Yesterday Major League Baseball – which now operates the minor leagues – announced its plans to determine the champions at all levels of the minors.
From the Double-A level on down the ladder, leagues will have traditional playoffs. However, in Triple-A it is going to be a different story.
MLB announced that both Triple-A leagues will play ten more regular season games than originally scheduled, with the Triple-A West season now ending on October 3. There will be no Triple-A playoffs: instead, the Triple-A West championship will go to the team with the best overall winning percentage. A tiebreaking system was revealed, as well.
Here’s how it will impact Tacoma:
Ten games will be added on to the end of the current schedule (which had a prior final date of September 21). It will be two five-game series – one road, one home – with off days between each series, and the final game played on Sunday, October 3. This bumps us up to a total of 130 games for 2021. The particulars about the extra games – which teams Tacoma is playing, and where – will be announced soon.
To win the Triple-A West championship, Tacoma must not only win the West division, but also have a better winning percentage than the East division winner. This effectively makes the divisions meaningless – we might as well stack up all ten teams in one big all-or-nothing league. Kind of has an old-time baseball feel to it; that’s the way things were prior to 1969 in MLB.
Extending the Triple-A season through the first weekend of October benefits both MLB and the Triple-A operators.
Since the major leagues no longer expand the roster to 40 in September – they scaled it back to 28 this season – the major league teams want their Triple-A teams in action until the end of the MLB season, because they need to have a pool of players ready to call up if needed.
The Triple-A operators just want more games. After losing all of 2020, and then April of 2021, followed by two months of restricted crowds (and virtually zero group sales) many minor league teams are in bad financial shape. Getting five additional home dates this year helps.
Stay tuned on the added ten games – we’ll let you know the who/what/when as soon as we find out.
USA Baseball announced its official roster for the Tokyo Olympics, and Tacoma Rainiers outfielder Eric Filia has made the cut. He’ll be leaving the Rainiers in about two weeks to work out with the national team, and then play a series of exhibition games before the Olympic tournament begins on July 30.
You can see the full Team USA roster here. Several current Triple-A West players will be Filia’s teammates, including former Rainiers and current El Paso infielder Patrick Kivlehan.
YESTERDAY: Reno took the opener of the six-game series on Thursday night, 8-5. The Aces jumped out to an 8-0 lead in the third inning, getting a three-run homer from Stuart Fairchild in the first inning and a grand slam by Juniel Querecuto in the third. Tacoma had shutout pitching from that point forward, and scored five runs even getting the tying run to the plate in the seventh inning. Jake Hager hit his first homer in a Tacoma uniform.
TODAY: Reno (32-17) at Tacoma (26-21), 7:05.
OPPONENT AFFILIATION: Arizona Diamondbacks.
OPPOSING MANAGER: Blake Lalli.
SEASON SERIES: Reno leads, 4-3.
PITCHERS: RHP Josh Green (5-1, 5.63) at RHP Darren McCaughan (4-2, 5.18)
Green is one of four pitchers tied for the Triple-A West lead with five wins. McCaughan wants to join him tonight.
ROSTER MOVES: Recently optioned infielder Donovan Walton and pitcher Robert Dugger are expected to join Tacoma today.
HOT HITTERS: Jose Godoy has a seven-game hitting streak… Jarred Kelenic has a four-game hitting streak… Cal Raleigh has hit safely in 34 of 39 games started this season, and he had a 23-game hitting streak… Jose Marmolejos has hit three homers in 14 at-bats during the last four games… Jack Reinheimer has hit safely in six of his last seven games, going 10-for-26 with four doubles and two homers.
OPPONENT NEWS: Reno won the final two games of a series at Sacramento to salvage a split. The Aces 32-17 record is the best in the league… recently outrighted Ildemaro Vargas is Reno’s all-time hit leader… Jamie Ritchie leads the league with a .394 batting average… Drew Ellis has belted four homers over his last seven games… outfielder Stuart Fairchild graduated from Seattle Prep class of 2014. He’s hot right now, belting a total of three homers in his last two games.
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.
TRIPLE-A WEST SCOREBOARD: Follow all league games in real-time with links to Gameday screens right here.
STORIES YOU MIGHT LIKE:
- We’ll start with the MiLB.com story on minor league playoffs and the extended season in Triple-A.
- The Mariners completed an excellent road trip with a 7-2 win over Toronto. The M’s went 4-2 on the trip – against two good teams – and now have a ten-game homestand leading into the all-star break.
- Yusei Kikuchi could end up making the All-Star team.
- Baseball America has a breakdown of the USA Olympics roster ($).
Listen to every home and away Tacoma Rainiers game for free HERE. You can also download the MiLB First Pitch app for a free and easy one-click listening experience at home, work or in your car. Watch an HD video broadcast of every game with an MiLB.TV subscription. Use code: RAINIERS to save $10 on an annual subscription.
About the Tacoma Rainiers
The Tacoma Rainiers are the Triple-A affiliate of the Seattle Mariners. The Rainiers are a member of the Triple-A West. Tacoma has been a Mariners affiliate since establishing the Rainiers moniker in 1995.
The most up-to-date news and notes about the Tacoma Rainiers and Cheney Stadium can be found at WeRTacoma.com, or by following the Rainiers on Twitter (@RainiersLand), Instagram (@tacomarainiers) and liking the team on Facebook.