Double Doubleheaders In Omaha

May 17, 2017

A massive thunderstorm washed away the game last night, and now we’re in a predicament here in Omaha.

We were scheduled to play four games in three days, and now it’s four games in two days. Because this is the only series of the year between the two teams, the only way to get the games played is to have back-to-back doubleheaders.

The schedule for the next two days:

Wednesday: split doubleheader, two seven-inning games, one at 9:05 AM (Pacific) and the other at 4:35 PM (Pacific).

Thursday: traditional doubleheader, two seven-inning games starting at 3:05 (Pacific).

If the rain causes any more trouble we’ll start cancelling games. There will be no make-ups if the games can’t be played in the two-day window.

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: Rained out.

Roster Moves: Reliever Art Warren was sent back to Class-A Modesto without appearing in a game, and lefty Paul Paez returns to the club from Double-A Arkansas. The Mariners called up outfielder Boog Powell.

Today: Tacoma (23-12) at Omaha (18-17), split doubleheader, 9:05 AM and 4:35 PM Pacific.

Opponent Affiliation: Kansas City Royals.

Season Series: 0-0.

Starting Pitchers:

  • G1: LHP Kyle Hunter (0-0, 4.50) at LHP Eric Skogland (1-3, 5.16).
  • G2: RHP Chris Heston (2-1, 3.25) at RHP Josh Staumont (3-2, 3.62)

Omaha’s starters are unconfirmed, but that’s how they’ll line up if they back up their rotation after yesterday’s washout.

Hot Rainiers: Dan Vogelbach has reached base in 25 straight PCL games, he has homered in the last two games, and he has eight RBI over his last five games… Dario Pizzano is 7-for-18 with three doubles and two homers during a five-game hitting streak, and he’s 10-for-30 over his last nine games… Seth Mejias-Brean has hit safely in nine of his first ten games for Tacoma, with four multiple-hit games.

Look Out For: Speed. Omaha has basepath burners Terrance Gore, Paolo Orlando, and Raul Mondesi on the club right now… infielder Ramon Torres has a ten-game hitting streak, going 16-for-42 during the stretch… Mondesi has a seven-game streak, and has hit safely in 13 of 15 games since being optioned to Triple-A by the Royals… Dean Anna is always a tough out in the PCL. He’s hit safely in eight of his last nine games.

Local Guys and Ex-Rainiers: None.

Broadcast: The pregame show starts at 9:00 on South Sound Sports 850 AM for the first game, and 4:20 for the second. 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 Reports:


The Road Starts Here

May 16, 2017

Tacoma wrapped up another great homestand on Sunday with a 6-4 win over Round Rock, and now it’s time to hit the road. In a big way.

The Rainiers begin a stretch of the schedule in which 16 of the next 20 games are on the road tonight at 4:35 (Pacific), with the opener of a four-game series at Omaha.

Tacoma has gone 16-4 at Cheney Stadium – easily the best home record in the Pacific Coast League. The team is 7-8 on the road, which we classify as “just fine.” An old baseball adage says that if a team can play .500 on the road and clean up at home, it’s going to be a good year, and that appears to be the path to success for the 2017 Rainiers.

We’ve got four games in three days here in Papillion, Nebraska. The ballpark – Werner Park – is being used for the state high school baseball championship, and they needed it on Monday. That’s why the Rainiers were off yesterday and have a scheduled day/night doubleheader on Wednesday.

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: The Rainiers and Omaha were the only teams in the PCL with the day off. On Sunday the Rainiers completed a 6-2 homestand by beating Round Rock in a fun back-and-forth game, 6-4. Tyler O’Neill‘s go-ahead RBI triple that came inches away from hitting the center field wall was the key hit for the Rainiers in the eighth inning.

Roster Moves: Reliever Jean Machi cleared waivers and was outrighted to Tacoma; he’ll rejoin the team on Friday in Des Moines. Zach Shank has been ill and stayed back in Tacoma – the good news is that he is improving and is expected to join the team shortly.

Today: Tacoma (23-12) at Omaha (18-17), 4:35 Pacific.

Opponent Affiliation: Kansas City Royals.

Season Series: 0-0.

Starting Pitchers: RHP Chris Heston (2-1, 3.25) at LHP Eric Skogland (1-3, 5.16).

Heston hasn’t pitched since May 5 because of a blister on his pitching hand; they’ll be keeping a close eye on it tonight. Skogland is considered one of the Royals pitching prospects and this is his first Triple-A season.

Hot Rainiers: Dan Vogelbach has reached base in 25 straight PCL games, he has homered in the last two games, and he has eight RBI over his last five games… Dario Pizzano is 7-for-18 with three doubles and two homers during a five-game hitting streak, and he’s 10-for-30 over his last nine games… Seth Mejias-Brean has hit safely in nine of his first ten games for Tacoma, with four multiple-hit games.

Look Out For: Speed. Omaha has basepath burners Terrance Gore, Billy Burns, and Raul Mondesi on the club right now… infielder Ramon Torres has a ten-game hitting streak, going 16-for-42 during the stretch… Mondesi has a seven-game streak, and has hit safely in 13 of 15 games since being optioned to Triple-A by the Royals… Dean Anna is always a tough out in the PCL. He’s hit safely in eight of his last nine games.

Local Guys and Ex-Rainiers: None.

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:

Early game on Wednesday: 9:05 AM Pacific start for the first game of the day/night doubleheader. Don’t sleep on it!


Rare Homer Highlights Game Two Win

May 14, 2017

Tacoma split the doubleheader last night, dropping the first game to Round Rock 5-0 but winning the second, 8-1.

Those who stuck around for game two got to see a rare event at Cheney Stadium. Dario Pizzano circled the bases for an inside-the-park home run in the second inning – the first inside-the-parker hit by a Rainiers player since April of 2008, when Wladimir Balentien did it.

The dimensions of Cheney Stadium make inside-the-park home runs unlikely. With the short distance to the foul poles (325 feet), and the straight outfield fence and relatively narrow outfield gaps, the only real chance for an ITP-HR is to hit the ball to deep center.

That’s what Pizzano did. He drove a rocket to the right of the giant center field wall, towards the flag pole. Round Rock centerfielder Jared Hoyer went after it hard, and attempted a leaping catch while crashing into the padded fence. The ball hit the top of the fence and maybe part of Hoyer’s glove before bouncing back toward the now vacant center field area.

By the time anyone tracked down the ball and threw it in to the cutoff man, Pizzano was already rounding third. There was a throw home, but Pizzano scored standing up.

Today is the last day of the homestand. The Rainiers head to the midwest for eight games in seven days starting on Tuesday in Omaha. The team is travelling on an offday Monday, and the trip includes a scheduled day/night split doubleheader in Omaha on Wednesday.

This is an interesting part of the schedule: after today, the Rainiers play 16 of the next 20 games on the road. Right now Tacoma is 15-4 at home and 7-8 on the road.

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: The teams split a make-up doubleheader, recovering the game which was rained out on Friday. Three Round Rock pitchers combined to toss a three-hit shutout in the first game, which the Express won 5-0. Tacoma took game two, 8-1, as Boog Powell reached base four times and scored four runs. Dan Vogelbach homered and drove in four runs in the nightcap.

Roster Moves: The Mariners placed pitcher Ryan Weber on the disabled list, and called up reliever Dan Altavilla. Tacoma is set to add reliever Art Warren from Class-A Modesto today.

Today: Round Rock (15-21) at Tacoma (22-12), 1:35.

Opponent Affiliation: Round Rock.

Season Series: Tacoma leads, 2-1.

Starting Pitchers: RHP Anthony Bass (0-0, 1.35) at RHP Andrew Moore (1-0, 4.76).

Hot Rainiers: Boog Powell has reached base in six straight plate appearances, and he is 8-for-15 during a five-game hitting streak… Dario Pizzano is 7-for-18 with three doubles and two homers during a five-game hitting streak, and he’s 10-for-30 over his last nine games… Seth Mejias-Brean has hit safely in eight of his first nine games for Tacoma, with four multiple-hit games… Dan Vogelbach has reached base in 24 straight PCL games.

Look Out For: 21-year-old first baseman Ronald Guzman is considered the top prospect on the club; he’s hit safely in eight of his last ten games… PCL slugger Jared Hoying is a notorious streak hitter; he homered five times during an eight-game stretch at the end of April but has not gone deep since 4/30… Brett Nicholas is 4-for-8 with five RBI over the first three games of this series.

Local Guys and Ex-Rainiers: Travis Snider was a first round draft pick in 2006 out of Jackson high School in Mill Creek… Josh Wilson played for Tacoma briefly in both 2009 and 2010… the Express coaching staff includes former Mariners third baseman Jim Presley as hitting coach, and ex-Mariners lefty Greg Hibbard as pitching coach.

Broadcast: The pregame show starts at 1:20 on South Sound Sports 850 AM. The broadcast also streams online via the TuneIn app – just click here. It’s a Sunday home game, so Bob Robertson joins me in the booth.

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

Links:

PCL Game Reports:

We’re spending Monday flying to Omaha, and return to action on Tuesday at 4:35 (Pacific). So, no blog update on Monday, and we’ll have something new for you on Tuesday around noon.


Doubleheader Today At 5:05

May 13, 2017

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: We waited as long as we reasonably could, but the rain just didn’t stop. Doubleheader today! Two seven-inning games.

Roster Moves: Yesterday the Rainiers added pitchers Tyler Cloyd and Casey Lawrence to the roster, sent Michael Rivera to extended spring training, and Ryan Weber was called up by Seattle to pitch today. The M’s designated Jean Machi for assignment.

Today: Round Rock (14-20) at Tacoma (21-11), doubleheader, 5:05.

Opponent Affiliation: Round Rock.

Season Series: Tacoma leads, 1-0.

Starting Pitchers:

  • G1: RHP Tyler Wagner (0-3, 8.16) at RHP Rob Whalen (0-0, 4.50).
  • G2: RHP Dillon Gee (1-3, 4.36) at RHP Tyler Cloyd (-).

Hot Rainiers: D.J. Peterson has hit safely in four straight games… Dario Pizzano is 6-for-15 with three doubles and a homer during a four-game hitting streak, and he’s 9-for-27 over his last eight games… Seth Mejias-Brean has hit safely in seven of his first eight games for Tacoma, with four multiple-hit games… Dan Vogelbach has reached base in 22 straight PCL games.

Look Out For: 21-year-old first baseman Ronald Guzman is considered the top prospect on the club; he’s hit safely in seven of his last eight games… PCL slugger Jared Hoying is a notorious streak hitter; he homered five times during an eight-game stretch at the end of April but has not gone deep since 4/30… long considered a top prospect before a series of injuries waylaid his career, Jurickson Profar hit his first homer of the season Thursday night.

Local Guys and Ex-Rainiers: Travis Snider was a first round draft pick in 2006 out of Jackson high School in Mill Creek… Josh Wilson played for Tacoma briefly in both 2009 and 2010… the Express coaching staff includes former Mariners third baseman Jim Presley as hitting coach, and ex-Mariners lefty Greg Hibbard as pitching coach.

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 Reports:

  • Reno gobbled up the Baby Cakes, 9-4. The Aces had 16 hits.
  • Salt Lake overcame a five-run deficit and outscored Iowa, 13-11.
  • El Paso’s five-run fifth inning catapulted the Chihuahuas to a 7-4 win at Memphis. Jabari Blash hit a three-run homer.
  • Daniel Gossett pitched Nashville to a 3-1 win over Albuquerque.
  • Oklahoma City’s Justin Masterson had another strong start in a 5-2 win over Fresno. He’s looking like a nice comeback story – Masterson is 3-1, 1.91 in seven starts and hasn’t been in the big leagues since 2015 with Boston.
  • Paolo Espino – a 30-year-old from Panama – continued his strong season by pitching Colorado Springs to a 4-1 win over visiting Sacramento.
  • Omaha whacked Las Vegas, 8-3, and the 51s have lost eight of their last ten games. Manager Pedro Lopez called the dreaded team meeting.

Mariners Raid Indy Leagues To Fill Rosters

May 12, 2017

With so many players on the major league disabled list, the Mariners have relied heavily on Triple-A call-ups to help the major league team.

This, in turn, has caused holes on the Tacoma Rainiers roster. Holes that need to be filled.

The Mariners have responded by singing players out if the independent Atlantic League, and making a few lower-level trades and a waiver claim.

The team has signed infielder Danny Muno and pitchers Tyler Cloyd and Justin De Fratus out of the Atlantic League. Each has major league experience.

Muno and Cloyd are joining the Rainiers (Muno reported last night), while De Fratus is heading to Double-A Arkansas for the time being.

Recent waiver claim Casey Lawrence is also expected to join the Rainiers any day now. The right-handed pitcher made his major league debut earlier this season with Toronto.

This is the direction the M’s front office decided to go. The alternative was to do a wave of promotions throughout the organization – certainly involving some players being promoted before they were ready for it.

We’ve already seen one of these types of acquisitions pay big dividends for the Rainiers: third baseman Seth Mejias-Brean, acquired from the Cincinnati’s Triple-A Louisville affiliate in a minor league trade for cash considerations, has made an instant impact for Tacoma by batting .379 and playing solid defense in his first eight games.

Cloyd could help. He’s made 70 career Triple-A starts – all in the International League – with a lifetime mark of 28-19, 3.49 at this level. He spent 2015 in the Korean League, came back to the IL last year but was limited due to injury, and was making his return with the Somerset Patriots before the M’s signed him.

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: The Rainiers pounded three homers, piling up eight runs and ten hits in a five inning, rain-shortened 8-2 win over Round Rock. Seth Mejias-Brean broke it open with a three-run line drive homer to left in the fourth inning. Steven Baron was 3-for-3 with a single, double, and homer.

Today: Round Rock (14-20) at Tacoma (21-11), 7:05.

Opponent Affiliation: Round Rock.

Season Series: Tacoma leads, 1-0.

Starting Pitchers: RHP Tyler Wagner (0-3, 8.16) at RHP Rob Whalen (0-0, 4.50).

Hot Rainiers: D.J. Peterson has hit safely in four straight games… Dario Pizzano is 6-for-15 with three doubles and a homer during a four-game hitting streak, and he’s 9-for-27 over his last eight games… Seth Mejias-Brean has hit safely in seven of his first eight games for Tacoma, with four multiple-hit games… Dan Vogelbach has reached base in 22 straight PCL games.

Look Out For: 21-year-old first baseman Ronald Guzman is considered the top prospect on the club; he’s hit safely in seven of his last eight games… PCL slugger Jared Hoying is a notorious streak hitter; he homered five times during an eight-game stretch at the end of April but has not gone deep since 4/30… long considered a top prospect before a series of injuries waylaid his career, Jurickson Profar hit his first homer of the season last night.

Local Guys and Ex-Rainiers: Travis Snider was a first round draft pick in 2006 out of Jackson high School in Mill Creek… Josh Wilson played for Tacoma briefly in both 2009 and 2010… the Express coaching staff includes former Mariners third baseman Jim Presley as hitting coach, and ex-Mariners lefty Greg Hibbard as pitching coach.

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:


Express Rolls Into Town

May 11, 2017

After an off day on Wednesday, the Rainiers homestand continues tonight with the Round Rock Express coming into town for a four-game series.

The Texas Rangers Triple-A affiliate visits Tacoma once every two years, so this is something of a rare series.

Round Rock is scuffling at the moment, having dropped nine of its last 12 games. However, the Express have a potent lineup – particularly from the left side of the plate. They have five left-handed batters who are putting up good numbers this season, so look for the Rainiers left-handed relievers (Dean Kiekhefer and Nick Hagadone) to see a lot of work in this series.

Tacoma is still hot, bringing a three-game win streak into tonight’s game. Tacoma is 10-3 over its last 13 games.

This continues despite the fact that the roster moves keep coming. There will be more moves today, making it nine straight days with a roster change.

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: Andrew Moore was fairly solid in his Triple-A debut on Tuesday, allowing three runs over 5.2 innings and earning the win in Tacoma’s 11-8 victory over New Orleans. Five Tacoma players had two hits as a part of the Rainiers 14-hit attack, and Mike Zunino homered in his first game with the team.

Roster Moves: On the Rainiers off day yesterday, pitcher Sam Gaviglio was promoted to Seattle. Today the Mariners claimed swing-man RHP Casey Lawrence off waivers from Toronto, and optioned him to Tacoma. They also called up lefty reliever Zac Curtis from Double-A Arkansas, and optioned reliever Dan Altavilla to Tacoma. Furthermore, Steve Cishek‘s rehabilitation is expected to resume tonight with Tacoma, and shortstop Rayder Ascanio has been promoted from Low-A Clinton to temporarily fill Tacoma’s infield.

Today: Round Rock (14-19) at Tacoma (20-11), 7:05.

Opponent Affiliation: Round Rock.

Season Series: 0-0.

Starting Pitchers: RHP Eddie Gamboa (2-2, 5.51) at LHP Kyle Hunter (0-0, 4.50).

Who’s up for some knuckleballing? Gamboa uses the floater. The Rainiers are having a ‘bullpen day’ since Gaviglio was supposed to start this game.

Hot Rainiers: Leonys Martin has hit safely in four straight games… Dario Pizzano is 6-for-15 with three doubles and a homer during a four-game hitting streak, and he’s 9-for-27 over his last eight games… Seth Mejias-Brean has hit safely in six of his first seven games for Tacoma, with four multiple-hit games… Dan Vogelbach has reached base in 22 straight PCL games.

Look Out For: Josh Wilson is a 36-year-old former Rainiers and Mariners infielder, and he carries a seven-game hitting streak into tonight’s game… local guy Travis Snider has hit safely in five straight games, going 8-for-18… PCL slugger Jared Hoying is a notorious streak hitter; he homered five times during an eight-game stretch at the end of April but has not gone deep since 4/30… 21-year-old first baseman Ronald Guzman is considered the top prospect on the club.

Local Guys and Ex-Rainiers: Snider was a first round draft pick in 2006 out of Jackson high School in Mill Creek… Wilson played for Tacoma briefly in both 2009 and 2010… the Express coaching staff includes former Mariners third baseman Jim Presley as hitting coach, and ex-Mariners lefty Greg Hibbard as pitching coach.

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:

Around The PCL:


Andrew Moore Makes Triple-A Debut Tonight

May 9, 2017

Seattle Mariners starting pitcher prospect Andrew Moore is set to make his Triple-A debut at Cheney Stadium tonight, when the Rainiers take on New Orleans at 6:05.

A second round draft pick out of Oregon State University in 2015, Moore has quickly moved up the Mariners minor league ladder. He made six starts for Double-A Arkansas this season, going 1-2 with a 2.08 ERA in 34.2 innings. He gave up 28 hits and nine walks, while striking out 33.

Moore is not a classic power pitching prospect. Scouts and coaches say he succeeds due to tremendous fastball command, having the ability to place the pitch exactly where he wants to in all quadrants of the strike zone. He also features a slider and a change-up.

Born and raised in Eugene, OR, Moore should be excited to return to the Pacific Northwest and pitch close to home.

No pressure though, kid. The Rainiers pitched their fifth shutout of the season last night, and are 19-11 this year almost entirely due to excellent pitching. As former Rainiers manager Dan Rohn once said to a Mariners player beginning a rehabilitation assignment, “We’re winning here – don’t screw it up!”

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: Ryan Weber did his thing, tossing seven shutout innings of three-hit baseball to lead Tacoma to a 2-0 win over New Orleans. Weber has now allowed three runs in 31.2 innings this year, for a 0.85 ERA. Dean Kiekhefer and Emilio Pagan finished off the Rainiers fifth shutout of the season.

Roster Moves: Yup, we have more. Yesterday the Rainiers sent LHP Paul Paez to Double-A Arkansas, and LHP Michael Suarez went back to extended spring. Emilio Pagan and Mike Zunino reported, and tonight’s starter Andrew Moore was officially promoted from Double-A. Today the Mariners traded Rainiers reliever Casey Fien to the Phillies for cash considerations.

Today: New Orleans (11-20) at Tacoma (19-11), 6:05.

Opponent Affiliation: Miami Marlins.

Season Series: Tacoma leads, 2-1.

Starting Pitchers: RHP Vance Worley (1-4, 3.03) at RHP Andrew Moore (–).

Hot Rainiers: Dario Pizzano is 6-for-15 with three doubles and a homer during a four-game hitting streak, and he’s 9-for-27 over his last eight games… Dan Vogelbach has reached base in 21 straight PCL games.

Look Out For: Brandon Barnes has a seven-game hitting streak and is 5-for-12 in this series… second-year New Orleans outfielder Destin Hood is the prime source of power on the roster… Moises Sierra has six RBI in his last five games.

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 Reports:

  • Reno stunned Sacramento, scoring six runs in the top of the ninth inning to secure a 7-6 win. Christian Walker‘s grand slam was the big blow.
  • Outfielder Raimel Tapia continued his hot hitting, helping Albuquerque to an 8-4 victory over visiting Las Vegas.
  • Former Rainiers starter Zach Lee pitched well and Rocky Gale went 4-for-4 as El Paso picked up a 5-4 win at Nashville.
  • Colorado Springs whacked Fresno, 12-5, as Brett Phillips had three hits and drove in four runs. The Sky Sox continue to win at a franchise-record pace.
  • The Salt Lake Bees withstood a rain delay and a no-hit bid before coming back to beat Omaha, 5-3.
  • Memphis scored eight runs in the top of the ninth inning to win its 11th straight game, 15-9 at Iowa. Patrick Wisdom hit a go-ahead grand slam – his second homer of the game. The paper focused on hot-hitting I-Cub Victor Caratini.
  • Drew Maggi had the go-ahead hit as Oklahoma City edged Round Rock, 6-5.