The Rainiers won the opening game of the Las Vegas series last night, 8-7, and improved to a 5-2 record so far on this 12-game road trip.
Last night’s series-opening win continued a season-long trend that doesn’t really make sense, but is definitely a thing: Tacoma has won the first game of the series on the road 11 times in 13 tries. If only every game of the season could be a road series opener.
Let’s use that goofy stat to open a Rainiers Notebook.
The Rainiers hit two home runs last night, raising the team’s season total to 188. This is just one home run shy of the franchise record of 189, which was previously set… last year. Home runs are trending up all around the game in recent years.
Tacoma hitting coach Brad Marcelino and athletic trainer Michael Feliciano are away from the team this week for a fun reason: they are participating in the World Baseball Classic qualifying tournament in Regensburg, Germany.
Marcelino, who was born in England, is a career-long member of the British National Baseball Team – first as a player, and now as a coach. In an unexpected twist, Mariners Class-A catcher and 2021 first round draft pick Harry Ford is on the British team, and will be working with Marcelino.
Feliciano is from Puerto Rico, and is of Spanish descent. He is going to serve as the trainer for Team Spain in the qualifying tournament, and he is really excited about it. Feliciano absolutely loves the WBC, and he would be elated if Spain was able to advance to the main tournament next March.
Both are expected to rejoin the Rainiers during next week’s homestand.
Two teams in the Mariners farm system completed their seasons on Sunday. Advanced-A Everett finished the Northwest League with a record of 59-72, and Low-A Modesto went dead-even 66-66 in the California League.
Double-A Arkansas (69-64) is in its final week and wraps up the season this Sunday.
Many other organizations have promoted one or two Class-A players for the last week of the Double-A season, usually players who they expect will play at that level next year, just to give them a taste. The Mariners have apparently decided not to do that, which fits in with the overall development plan for 2022: it seems that the organization really wanted players to spend an entire season at one level. There were very few in-season promotions in the farm system this year.
Previous point notwithstanding, outfielder Cade Marlowe was promoted to Tacoma today. He is the first player to be promoted from Double-A to Triple-A this season (we’re not counting reliever Michael Stryffeler, who was traded to the Giants while he was on his way from Arkansas to Tacoma).
Marlowe hit .291 with 20 home runs, 86 RBI, 36 stolen bases, and a .863 OPS for Arkansas. He has been on an extended tear for the last six weeks, slashing .405/.486/.694 since July 31.
The 25-year-old will get two week’s worth of games for the Rainiers this year, and is a likely candidate to be on Tacoma’s opening day roster in 2023.
The current series in Las Vegas is being played with the “Automated Ball-Strike Challenge System,” which we used for three games at Cheney Stadium on the last homestand. For more information on what that is, click here.
One big difference at Las Vegas Ballpark: they do not have the graphic on the scoreboard that replays the pitch. This ruins a lot of the enjoyment for fans, and instead the crowd is mostly baffled by the whole thing.
Forrest Wall stole two more bases over the past weekend in Oklahoma City, and he is up to 42 for the season. Wall is just two steals away from taking sole possession of the No. 2 spot on Tacoma’s all-time single season stolen base leaderboard.
Jimmy Sexton’s record 56 stolen bases for the 1981 Tacoma Tigers appears unreachable.
By popular demand from Interested Parties, an update on Darren McCaughan’s strikeout total.
McCaughan now has 132 strikeouts on the season, passing James Paxton’s total of 131 from 2013, and is now the highest single-season strikeout total for a Tacoma pitcher since Francisco Cruceta fanned 185 in 2006.
He’s got a chance to lead the PCL. Of the four players clumped atop the leaderboard, only Sugar Land’s J.P. France is still active in the league. France has been pitching in relief this month, so his total is creeping up very slowly.
Shortstop Mason McCoy went deep yesterday, and he has an outside shot at a 20-20 season.
McCoy’s homer last night was his 17th of the year, which is a career high. He stole his 20th base over the weekend at Oklahoma City – he’s 20-for-22 on the basepaths this year.
Three home runs in the last 14 games is possible for McCoy. He’ll get the remainder of this series in a ballpark that is very HR-friendly, followed by six games at home, and then the final three at the Reno Launching Pad. Should note that McCoy has actually hit more home runs at Cheney (10) than he has in away games (7).
YESTERDAY: The Rainiers won the opener at Las Vegas on Tuesday night, 8-7. The game was tied 6-6 after four innings as both team’s starting pitcher was knocked out early. Tacoma snapped the tie when Mason McCoy launched a two-run homer in the top of the seventh inning, raising his career-high HR total to 17. Brennan Bernardino nailed down a tough save, pitching two scoreless innings while protecting a one-run lead.
TODAY: Tacoma Rainiers (65-71) at Las Vegas Aviators (67-69), 7:05.
OPPONENT AFFILIATION: Oakland A’s.
OPPOSING MANAGER: Fran Riordan
SEASON SERIES: Las Vegas leads, 12-7.
PITCHERS: RHP Konner Wade (5-6, 5.29) at LHP Ty Damron (2-0, 1.96)
ROSTER MOVES: Outfielder Cade Marlowe has been promoted to Tacoma.
HOT HITTERS: Mason McCoy has reached base safely in 18 of his last 19 games… Brian O’Keefe has hit safely in seven of his last ten games, going 12-for-40 (.300)… Jonathan Villar has homered twice and driven in eight runs during a six-game hitting streak… Jarred Kelenic has a six-game hitting streak… Marcus Wilson has hit safely in four straight, as has Forrest Wall.
OPPONENT NEWS: Las Vegas returns home from a 12-game road trip. It started in Reno, where the Aviators missed an opportunity to gain in the standings by losing four of six. They rebounded by going 4-2 at Sacramento… the Aviators don’t currently have any former Rainiers players, but they do still have the Lake Tapps native and Charles Wright Academy alum Nate Mondou… Kevin Smith has an eight-game hitting streak… 22-year-old Jordan Diaz was recently promoted to Triple-A and is considered a good hitting prospect.
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.