The Rainiers dropped another game in Albuquerque on Friday night, falling to 3-7 on the year. Not exactly the way the defending league champions wanted the first ten games to go.
There are several reasons for the slow start, and one of them is injuries. The club has been hit with more injuries than you would expect less than two weeks into the season.
It started at the end of spring training, when starting catcher Brian O’Keefe broke his hamate bone. Then Taylor Trammell was hurt in the third game of the season, a hamstring-related injury that is going to keep him off the field for an extended stretch.
Catcher Josh Morgan is now on the injured list after banging his right foot in Thursday game – a foot he had surgery on last year.
Add in day-to-day injuries that saw Donovan Walton miss five games, and Steven Souza Jr. miss the last three, and it’s clear that this team has not been anywhere near full strength.
The pitching has been a different story, as the Mariners once again decided to build the Triple-A pitching staff after the season starts – a new tradition, apparently. Hey, it worked last year!
Yesterday the Rainiers used two pitchers from the Class-A ranks in a high-scoring environment and they both did a very nice job, exceeding expectations. Juan Mercedes (from Low-A Modesto) and Brayan Perez (from extended spring training, likely slotted for High-A Everett) held the Isotopes to five runs over the first six innings, which is no easy task for a couple of young guys pitching at high elevation in their Triple-A debuts. But the Rainiers bats were shut down for the first time in the series resulting in a 5-2 loss.
Last night’s game was the first in which the umpires enforced the pitch clock and pace-of-play rules, and it clocked in at a brisk 2 hours, 14 minutes. That could be just a coincidence – it was a very well-pitched game by both teams; there was a total of just three walks and even the strikeouts were down (12 total). But the game played noticeably quicker, which is more entertaining to watch. We’ll continue to monitor this.
YESTERDAY: Four Albuquerque pitchers combined to limit Tacoma to just three hits in a 5-2 Isotopes victory on Friday night. ‘Topes starter Zach Neal retired 15 of 16 batters he faced over five innings of one-hit ball. Tacoma catcher Joe Odom launched a long home run for the Rainiers lose offensive highlight.
TODAY: Tacoma Rainiers (3-7) at Albuquerque Isotopes (4-6), 5:35 PT.
OPPONENT AFFILIATION: Colorado Rockies.
OPPOSING MANAGER: Warren Schaeffer.
SEASON SERIES: Albuquerque leads, 3-1.
PITCHERS: RHP Darren McCaughan (0-1, 8.10) at RHP Ryan Feltner (0-0, 3.60)
McCaughan’s first two starts both came against Salt Lake. He had really good results in his first outing, but got hit around in his second outing when the Bees had already seen him.
Feltner rocketed up the Rockies farm system ladder last year, going from Class-A to the big leagues in one season.
ROSTER MOVES: None yet as of blog posting time.
HOT HITTERS: Zach Green has hit safely in six of his eight games played… Mike Ford is 9-for-17 and has scored seven runs over the first four games of the Albuquerque series… Kevin Padlo homered twice on Thursday.
OPPONENT NEWS: Albuquerque had a rough opening series, dropping five of six games at Oklahoma City… third baseman Elehuris Montero is considered the top prospect on the ‘Topes roster… former Rainiers infielder and Mariners 2013 first round draft pick D.J. Peterson is on the Albuquerque roster, and he homered in the series opener on Tuesday… other former Rainiers now with the ‘Topes include Tim Lopes, Zach Lee, Dillon Overton, and their hitting coach Jordan Pacheco.
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.
- Former Rainier Jordan Pacheco is the new Albuquerque hitting coach, and the local newspaper has a story on both him and last night’s game.
- The Mariners celebrated their home opener by ripping the Astros, 11-1.
- The fans created a great environment, Matt Calkins writes.
- Rookie Julio Rodriguez singled in his first game at T-Mobile Park.
- Andres Munoz‘s fastball impresses his own teammates.
- Day one of pitch clock enforcement had a massive impact on pace of play in the minors. Baseball America investigates.