Paxton Continues To Excel

May 2, 2016

Tacoma got a much-needed 12-1 win in Las Vegas on Sunday afternoon, with James Paxton turning in his third consecutive strong start.

Paxton allowed one run over six innings, striking out seven with just one walk. He gave up five hits.

It was yet another strong start for Paxton since he and pitching coach Lance Painter used video analysis to correct a flaw in his mechanics.

In his last three starts, Paxton has pitched 17.1 innings, giving up 12 hits and two runs (one earned). He has struck out 18, and most impressively he’s issued just one walk.

The victory ended Tacoma’s four-game losing streak, and it avoided a sweep in Vegas. Now Tacoma hopes to get hot at home again, with Salt Lake coming into town.

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: Tacoma broke out of its slump with an impressive 12-1 win at Las Vegas on Sunday. James Paxton pitched another strong game, Shawn O’Malley had three hits and four RBI, Ed Lucas launched a grand slam, and Mike Zunino ripped his PCL-leading eighth home run.

Roster Move: The Mariners announced that they removed Joe Wieland from the 40-man roster and outrighted him to Tacoma. Wieland was already with the Rainiers, but the Mariners cleared a 40-man spot with this move.

Today: Salt Lake (15-9) at Tacoma (12-11), 6:05.

Opponent Affiliation: Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

Season Series: 0-0. Today is the first of 16 games between the two teams.

Starting Pitchers: LHP Chris Jones (1-1, 7.88) at RHP Adrian Sampson (2-1, 3.09).

Hot Rainiers: Stefen Romero has a 14-game hitting streak… Chris Taylor had three hits yesterday, he’s reached base via hit or walk in 21 of 22 games played… Mike Zunino continues to hit, connecting for a double and a homer yesterday.

Look Out For: Jefry Marte is Salt Lake’s first baseman, and he carries a nine-game hitting streak into tonight’s game… switch-hitting outfielder Todd Cunningham is 8-for-16 during a five-game hitting streak. He’s also “controlling the zone” with 17 walks and only 10 strikeouts this season.

Ex-Rainiers Alert: Left-hander Lucas Luetge is in the Salt Lake bullpen; he’s been a regular at Cheney Stadium the past three years… reliever Ramon Ramirez had a brief stint with Tacoma in 2014… former Mariners player, minor league pitching coach, and all-around good guy Pat Rice is currently serving as Salt Lake’s pitching coach.

Broadcast: The pregame show starts at 5:50 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:

Today is Rainiers owner Mikal Thomsen‘s 60th birthday, and he’s having the party at Cheney Stadium. Should be a packed house on a Monday!


Vegas Trip Ends Today

May 1, 2016

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: Tacoma fell into an early 4-0 deficit, rallied to tie the game in the top of the fifth, only to see Las Vegas score three runs in the bottom of the fifth and eventually take it, 7-4. The Rainiers have lost eight of the last nine games – including four in a row – and need a win today to avoid being swept.

Today: Tacoma (11-11) at Las Vegas (11-10), 12:05.

Opponent Affiliation: New York Mets.

Season Series: Las Vegas leads, 3-0.

Starting Pitchers: LHP James Paxton (2-2, 4.08) at LHP Duane Below (1-9, 5.25).

Hot Rainiers: Stefen Romero has a 13-game hitting streak; he had the day off last night… Daniel Robertson had two bunt singles on Saturday night.

Look Out For: Matt Reynolds has the longest hitting streak for Las Vegas at ten games… Marc Krauss, Gavin Cecchini, and Brandon Nimmo have been tough outs for Tacoma the last two days… Krauss has homered in each of the last two games.

Ex-Rainiers Alert: Former Rainiers infielder Ty Kelly is playing a lot of outfield for Las Vegas, and he’s been getting on base all of the time, as usual.

Broadcast: The pregame show starts at 11:50 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:

  • After a rainout on Friday, Albuquerque swept a doubleheader at Reno on Saturday.
  • Mike Hauschild went seven innings in Fresno’s 3-0 win over El Paso.
  • After losing ten straight games to Salt Lake, Sacramento vented some frustration in a 14-1 win on Saturday. The River Cats had 24 hits, with six different players collecting three. I was kind of hoping Salt Lake would go 16-0 against Sacramento this year, just for fun.
  • Patrick Kivlehan‘s two-run double helped Round Rock edge Nashville, 3-2.
  • Everything else was rained out last night: Memphis at New Orleans, Oklahoma City at Omaha, Colorado Springs at Iowa… all washed away.

The Rainiers fly home tonight and open a four-game homestand Monday at 6:05, with the Salt Lake Bees in town.


Defense Costs Rainiers In 14-6 Loss

April 30, 2016

The Rainiers struggles took a new turn on Friday night in Las Vegas, with errors costing Tacoma a game.

Rainiers infielders made four errors in the first two innings, leading to 11 Las Vegas runs, and an eventual 14-6 Rainiers loss.

Starting pitcher Joe Wieland should have escaped the first inning without allowing any runs, but misplays by Ed Lucas and Chris Taylor led to four unearned runs.

Playing second base, Taylor made two more miscues during Las Vegas’s seven-run second inning. It was a very out-of-character night for Taylor, who committed three errors in a game for the first time in his professional career.

Tacoma has now lost seven of the last eight games – yet still sits in first place in the Northern Division standings.

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: Defensive problems hurt the Rainiers early in a 14-6 loss in Las Vegas. Mike Baxter had a big game at the plate, going 4-for-5, and Stefen Romero hit a two-run homer.

Today: Tacoma (11-10) at Las Vegas (10-10), 7:05.

Opponent Affiliation: New York Mets.

Season Series: Las Vegas leads, 2-0.

Starting Pitchers: RHP Cody Martin (3-1, 7.58) at RHP Seth Lugo (1-2, 10.66).

Hot Rainiers: Stefen Romero has a 13-game hitting streak… Mike Baxter had four hits; he’s 5-for-7 in the Las Vegas series.

Look Out For: Matt Reynolds has the longest hitting streak for Las Vegas at nine games… Marc Krauss, Gavin Cecchini, and Brandon Nimmo have been tough outs for Tacoma the last two days.

Ex-Rainiers Alert: Former Rainiers infielder Ty Kelly is playing a lot of outfield for Las Vegas, and he’s been getting on base all of the time, as usual.

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:

We had overnight rain in Las Vegas and today’s forecast is somewhat dreary. Hopefully we can get this one in.


Rainiers Can’t Escape Rain

April 29, 2016

Tacoma had its second rain-shortened loss of the week on Thursday night, dropping a four-and-a-half inning game to Las Vegas, 8-1.

Yes, we had a rain-shortened game in Las Vegas.

The 51s do not have an infield tarp at Cashman Field, so once the rain starts it has to stop quickly or the field becomes unplayable.

Last night the final inning was played in a steady downpour and it was clear that the infield was not safe – even after the rain stopped and the grounds crew spent some time trying to dry it.

That’s two rain-shortened losses for Tacoma this week: there was a 10-5 loss to Sacramento on Sunday which was called in the sixth inning due to rain.

The bigger problem remains: Tacoma is not playing well right now. The Rainiers have lost six of the last seven games, and the team’s fast start is a fading memory. Starting pitching, hitting, and defense are all to blame right now. The bullpen has been outstanding since day one.

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: Donn Roach‘s homecoming did not go well, as Las Vegas hung eight runs on the board over the first three innings and beat the Rainiers, 8-1, in a five-inning game shortened by rain.

Today: Tacoma (11-9) at Las Vegas (9-10), 7:05.

Opponent Affiliation: New York Mets.

Season Series: Las Vegas leads, 1-0.

Starting Pitchers: RHP Joe Wieland (1-2, 15.00) at RHP Rafael Montero (0-0, 3.00).

Rather than fill this space with depressing stats, let’s just say that Wieland could really, really use a strong start tonight.

Hot Rainiers: Chris Taylor has reached base in 19 straight games… Stefen Romero has a 12-game hitting streak (he went 0-for-0 with two walks last night, which does not end a hitting streak)…Mike Zunino had his second hitless game of the season last night; he’s hit safely in 16 of 18 games overall.

Look Out For: Matt Reynolds has the longest hitting streak for Las Vegas at eight games, but TJ Rivera has been on a mini-tear: he’s 9-for-16 over his last four games.

Ex-Rainiers Alert: Former Rainiers infielder Ty Kelly is playing a lot of outfield for Las Vegas, and he’s been getting on base all of the time, as usual. Kelly has reached via hit or walk in 13 consecutive 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:

  • We start with the Rainiers game story. The story from the Las Vegas newspaper blames El Nino – which is not a hotshot young shortstop, it’s a weather condition.
  • The Mariners were off yesterday, and both papers ran a story on the suddenly hot Ketel Marte. Pick your poison (or take a double dose): the Seattle Times or The News Tribune.
  • Jeff Sullivan wrote about Taijuan Walker.
  • No Mariners appear on this week’s Baseball America Prospect Hot Sheet, but hey… we always link to it, anyway.

PCL Game Reports:

Two things I’m rooting for tonight, in order of priority: 1) a Rainiers win, and 2) no rain.


Mariners, Rainiers Ownership Ties Strengthen

April 28, 2016

The Mariners made some surprising news on Wednesday, announcing a sale of the team.

Longtime majority owner Nintendo of America sold its majority stake of the franchise to the previous minority owners, who are part of an ownership group called First Avenue Entertainment.

First Avenue Entertainment is headed by John Stanton, who becomes the Chairman and CEO. Howard Lincoln will retire from this role when the ownership transfer gets approved by Major League Baseball, most likely in August.

Stanton is already a part-owner of the Tacoma Rainiers. He and Rainiers principal owner Mikal Thomsen have been business partners for decades.

This deal is good for baseball in Tacoma. It strengthens the link between the Rainiers and the Mariners, which was already very secure. We certainly don’t need to worry about the Mariners switching their affiliation to Reno or anything like that.

Congratulations to Stanton and his group, and may the Mariners flourish under their ownership.

The entire PCL was off on Wednesday. We’re back in action tonight live from Las Vegas.

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: Prior to Wednesday’s day off, Tacoma suffered a tough 1-0 loss to visiting Sacramento at Cheney Stadium on Tuesday afternoon. Ramiro Pena‘s solo homer in the top of the ninth inning was the only run of a game in which Tacoma mustered just five hits. Adrian Sampson had a terrific start, delivering 6.1 shutout innings of two-hit ball, with one walk and six strikeouts.

Today: Tacoma (11-8) at Las Vegas (8-10), 7:05.

Opponent Affiliation: New York Mets.

Season Series: 0-0. Tacoma and Las Vegas will play 16 games this season.

Starting Pitchers: RHP Donn Roach (1-1, 8.59) at LHP Sean Gilmartin (1-1, 1.62).

Roach is from Las Vegas; this is a hometown start for him. He knows all of the recent Las Vegas baseball royalty including Bryce Harper and his family, and Kris Bryant.

Hot Rainiers: Chris Taylor has reached base in 18 straight games… Stefen Romero has a 12-game hitting streak… Mike Zunino has a six-game hitting streak, and he’s hit safely in 16 of 17 games overall.

Look Out For: Matt Reynolds has the longest hitting streak for Las Vegas at seven games, but TJ Rivera has been on a mini-tear: he’s 8-for-13 over his last three games.

Ex-Rainiers Alert: Former Rainiers infielder Ty Kelly is playing a lot of outfield for Las Vegas, and he’s been getting on base all of the time, as usual. Kelly has reached via hit or walk in 12 consecutive 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:

Baseball tonight! We’re back at it.


Rainiers Back On Track, Smith OK

April 25, 2016

Tacoma ended its four-game losing streak with a 7-1 win over Sacramento on Monday night. James Paxton pitched very well, as did the bullpen, and the Rainiers had some timely hitting.

There was a scary moment in the fourth inning, right after Shawn O’Malley pulled a two-run homer to give Tacoma a 4-1 lead.

The very next pitch from Austin Fleet to Tyler Smith came up and in, and it hit Smith in the batting helmet. It’s always scary when a player gets hit in the head, and this was no exception. Trainers tended to Smith and he eventually walked off the field on his own power.

It turns out that the pitch struck Smith’s helmet, and then hit him in the nose. It opened up a cut on his nose, which is what was bleeding. He had no concussion symptoms, thank goodness.

After the game, manager Pat Listach said Smith told him he wants to play in today’s game. Pat isn’t going to put him in there, but it’s definitely good news that he wants to play immediately.

The weirdest thing was that after Smith came off the field, the umpires ruled that the pitch hit his bat before hitting Smith, so it was a foul ball. Confusion ensued. Video replay showed that this was the wrong ruling, but we don’t have replay review in the PCL so the call stood: foul ball.

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: James Paxton tossed 5.1 walk-free innings, striking out eight, and Tacoma beat Sacramento 7-1. Shawn O’Malley hit a two-run homer, Mike Baxter hit a two-run triple, and Mike Zunino singled home another run. Steve Johnson was particularly strong in relief, working 2.1 scoreless innings.

Roster Move: Before yesterday’s game, Mayckol Guaipe was recalled by Seattle. The Rainiers added pitcher Jordan Pries from Double-A Jackson. Pries was in Tacoma’s starting rotation the last two years, but after being slowed last season by two different injuries, the M’s are easing him back in a long relief role for now.

Today: Sacramento (7-12) at Tacoma (11-7), 11:35 AM.

Opponent Affiliation: San Francisco Giants.

Season Series: Sacramento leads, 2-1.

Starting Pitchers: RHP Albert Suarez (0-2, 3.46) at RHP Adrian Sampson (2-1, 4.24).

Hot Rainiers: Chris Taylor went 0-for-3 with a walk, ending his career-best 14-game hitting streak. He’s reached base in 17 straight games. He went 23-for-57 during the hitting streak… Stefen Romero has an 11-game hitting streak… here comes Mike Baxter: he had two hits yesterday and has a five-game hit streak.

Look Out For: Mac Williamson had that seven-RBI game on Sunday, but the Rainiers held him in check on Monday. Still, he’s a tough out.

Ex-Rainiers Alert: Sacramento has former Rainiers Miguel Olivo and Darren Ford on the team. Yes, that Miguel Olivo. He’s 38-years-old and has already hit two homers this year. Pitching coach Dwight Bernard had the same job for Tacoma for seven years.

Broadcast: The pregame show starts at 11:20 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:

Tuesday is the last game of the brief homestand. We’re off on Wednesday and there will be no new blog post. Next update will be early Thursday afternoon, prior to the first game of the Las Vegas series.


Rainiers Hit By Mac Truck

April 25, 2016

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: Sacramento scored three runs in each of the first three innings, and beat Tacoma in a rain-shortened game, 10-5. Only five-and-a-half innings were completed, but that’s enough for an official game. Mac Williamson went 3-for-3 with seven RBI, making you wonder what he would’ve finished with if the game had gone nine innings. Tacoma has lost four straight games.

Roster Move: After an incredible 17 straight games with the opening day roster still intact, the Rainiers are going to have their first roster move today. Gotta wait for the Mariners to announce it.

Today: Sacramento (7-11) at Tacoma (10-7), 6:05.

Opponent Affiliation: San Francisco Giants.

Season Series: Sacramento leads, 2-0.

Starting Pitchers: LHP Matt Lujan (0-2, 4.85) at LHP James Paxton (1-2, 5.84).

Hot Rainiers: Chris Taylor has a career-best 14-game hitting streak, and he’s reached base in 16 straight games. He’s 23-for-57 during the hitting streak… Stefen Romero has a ten-game hitting streak… Tacoma’s dual closers Blake Parker and Mayckol Guaipe are a combined 7-for-7 in save opportunities.

Look Out For: Ryan Lollis never makes outs against Tacoma. He hit .409 against Tacoma last year, and he’s 4-for-6 with five runs scored in the first two games of this series… power prospect Mac Williamson has gone 11-for-20 with two homers over his last five games, and he’s 5-for-6 with eight RBI in this series.

Ex-Rainiers Alert: Sacramento has former Rainiers Miguel Olivo and Darren Ford on the team. Yes, that Miguel Olivo. He’s 37-years-old and has already hit two homers this year. Pitching coach Dwight Bernard had the same job for Tacoma for seven years.

Broadcast: The pregame show starts at 5:50 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:


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