpen pitched well, getting four scoreless innings total from David McKay, Gerson Bautista, and Ryan Garton.

ROSTER MOVES: On Sunday the Mariners acquired outfielder John Andreoli for the third time, in a cash trade with the Minnesota Twins, and assigned him to Tacoma. He fills the spot of outfielder Braden Bishop, who was recalled by the Mariners after they traded Jay Bruce. The Mariners called up Matt Festa yesterday after they had to place Chasen Bradford on the injured list – expect reliever Darin Gillies to return to Tacoma from Double-A Arkansas.

TODAY: Memphis (23-35) at Tacoma (29-29), 6:05.

OPPONENT AFFILIATION: St. Louis Cardinals.

OPPOSING MANAGER: Ben Johnson.

SEASON SERIES: 0-0.

PITCHERS: RHP Jake Woodford (3-2, 3.11) at LHP Anthony Misiewicz (2-1, 4.42)

HOT HITTERS: Ian Miller hit .357 with a 1.002 OPS in May… Robert Perez has hit safely in five straight and eight of his last nine games… Jaycob Brugman has homered in each of his first two games with Tacoma.

OPPONENT NEWS: After opening the season 23-23, Memphis has lost 12 straight games – ten of them at home (our condolences to the Redbirds season ticketholders)… infielder Tommy Edman is having a good season, and Rangel Ravelo is 8-for-16 over his last five games… the rest of their offense is sputtering; we could fill this space with cold streaks.

FAMILIAR FACES: Former Rainiers outfielder and B.C. native Tyler O’Neill brings his power hitting and Canadian pride back into Cheney Stadium as a member of the Redbirds. In the bullpen, the Redbirds have former Rainiers and Mariners reliever Dominic Leone.

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:

  • Last night the Mariners pitched well against Houston but still lost, 4-2. Seattle has lost 12 of the last 14 games.
  • The Mariners made three picks on the first day of the draft – all college pitchers, starting with first round selection George Kirby of Elon University.
  • Two local products were selected on the first day of the draft.
  • Braden Bishop‘s brother Hunter was selected by their local team, the San Francisco Giants, in the first round.

The entire PCL was off yesterday.

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