Rainiers Pitch First Shutout

April 24, 2015

Ever have a day where everything goes your way? That’s the way things went for the Rainiers last night.

It didn’t look like we were going to even have a game. It rained all day, and the forecast was gloomy.

Then at six o’clock sharp, the clouds disappeared and the sun poured down on Cheney Stadium. There was a beautiful rainbow beyond the right field fence, stretching over Foss High School.

The grounds crew was totally prepared – they had the field covered all day, so it was quick and easy for them to pull the tarp and get things ready for an on-time start.

Then the Rainiers took the field and pitched a three-hit shutout, beating the Albuquerque Isotopes, 3-0.

Tonight is the last game of the homestand, and the Rainiers need a win to earn a series split with the ‘Topes. Win or lose, we’ll have Friday Night Fireworks after the game.

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: The Rainiers pitched their first shutout of the season, with Mike Montgomery, Joe Saunders, and Mark Lowe combining on a three-hitter. Tacoma beat Albuquerque, 3-0.

Today: Albuquerque (9-6) at Tacoma (5-10) 7:05 PM (Pacific).

Opponent Affiliation: Albuquerque is now a Colorado Rockies affiliate.

Season Series: Albuquerque leads, 5-2.

Starting Pitchers: RHP Leuris Gomez (0-0, 6.35) at RHP Jordan Pries (0-1, 9.20)

This is a “bullpen day” for Albuquerque, due to the team losing two starting pitchers to injury in the last week (John Lannan and Jair Jurgens). Gomez is a reliever who will be first up on the hill. Meanwhile, Tacoma’s Pries is looking for his first strong outing of the season – although he pitched much better in his last start, even if the stats didn’t show it.

Hot Rainiers: Jesus Montero had two more hits and an RBI last night, and he just doesn’t seem to be all that interested in making any outs right now. He has hit safely in 13 of 14 games this season.

Look Out For: Isotopes shortstop Cristhian Adames has reached base with a hit or a walk in all 15 games this season, and he hit two homers on Tuesday night.

Broadcast: The pregame show starts at 6:50 (Pacific) 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:

  • The Rainiers game story from The News Tribune explains why Mike Montgomery came out of the game while working on a one-hit shutout.
  • Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times was slinking around Cheney Stadium yesterday afternoon and he filed this report on Chris Taylor, James Jones, and Carlos Quentin.
  • Bob Dutton’s Mariners Notebook discusses how unlucky Logan Morrison has been in April.
  • In the PCL, Rymer Liriano homered twice and El Paso rocked Sacramento, 7-3. The Chihuahuas have won eight of their last nine.
  • A late Reno rally came up one run short in an 8-7 loss to Las Vegas.
  • Salt Lake lefty Tyler DeLoach tossed seven shutout innings of one-hit ball in his Triple-A debut and the Bees beat Fresno, 1-0. It was only the ninth 1-0 game in 22 years of PCL baseball at Smith’s Ballpark.
  • Oklahoma City scored four runs in the second inning and called it a night, beating Nashville 4-2. OKC has the best record in the league: 12-3.
  • Round Rock topped Colorado Springs, 5-3, and everyone is going fishing.
  • The butler did it. Cheslor Cuthbert went 3-for-4 with a double, homer, and three RBIs in Omaha’s 6-5 comeback win over Memphis.
  • New Orleans picked up a 9-2 win at Iowa as Pat Misch tossed five scoreless innings.
  • A few PCL players (but no Rainiers or Mariners farmhands) made Baseball America’s Prospect Hot Sheet.

Let’s close out this homestand with a win.


Rainiers Add Veteran Bat

April 23, 2015

The Tacoma Rainiers early season issues have been more mound-related than bat-related, but that didn’t prevent the Mariners from signing another accomplished hitter to join the Rainiers.

Yesterday Seattle announced the signing of major league veteran Carlos Quentin to a minor league contract. He took batting practice with the club yesterday, and he is expected to be activated for tonight’s game. A roster move will need to occur to make that happen.

Quentin, 32, is an outfielder by trade though he played some first base in spring training with the Padres. He was traded to Atlanta in the Craig Kimbrel deal at the end of spring training, and was subsequently released by the Braves.

A one-time MVP candidate (2008 – he finished fifth in the voting), Quentin has had a lot of trouble with knee problems the last three years. He’s had two surgeries on his right knee and last year he missed much of the season with a bruised left knee.

Despite the knee problems, Quentin has been a dangerous major league hitter as recently as 2013. You can see his career stats right here.

The Mariners are simply taking a look here. Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reported it is only a 21-day contract, so look for the Mariners to carefully watch Quentin and determine if he can help the big league club soon.

For us Rainiers fans, we’ll get to follow along and see if a former major league all-star has anything left in the tank.

Carlos Quentin Fun Fact: he holds the PCL record for most times getting hit by pitches in a single season. He actually broke it twice: in 2005 with Tucson he set a new mark by getting drilled 29 times, and then the following season he broke his own record by getting nailed 31 times (in just 85 games!). That record still stands.

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: The Isotopes took advantage of five walks in the first three innings to build a 4-1 lead, and held off another late Rainiers rally for a 5-3 win. Justin Germano pitched very well for Tacoma in long relief, allowing one hit (a solo homer) in 4.1 innings.

Today: Albuquerque (9-5) at Tacoma (4-10) 7:05 PM (Pacific).

Opponent Affiliation: Albuquerque is now a Colorado Rockies affiliate.

Season Series: Albuquerque leads, 5-1.

Starting Pitchers: LHP Chris Rusin (1-0, 9.00) at LHP Mike Montgomery (0-1, 6.23)

Which Montgomery will we see today? The one that absolutely dealt in his Rainiers debut, holding Albuquerque to one run over six innings at Isotopes Park on April 13? Or the one that was knocked out in the third inning by El Paso on Saturday? Stay tuned and find out!

Hot Rainiers: Chris Taylor‘s hitting streak ended at eight games last night, but Jesus Montero homered again and has hit safely in 12 of 13 games this season. Montero is batting .352 with three homers.

Look Out For: Tacoma finally held Ben Paulsen and Tim Wheeler hitless last night. One guy we’ll probably see this evening is Isotopes reliever Tommy Kahnle, who was very impressive against the Rainiers in Albuquerque last week. He hasn’t pitched in the last three games so he’s due.

Broadcast: The pregame show starts at 6:50 (Pacific) 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:

Have a great Thirsty Thursday!


Rainiers Rally Falls Short

April 22, 2015

For the first time this season, the wind was blowing out at Cheney Stadium – and so were the baseballs.

Albuquerque and Tacoma combined to hit six home runs on Monday night, but the ‘Topes had the upper hand by hitting four of them – and one of them was a grand slam.

The Rainiers went to the bottom of the ninth inning trailing 8-4, but they scored two runs and had the tying men on base when the final out was recorded.

Tacoma is 1-4 on this homestand, but they have threatened in the bottom of the ninth inning in each game so far:

  • Friday: down 4-1 to El Paso, Rainiers score a run and bring the tying run to the plate before losing 4-2.
  • Saturday: down 6-1, Tacoma scored twice and loads the bases before making final out in a 6-3 loss.
  • Sunday: down 9-7, a leadoff walk bring tying run to plate with nobody out but Tacoma does not score.
  • Monday: Rainiers win!
  • Tuesday: trailing 8-4, Tacoma scores twice and puts tying runners on base in an 8-6 loss.

The Rainiers are now 4-9 on the year but it’s not hard to picture them reeling off a winning streak.

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: Both Tim Wheeler and Cristhian Adames hit two home runs as Albuquerque beat the Rainiers in the series opener, 8-6. Wheeler’s first inning grand slam gave the ‘Topes a lead which they did not relinquish.

Today: Albuquerque (8-5) at Tacoma (4-9) 7:05 PM (Pacific).

Opponent Affiliation: Albuquerque is now a Colorado Rockies affiliate.

Season Series: Albuquerque leads, 4-1.

Starting Pitchers: RHP Chad Bettis (1-1, 5.23) at LHP Mike Kickham (0-1, 6.75)

Kickham had a wild home opener for the Rainiers, and he currently leads the PCL with 12 walks issued. He’ll try to get things under control tonight in his third start of the season.

Hot Rainiers: Chris Taylor has hit safely in eight straight games (11-for-31). Franklin Gutierrez had a hit and two walks on Monday, and he has hit safely in seven of the eight games he’s played in this season.

Look Out For: Isotopes first baseman Ben Paulsen has a 11-game hitting streak, going 15-for-40, but Tim Wheeler has been the Rainiers real problem. In four games against Tacoma, Wheeler is 5-for-13 with four homers and eight RBI.

Broadcast: The pregame show starts at 5:50 (Pacific) 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:

Looks like the sun is out again – it’s been a great homestand for enjoying the ballpark.


Montero, Bullpen Shine In 5-4 Win

April 21, 2015

The team needed that one.

Tacoma held on for a 5-4 victory over El Paso on Monday evening, ending a three-game losing streak and avoiding a home sweep. It was the first Cheney Stadium win for the Rainiers this season.

The Rainiers were trailing 4-1 going to the bottom of the fifth. Chris Taylor lifted a solo homer onto the R-Yard in left, and then with two outs Jesus Montero lined a three-run shot to left-center, giving the Rainiers a 5-4 lead.

The bullpen took over from there. Logan Bawcom protected the lead by tossing two scoreless innings, and then Triple-A rookie Mayckol Guaipe came in the game.

Guaipe had a terrific season at Double-A Jackson last year, earning a spot on the Mariners 40-man roster. But he had not shown his best stuff in his first three Triple-A games.

That changed last night. Guaipe went six-up, six-down with three strikeouts to coast through the eighth and ninth innings, earning his first Triple-A save.

Guaipe missed up with a few pitches to the first batter he faced, but after that it was all fastballs pounding the bottom of the strike zone.

The win sent the Chihuahuas off (they flew home this morning), and now the Rainiers welcome the Albuquerque Isotopes to town for a four-game series which carries through Friday night. The Isotopes just played four in Reno, splitting the series 2-2.

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: Tacoma picked up a 5-4 win as Jesus Montero hit a go-ahead homer, and relievers Logan Bawcom and Mayckol Guaipe combined to toss four shutout innings while protecting a one-run lead.

Today: Albuquerque (7-5) at Tacoma (4-8) 6:05 PM (Pacific).

Opponent Affiliation: Albuquerque is now a Colorado Rockies affiliate.

Season Series: Albuquerque leads, 3-1.

Starting Pitchers: LHP Carlos Hernandez (0-0, —) at RHP Sam Gaviglio (1-0, 0.82)

Tacoma fans will get their first in-person look at Gaviglio, who was terrific in two outings on the opening road trip. From Ashland, OR and Oregon State University, Gaviglio uses a sinker/slider combination.

Hernandez is a 28-year-old Triple-A veteran who had to open the season at Double-A New Britain for the Rockies. He was promoted after an injury to John Lannan and this will be his first PCL appearance of the season.

Hot Rainiers: Chris Taylor had two hits and a homer yesterday; he has hit safely in seven straight games (9-for-26). Franklin Gutierrez had a hit and two walks yesterday, and he has hit safely in seven of the eight games he’s played in this season.

Look Out For: Isotopes first baseman Ben Paulsen has a ten-game hitting streak, going 14-for-36 during that stretch.

Broadcast: The pregame show starts at 5:50 (Pacific) 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:

See you at the ballpark!


The Rainiers Could Use A Win

April 20, 2015

Well, we’re 11 games into the season and I suppose it’s time to address this: the Rainiers aren’t winning very often.

Tacoma blew two leads and lost to El Paso on Sunday afternoon, 9-7. The team is 0-3 on this homestand and needs a win today to avoid being swept.

On top of that, the Rainiers have lost seven of the last eight games and are now sitting in last place in the Pac-North with a 3-8 record. The Rainiers are already five games behind first place Sacramento.

Tacoma’s offense ranks 3rd in the league (16 teams) in runs scored, but they have allowed the fourth-most runs in the league.

It’s early, yes. The Rainiers got unlucky on the road trip with four straight one-run losses, yes. Heck, the team even has a positive run differential (they have outscored their opponents, 66-62). But a win sure would feel good.

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: Tacoma’s rough start to the season continued with a 9-7 loss to El Paso. The Rainiers were ahead 5-0 after three innings and took a 6-5 lead into the eighth, only to see the game get away.

Today: El Paso (7-4) at Tacoma (3-8) 6:05 PM (Pacific).

Opponent Affiliation: El Paso is the San Diego Padres farm club.

Season Series: El Paso leads, 5-2.

Starting Pitchers: RHP Aaron Northcraft (1-1, 12.15) at LHP Roenis Elias (1-0, 8.44)

Keep an eye on the first inning tonight: Elias has been rocked in the first inning in each of his two starts so far. Each time he then settled down and pitched nicely into the middle of the game.

Hot Rainiers: Chris Taylor has hit safely in six straight games (7-for-22). It was just one game, but Ketel Marte was locked in yesterday reaching base four times with two hits and two walks.

Look Out For: El Paso’s veteran corner infielder Brett Wallace has a ten-game hitting streak, which is the longest active streak in the PCL right now.

Broadcast: The pregame show starts at 5:50 (Pacific) 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:

Let’s see if the Rainiers can get a win today.


Rainiers Look For First Home Win Today

April 19, 2015

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: The Rainiers lost to El Paso, 6-3, at Cheney Stadium. Tacoma didn’t get the offense going until the ninth: trailing 6-1, Tacoma scored two runs and loaded the bases with two outs for hot-hitting Jesus Montero. El Paso reliever Marcos Mateo got Montero to bounce back to the mound, ending the game.

Today: El Paso (6-4) at Tacoma (3-7) 1:35 PM (Pacific).

Opponent Affiliation: El Paso is the San Diego Padres farm club.

Season Series: El Paso leads, 4-2.

Starting Pitchers: LHP Jason Lane (1-1, 5.25) at RHP Jordan Pries (0-1, 9.31)

Pries had a terrific spring training camp, but he hasn’t brought it into the regular season yet. Hopefully a return home – and his first outing at sea level this season – will lead to some better results.

Roster Move: James Jones was placed on the seven-day disabled list with a concussion. Outfielder Julio Morban was called up from Double-A Jackson to take his place; he was 5-for-22 (.227) in seven games there. Also, the Mariners activated Chris Taylor from the disabled list and optioned him to Tacoma. Tacoma’s 25-man roster is now full.

Hot Rainiers: Jesus Montero saw his season-opening nine-game hitting streak end with an 0-for-5 on Saturday. The longest streak on the team now belongs to Taylor, who has hit safely in five straight.

Look Out For: Veteran corner infielder Brett Wallace has a nine-game hitting streak. Catcher Austin Hedges has an RBI in six straight games (ten total RBIs in that span); he homered yesterday.

Broadcast: The pregame show starts at 1:20 (Pacific) on South Sound Sports 850 AM. The broadcast also streams online via the TuneIn app – just click here. It’s a Sunday, so Pacific NW broadcasting legend Bob Robertson joins me on the broadcast and will call the middle innings.

PCL Scoreboard: follow all Pacific Coast League games in real-time with links to Gameday screens right here.

Links:

It’s a beautiful day for afternoon baseball – head out to the ballpark today!


Rainiers Fall In Electric Opener

April 18, 2015

Fans seemed to be having fun at the Tacoma Rainiers home opener on Friday night, but unfortunately most of the excitement came in the pregame ceremonies.

Edgar Martinez arrived via helicopter to throw out the first pitch, and he received his PCL Hall of Fame plaque (now we’ve got to get him into that other Hall).

With the teams lined up along the baselines, Rhubarb The Raindeer made his flag-waving entrance running between on-field fireworks. He managed to do this without igniting his Rainiers flag, so we’re calling it a win.

We had an A-grade color guard and a performance of the Star Spangled Banner.

A crowd of over 6,500 packed the house and provided good energy throughout the game.

Then the Rainiers struck out 14 times and lost to El Paso, 4-2.

There were some good moments. The svelte Jesus Montero had two hits including a long double, and he showed his improved mobility by tagging up from second and taking third base on a fly out. James Jones and Ketel Marte stole bases, and the Rainiers brought the tying run to the plate in the bottom of the ninth.

But there was a lot of concern for Jones, who was helped off the field after a play at third base in the third inning.

Running on the pitch, Jones went into third with a head-first dive. The third baseman Brett Wallace was covering the bag, and Jones banged his head against Wallace’s knee. Jones was taken to the hospital to be checked for a concussion. We should learn more about his status today.

We’ll do it again this afternoon/evening – hopefully with a better result for the hometown nine.

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: The Rainiers lost to El Paso, 4-2, in the home opener at Cheney Stadium. Tacoma batters struck out 14 times, and starting pitcher Mike Kickham allowed just two runs in five innings but both scored on bases-loaded walks.

Today: El Paso (5-4) at Tacoma (3-6) 5:05 PM (Pacific).

Opponent Affiliation: El Paso is the San Diego Padres farm club.

Season Series: El Paso leads, 3-2.

Starting Pitchers: LHP Mike Montgomery (1-0, 1.50) vs. RHP Bryce Morrow (0-1, 1.80)

Montgomery was terrific in his Tacoma Rainiers debut on Monday in Albuquerque, allowing just one run over six innings while generating lots of ground ball outs. Tacoma has never faced Morrow before.

Rehabber: Chris Taylor continued his rehabilitation assignment on Friday, playing the entire game at shortstop and going 1-for-4 at the plate. He made his first error when a grounder kicked off his glove.

Injury Update: James Jones left the game in the third inning with a possible concussion; we should learn more about his status today. Stefen Romero missed his fourth straight game with back tightness.

Hot Rainiers: Jesus Montero singled in Tacoma’s first run and later added a double. He has hit safely in all nine games this season.

Look Out For: Veteran corner infielder Brett Wallace has a eight-game hitting streak. Catcher Austin Hedges has an RBI in five straight games (nine total RBIs in that span).

Broadcast: The pregame show starts at 4:50 (Pacific) 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:

  • The Rainiers game story from The News Tribune sets the scene and includes a couple of nice photos.
  • Jack Zduriencik reveals that the Mariners hope to assign Danny Hultzen to minor league affiliate in May.
  • The Mariners dropped their fourth straight game yesterday. On the bright side, at least they pitched well.
  • Good quote from Fernando Rodney which reveals the mindset that a closer must have.
  • Todd Milles caught up with Mariners rookie reliever Tyler Olson.
  • The big story in the PCL last night was the grand opening of First Tennessee Park in Nashville. The new ballpark has a major league feel, fans say. The Sounds beat Colorado Springs on Max Muncy‘s walk-off. The Tennessean has a photo gallery.
  • Las Vegas nearly overcame a 9-1 deficit but ended up losing to Fresno 11-10 in the Cashman Field opener. Fresno is 7-2 on the year.
  • The Salt Lake Bees lost their home opener to Sacramento and are now 1-8 on the year. Now that’s a rough start.
  • Hall of Famer Randy Johnson‘s pregame talk to the Reno Aces didn’t work – they got creamed in their home opener by Albuquerque, 11-2.
  • The Iowa Cubs played a Kris Bryantless home opener and lost to Oklahoma City, 3-2. The Register has a photo gallery.
  • I love this headline, about a triple play hurting the momentum for Omaha. Indeed, triple plays tend to do that. New Orleans beat the Storm Chasers, 5-3.
  • The Round Rock Express are experiencing more weather issues that they would like. Their home opener against Memphis was suspended in the second inning due to rain.

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