The Rainiers could have let an unexpected development lead to another big loss on Wednesday night in Round Rock. Instead, they had the perfect response.
Scheduled starting pitcher Darren McCaughan was called up by the Seattle Mariners in the morning, leaving the Rainiers with no choice but to have a “bullpen game.” The team would just use relief pitchers to cover the nine innings, and hope for the best.
The best is exactly what we got: six pitchers combined to toss a three-hit shutout and the Rainiers defeated Round Rock, 6-0.
Riley O’Brien got the ball for the first two innings, and he enjoyed a tremendous bounce-back outing by throwing strikes with both his fastball and his curveball, whiffing four batters.
O’Brien’s bullpen mates then made steady work of the Express, tossing scoreless frame after scoreless frame in one- and two-inning chunks. Some walks caused things to get a little dicey in the fifth inning, but Matt Festa induced a double play grounder to escape the jam. Other than that, it was smooth sailing all game.
Offensively, the Rainiers scored five of the six runs on two-out hits. The team came through in the clutch, getting three runs with two outs in the fifth inning, a solo homer from Brian O’Keefe to open the sixth, and two insurance runs with two outs in the ninth.
Mike Ford had his streak of eight games with at least one RBI come to a halt. He batted with a runner in scoring position one time, in the first inning, but grounded out.
Eight straight games with an RBI is a really long streak for its type. A hitter can’t control that himself – he needs to consistently bat with runners on base, and then he needs to come through during those opportunities.
During his eight-game RBI streak, Ford was 9-for-16 while batting with runners in scoring position, which is a .563 average. That includes six at-bats with the bases loaded, and he was 4-for-6 in those situations.
He really made the most of those scoring chances, which is why he currently ranks second in all of Triple-A baseball with 15 RBI. Jo Adell of Salt Lake is the leader with 16.
YESTERDAY: The Rainiers bounced back with a 6-0 shutout of the Round Rock Express, ending a little two-game losing streak. Riley O’Brien, Tayler Saucedo, Matt Festa, Blake Weiman, JB Bukauskas, and Nathan Blackwood combined on a three-hitter. Jose Caballero had a pair of two-out RBI singles, Cesar Hernandez drove in a pair with a long double, Mason McCoy doubled twice, and Brian O’Keefe belted his team-leading fifth home run of the season.
TODAY: Tacoma Rainiers (6-4) at Round Rock Express (6-4), 5:05 (Pacific).
OPPONENT AFFILIATION: Texas Rangers.
OPPOSING MANAGER: Doug Davis.
SEASON SERIES: Tied, 1-1.
PITCHERS: RHP Easton McGee (1-0, 4.35) at LHP Bernardo Flores (0-0, 20.25)
ROSTER MOVES: None today… yet.
HOT HITTERS: Brian O’Keefe has an eight-game hitting streak, with five homers and 12 RBI during the streak… Mason McCoy has reached base safely in all ten games… Delino DeShields has reached base safely in all seven games he has played in… Cesar Hernandez has reached base in seven straight games… Mike Ford had his streak of games with an RBI end at eight last night.
OPPONENT NEWS: The Express just won four-of-five in a rain-impacted series at Sugar Land, and they had a four-game winning streak end last night… Justin Foscue has a four-game hitting streak… Elier Hernandez homered in both games of a doubleheader on Saturday… Jonathan Ornelas has reached base in nine straight games, primarily by walking… Round Rock has three former Rainiers on its roster, pitchers Jacob Barnes, Robert Dugger and Dominic Leone.
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.
- The Mariners salvaged the series at Wrigley Field with a win over the Cubs yesterday. They went 3-3 on the road trip, are off today, and start a nine-game homestand tomorrow.
- Break out your tape measure. Jarred Kelenic hit one to a rare area of Wrigley Field.
- In the PCL, Salt Lake City has thrown its hat in the ring to try to be selected for MLB expansion, whenever that next happens. I do think they have a better chance of actually building a stadium than some of the other cities frequently mentioned (specifically, Portland).
- Albuquerque has been hot to start the season, and the ‘Topes won their fourth in a row yesterday at El Paso.