After a day off on Monday, the Tacoma Rainiers resume action tonight on the road at Greater Nevada Field in Reno.
Rainiers manager Tim Federowicz remains in covid protocol and is going to miss at least the first few games of the series. Bench coach Zach Vincej, who filled in for Federowicz as interim manager the last three games at Cheney Stadium, is away from the team for four games on a previously planned break. Hitting coach Brad Marcelino has been in covid protocol for over a week now.
With the Rainiers coaching staff pared down to just pitching coach Alon Leichman and first base coach Seth Mejias-Brean, the organization is turning to a Mariners Hall of Famer to lead the squad. Dan Wilson is in town and will manage the Rainiers at least until Vincej or Federowicz returns.
Wilson has a one-of-a-kind dual role as Mariners TV analyst and minor league catching instructor. He spends a lot of time each year in Tacoma, working with the catchers and assisting the coaching staff, and he is familiar with the team. He doesn’t meet the Rainiers on the road very often, so that’s a twist, but he’s needed now.
Tacoma faces an Aces squad that is playing really well at the moment. Reno just won four of six on the road against what was a first place Oklahoma City club, and they have gone 13-6 over the last 19 games. The core of the Aces lineup is a group of home-grown players the Diamondbacks drafted and moved up through the ranks – something we hope to see in Tacoma again someday.
Reno is one of the most extreme hitter’s parks in all of professional baseball – it’s like playing baseball on the moon – so here are my tips for Dan Wilson in his Tacoma managerial debut:
- Never, ever put on a sacrifice bunt in Reno.
- If the Rainiers are ahead or behind by seven or fewer runs, it’s a close game and needs to be treated as such.
- Should the game go to extra innings and the automatic runner is put on second, you need to score at least two runs to win – and more than two is highly recommended.
- Don’t get ejected. It’s a long walk across the field and through the crowd to the clubhouse.
Most importantly, have fun. The Reno Curse was lifted last year when Tacoma went 12-6 at Greater Nevada Field – in fact, Tacoma has won eight of the last ten games it has played here. Maybe this is our new happy place!
YESTERDAY: Tacoma was off yesterday. On Sunday the Rainiers lost their fourth in a row to Las Vegas, 10-8. The Aviators scored four runs in the top of the first inning and led all day. Three times the Rainiers pulled within one run and was unable to tie the game. Jarred Kelenic was 3-for-5 with a home run and five RBI. Rehabilitating Mariners reliever Ken Giles pitched an inning in his first game action since September of 2020.
TODAY: Tacoma Rainiers (16-31) at Reno Aces (26-22), 6:35.
OPPONENT AFFILIATION: Arizona Diamondbacks.
OPPOSING MANAGER: Gil Velazquez.
SEASON SERIES: Reno leads, 4-2.
PITCHERS: LHP Tommy Henry (2-2, 4.14) at LHP Tommy Milone (1-0, 1.17)
ROSTER MOVES: None as of blog posting time.
HOT HITTERS: Brian O’Keefe has reached base with a hit or a walk in 16 of the 17 games he has played in this season… Jarred Kelenic has a five-game hitting streak, going 10-for-19… Marcus Wilson has a .938 OPS during the month of May, posting a .377 OBP and .561 SLG.
HOT RELIEVERS: Hot relievers? A new feature – we have some hot relievers. Danny Young has eight straight scoreless appearances in Triple-A… Nick Ramirez has not allowed a run in his last seven games, spanning 8.1 innings, and he has not walked anyone in his last ten games… Patrick Weigel has permitted just two earned runs over his last 13.1 innings, covering 11 outings.
OPPONENT NEWS: Reno just went 4-2 on a road trip to Oklahoma City, and has gone 13-6 over the last 19 games… Dominic Fletcher was promoted from Double-A Amarillo on May 19, when he had a 19-game hitting streak going. He hit safely in his first eight Triple-A games (27 straight overall) before finally going hitless on Saturday… Camden Duzenack has an eight-game hitting streak… former Rainiers Braden Bishop and Paul Fry are currently playing for Reno.
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 News Tribune has its weekly Tacoma Rainiers round-up, with the lead item on Jarred Kelenic.
- The Mariners missed their chance for a weekend sweep of Houston, losing the final game on Sunday, 2-1.
- Now Seattle starts a nine-game road trip with three against an improved Baltimore club. Ryan Divish sets the scene.
- Kyle Lewis got scratched from the lineup on Sunday, when it was a day game after he played in a night game. As we learned during his lengthy rehabilitation assignment with Tacoma, this is probably going to happen with some frequency.
- This week’s edition of Baseball America’s Prospect Hot Sheet is kind of depressing. The Mariners whiffed, and one of Las Vegas’s hitters made it after a torrid week at Cheney.