Tacoma starting pitcher Darren McCaughan made his 28th and final start of the season last night in Reno, lasting six innings and allowing four runs in a tough pitching environment.
It was a rather typical start for McCaughan: the pitching staff was short after Sunday’s bullpen game in Tacoma and the team needed him to log some innings. Seems like that’s been the case in many of his starts this season.
McCaughan has been the anchor of the pitching staff. His 28 starts leads the league, as does his 154.1 innings pitched and his 141 strikeouts.
He’s got a good chance to be the first Tacoma pitcher to lead the league in strikeouts since Francisco Cruceta in 2007. Sugar Land’s J.P. France is second with 137 strikeouts; he’s been finishing the season in the bullpen and will probably have one more appearance today or tomorrow.
Unfortunately the Rainiers could not get McCaughan a win in his final start, as the offense kind of fizzled out and had just six hits in a 7-2 loss.
As a 2017 draftee, McCaughan has one more year of club control before he can become a free agent, so we may see him in the Rainiers rotation next year. If so, he’ll be welcomed back.
Forrest Wall stole another base last night, bumping his PCL-leading total to 51. I have written here that the franchise record of 56 set by Jimmy Sexton of the 1981 Tacoma Tigers is out of reach, but now I’m starting to have second thoughts. Wall has been getting on base a lot recently. What if he steals two or three bases tonight? Maybe he can make a run at this.
Tonight’s game is at 6:05, and it’s the day we get to use the word “penultimate” repeatedly. The final game of the season is on Wednesday and will be a 12:05 start.
YESTERDAY: Reno beat Tacoma in the series opener, 7-2. Aces utilityman Camden Duzenack played all nine positions in the game, making your friendly radio broadcaster’s scorebook an utter disaster. Tacoma had just six hits, including two by Forrest Wall. When Duzenack was pitching the Rainiers sent reliever Kyle Bird up as a pinch-hitter, and he lined an RBI double to left field for his first professional hit.
TODAY: Tacoma Rainiers (72-76) at Reno Aces (83-63), 6:05.
OPPONENT AFFILIATION: Arizona Diamondbacks.
OPPOSING MANAGER: Gil Velazquez.
SEASON SERIES: Reno leads, 11-8.
PITCHERS: RHP Konner Wade (5-6, 5.29) at RHP Deyni Olivero (1-1, 4.63)
ROSTER MOVES: None today as of posting time.
HOT HITTERS: Mason McCoy has reached base safely in 27 of his last 30 games, and he is batting .301 with five homers and a .998 OPS in September… Jonathan Villar has reached base safely in 16 straight games, with hits in 15 of them, and has 13 RBI during this stretch…. Marcus Wilson has hit safely in five straight, but he has been out with a shoulder injury.
OPPONENT NEWS: Reno is the West Division champion, and the Aces are going into the playoffs hot. Reno has won four straight games and eight of the last ten, and they just took five-of-six on the road at Las Vegas… the Aces have two former Rainiers: infielder Jake Hager, and reliever Paul Fry… Jose Herrera has a seven-game hitting streak… Jonathan Cintron has hit safely in 29 of his last 32 games, he’s hitting .352 but doesn’t have enough plate appearances to qualify for the batting title… Camden Duzenack has a seven-game hitting streak.
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 open a season-ending ten-game homestand tonight, with a 3.5-game lead over Baltimore for the final wild card playoff spot. Seattle is trying to withstand a run of injuries.
- Luis Castillo talked about his five-year contract extension.
- Baseball America has an article on the Automated Ball-Strike Challenge System that we experimented with at Cheney Stadium during the last nine home games, and how it might save pitch framing as a catching skill.
- There is talk of building a new ballpark in Everett for the Mariners Class-A affiliate.
- Big news in the PCL: the Albuquerque Isotopes are removing the hill in center field at Isotopes Park. This story has photos and links to a fun video.