The Rainiers are back in Tacoma tonight, opening up a six-game series that will run through the weekend. This time, we’re seeing an opponent that has never come to Tacoma before: the Sugar Land Space Cowboys.
Sugar Land is the name of an actual city that sits just outside of Houston, Texas. They had a successful independent team called the Sugar Land Skeeters that had been playing since 2012 in a newly-constructed ballpark that was built for them that year.
When MLB took over the minor leagues and reorganized them prior to the 2021 season, the Sugar Land Skeeters were purchased by the Houston Astros and converted into their Triple-A farm team. They played in our league last year under the Skeeters name, then re-branded to the Space Cowboys for 2022. Astros, Space Cowboys, Texas, get it?
The Rainiers made one trip to Sugar Land last year, going 3-3 in a six-gamer, but the Skeeters were not scheduled to come here. This series that starts tonight is the first-ever visit by a team from Sugar Land to Tacoma.
Both teams have been slow coming out of the gate. Sugar Land has had decent pitching, but has struggled to score and is 3-9. The Rainiers are 4-8, but they did finish the Albuquerque series with a thrilling win on Sunday to get some momentum coning into the homestand.
YESTERDAY: The whole league was off yesterday. On Sunday the Rainiers wrapped up the Albuquerque road trip with a wild 12-11 victory, ending a four-game losing streak. The Rainiers sent 13 batters to the plate and scored nine runs in the top of the first inning, yet the game was tied 11-11 after the seventh. Joe Odom‘s go-ahead homer in the eighth stood up, due to terrific relief work from Wyatt Mills and Penn Murfee. Odom has homered in three straight games, and Marcus Wilson blasted a three-run shot in the first inning.
TODAY: Sugar Land Space Cowboys (3-9) at Tacoma Rainiers (4-8), 6:05.
OPPONENT AFFILIATION: Houston Astros.
OPPOSING MANAGER: Mickey Storey.
SEASON SERIES: 0-0.
PITCHERS: LHP Jonathan Bermudez (1-0, 0.87) at RHP Asher Wojciechowski (0-2, 9.53)
It’s only two starts, but Bermudez has had one of the best openings to the 2022 season among PCL starting pitchers. He has allowed only six hits and just one run (on a solo homer) in 10.1 innings pitched.
ROSTER MOVES: On Sunday the Rainiers added outfielder Arturo Guerrero from extended spring training, he promptly homered on the first pitch he saw and went 2-for-5 with two RBI in his Triple-A debut, and then after the game he was sent back to extended spring training. He was a shooting star!
HOT HITTERS: Mike Ford went 10-for-24 and scored nine runs during the Albuquerque series… Joe Odom has homered in three straight games, and he went deep four times in Albuquerque… Steven Souza Jr. returned to Tacoma’s lineup on Sunday and had three hits.
OPPONENT NEWS: Sugar Land enters play on a four-game losing streak. The Space Cowboys opened the season at Sacramento and went 2-4, then they lost five-of-six at home to Round Rock… JJ Matijevic is a second-year Triple-A player who can swing it… catcher Korey Lee is considered one of the Houston Astros top prospects… infielder Pedro Leon received a big signing bonus coming out of Cuba and is considered a solid prospect… Sugar Land has no former Rainiers on its roster or coaching staff, and no Washington natives.
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 The News Tribune’s weekly Rainiers update. It includes some good stuff on Penn Murfee.
- The Mariners were off yesterday, so Ryan Divish posted a mailbag that addresses on the strike zone issues that have hampered Julio Rodriguez and Jarred Kelenic.
- The numbers are in after three games with the new pace-of-play rules were implemented across the minor leagues.
- A young Mariners lefty appears on this season’s inaugural Baseball America Prospect Hot Sheet.
- On Sunday the Mariners beat Houston as Matt Brash earned his first MLB win.
- The TNT has its weekly Mariners review.
- An apartment complex and, according to the renderings, yoga facility is being built next to the Reno Aces ballpark.