Lumber Still Slumbers In Springs

August 20, 2015

I was hoping a game on the moon at Colorado Springs would rejuvenate the Tacoma offense, but it didn’t happen in the first game of the series.

Tacoma managed four runs but had only six hits in a 9-4 loss on Wednesday night – and that simply isn’t enough offense to win at the Springs.

They did get solo homers from John Hicks and Jabari Blash, but there was little hitting otherwise.

Tacoma is batting .172 (25-for-145) over the first five games of this road trip, with a total of 11 runs scored. Yet somehow the team has managed two wins and has an opportunity to get back to even on the trip with a win tonight.

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday:  Sky Sox lefty Brent Suter kept the Rainiers in check for seven innings as Colorado Springs beat Tacoma in the series opener, 9-4.

Today: Tacoma (58-67) at Colorado Springs (52-72), 5:35 (Pacific).

Opponent Affiliation: Milwaukee Brewers.

Season Series: Sky Sox lead, 1-0.

Starting Pitchers: RHP Chien-Ming Wang (2-3, 5.14) at RHP Hiram Burgos (2-2, 3.28).

This will be Wang’s follow-up to his complete game three-hit shutout which netted him the PCL Pitcher of the Week award last week.

Hot Rainiers: Jabari Blash is the only player hitting on this road trip. He’s gone 5-for-17 with three homers on the trip. Tony Zilch Zych has pitched a scoreless outing in 18 of his last 19 relief appearances (including his brief stint at Double-A).

Look Out For: Domingo Santana went 4-for-5 and scored three runs last night; he’s 9-for-14 over his last four games. Luis Sardinas had three hits and scored three runs; he has gone 16-for-31 over his last eight games.

Broadcast: The pregame show starts at 5:20 (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 focuses on the extremely quick-paced Sky Sox starter Brent Suter. We need to trade for this guy AS
  • Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik spoke at length with The News Tribune about his job status, what went wrong, and the future. I can add this: they are indeed working hard to finish the season. A revolving door of Mariners pro scouts have been closely watching Tacoma the last two weeks as they prepare to make decisions about September call-ups and postseason 40-man roster moves.
  • The Mariners gave up back-to-back-to-back home runs in a 7-2 loss to Texas on Wednesday afternoon.
  • Bob Dutton’s Mariners Notebook reports that James Paxton could rehab for Tacoma on Sunday, and that D.J. Peterson could return to Tacoma soon.
  • Ryan Divish has the latest on the Jesus Montero Workout Plan. Get off of that couch and get to work, readers!
  • The PCL is really heating up. Fresno won for the 17th time in 18 games, and it was Blowout City in a 7-0 whitewashing of Round Rock. Tyler White has 14 RBI in three games. He’s on pace for a bazillion RBI this month.
  • Sacramento tied the franchise record with its tenth straight win, a 2-0 shutout of New Orleans. But they aren’t gaining any games on first-place Fresno. – in fact, Fresno is putting playoff tickets on sale Friday.
  • Las Vegas has a problem. The 51s lost to Omaha, 8-7, and saw their lead in the Pac-South get trimmed to a half-game over second place El Paso. They have a four-game head-to-head series still remaining on the schedule.
  • In that game, Omaha’s Jose Martinez went 4-for-5 and raised his batting average to .382. Barring an injury or call-up, he’s going to get just enough plate appearances to qualify for the batting title – which he’ll likely swipe from Jesus Montero in the final days of the season.
  • El Paso had an unexpected major contribution from Hunter Renfroe in his first Triple-A game, and the Chihuahuas hammered Memphis 8-1.
  • Iowa coasted to an 8-2 win at Salt Lake.
  • Darwin Barney hit a three-run homer in the 15th inning to bring Oklahoma City an 8-5 win over Reno.
  • Albuquerque at Nashville was rained out.
  • A legendary PCL haunt in Las Vegas has closed its doors. Sadly, the league stopped staying there shortly before my first season. This is a fun read, especially for longtime PCL people.

Let’s see if the offense comes alive tonight.


Rainiers Salvage Split, Ready For Dramatic Change Of Scenery

August 18, 2015

Tacoma held on for a 3-2 win at Oklahoma City on Tuesday night, grabbing a split of the four-game series.

Which is rather remarkable, seeing how the Rainiers batted .164 and scored seven – *seven* – runs in the four-game series.

That’s going to change tonight, when the Rainiers road trip moves on to high-elevation Colorado Springs.

The Springs is where hitters binge and pitchers cringe. Get ready for some very high-scoring baseball games over the next four days.

Just last night the Sky Sox lost at home to Reno, 17-11.

Tacoma used to play eight games a season at Colorado Springs, but when the league realigned prior to the 2014 season (because Tucson moved to El Paso) the Sky Sox were swapped over to the American Conference. Now Tacoma visits the Springs just one time every two years.

Colorado Springs was never my favorite road trip (understatement!), but after two years away I’m kind of looking forward to the series. I just checked – my favorite Italian deli is still in business, so that’s good news.

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: Roenis Elias had the game he was looking for, delivering seven strong innings in Tacoma’s 3-2 win at Oklahoma City. Mayckol Guaipe and Tony Zych pitched perfect innings in relief to finish off the Dodgers, giving Tacoma a series split.

Roster Moves: Yesterday the Rainiers placed pitcher Jordan Pries (hip) on the disabled list. This leaves Tacoma with a 24-man roster.

Today: Tacoma (58-66) at Colorado Springs (51-72), 5:35 (Pacific).

Opponent Affiliation: Milwaukee Brewers.

Season Series: First game today.

Starting Pitchers: RHP Adrian Sampson (1-2, 4.95) at LHP Brent Suter (1-0, 2.38).

After pitching on the East Coast his whole career prior to July 31, Sampson makes his first career start 6,200 feet above sea level. This will be interesting – wish him luck!

Hot Rainiers: Jabari Blash hit safely in all four games of the Oklahoma City series, going 4-for-13 with two homers. Tony Zilch Zych has pitched a scoreless outing in 17 of his last 18 relief appearances (including his brief stint at Double-A).

Look Out For: Offense. We’re going to a launching pad: Security Service Field. The Sky Sox added Domingo Santana (previously with Fresno) at the trade deadline and he’s hitting up a storm, batting .370 since the deal. Luis Sardinas has gone 13-for-27 over his last seven games.

Broadcast: The pregame show starts at 5:20 (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 is all about the great start by Roenis Elias.
  • Hisashi Iwakuma didn’t pull off a Vander Meer, but he did get the win as Seattle topped Texas, 3-2.
  • In Bob Dutton’s Mariners Notebook we learn that James Paxton could be rehabbing with the Rainiers soon.
  • In the PCL, Fresno held off New Orleans, 14-12. Fresno has gone 16-1 in the last 17 games, and the local newspaper is suggesting Matt Duffy is the PCL Most Valuable Player.
  • Las Vegas edged Iowa on the good old walk-off hit by pitch. Dan Rohlfing got drilled by Brian Cooper with the bases loaded for a 6-5 win.
  • El Paso keeps pressuring Vegas. The Chihuahuas finished off a four-game road sweep at Nashville with a 9-4 win last night. El Paso is still 1.5 games behind Las Vegas in the Pac-South.
  • Sacramento won its ninth in a row, whacking Round Rock, 9-4. Jarrett Parker had three hits and a homer.
  • Reno out-slugged Colorado Springs, 17-11. This is probably the shortest write-up of a 17-11 game in the history of sportswriting. I love how “both teams used five pitchers” made it but Brandon Drury‘s five-hit game was omitted. MiLB.com caught up with Drury.
  • Omaha held off Salt Lake, 7-3. Lots of folks around the PCL are expecting Omaha to win 15 straight games, race past Oklahoma City to win the division title, and then sweep through the playoffs for their third straight PCL championship. They’re 6.5 games back with 20 to play.
  • Memphis ended a six-game losing streak with a 5-4 takedown of Albuquerque. Sam Tuivailala has been one of the top relievers in the league this year, and he nailed down a two-inning save.

Gotta rest up my voice for all of the runs I expect to see in this series. I’m predicting over 60 runs total (both teams) in four games.


Rainiers Look To Gain Series Split Tonight

August 18, 2015

Tacoma dropped a dramatic 2-1 decision in Oklahoma City on Monday night, and now the team needs a win tonight in order to leave town with a split of the series.

Yesterday’s game was 0-0 until Oklahoma City scored a run in the bottom of the eighth inning.

In the top of the ninth, Justin Ruggiano was called out on a close and controversial stolen base attempt – everyone with the Rainiers thought he was safe.

After that, Tacoma was down to its last strike when Jabari Blash lined a homer over the center field fence to tie the game.

That just set up the scene for the Dodgers, who won in the bottom of the ninth on Darnell Sweeney‘s two-out, two-strike RBI single to right field.

Tacoma needs to find the bat bag. The Rainiers have scored just four runs on 12 hits over the first three games of the Oklahoma City series. Two of the runs have come on solo homers by Blash.

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: Oklahoma City walked off the Rainiers on Darnell Sweeney‘s two-out RBI single. Tacoma needs a win today to get out of town with a series split.

Roster Moves: Yesterday the Mariners called up Edgar Olmos, and optioned Rob Rasmussen to Tacoma.

Today: Tacoma (57-66) at Oklahoma City (74-48), 5:05 (Pacific).

Opponent Affiliation: Los Angeles Dodgers.

Season Series: Oklahoma City leads, 2-1.

Starting Pitchers: LHP Roenis Elias (3-2, 7.95) at RHP Zach Lee (9-4, 2.45).

Lee is a former first round draft pick who the Dodgers paid big money to pry away from playing quarterback at LSU. He hasn’t lived up to the hype until this year: he’s been Oklahoma City’s ace and has put himself back on the map in the Dodgers system.

Hot Rainiers: Jabari Blash has homered twice in this series, going 3-for-10 at the plate. Both homers have come in clutch situations… Tony Zilch Zych has pitched a scoreless outing in 16 of his last 17 relief appearances.

Look Out For: Corey Seager is 5-for-8 over the last two games… Jose Tabata is 9-for-18 during a five-game hitting streak.

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 details the end-game dramatics.
  • Like the Rainiers, the Mariners lost on a walk-off last night.
  • Bob Dutton’s Mariners Notebook leads with the call-up of Edgar Olmos.
  • Ken Rosenthal’s notes column has some rumors of interest to Mariners fans.
  • In the PCL, Las Vegas got a much-needed 5-4, 12-inning win over Iowa thanks to some heroics from Danny Muno.
  • El Paso remained 1.5 games behind Vegas in the Pac-South by beating Nashville, 5-1. Jason Lane had a strong start.
  • Salt Lake’s Grant Green hit a walk-off homer for an 11-10 win over visiting Omaha.
  • Apparently Fresno is never going to lose again. Tyler White drove in six runs and the Grizzlies crushed New Orleans, 10-4. They have won 15 of their last 16 games.
  • Sacramento is also on a tear. The River Cats won their eighth in a row – this one an 11-0 whitewashing of Round Rock.
  • Angelys Nina was the star again as Albuquerque beat Memphis in the 11th inning, 4-2.
  • Reno swept a doubleheader at Colorado Springs.

Weird Moment ‘Highlights’ Rainiers Loss

August 17, 2015

The Rainiers had a game to forget on Sunday evening in Oklahoma City, dropping a 9-1 decision to the Dodgers.

Dodgers starter Joe Wieland limited Tacoma to one run over eight innings. The Rainiers didn’t even advance a runner to second base until the eighth inning, when Jabari Blash hit a double. He scored Tacoma’s only run moments later, on a RBI single by Daniel Paolini.

One problem Tacoma had yesterday was that scheduled starting pitcher Edgar Olmos was scratched 30 minutes prior to first pitch, presumably because the Mariners are calling him up today. The Mariners badly need bullpen help after what transpired at Fenway over the weekend.

Anyway, this resulted in an unexpected “bullpen day” for the Rainiers, and Oklahoma City took advantage.

There was some weirdness last night in the third inning.

Two outs, and Tacoma pitcher Tyler Olson has a 1-2 count on Kyle Jensen. Jensen swings and foul-tips strike three into the mitt of catcher Steve Baron. Inning over. The Rainiers players trot off the field, the Bricktown Ballpark grounds crew starts to drag the infield like they always do at the completion of the third inning, and on radio we went to the commercial break.

But wait! Dodgers manager Damon Berryhill successfully convinces the home plate umpire that the foul tip may have bounced in the dirt before Baron caught it. He wants the umpires to huddle and discuss it.

So they do. The umpires meet for a moment, and rule in Berryhill’s favor. Jensen’s foul tip bounced in the dirt and into Baron’s glove, that is not strike three – he’s still alive, with a 1-2 count.

They call the Rainiers out of the dugout and back onto the field. They shoosh the grounds crew – nearly done dragging the infield by this point – off the field.

Tacoma’s players slowly emerge from the dugout and re-take their positions. One player – we’ll keep his identity private – apparently was in the dugout rest room because it took him a long time to get back out on the field.

They let Olson throw a couple of warm-up pitches since it had been a while. Then Jensen got back in the batter’s box, Olson went into his wind-up, threw his pitch – and Jensen struck out immediately, ending the inning.

For real, this time.

The PCL announced that Chien-Ming Wang is the Pitcher of the Week. He had one outing this week, and it was the three-hit shutout of Oklahoma City on Saturday night.

Congrats to Chien-Ming Wang!

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: Oklahoma City tied the series by routing the Rainiers, 9-1. The Dodgers scored in six of the eight innings that they batted in, and had a total of 12 hits.

Roster Moves: Prior to yesterday’s game, Lucas Luetge was activated from the disabled list, and Ramon Flores was placed on the disabled list.

Today: Tacoma (57-65) at Oklahoma City (73-48), 5:05 (Pacific).

Opponent Affiliation: Los Angeles Dodgers.

Season Series: Tied, 1-1.

Starting Pitchers: RHP Forrest Snow (8-8, 4.10) at LHP Eric Surkamp (6-3, 3.96).

Hot Rainiers: Stefen Romero has hit safely in five straight games, going 7-for-21… Tony Zilch Zych has pitched a scoreless outing in 16 of his last 17 relief appearances.

Look Out For: O’Koyea Dickson went 3-for-4 with a homer last night, and he’s gone 8-for-17 and scored seven runs in his last five games.

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:


Wang Sinks Dodgers

August 16, 2015

Tacoma’s Chien-Ming Wang turned back the clock on Saturday night.

The 35-year-old veteran pitched a complete game, three-hit shutout and the Rainiers won the opening game in Oklahoma City, 2-0.

Wang generated 18 ground ball outs, which is amazing. There were six fly ball outs, two strikeouts, and a big pickoff of a runner at third base.

Clearly, the sinker was working.

It was Wang’s first shutout since 2009, when he had a seven-inning shutout for Scranton while on a rehab assignment in Triple-A for the Yankees. His last nine inning shutout came in 2006 with the Yankees, when he pitched a two-hitter against Tampa Bay.

To top it off, he did this on a tough PCL travel day. Maybe he’s not bothered by the PCL travel – this is a guy who traveled to Taiwan and back between starts two weeks ago (with permission, to take care of a family matter). Tacoma to Oklahoma City is nothing compared to that.

It was Tacoma’s second complete game shutout of the season. Justin Germano tossed a seven-hitter against El Paso on June 28, in his final appearance before leaving for Korea.

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: Chien. Ming. Wang.

Sleep Hours: Ten. Ten glorious hours of sleep after the no-sleep travel day. It was wonderful.

Today: Tacoma (57-64) at Oklahoma City (72-48), 4:05 (Pacific).

Opponent Affiliation: Los Angeles Dodgers.

Season Series: Tacoma leads, 1-0.

Starting Pitchers: LHP Edgar Olmos (1-1, 3.55) at RHP Joe Wieland (8-5, 4.90).

Hot Rainiers: Chris Taylor didn’t get a hit last night, but he walked for the 14th time in his last ten games. Taylor has batted .400 (22-for-55) since being optioned to Tacoma… Steve Baron has homered twice in his last three appearances… Stefen Romero has six hits in his last four games… Tony Zilch Zych has pitched a scoreless outing in 16 of his last 17 relief appearances.

Look Out For: The league’s best team. The Dodgers are 72-48 and have been in first place in their division since April. Corey Seager (Kyle’s little brother) is a shortstop who is considered one of the top prospects in the minors.

Broadcast: The pregame show starts at 3:50 (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 make it two straight wins.


Road Trip Begins

August 15, 2015

We’re the no-sleep bunch today, and we’re also the no-time-to-blog bunch. Brutal travel day to OKC.

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: Sacramento beat Tacoma, 7-5, to complete its first four-game sweep of the Rainiers since 2011. Tacoma was down 4-0, closed the gap to 4-3 on home runs by Steve Baron and Daniel Paolini, but former Rainiers infielder Carlos Triunfel roped a three-run homer in the top of the eighth to give Sacramento some breathing room.

Injury Update: outfielder Ramon Flores injured his right leg when he fell down in pursuit of a ball in the gap in the eighth inning last night, and he left the field on a cart. Today the Mariners announced he suffered a compound fracture of his right ankle and is out for the season… pitcher Jordan Pries is unavailable due to a glut issue; he may land on the disabled list.

Roster Move: The Mariners optioned reliever Mayckol Guaipe to Tacoma, and recalled reliever Danny Farquhar.

Today: Tacoma (56-64) at Oklahoma City (72-47), 5:05 (Pacific).

Opponent Affiliation: Los Angeles Dodgers.

Season Series: Today is the first game of the season between the teams.

Starting Pitchers: RHP Chien-Ming Wang (1-3, 6.55) at RHP Mike Bolsinger (2-1, 2.10).

Hot Rainiers: Chris Taylor each reached base three more times last night, going 1-for-2 with two walks and extending his hitting streak to eight games. Taylor has batted .423 (22-for-52) since being optioned to Tacoma, and he has drawn 13 walks in his last nine games… Steve Baron has homered twice in his last three appearances.

Look Out For: The league’s best team. The Dodgers are 72-47 and have been in first place in their division since April. Corey Seager (Kyle’s little brother) is a shortstop who is considered one of the top prospects in the minors. Oklahoma City just swept New Orleans on the road and has won five in a row.

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:

Sorry, no time for links today. Blame the PCL schedule makers!


Rainiers Try To Avoid Sweep Tonight

August 14, 2015

Tacoma dropped its third straight to Sacramento on Thursday night, 5-3.

For the first three innings, Roenis Elias was back in top form. He faced the minimum number of hitters while getting weak ground balls in the infield.

But the top of the fourth went a different way: four of the first five hitters had hits, resulting in three runs for Sacramento. It all started with a bunt single by Darren Ford, but Mac Williamson‘s long two-run double was the big hit.

Elias then walked the leadoff man in each of the next two innings, leading to two more runs. All told, he pitched 5+ innings and allowed five runs (four earned). It was better than his recent starts, but not as good as we know he can be.

Tacoma is in danger of being swept by Sacramento – a team which has really had the Rainiers number this year. Back when the Giants were in Fresno, the Rainiers put annual beatings on ’em. But in the first year of the Giants affiliation with Sacramento, the River Cats are 10-5 against Tacoma.

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: Sacramento took a 5-0 lead in the top of the fifth, and held on for a 5-3 win. Tacoma scored three in the bottom of the fifth, and put the tying runners on base with one out in both the seventh and ninth innings but could not tie it up. Sacramento reliever Cody Hall was particularly effective, escaping an inherited jam in the seventh and working around an error in a scoreless eighth.

Today: Sacramento (56-63) at Tacoma (56-63), 7:05.

Opponent Affiliation: San Francisco Giants.

Season Series: Sacramento leads, 10-5.

Starting Pitchers: RHP Tommy Hanson (0-5, 8.90) at RHP Adrian Sampson (1-1, 4.50).

Hot Rainiers: Getting repetitive here, but Ramon Flores and Chris Taylor each reached base three more times last night. Flores has reached base in all 13 games with Tacoma, posting a .550 OBP. Taylor has batted .420 (21-for-50) since being optioned to Tacoma, and he has drawn 11 walks in his last eight games.

Look Out For: Mac Williamson has had a good series for Sacramento, going 5-for-10 with three doubles and three RBI.

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:

  • We start with the Rainiers game story from The News Tribune.
  • A Rainiers player – outfielder Ramon Flores – made Baseball America’s Prospect Hot Sheet.
  • The Mariners were off yesterday, but Bob Dutton’s Mariners Notebook reports that Nelson Cruz thinks he can get even better.
  • Fresno just ain’t losing right now. The Grizzlies creamed Albuquerque, 10-4, as Matt Duffy had three hits, a homer, and four RBIs. Fresno is 11-1 over the last 12 games.
  • El Paso walked off Las Vegas, 5-4, on a two-out RBI single by Hector Gomez in the bottom of the ninth. El Paso pulled within 4.5 games of first place Vegas and has a chance to win the series and make a big move in the standings with a win tonight.
  • Reno out-scored Salt Lake, 13-8, in a game that featured 30 hits and ten walks.
  • Colorado Springs and Round Rock survived their back-to-back doubleheaders. Part two was a split, and the Express won three of the four DH games.
  • The Butler – AKA Cheslor Cuthbert – hit a game-winning home run for the second day in a row for Omaha.
  • Iowa lost at home to Nashville, 8-4. Jake Smolinski had a big game for the Sounds. That Bens Biz guy took a tour of the new ballpark in Nashville.
  • Zach Lee pitched well and Oklahoma City edged New Orleans, 2-1.

Not sure how much of a blog we’ll have tomorrow – it’s our last brutal travel day of the year! I promise at least a round-up. It’s an eight-game road trip to Oklahoma City and Colorado Springs.


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