The Rainiers were on a four-game winning streak heading into last night’s game, with starting pitching dominating throughout. But it was all put to a test yesterday, when scheduled starting pitcher Justus Sheffield was held out by the Mariners, who called him up for their doubleheader today. That left Tacoma with a ‘bullpen game’ last night, and it didn’t work out.
Bullpen games are fickle things. We’ve seen a lot of them, with mixed results. Sometimes a string of relievers pitching one or two innings at a time dominates the opposition, and you’ll end up using six pitchers and allowing only one or two runs. Other times a couple of relievers will have subpar games, and it adds up to four or five runs allowed.
And then, every once in a while, one of your relievers used on a bullpen day just doesn’t have it, and things get out of hand. That’s what happened last night, when Patrick Weigel – who has been one of Tacoma’s best relievers all season long – got the start and lost his control in the first inning. Weigel walked four and hit a batter with a pitch, five runs ended up scoring, and that was that.
Weigel will bounce back; everyone in the league knows he’s a good reliever. And the Rainiers are back to using starting pitchers today, as Daniel Ponce de Leon gets the ball against Sacramento. First pitch is at 5:05.
YESTERDAY: Sacramento scored five runs in the top of the first inning and coasted to a 7-1 win over the Rainiers on Friday night, ending Tacoma’s four-game winning streak. David Villar’s two-run homer gave the River Cats the first-inning lead, and they added three more runs in the inning with Arquimedes Gamboa hitting a two-run single. Tacoma had just five hits, two by Brian O’Keefe: a solo home to left field, and a long double that hit halfway up the giant wall in center field.
TODAY: Sacramento River Cats (25-39) at Tacoma Rainiers (26-37), 5:05.
OPPONENT AFFILIATION: San Francisco Giants.
OPPOSING MANAGER: Dave Brundage.
SEASON SERIES: Tacoma leads, 7-3.
PITCHERS: RHP Raynel Espinal (4-1, 3.96) at RHP Daniel Ponce de Leon (4-4, 6.23)
ROSTER MOVES: Yesterday outfielder Justin Upton was called up to Seattle, and infielder Sam Haggerty was optioned to Tacoma. The Rainiers transferred Cesar Izturis Jr.to the Arizona Rookie League. Today the Mariners called up pitcher Justus Sheffield to be the 27th man for their doubleheader against the Angels (MLB teams are allowed to add one extra player for the day when there is a doubleheader).
HOT HITTERS: Forrest Wall has reached base safely in nine straight games, and he has a .421 on-base percentage so far this month… Brian O’Keefe has reached base safely in 26 of the 28 games he has played in… Jarred Kelenic has hit safely in 16 of his last 18 games… Marcus Wilson has reached base safely in nine straight games. He’s homered in four of his last six games, and he leads the team with 12.
OPPONENT NEWS: Sacramento won the last two games of its home series against Reno, ending an 11-game losing streak (looking further back, they had lost 14 of 15 games)… the River Cats have lost four straight series, including four-of-six to Tacoma at Sutter Health Park in May… David Villar is tied for the league lead with 17 home runs. He has reached base in 12 straight games… Sacramento manager Dave Brundage served as Tacoma’s manager in 2006, he was also the Rainiers hitting coach from 1998 to 2000… reliever Taylor Williams is a former Mariner who was traded to San Diego for Matt Brash.
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 scored eight times and Robbie Ray carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning in Friday’s win over the Angels.
- Justin Upton was called up from Tacoma. He got hit in the helmet by a pitch, but is back in there today – pretty amazing.
- In the PCL, new El Paso first baseman Kyle Martin, who was just signed from the Mexican League, hit an inside-the-park home run and a grand slam in back-to-back innings against Las Vegas last night.