Rain Sides With Rainiers

April 22, 2014

We have had so many rainouts this year, maybe the rain felt like it owed us one.

With Tacoma leading Sacramento 6-5 in the bottom of the seventh, Sacramento catcher Ryan Ortiz lost Jesus Sucre‘s pop-up among the rain drops, letting it drop for a two-run single to give Tacoma an 8-5 lead. One batter later the umpires called for the tarp, and 36 minutes of absolute downpour later the game was called and Tacoma was pronounced the winner.

About five innings of the game were played without rain, but once it started it was serious.

Tacoma shortstop Chris Taylor had a tremendous game, ripping the first two homers at the Triple-A level. Both of them were hit to the opposite field: a three-run shot that bounced off the top of the wall and over in third inning, and a solo shot that went well over the fence in the fifth.

James Jones returned to the club and ripped his first Triple-A homer in the third inning. In fact, Jones hit his on the very next pitch after Taylor’s, for back-to-back jacks.

Cole Gillespie also hit a homer, giving the Rainiers four in the game. The club had ten hits and boosted its PCL-leading team batting average to .314.

Tuesday’s game starts at 6:05 – the Alaska Airlines Pregame Show begins at 5:50 on South Sound Sports 850 AM and streaming online right here. Tacoma starts RHP Chance Ruffin (0-1, 6.08) against Sacramento RHP Josh Lindblom (1-1, 7.79).

There had been some reports that Hisashi Iwakuma was going to make a brief rehabilitation start for the Rainiers today, but it looks like that is going to get scratched due to weather concerns. He may still show up and pitch, but don’t count on it. If it happens, we’ll enjoy it.


  • The Rainiers game story in The News Tribune has reaction from Chris Taylor on his big game, and an update on the Hisashi Iwakuma situation. Once you consider the state of the Mariners rotation, their concerns about Iwakuma make a lot of sense.
  • TJ Cotterill caught up with James Jones prior to last night’s game.
  • We have an update on the condition of Mariners starter James Paxton.
  • The Mariners lost their seventh in a row yesterday… and it was Felix Hernandez losing to the Astros.
  • It’s not the Mariners time to panic yet – but it is close, Larry Stone writes.
  • Panic? Did somebody say panic? Fresno infielder Joe Panik had three hits and the Grizzlies got to Reno’s Archie Bradley for a 6-4 win.
  • Efren Navarro became the Salt Lake Bees all-time franchise leader in career hits (502) with a pair of doubles in a 6-4 win over Albuquerque last night.
  • Las Vegas super-utilityman Eric Cambell launched a two-run homer and the 51s topped El Paso, 5-4. Las Vegas is tops in the PCL with a 14-5 record.
  • Brewers top pitching prospect Jimmy Nelson tossed seven shutout innings of two-hit ball, striking out nine in Nashville’s 7-0 win at Omaha.
  • Colorado Springs beat New Orleans 2-1 on a 20-foot single.
  • Kyle Hendricks was once traded from the Texas Rangers to the Chicago Cubs, and last night he tossed six scoreless innings for Iowa against his former teammates. Iowa beat Round Rock, 5-1.
  • Memphis hit three homers in a 7-4 win over Oklahoma City.
  • The Mariners Double-A team in Jackson, Tennessee lost an 18-inning game to Chattanooga last night/this morning, 7-4. The game clocked in at 5 hours, 17 minutes.
  • Baseball America’s daily minor league round-up is here.

Final game of the homestand tonight – after this, Tacoma plays 20 of its next 24 games on the road. The Rainiers already have a winning record on this homestand (5-2). Let’s see if they can close it out with another W.


Peguero In Limbo

January 17, 2014

Yesterday the Seattle Mariners signed free agent catcher John Buck, and they had to create room for him on the major league 40-man roster. To do that, they designated Rainiers outfielder Carlos Peguero for assignment.

Peguero is out of minor league options. He was going to have to make the opening day roster out of spring training, or else the Mariners would have been forced to designate him at the end of March. Instead, they are doing it now.

Any team can claim Peguero off waivers right now, as long as they immediately place him on their 40-man roster. I think some team out there will take a chance on the power hitter, and take a long look at him during spring training.

However, Peguero might go unclaimed. Then the Mariners can assign him to Tacoma for the 2014 season.

If Peguero ends up back in Tacoma, he will have a chance to break Tacoma’s all-time career home run record. He needs 19 homers to tie Rick Renick, who hit 72 home runs over four seasons as a member of the Tacoma Twins from 1973 to 1976.

Here is the current all-time Tacoma career home run list:

1) Rick Renick 72
2) Mike Carp 67
3) Tom Kelly 66
T4) Randy Bass 64
Danny Goodwin 64
6) Bryan LaHair 60
7) Dan Rohrmeier 58
8) Kelvin Moore 57
9) Carlos Peguero 53
T10) Jeff Clement 52
Alex Liddi 52

As for Peguero, he’s currently in baseball limbo. It could take as many as ten days before we learn his fate.


  • Here is the Seattle Times story on John Buck‘s signing.
  • Matt Eddy of Baseball America tweeted that the Mariners signed reliever Logan Kensing to a minor league contract. Kensing is a veteran who had a very good season for Colorado Springs last year – he should certainly help the Tacoma bullpen; and last year he was briefly called up by the Rockies. More on him later…
  • On Thursday the News Tribune ran a Mariners notebook that leads off with the Rich Donnelly hiring.
  • The Robinson Cano signing left Nick Franklin without a position, and he told Mariners Radio that he still hasn’t heard from anyone in the Mariners front office.
  • Mariners catching prospect Tyler Marlette was listed as one of the Top-10 Catching Prospects in the minors by MLB.com. Marlette was a part of the best-groomed team in the minors last year: the Clinton LumberKings.
  • Major League Baseball is implementing expanded instant replay this season. Jayson Stark explains how it is going to work.
  • PCL mainstay Tony DeFranceso will return as the manager in Oklahoma City.
  • The El Paso Chihuahuas are selling partial season ticket plans, but they are calling them… I don’t even want to type it… “paw-tial season ticket plans.” My goodness, this is going to be ruff. Err, rough.

Have a great weekend and enjoy the football. Yes, there will be another Cheney Stadium viewing party. Dare we promise that high winds won’t blow the power out this time? Yes, we promise.*

* please please please no wind storms. The forecast says no wind storms.

Ibanez Hits 300

September 23, 2013

Raul Ibanez connected for his 300th career home run on Saturday night, going deep off Ernesto Frieri of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Only 135 other players in baseball history have hit 300 homers in the big leagues.

Ibanez became the eighth former Tacoma player to reach 300 home runs in the major leagues. Or the seventh player, depending upon if you want to count Griffey, who did not come up through Tacoma but did play in one Rainiers game on a rehabilitation assignment in 1995.

Here is the All-Time Major League Home Run list for former Tacoma players, through Sunday’s games:

  1. Alex Rodriguez – 654
  2. Ken Griffey Jr. – 630
  3. Mark McGwire – 583
  4. Willie McCovey – 521
  5. Jose Canseco – 462
  6. Jason Giambi – 437
  7. Jay Buhner – 310
  8. Raul Ibanez – 300
  9. Tony Batista – 221
  10. Mike Sweeney – 215

I can never decide how to include rehabbers on lists like this. Griffey played in one game – it feels like cheating to me when we count him as an ex-Rainiers player. But Buhner also only rehabbed here, yet he was with the team for almost an entire month in 2001, and people all around town remember him as a Rainiers player that season. So, I included both of them.

I wonder if Tacoma can claim more 500 Home Run Club members than any other minor league team? Seems like a strong possibility.


  • The Mariners closed out their final road trip of the season with a 3-2 win at Anaheim yesterday. The season-ending six-game homestand starts tonight.
  • A swarm of bees delayed the game in Anaheim yesterday. This was clearly an attempt by the Triple-A Salt Lake Bees to overpower their parent club, but alas, the coup failed.
  • In case you missed it, the Sunday feature story in The News Tribune remembered President Kennedy‘s speech at Cheney Stadium 50 years ago. The article has some great photos – check out the secret service sniper on the roof of the stadium in the background of the Kennedy-at-the-podium shot.
  • Howard Lincoln stated the Nintendo of America has no plans to sell its majority share of the Seattle Mariners.
  • As you can see from this photo, everybody – and I mean everybody – got involved in the Oakland A’s clinching party.
  • Jonah Keri’s weekly MLB column for Grantland got around to the Mariners today.
  • Former Iowa Cubs manager Ryne Sandberg was named “permanent” manager of the Philadelphia Phillies yesterday. He worked hard to get this job, managing six years in the minors – which is not a common thing for a Hall Of Famer.
  • Cost overruns are becoming an issue with the construction of the new downtown ballpark in El Paso.

This week, I’m looking forward to the Mariners games against Kansas City. The M’s have a chance to play spoiler and knock the Royals out of the wild card race.

Rainiers Hit Five Homers & Toss Shutout

June 14, 2013

Tacoma concluded the eight game series against Las Vegas with an 11-0 victory on Thursday night, winning the mega series five games to three.

Erasmo Ramirez tossed eight shutout innings, allowing just five singles. Only one runner reached second base against Ramirez, who needed just 86 pitches.

He would have tried to finish the game himself, but Josh Kinney was scheduled to pitch one inning on his rehab assignment so he worked the ninth and completed the Rainiers fifth shutout of the season – already one more than all of last year.

The Rainiers were up 1-0 after six innings, and then scored ten runs over the final three frames.

The late rally included back-to-back-to-back home runs in the eighth inning, when Carlos Peguero, Rich Poythress, and Nate Tenbrink homered in succession against Las Vegas reliever Gonzalez Germen.

It was the first time Tacoma had hit three straight homers since August 22, 2007 – not coincidentally, also in Las Vegas. That day it was Jeremy Reed, Mike Morse, and Bryan LaHair who went deep.

Tonight’s game is at 7:05, and you can hear it on South Sound Sports 850 AM and streaming online right here. Tacoma starts RHP Brandon Maurer (0-1, 1.42) against Sacramento LHP Justin Thomas (3-4, 4.06).


  • We start with the Rainiers game story from The News Tribune.
  • The paper also has a feature in which we get inside the head of Dustin Ackley.
  • Colorado Springs held off Salt Lake, 5-4, to remain 3.5 games behind Tacoma. However, the Sky Sox are losing infielder Josh Rutledge due to the Troy Tulowitzki injury.
  • Former Rainiers reliever Chaz Roe served a 50-game suspension and is now serving as the Reno Aces closer.

That’s all of the links I have time for, due to team travel this morning. We’ll do the full link-o-rama tomorrow.

Grand Salami Time

April 10, 2013

Mike Zunino showed his power once again on Tuesday, and this time he did it with the bases loaded.

After struggling through his first three at-bats against a classic PCL-style left-hander, Zunino stepped up with the bases loaded in the seventh inning and connected on a first-pitch fastball for a grand slam off right-handed reliever James Simmons.

Zunino has homered in three straight games. He leads the PCL with four home runs, and his 16 RBI leads all of minor league baseball.

The slam turned a Tacoma 5-4 lead into a 9-4 lead and spurred the Rainiers towards their second straight win. Tacoma is now 4-2 on the year.

There were plenty of other highlights.

Alex Liddi continued his hot start to the season, hitting a two-run single in the first inning and a solo homer to right-center in the third. Liddi has three home runs already – we’d be talking about him all of the time if it weren’t for Zunino.

Triple-A rookie Denny Almonte connected for his first home run in the second inning. Almonte is a switch-hitter – he was batting right-handed, and he pulled a towering dive into a stiff wind for a two-run shot.

The Rainiers also had another strong start by Danny Hultzen. I’m sure everyone who followed him last year cringed when he walked the leadoff man in the first inning on four pitches – I know I was concerned. Thankfully, that was the only walk he issued in five innings, and he had six strikeouts. He gave up a two-run homer to Triple-A slugger Luke Montz but that was about it. He tossed 84 pitches in five innings.

Tacoma has scored 42 runs in six games, for a no-calculator-needed average of seven runs per game. Three times the Rainiers have scored nine runs in a game, and the team is batting .324 as a unit.

Will there be more offense tonight? Game time is 7:05, and Tacoma starts RHP Andrew Carraway (0-1, 4.50) against Sacramento RHP Jesse Chavez (0-1, 0.00). The broadcast airs on South Sound Sports 850 AM and streaming online right here.


  • We start, as always, with the Rainiers game story from The News Tribune.
  • Larry LaRue has the story of the day, on Kate Andrews and Ashley Roth – two behind-the-scenes women who help make the Tacoma Rainiers happen. The story includes a previously unknown Matt Tuiasosopo fact.
  • Mariners moves: outfielder Casper Wells was claimed off waivers by the Toronto Blue Jays, and we expect an announcement regarding a bullpen-related roster move before tonight’s game.
  • The expected bullpen move is due to the fact that the Mariners lost yesterday, 16-9, and starting pitcher Brandon Maurer didn’t make it out of the first inning. These things happen a couple of times every season, and yesterday was the first time for the big club.
  • Larry Stone has a good blog post on dealing with the aftermath of the blowout.
  • Dustin Ackley feels like he’s hitting better than his batting average indicates.
  • Todd Dybas asked Eric Wedge about Mike Zunino‘s hot start.
  • Buster Olney is my new internet buddy (he keeps linking to my TNT stories about Zunino) and in today’s blog he shares some thoughts on Zunino and Jesus Montero (ESPN Insider required).
  • Thank you, Baseball America, for this one-stop shop for minor league baseball park factors.
  • In the PCL, here’s a .gif of one of the wind-blown hits from the Tucson-Colorado Springs game that was winded-out on Monday. Enjoy!
  • The Sky Sox were snowed out yesterday and today’s game has already been postponed.
  • Reno blasted Salt Lake, 11-3.
  • Fresno topped Las Vegas and touted pitching prospect Zack Wheeler, 4-1.
  • The Iowa Cubs lost to Round Rock last night, 4-2, and at 0-6 the I-Cubs are off to the worst start in franchise history. And they’ve been around for a long time…
  • New Orleans beat Memphis in the 11th inning on a Gorkys Hernandez two-run single.
  • Nashville lost to Oklahoma City, 5-3. The Sounds lost two players to call-ups. Nashville pitcher Hiram Burgos starred in the World Baseball Classic.

The Rainiers home opener is right around the corner: Friday night at 7:05! See you at Cheney Stadium.

Rainiers Out-Slugged By Zephyrs

August 7, 2012

New Orleans and Tacoma are two of the top home run hitting teams in the PCL. If fans at Cheney Stadium didn’t know that before Monday’s game, they sure had an idea by the end of it.

The two teams combined to mash seven homers, but New Orleans also scored a few runs without the benefit of a homer, and they beat Tacoma 9-4. The teams have split the first two games of a four-game series.

Top Zephyrs slugger Luke Montz led the way with a pair of dingers, including the go-ahead two-run blast in the fifth inning that gave New Orleans a 6-4 lead. Montz has 24 home runs, which ranks second in the PCL (Mike Hessman of Oklahoma City has 29).

Tacoma’s home runs were hit by Alex Liddi, Vinnie Catricala, and Luis Rodriguez. Liddi and Catricala have each hit two home runs during this homestand – which is very nice to see, considering how each has struggled to hit for power at home this year.

Tacoma reliever Chance Ruffin had another nice outing, retiring all five batters he faced. Since June 20, Ruffin has a 2.35 ERA over 15 appearances.

Tonight’s game is at 7:05, and you can hear it on South Sound Sports 850 AM and streaming online right here. Tacoma starts RHP Andrew Carraway (3-6, 4.79) against New Orleans RHP Jacob Turner (1-0, 4.09).


Night game tonight, and then our final mid-week day game of the season is Wednesday at 11:35 AM. Join us for a long lunch!

Franklin Strikes In Eleventh

August 4, 2012

Tacoma shortstop Nick Franklin hit the first pitch of the bottom of the 11th inning for a home run on Friday night, lifting Tacoma to a 4-3 victory over Oklahoma City.

It was the third home run of the game for the Rainiers, who scored all of their runs on longballs: Luis Jimenez hit a two-run blast in the first inning, and Alex Liddi tied the game with a solo shot in the bottom of the ninth.

Both Jimenez and Liddi ended long homerless streaks. Jimenez had not gone deep since June 28, when he homered off Jamie Moyer. That was 97 at-bats ago. Liddi’s most recent homer was on July 5.

It’s great to see those guys get going at the plate again – Liddi, in particular, is heating up. Liddi has hit safely in five straight games, with four two-hit games during the stretch.

Also important last night was the pitching of Hector Noesi, who had his first good start since being sent down by the Mariners. Noesi retired the last 14 batters he faced in a row, going seven innings and allowing two runs.

Charlie Furbush allowed a run during his rehabilitation outing – he’ll be here in Tacoma to pitch in at least one more game.

The Rainiers had yet another outstanding relief appearance by Bobby LaFromboise, who tossed three shutout innings and earned the win. LaFromboise managed to get two double-play grounders, including a big one with two on and one out in the top of the 11th inning.

The Rainiers have won four of their last five games, and can win the Oklahoma City series with a victory tonight.

Tonight’s game is at 7:05, and it’s Paint The Park Purple Night at Cheney Stadium – the Rainiers will be wearing special purple jerseys, which will be auctioned off after the game to raise money for the University of Washington at Tacoma scholarship fund. Tacoma starts RHP Erasmo Ramirez (3-2, 4.09) against Oklahoma City LHP Brett Oberholtzer (4-3, 6.02). The broadcast is on 850 AM and streaming right here.


  • Ryan Divish has the Rainiers game story from The News Tribune. He talked to Nick Franklin for the story.
  • The Mariners seven-game win streak ran into a 300-pound road block named CC Sabathia.
  • In the PCL, Albuquerque lost to Las Vegas yesterday, 6-3, but the Isotopes still have a 1.5-game lead over Oklahoma City in the American-South. The Isotopes are locked in on winning the PCL’s tightest division race. One of the key Isotopes – outfielder Scott Van Slyke – might miss some time with an injury.
  • Sacramento blasted Memphis, 10-2, and the River Cats hold a 4.5-game lead over Vegas in the Pacific-South.
  • Colorado Springs topped Iowa 4-1, and the Iowa Cubs hit a new low: 30 games under .500.
  • The Sky Sox remain six games behind first-place Reno in the Pacific-North. Reno held off Omaha last night, 5-3, as Tyler Skaggs tossed seven shutout innings.
  • Salt Lake ripped a pair of eighth inning homers to beat New Orleans, 6-5.
  • Julio Borbon connected for a walk-off two-run single and Round Rock defeated Tucson, 8-7.
  • Fresno has had an unexpected lift from fill-in outfielder Ryan Lollis. The Grizzlies crushed Nashville last night, 10-5.

Remember, we have a rare 5:05 game on Sunday. New Orleans is flying in from Salt Lake City, and we are having a later start to give them time to show up. You can’t play a game without an opponent!