Hey everybody, we’re back. After our new one-day-longer four-day all-star break, the Tacoma Rainiers return to action tonight.
First up is a quick three-game series at Salt Lake. All three games in this series begin at 5:35 Pacific – including Sunday, because this time of year it is quite hot here. The temperature is projected to reach 100 degrees each day the Tacoma Rainiers are in Salt Lake City.
After this little three-game set, the Rainiers return home and play 19 of the next 25 games at Cheney Stadium, starting with a six-game series against El Paso on Tuesday.
Last year the Rainiers were a machine in the second half of the season, going 43-21 from this date (July 22) to the end of the season on the way to winning the league championship. Obviously that is going to be hard to replicate, but if the Mariners keep winning it should bring roster stability to Triple-A, which tends to help in the wins column.
We did have a personnel change over the break. Starting pitcher Daniel Ponce de Leon executed an “out” in his contract and became a free agent, and he is expected to sign a minor league deal with the Washington Nationals (where he will join the Rochester rotation).
Ponce de Leon went 5-8 with a 7.95 ERA in 16 starts for Tacoma. Those might not be the best numbers in the world, but he did make every start in the rotation this season, and losing him leaves a hole that needs to be filled. We’ll see what the organization decides to do – sign someone, or move one of the current relievers into the rotation, or even (gasp!) promote someone deserving from Double-A.
A scheduling note:
The makeup date for the May 28 rainout against Las Vegas has been announced. A doubleheader will be played at Cheney Stadium on Saturday, August 13. It will be two seven-inning games, with a half-hour break in between. It all starts at 5:05 pm, and one ticket gets you into both games.
YESTERDAY: The whole league has been off since Sunday thanks to the all-star break. The Rainiers did win their final game before the break on Sunday afternoon, beating Oklahoma City 6-3 and earning a split of the six-game series against the Dodgers. Trey Amburgey had the big hit in the game, a go-ahead two-run single in the bottom of the fifth inning. Starter Konner Wade went seven innings allowing three runs, and he retired the final 16 batters he faced.
TODAY: Tacoma Rainiers (38-51) at Salt Lake Bees (42-48), 5:35 PT.
OPPONENT AFFILIATION: Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
OPPOSING MANAGER: Lou Marson.
SEASON SERIES: Salt Lake leads, 11-10.
PITCHERS: LHP Justus Sheffield (3-5, 6.98) at RHP Mike Mayers (0-2, 7.36)
ROSTER MOVES: Pitcher Daniel Ponce de Leon took an “out” in his contract and elected free agency, leaving a hole in the Tacoma starting rotation.
HOT HITTERS: Jarred Kelenic has hit safely in 17 of his last 20 games… Mason McCoy has a four-game hitting streak… Marcus Wilson is 6-for-18 with five walks in six games since returning from the big leagues.
OPPONENT NEWS: Salt Lake entered the break with a loss on Sunday at Las Vegas, which ended a four-game winning streak… Jose Rojas has been on a tear for the Bees, launching seven home runs during a ten-game hitting streak… both Jake Palomaki and former Rainier Dillon Thomas have hit safely in 11 of their last 12 games… in addition to Thomas, the Bees have three more former Rainiers on the roster and all are in the bullpen: Brian Moran, Jonathan Aro, and Zack Weiss.
BROADCAST: All games will be broadcast free on a live audio stream which is available right here.
Unfortunately, there is no traditional terrestrial radio station carrying the games at this time.
PCL SCOREBOARD: Follow all league games in real-time with links to broadcasts and Gameday screens right here.
- We’ll start with a Tacoma Rainiers report from The News Tribune.
- The American League won the All-Star Game for the ninth time in a row. Here’s a Mariners-focused report from the game. The game and the events leading up to it put Julio Rodriguez on the national stage.
- A couple days ago Larry Stone penned a column in which he encouraged the Mariners to dive into the Juan Soto sweepstakes. This is a very reasoned take.
- Down in L.A., Stone surveyed the all-stars about the Mariners hot streak.
- Julio Rodriguez took second place in the Home Run Derby.
- Really good profile here in the differences between the Mariners two all-stars.
- What changed for the Mariners to turn the season around?
- ESPN.com has a story on the streaking Mariners. The team returns to action tonight, facing the first place Houston Astros.
- Fangraphs has an article on the Mariners surge.
- The MLB Draft occurred earlier this week. Here’s a brief Mariners recap, which includes links to more specific stories on the top players the team selected.
- Three low-level Mariners prospects appear on this week’s edition of the Baseball America Prospect Hot Sheet, including a guy named Walking who made the list by hitting.