Youth Prevails For Reno

June 24, 2015

The Reno Aces aren’t the youngest team in the PCL – they have a 39-year-old starting shortstop to prove otherwise – but their young players led the charge in a 4-3 win at Tacoma on Tuesday.

Making just his second Triple-A start, 23-year-old Aaron Blair bounced back from a rough Triple-A debut and held the hot-hitting Rainiers in check. He lasted 6.2 innings, giving up just two hits and one run while striking out six.

Tacoma starter Justin Germano was actually out-pitching Blair until there were two outs in the sixth inning. Two hits and a walk loaded the bases for 24-year-old Peter O’Brien, who deposited a 2-2 fastball into the R-Yard for a grand slam. It was O’Brien’s 15th home run of the season, which puts him in a three-way tie for the PCL lead.

The game was the 72nd of the year for the Rainiers – meaning we have reached the exact midpoint of the season. A win would have put Tacoma at .500 but instead the Rainiers hit the fulcrum at 35-37.

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: Reno’s Peter O’Brien hit a two-out grand slam in the top of the sixth inning and it held up as the Aces defeated Tacoma, 4-3. After eight straight games with 10+ hits, and a .354 team batting average on the just-completed road trip, Tacoma returned home and had just five hits in the loss.

Today: Reno (32-39) at Tacoma (35-37), 7:05 (Pacific).

Opponent Affiliation: Arizona Diamondbacks.

Season Series: Tied, 2-2.

Starting Pitchers: RHP Archie Bradley (—) at RHP Sam Gaviglio (7-5, 4.29)

Bradley is making a rehabilitation start; he’s 2-3, 5.80 as a rookie in the Arizona starting rotation. He’s already been on the DL twice – on April 28 he was struck in the face by a line drive, suffering a sinus fracture. He came back from that, made four starts, and then landed on the DL on June 4 with right shoulder tendonitis.

Hot Rainiers: Chris Taylor has a 11-game hitting streak, going 18-for-50 (.360) during the streak. Carlos Rivero has hit safely in ten of his last 11 games, has reached base safely in 14 straight, and is batting .365 in June.

Look Out ForNick Evans has a nine-game hitting streak, and he has homered in two of the last four games. Jamie Romak is 9-for-15 with two homers and eight RBI in four games against Tacoma this season.

I Know You: Found out last night that the Diamondbacks released Reno outfielder Trayvon Robinson on Sunday night, so the former Rainiers and Mariners player is not in Tacoma and instead is looking for work. Pitcher Blake Beavan is on the Reno disabled list; he is rehabbing in extended spring training and not with the team.

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:


Rainiers Settle In For Long Homestand

June 23, 2015

Rested and ready, the Tacoma Rainiers open an eleven-game homestand tonight at 6:05, with the opening game of a three-game series against the Reno Aces.

Tacoma is hot: the Rainiers went 5-2 on the week-long road trip, improving their season record to 35-36.

Just three weeks ago the Rainiers were ten games under .500. But the team has gone 16-7 over the last 23 games, and now just needs a win tonight to reach .500 for the first time since the club was 2-2 on the fourth day of the season.

Reno comes in having changed its outlook. The Rainiers just faced them in Reno, taking two-of-three last week to win a series at Aces Ballpark for the first time in franchise history. At that point, the Aces had lost 12 of their last 14 games – but then they went to Sacramento and pulled off the rare road sweep, going 4-0 against the River Cats.

It’s a long homestand and the weather is supposed to be terrific, so come out to the park if you can!

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: The Rainiers were off on Monday. On Sunday, Carlos Rivero hit a go-ahead home run in the eighth inning as the Rainiers had their first comeback win of the season, 6-5 in Albuquerque. Tacoma used five relievers to toss five scoreless innings from the bullpen, enabling the comeback.

Today: Reno (31-39) at Tacoma (35-36), 6:05 (Pacific).

Opponent Affiliation: Arizona Diamondbacks.

Season Series: Tacoma leads, 2-1.

Starting Pitchers: RHP Aaron Blair (0-1, 18.00) at RHP Justin Germano (6-2, 2.92)

Blair is a touted pitching prospect who made his Triple-A debut last Wednesday against Tacoma in Reno – and the Rainiers put a whuppin’ on him. Today is his second start.

Hot Rainiers: Chris Taylor has a ten-game hitting streak, going 17-for-46 (.370) during the streak. Stefen Romero has hit 11 doubles in his last 13 games. Shawn O’Malley is batting .367 in June, and Carlos Rivero is hitting .361 this month.

Look Out ForNick Evans has an eight-game hitting streak, and he has homered in two of the last three games. Jamie Romak torched the Rainiers in Reno last week, going 8-for-12 with two homers and eight RBI in the three-game series – he slowed down over the weekend in Sacramento.

I Know You: Reno has two ex-Rainiers on the roster, but only one is likely to be in town: outfielder Trayvon Robinson, who had a pinch-hit home run on Sunday in Sacramento.  Pitcher Blake Beavan is on the Reno disabled list; last I heard he was rehabbing in extended spring training and not with the team.

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:

  • Read the Rainiers game story from The News Tribune to learn how Sunday’s comeback win in Albuquerque went down.
  • The Mariners offense did not report to Safeco Field for a 4-1 loss to the Royals last night.
  • The results haven’t improved yet, but new hitting coach Edgar Martinez is getting to work.
  • Bob Dutton’s Mariners Notebook includes an all-star update.
  • In the PCL, the Fresno-Sacramento rivalry heats up this week (interesting story from a business perspective). Fresno is having a Grumpy Cat Night tonight – I love it.
  • The Rainiers ended up gaining a game in the standings on Sunday night – rather dramatically. Fresno led Las Vegas, 2-0, with two outs in the ninth inning when Brooks Conrad cracked a pinch-hit grand slam. Vegas hung on for a 4-2 win and the Rainiers are now 7.5 games back.

See you at the park!


Good Road Trip Or Great Road Trip?

June 21, 2015

Which one is it?

It’s already been a good trip. Despite a tough loss which turned on a single misplaced pitch last night (see game story first link below), the Rainiers have gone 4-2 so far on this seven game road trip.

A loss today, and the Rainiers return home from a 4-3 road trip. Any winning road trip is a good road trip.

A win today, and it’s a 5-2 road trip – and that is a spectacular road trip.

It’s not going to be easy today. Albuquerque is starting top prospect Jon Gray and he has been dealing for the last month. The ‘Topes also have longtime high-quality major league reliever Rafael Betancourt on a rehab assignment today; he’s supposed to pitch an inning.

So Tacoma is going to have to beat some good pitching. But anything can happen – especially in a ballpark like this one in Albuquerque.

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: Tacoma took a 3-2 lead into the bottom of the eighth, but Matt McBride hit a two-out, two-strike, two-run homer and Albuquerque went on to beat Tacoma, 5-3.

Today: Tacoma (34-36) at Albuquerque (31-39), 5:05 (Pacific).

Opponent Affiliation: Colorado Rockies.

Season Series: Albuquerque leads, 8-7.

Starting Pitchers: RHP Stephen Landazuri (0-3, 8.42) at RHP Jon Gray (3-5, 4.62)

Gray is a top pitching prospect who is on a roll right now: he’s delivered six straight quality starts, posting a 2.01 ERA during those outings – and three of them have come at the launching pad he calls home.

Hot Rainiers: Chris Taylor has a nine-game hitting streak, while Stefen Romero and Jesus Montero each have a seven-gamer. Romero has hit 11 doubles in his last 12 games. Montero has nine runs scored and nine RBI over the first six games of the current road trip.

Look Out For: Drew Stubbs has an eight game hitting streak, going 10-for-33. Dustin Garneau is 7-for-15 with two homers in his last three 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:

  • The Rainiers game story explains how one pitch changed the outcome.
  • My Sunday minor league notebook for The News Tribune includes an item on a local product who broke camp with Everett.
  • The Seattle Times has noticed that Shawn O’Malley is on fire.
  • The Mariners hit three home runs and Taijuan Walker established a career-high for strikeouts in a win over Houston last night. Makes me wonder: how many MLB pitchers are going to set a career high for strikeouts against Houston this season?
  • Prior to the game, the Mariners performed the annual scapegoating of the hitting coach, re-assigning Howard Johnson to the minor leagues. His replacement? None other than the great Edgar Martinez.
  • Bob Dutton’s Mariners Notebook catches up with Mark Trumbo.
  • Ryan Divish’s Sunday baseball column is on the awkward situation regarding the American League All-Star Team – AKA the Kansas City Royals.
  • In the PCL, major leaguers veterans Jhoulys Chacin and Matt Cain locked horns in Sacramento, with Reno’s Chacin earning a 2-1 victory.
  • Fresno’s Matt Duffy homered and drove in three runs in a 7-2 win over Las Vegas. The Grizzlies are getting a lift from new arrival Tony Kemp.
  • Abraham Almonte and Jedd Gyorko had the big hits as El Paso stunned Salt Lake with three runs in the bottom of the ninth to win, 5-4.
  • Colorado Springs used two big innings to down New Orleans, 9-6. The paper has a Fathers Day feature on Sky Sox first baseman Matt Clark and his father Terry, who is the Mariners Pitching Coordinator.
  • Tommy Field drove in the game’s only run as Round Rock beat Iowa, 1-0. The game featured a two hour, 29 minute rain delay in the second inning.
  • Omaha rallied with four runs in the eighth inning to beat Nashville, 5-3. The Storm Chasers have won five in a row.
  • Oklahoma City picked up another win, this time an 8-3 decision over Memphis. We have a Q&A with Dodgers hitting coach Franklin Stubbs.

Happy Fathers Day!


Rainiers Raking On Road Trip

June 20, 2015

The Rainiers are five games into a seven-game road trip through two of the PCL’s best hitter’s parks, and the Tacoma lineup is taking full advantage of the friendly conditions.

Tacoma is 4-1 on the trip, and the team is batting .378 as a unit. The club has 79 hits in the five games – that’s an average of 15.8 hits per game on this trip.

It’s resulting in a lot of runs, too: Tacoma has averaged 10.6 runs per game on the trip, scoring 53 times.

We’ve got two games left here in high-elevation Albuquerque before the team returns home  – and to sea level – for an 11-game homestand starting on Tuesday.

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: The Rainiers took a 10-2 lead at the seventh inning stretch and still had to sweat it out, eventually claiming a 15-10 victory at Albuquerque on Friday night. Jesus Montero homered twice, Chris Taylor had four hits, and Forrest Snow lasted six innings allowing two runs for the win.

Today: Tacoma (34-35) at Albuquerque (30-39), 6:05 (Pacific).

Opponent Affiliation: Colorado Rockies.

Season Series: All tied up, 7-7.

Starting Pitchers: RHP Jordan Pries (3-1, 5.67) at RHP Jair Jurrjens (1-0, 2.60)

Pries makes his first start since May 5th. The Rainiers opening day starter, Pries has been sidelined by forearm tightness. The Rainiers are hoping he delivers four innings today.

A former NL All-Star with the Braves, Jurrjens has also been slowed by injury this season.

Hot Rainiers: Franklin Gutierrez went 0-for-6 yesterday, ending his hitting streak is still 20 games. He went 30-for-81 during the streak, which is a .370 batting average. Shawn O’Malley is now the hottest Rainiers hitter: he’s 19-for-40 over a nine-game hitting streak, and he’s batting .394 in the month of June. Stefen Romero has hit 11 doubles in his last 12 games. Jesus Montero has nine runs scored and nine RBI over the first five games of the current road trip.

Look Out For: Drew Stubbs has a seven game hitting streak, going 9-for-29. Dustin Garneau is six-for-11 with two homers in his last three games.

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:

  • The Rainiers game story serves as proof that everyone is far too focused on golf right now, as evidenced by The News Tribune’s copy editors failing to correct my their/they’re error. Meanwhile, the Isotopes tried to shake things up but had a poor outing by their starting pitcher.
  • Roenis Elias allowed a home run on the first and last pitches he threw, but everything in between was beautiful and the Mariners beat Houston on Friday night, 5-2.
  • Bob Dutton’s Mariners Notebook is packed with tidbits as always.
  • In the PCL, the Rainiers actually gained a game on first-place Fresno. Kirk Nieuwenhuis hit two three-run homers for Las Vegas in an 11-5 win at Fresno.
  • Reno hit three home runs in a 6-3 win at Sacramento. Nick Evans had a three-run shot. The paper has a nice feature on veteran Reno infielder Cody Ransom.
  • Jedd Gyorko had three hits and a homer in El Paso’s 5-2 win over Salt Lake. The Bees have lost six straight games.
  • Omaha had to wait out a rain delay with two outs in the bottom of the tenth inning before securing a 1-0 win at Nashville.
  • Iowa picked up a 9-3 win at Round Rock despite several ejections. Iowa ace Donn Roach improved to 7-1, 2.29.
  • Hector Olivera continues to shine and Oklahoma City downed Memphis, 6-3.
  • New Orleans pitched a rare two-hit shutout at Colorado Springs. Ex-Rainiers pitcher Travis Blackley worked the first five innings.

Singles Night In Albuquerque

June 19, 2015

The current road trip through Reno and now Albuquerque features seven straight games in great hitter’s parks, and the Tacoma Rainiers had a field day on Thursday night.

Tacoma had a season-high 22 hits* (including 20 singles) in a 12-3 win at Albuquerque. Three different players: Shawn O’Malley, Zach Shank, and Steve Baron – had four-hit games.

Shank and Baron are recent call-ups from Double-A Jackson, and they were hitting in the No. 8 and No. 9 spots in the lineup. Shank had his first four Triple-A hits, while Baron moved his Tacoma batting average from .190 to .320.

Tacoma is 3-1 on the current road trip, and is 14-6 over the last twenty games. The Rainiers are just two games under .500 for the first time since early May.

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: Tacoma had a season-high 22 hits – twenty of which were singles – and blasted Albuquerque on Thursday night, 12-3. Overlooked in all of that offense was a solid start by Sam Gaviglio, who tossed six scoreless innings.

Today: Tacoma (33-35) at Albuquerque (30-38), 6:05 (Pacific).

Opponent Affiliation: Colorado Rockies.

Season Series: Albuquerque leads, 7-6.

Starting Pitchers: RHP Forrest Snow (4-4, 2.43) at LHP Yohan Flande (2-2, 6.41)

Roster Moves: Today the Rainiers are (finally) expected to add outfielder Justin Ruggiano to the roster. He was designated for assignment on June 4, and outrighted to Tacoma June 13, but somewhere along the line he picked up an injury and has not been with the team. Apparently he’s now able to play and is reporting today.

Hot Rainiers: Franklin Gutierrez had the day off yesterday, so his hitting streak is still 20 games. He’s 30-for-81 during the streak, which is a .370 batting average. Shawn O’Malley is on a tear, too: he’s 17-for-36 over an eight-game hitting streak, and he’s batting .388 in the month of June.

Look Out For: Drew Stubbs might be warming up – he has a six game hitting streak, going 7-for-24 with just four K’s (that’s what he’s trying to work on, cutting down strikeouts).

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:

After all of the singles last night, I’m expecting to see some homers tonight.

* early reports had the Rainiers hit total at 21. After the game ended there was a scoring change on a play in the sixth inning, and Shawn O’Malley was credited with a single increasing Tacoma’s total to 22 hits.


Finally, A Series Win In Reno

June 17, 2015

Quick one today, as we have a surprisingly tough travel day.

  • Tacoma won a series in Reno for the first time ever (13th try), and improved to 15-36 all time at that hellhole ballpark.
  • Franklin Gutierrez’s hitting streak reached 20. That’s the longest Tacoma streak since Mike Carp’s 22-gamer in 2011 and is six games shy of tying the franchise record.

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: Tacoma jumped all over Reno’s Aaron Blair in his Triple-A debut, scoring eight runs in the first three innings. Solid relief from Mayckol Guaipe and Danny Farquhar helped Tacoma claim a 9-6 victory, and a two-games-to-one series win.

Today: Tacoma (32-35) at Albuquerque (30-37), 6:05 (Pacific).

Opponent Affiliation: Colorado Rockies.

Season Series: Albuquerque leads, 7-5.

Starting Pitchers: RHP Sam Gaviglio (6-5, 4.64) at LHP John Lannan (3-1, 3.25)

Hey, we just saw this game. This was the pitching match-up on Saturday at Cheney Stadium, when Lannan was masterful for eight innings and Albuquerque held on for a 6-3 win.

Roster Moves: I noted yesterday that Tacoma added infielder Zach Shank from Double-A Jackson, but it wasn’t until today that I realized the Rainiers picked up a player named “shank” during US Open week. This can’t possibly be coincidence, can it?

Hot Rainiers: Franklin Gutierrez extended his hitting streak to 20 games. He’s 30-for-81 during the streak, which is a .370 batting average. Shawn O’Malley has hit .400 (12-for-30) over a seven-game hitting streak.

Look Out For: Albuquerque just took two-of-three from El Paso and is 8-4 over its last 12 games. Drew Stubbs might be warming up – he has a five game hitting streak, going 6-for-19 with just three K’s (that’s what he’s trying to work on, cutting down strikeouts).

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:


Reno Out-Hits Rainiers

June 17, 2015

Yesterday Tacoma scored four runs in the top of the first, had a 7-2 lead in the third, and still got wiped out by the Reno Aces, 14-7.

Baseballs were flying all over the place at Aces Ballpark on a warm Tuesday afternoon. Reno had 22 hits, Tacoma 15.

In the first two games of this series, Tacoma is batting .361 as a team, with 17 runs and 30 hits. The Aces are batting .408 with 18 runs and 31 hits.

Get ready for more offense in the final game of the series tonight.

The series is tied, 1-1. Tacoma has still never won a series at Aces Ballpark, which was built in 2009. This is a good opportunity to end that streak.

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: The Rainiers were ahead 6-0 in the second inning and 7-2 in the third before Reno scored 12 unanswered runs and won it, 14-7.

Today: Tacoma (31-35) at Reno (26-39), 7:05.

Opponent Affiliation: Arizona Diamondbacks.

Season Series: Tied, 1-1.

Starting Pitchers: RHP Justin Germano (5-2, 2.65) at RHP Aaron Blair (–)

Germano ranks sixth in the PCL in earned run average, and Blair is a touted pitching prospect who will be making his Triple-A debut.

Roster Moves: Yesterday Leury Bonilla fouled a ball off his left foot and was in a walking boot after the game – he’s been placed on the 7-day disabled list. Today the Rainiers add infielder Zach Shank from Double-A Jackson to take his spot. Shank hit .241 with no homers and seven RBI in 87 at-bats at Jackson, playing mostly second base and centerfield.

Hot Rainiers: Franklin Gutierrez extended his hitting streak to 19 games. He’s 28-for-77 during the streak, which is a .364 batting average. Shawn O’Malley has hit .400 (12-for-30) over a seven-game hitting streak.

Look Out ForNick Buss has an eight-game hitting streak (13-for-31), and the Aces have one of the best offenses in the PCL. Jamie Romak hit a go-ahead grand slam yesterday and is 6-for-10 with two grand slams when batting with the bases loaded this season.

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:

  • In the Rainiers game story, manager Pat Listach remarks that there were a lot of hits. Indeed there were.
  • The Mariners lost in San Francisco yesterday and return home today. It’s Felix vs. Bumgarner tonight.
  • Bob Dutton’s Mariners Notebook includes a list of draft picks the team has signed.
  • Former Rainiers catcher John Baker wrote a column on “playing the right way” and unwritten rules.
  • Double-A Frisco manager Joe Mikulik had an epic meltdown after one of the worst blown umpire calls I have ever seen. This video is remarkable for both reasons.
  • In the PCL, El Paso Chihuahuas manager Pat Murphy was promoted to San Diego and will be the Padres interim manager for the remainder of the season. The Padres announced Jamie Quirk will manage El Paso starting tonight.
  • Albuquerque’s Jon Gray is on a roll. Yesterday he limited the Chihuahuas to three hits over six innings in a 3-2 victory. It was 50-cent hot dog night, and the paper reports that 9,017 fans ate 22,903 hot dogs, for an average of 2.54 hot dogs per person.
  • Rehabbing Jake Peavy pitched well for Sacramento, but Fresno’s Asher W. was even better in the Grizzlies 3-1 win.
  • Las Vegas infielder T.J. Rivera hit three doubles in a 10-6 win over visiting Salt Lake.
  • Omaha catcher Francisco Pena hit three home runs, but Casey Kotchman got the headline for his walk-off dinger to beat Iowa, 6-4.
  • Colorado Springs edged Oklahoma City in a rain-shortened game, 2-1. The paper has a story on top prospect Corey Seager.
  • Round Rock rallied to beat New Orleans, 8-7, as Beamer Weems had the game-winning hit.
  • Nashville topped rival Memphis, 7-1. Thing I just learned: they actually call it the Tennessee Lottery I-40 Cup Series.

Win a game, win a series.


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