Rainiers Persevere In Nashville

August 19, 2016

Quick blog today. It was going to be an easy travel day, with a very nice direct flight home from Nashville, but then we had:

  • A one hour, 48 minute rain delay before Friday’s game got started.
  • Extra innings.
  • A game time of 3:28.

The game ended at 12:25 AM local time in Nashville, and I was back in my hotel room at 1:40 AM – with a very reasonable for the PCL 6:45 AM wake-up call.

But hey – the Rainiers won! And we’re coming home!

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: Daniel Robertson scored the go-ahead run on a wild pitch in the top of the tenth inning, helping Tacoma to a 4-2 win at Nashville. Robertson went 4-for-5 in the game – his leadoff double in the tenth was a huge hit. Tacoma salvaged a split of the series – and the entire Tennessee road trip – and leads the division by 5.5 games.

Magic Number’: 12. That’s the total number of Tacoma wins + Reno losses needed for the Rainiers to clinch the Pacific-North division title (without resorting to tiebreakers).

Roster Moves: Yesterday the Mariners called up Stefen Romero and activated Steve Cishek from the disabled list. They optioned Dae-Ho Lee and Joe Wieland to Tacoma.

Today: Las Vegas (59-68) at Tacoma (73-53-1), 7:05.

Opponent Affiliation: New York Mets.

Season Series: Las Vegas leads, 8-4.

Starting Pitchers: RHP Tyler Pill (0-0, 11.00) at LHP James Paxton (4-3, 3.97)

This is a rehabilitation start for Paxton, who was hit in the elbow by a line drive in his last game for Seattle. He’s supposed to go about three innings. Pill has made just two Triple-A starts this year.

Hot Rainiers: Dan Vogelbach is 9-for-26 with four doubles, a homer, and five walks in the last seven games… Daniel Robertson had four hits last night, he’s reached base eight times in the last two games, and he is hitting .361 since the all-star break.

Look Out For: Michael Conforto went 0-for-4 last night, but that ended a streak of seven consecutive multiple-hit games for the Redmond native. Conforto was 19-for-31 over the seven games… Johnny Monell had an eight-game hitting streak end last night (Las Vegas was held to five hits in a 3-1 loss yesterday).

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:

  • Up against the paper’s deadline, the Rainiers game story is a blow-by-blow of how they won it.
  • The Mariners hung on for a 7-6 win over the Milwaukee Brewers.
  • Bob Dutton’s Mariners Notebook explains the Dae-Ho Lee move.

PCL Game Reports:

  • Reno had a strong start from Matt Koch and won in Memphis, 5-2. The Aces pushed back into second place, yet trail Tacoma by 5.5 games with 17 to play. But nine of those 17 are against the Rainiers.
  • Fresno couldn’t stop Omaha from scoring and lost, 11-7. This put Fresno six games behind Tacoma.
  • Grant Green drove in four runs to help Sacramento beat Iowa, 7-1, and oh gosh that headline.
  • El Paso at Colorado Springs was cancelled due to rain. The way the first-place Chihuahuas have been playing lately, this may have been a good thing.
  • Albuquerque pulled within 6.5 games of El Paso by beating Oklahoma City in a rare 1-0 game. Matt Flemer and three relievers tossed a four-hitter.
  • New Orleans beat Salt Lake, 5-3, with a ninth inning rally.
  • Las Vegas is the boxing capital of the world, and Alex “Chi-Chi” Gonzalez sounds like a boxer’s name, so it is only fitting that the Round Rock starter shoved for seven innings at Cashman Field and beat Las Vegas, 3-1.

Nashville’s First Tennessee Park

August 19, 2016

Tonight the Rainiers wrap up the series at Nashville’s First Tennessee Park, needing a win to get a series split.

This was Tacoma’s first trip to the PCL’s newest ballpark, which opened in April of 2015. Here are some pictures – click on any photo to expand it:

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The new ballpark sits on a site which has historically had a baseball stadium in Nashville

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View from down low behind home plate. It’s located maybe a quarter-mile from downtown Nashville.

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Looking in from the right field corner, where there is a lot of action…

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“The Band Box” is a bar in right field, with beer pong, music, mini golf, and a view of the game. Fans with any type of ticket can walk out here – it’s been packed all three nights of the series so far.

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Yes, I really said Mini Golf.

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View from left field seats. The light standards on the roof are angled oddly.

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View from the worst seat at First Tennessee Park.

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The outfield fence is uniform in height, but it takes a curvy path from foul pole to foul pole.

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I’m guessing the bullpens aren’t real popular with the players. Cool for the fans, though. 

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The new guitar-shaped scoreboard is incredible. This thing is massive, and it’s all in HD.

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Scoreboard view from “The Band Box” bar.

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File under ‘oddities’: I found this stack of cheap logo baseballs, locked up like it was a Faberge Egg.

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Aerial shot from the first game, gives you an idea how close the park is to downtown.

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View from the booth. Very nice visiting booth here – immediately one of the best in the league.

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: Taijuan Walker tossed 6.1 shutout innings, Dan Vogelbach hit a monster home run, and the Rainiers took a 6-0 lead into the bottom of the ninth. Then things got really scary, but they held on for a 6-4 victory. The Rainiers need a win tonight to get out of Music City with a series split.

‘Magic Number’: 14. That’s the total number of Tacoma wins + Fresno losses needed for the Rainiers to clinch the Pacific-North division title (without resorting to tiebreakers).

Roster Moves: Tacoma has added reliever Isaac Sanchez from Hi-A Bakersfield, where he posted a 2.97 ERA in 34 games. Sanchez had 73 strikeouts in 63 IP.

Today: Tacoma (72-53-1) at Nashville (72-54), 5:05 (Pacific).

Opponent Affiliation: Oakland A’s.

Season Series: Nashville leads, 2-1.

Starting Pitchers: RHP Zach Lee (0-6, 5.57) at RHP Raul Alcantara (3-0, 0.59)

Hot Rainiers: Dan Vogelbach is 8-for-22 with four doubles, a homer, and four walks in the last six games… Mike Freeman has hit safely in 12 of 13 games for Tacoma… Daniel Robertson reached base four times last night, and he is hitting .337 since the all-star break.

Look Out For: Jaycob Brugman had his ten-game hitting streak end last night, but he has reached base safely in 19 straight games… Arismendy Alcantara has reached base via hit or walk in 14 straight games, and he’s hitting .345 since the all-star break.

Broadcast: The pregame show starts at 4:50 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:

  • The Rainiers game story covers Taijuan Walker‘s start, Dan Vogelbach‘s bomb, and the near-meltdown in the ninth.
  • The Mariners bid to win a four-game series on the road ended with a 6-4 loss to the Angels. Splittsville.
  • Bob Dutton’s Mariners Notebook tells us the team’s ownership change was officially approved, and notes that James Paxton should be starting for Tacoma tomorrow.

PCL Game Reports:


A Change Below

August 18, 2016

There was a swing in the division standings last night, and a new team is in second place chasing the Rainiers.

Reno swept a doubleheader at Memphis, jumping past Fresno into second place in the division. Reno is 4.5 games behind Tacoma.

Fresno, meanwhile, lost its fifth in a row – all at home. The Grizzlies are five games back.

It seems that Reno is more of a threat to Tacoma right now, primarily because of the schedule. Tacoma and Reno still have nine games left against one another, including a five-game series in Reno where the Rainiers have not historically played well.

The Rainiers can take care of the division simply by playing well, but still it would be nice if Memphis could give us a hand and take down Reno in the final two games of that series.

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: The Rainiers were held to just five hits in a 5-2 loss at Nashville. Joey Wendle’s three-run homer in the sixth inning put the Sounds out in front. Tacoma has just nine hits and three runs over the first two games of this series.

‘Magic Number’: 15. That’s the total number of Tacoma wins + Reno losses needed for the Rainiers to clinch the Pacific-North division title (without resorting to tiebreakers).

Roster Moves: It’s time for some rehabilitating Mariners relievers to help the Tacoma bullpen: Tony Zych is supposed to pitch an inning tonight, and Evan Scribner is expected to work tomorrow.

Today: Tacoma (71-53-1) at Nashville (72-53), 5:05 (Pacific).

Opponent Affiliation: Oakland A’s.

Season Series: Nashville leads, 2-0.

Starting Pitchers: RHP Taijuan Walker (0-0, 6.23) at RHP Daniel Mengden (6-1, 1.34)

Hot Rainiers: Stefen Romero is 6-for-12 with two doubles and a homer over his last three games, but has missed the last three games with a stiff back… Dan Vogelbach is 6-for-19 with three doubles and three walks in the last five games.

Look Out For: Jaycob Brugman has a ten-game hitting streak, and he has reached base safely in 18 straight games… Arismendy Alcantara has reached base via hit or walk in 13 straight games, and he’s hitting .342 since the all-star break.

Broadcast: The pregame show starts at 4:50 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:


10:05 AM Start Today

August 17, 2016

Early game today!

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: Nashville scored two runs in the bottom of the first inning, and that was enough to earn a 2-1 win over Tacoma. The teams combined for just seven hits – four by Tacoma. After a rough first inning, Tacoma starter Forrest Snow retired 15 straight batters.

‘Magic Number’: 16. That’s the total number of Tacoma wins + Fresno losses needed for the Rainiers to clinch the Pacific-North division title (without resorting to tiebreakers). Should Reno pass Fresno and move into second place, we’ll have to recompute this.

Roster Moves: Tacoma added two catchers yesterday: Marcus Littlewood was promoted from Double-A Jackson, as was P.J. Jones. Jones, the Rainiers bullpen catcher who was activated and sent to AA a few days ago, remains active on Tacoma’s roster for now.

Today: Tacoma (71-52-1) at Nashville (71-53), 10:05 AM (Pacific).

Opponent Affiliation: Oakland A’s.

Season Series: Nashville leads, 1-0.

Starting Pitchers: RHP Jarrett Grube (1-2, 3.97) at LHP Dillon Overton (10-5, 3.51)

Hot Rainiers: Stefen Romero is 6-for-12 with two doubles and a homer over his last three games, but has missed the last two games with a stiff back… Dan Vogelbach has drawn at least one walk in 11 of the last 12 games… Mike Freeman went 0-for-4 yesterday, ending his ten-game Tacoma hitting streak.

Look Out For: Renato Nunez saw his 13-game hitting streak end last night… Jaycob Brugman has a nine-game hitting streak, and he has reached base safely in 17 straight games… Arismendy Alcantara has reached base via hit or walk in 12 straight games.

Broadcast: The pregame show starts at 9:50 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:

Off to the ballpark!


Tennessee Roadie Continues

August 16, 2016

The Rainiers earned their split in Memphis, and bussed through Tennessee to Nashville overnight. A new four-game series awaits us a First Tennessee Park, the home of the Nashville Sounds.

Tacoma is the last PCL team to visit First Tennessee Park, which opened in 2015. The Rainiers did not play at Nashville last season, and are the last Pacific Conference team to visit this year.

I’ve yet to lay eyes on the place, but apparently it is a pitcher’s park – maybe the most pitcher-friendly ballpark in the league.

The Nashville Sounds hit a lot of home runs – they rank tied for third in the circuit with 122. They have hit 80 of the 122 home runs in road games!

So apparently we won’t be seeing many homers in this series.

Nashville is playoff-bound. The Sounds lineup has been steady for most of the season, without many roster moves. They have had a lot of changes on the pitching staff, but currently boast a very impressive starting rotation.

It should be a good series between top-level PCL teams.

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: Tacoma scored four early runs, banged out a dozen hits, and won a rain-shortened game in Memphis, 5-1. Sam Gaviglio battled sloppy conditions and lasted 6.1 innings, giving up one run. Fresno lost, so Tacoma leads the division by five games with 21 to play.

‘Magic Number’: 17. That’s the total number of Tacoma wins + Fresno losses needed for the Rainiers to clinch the Pacific-North division title (without resorting to tiebreakers). Should Reno pass Fresno and move into second place, we’ll have to recompute this.

Roster Moves: outfielder Daniel Robertson cleared waivers and will rejoin the Rainiers today. I also expect some movement on the catcher front – we’ll probably see one arrive to fill in for Rob Brantly, who is unlikely to play for several days due to his left ankle sprain. Reliever Kraig Sitton has landed on the disabled list, retroactive to August 11 – he’s not expected to be out for long.

Today: Tacoma (71-51-1) at Nashville (70-53), 5:05 (Pacific).

Opponent Affiliation: Oakland A’s.

Season Series: 0-0.

Starting Pitchers: RHP Forrest Snow (1-0, 5.00) at RHP Jesse Hahn (1-6, 3.66)

Hot Rainiers: Stefen Romero is 6-for-12 with two doubles and a homer over his last three games… Dan Vogelbach has drawn at least one walk in ten of the last 11 games… Mike Freeman has hit safely in all ten games he has played in for Tacoma, with two hits in six of them… Jesus Sucre went 5-for-8 in Memphis.

Look Out For: Renato Nunez has a 13-game hitting streak, going 19-for-54 (.352) with four homers during the streak… Jaycob Brugman has an eight-game hitting streak, and he has reached base safely in 16 straight games… Arismendy Alcantara has ten triples – one behind PCL leader Manuel Margot of El Paso. Alcantara has led the league in triples each of the last two seasons.

Broadcast: The pregame show starts at 4:50 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:

  • Iowa beat Fresno for the third day in a row, this time by a score of 6-4. Fresno is five games behind Tacoma; they host Omaha for four games starting tonight.
  • Shelby Miller pitched into the eighth inning as Reno beat Nashville last night, 3-2. The Aces split the series and they remain 6.5 games behind Tacoma.
  • Sacramento held on for a 6-5 win over Omaha.
  • Round Rock picked up a 5-4 win at Salt Lake when Matt Duffy homered in the 11th inning. Tim Lincecum started for Salt Lake and allowed four runs in 4.1 innings.
  • New Orleans finished a four-game sweep at Cashman Field with a 12-8 win, and Las Vegas has lost eight in a row.
  • Oklahoma City’s Trevor Oaks pitched a complete game, striking out 11, in an 8-1 win over El Paso.
  • Colorado Springs starter Hiram Burgos pitched well as the Sky Sox ended Albuquerque’s eight-game winning streak.

Gaviglio Goes Tonight

August 15, 2016

The Rainiers lost on Sunday evening in Memphis, 6-2, and need a win tonight in order to salvage a split of the four-game series. They’ll turn to Sam Gaviglio on the mound.

Gaviglio has been a hot pitcher, to say the least. His last time out, he pitched a complete game shutout against Sacramento – the first of his career.

Over his last three starts, Gaviglio has allowed a total of just one run in 22.2 innings. He’s given up just 13 hits and two walks, while striking out 15.

Gaviglio will be facing his former organization today. He was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals, who traded him to the Mariners prior to the 2015 season.

The Rainiers could use a strong start today, as they are facing Cardinals pitching prospect Mike Mayers, who is supposed to be pretty good. Mayers has a 3.06 ERA in 13 starts for Memphis, although he recently made his major league debut and it was a rough one.

Tacoma catcher Rob Brantly was injured yesterday, and we don’t know his status right now.

Brantly rolled his left ankle on the first base bag, and he had to be helped off the field. After the game, it was heavily wrapped up but he was trying to walk on it in the clubhouse.

Best case scenario, he’ll be out for just a few days. Tacoma will probably add a catcher from somewhere in the organization today.

Everyone send a birthday shout-out to Rainiers hitting coach Scott Brosius, who turns 50 today. Look at the bright side, Scott – it’s only a half-century!

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: Memphis slugger David Washington hit a go-ahead three-run homer in the bottom of the fifth inning, leading the Redbirds to a 6-2 win over Tacoma. The Rainiers need a win tonight in the series finale to escape town with a split.

Today: Tacoma (70-51-1) at Memphis (59-62), 4:35 (Pacific).

Opponent Affiliation: St. Louis Cardinals.

Season Series: Memphis leads, 2-1.

Starting Pitchers: RHP Sam Gaviglio (2-0, 2.10) at RHP Mike Mayers (3-5, 3.06)

Hot Rainiers: Stefen Romero is 6-for-12 with two doubles and a homer over the first three games of this series… Dan Vogelbach has drawn at least one walk in nine of the last ten games… Mike Freeman has hit safely in all nine games he has played in for Tacoma, with two hits in six of them.

Look Out For: Mike Ohlman has a seven-game hitting streak, and he has hit safely in 15 of his last 17 games… 2015 PCL batting champion Jose Martinez had his eight-game streak come to an end last night – he was 14-for-31 during the streak.

Broadcast: The pregame show starts at 4:20 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:

  • Fresno had a press conference announcing the two-year extension of its union with the Houston Astros, and then struck out 16 more times in a 9-5 loss to Iowa. Tacoma still leads the division by four games.
  • Matt Koch pitched Reno to a 6-3 win at Nashville, and the Aces picked up a game. They are 6.5 games behind Tacoma.
  • Sacramento edged Omaha, 4-3.
  • Oklahoma City’s Charlie Culberson drove in five runs as the Dodgers whacked the Chihuahuas, 13-2.
  • Albuquerque made it eight straight wins with a 3-1 victory at Colorado Springs. Jeff Hoffman struck out nine over five innings of one-hit pitching.
  • And Las Vegas made it seven straight losses with an 8-6 home defeat to New Orleans.
  • Round Rock picked up a 6-2 win at Salt Lake and goes for a sweep tonight. Tim Lincecum starts for the Bees this evening.

Tonight is the last game in Memphis. Afterward, we load up on a bus and drive three hours to Nashville, where a four-game series starts on Tuesday.


Big Inning Ends Two-Game Slide

August 14, 2016

Tacoma ended a brief stretch of offensive futility with one big inning on Saturday night, leading to a 6-5 win at Memphis.

The Rainiers had scored just one run in the previous 22 innings before erupting for six runs in the top of the fourth inning.

Eleven batters came to the plate in the inning, with Dan Vogelbach collecting two hits. Jesus Sucre had a big two-out, two-run double during the rally.

A 6-0 lead proved to be a bit precarious, as Memphis battled to come within one run and threatened to take the lead in the bottom of the eighth inning. Rainiers reliever David Rollins escaped that jam.

The Tacoma pitching staff was uncharacteristically wild, issuing eight walks – two of them with the bases loaded, forcing in runs.

Both of the teams chasing the Rainiers lost yesterday, so Tacoma now leads Fresno by four games and Reno by 7.5 with 23 games to play.

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: Tacoma scored six runs in the top of the fourth inning and held on for a 6-5 win over Memphis. Dan Vogelbach had two hits in the inning: he started the rally with a single, and completed the scoring with a two-run double.

Roster Move: Bullpen catcher P.J. Jones went to Double-A Jackson and was activated as a player.

Today: Tacoma (70-50-1) at Memphis (58-62), 4:05 (Pacific).

Opponent Affiliation: St. Louis Cardinals.

Season Series: Tied, 1-1.

Starting Pitchers: RHP Zach Lee (0-5, 6.46) at RHP Jeremy Hefner (2-5, 5.04)

Hot Rainiers: James Ramsey is 9-for-18 with a homer and five RBI in his first six games with the team… Dan Vogelbach’s streak of drawing a walk in eight straight games ended, but he had two hits… Mike Freeman has hit safely in all eight games he has played in for Tacoma, with two hits in five of them.

Look Out For: Breyvic Valera is hitting .361 in his first 144 Triple-A at-bats with a ridiculous strikeout-to-walk ratio (18 K’s, 24 walks)… Mike Ohlman has a six-game hitting streak, and he has hit safely in 14 of his last 16 games… 2015 PCL batting champion Jose Martinez has a eight-game streak, going 14-for-31.

Broadcast: The pregame show starts at 3:50 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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