Tacoma Rainiers manager Kristopher Negron returns from paternity leave today, and he’ll try to get the team back on track as it opens a six-game series at Albuquerque tonight.
The Rainiers went 10-7 under fill-in manager Tony Arnerich, who did a fine job while the Negron’s were having twin boys. Arnerich said that he enjoyed the managing experience, and he will now return to his role as the Mariners minor league field coordinator. He’ll return to the Rainiers later this season, as he makes his rounds to all of the Mariners minor league affiliates as part of his regular job.
Negron returns to a team that saw a recent extended winning streak sputter out in a big way in Vegas. Tacoma won the first three games in Las Vegas, extending the win streak to seven, but then got pummeled in the final three games by scores of 14-3, 15-6, and 14-6.
Yesterday’s off day couldn’t have come at a better time. The club had an afternoon flight out of Vegas and landed in Albuquerque just in time for dinner. Everyone should be rested and ready for this evening’s contest.
Albuquerque is a mile-high city – that’s one of the main reasons that the Colorado Rockies use it as their Triple-A affiliate – and we can expect more high scoring games.
The Isotopes have the league’s worst record at 13-29. Much of their troubles have come offensively, as the club simply hasn’t been scoring like you need to in Albuquerque. However, that has started to change recently with slugger Sam Hilliard ending his slump, and the recent additions of Rio Ruiz (from Baltimore) and Alan Trejo (optioned by the Rockies). Ex-Rainiers infielder Taylor Motter has been hot this month, too.
Obviously the Rainiers are going to need to pitch better than they did the last three games in Las Vegas, but the offense needs to get on track as well. Six runs isn’t going to win often at Isotopes Park.
YESTERDAY: Tacoma was off yesterday. On Tuesday the Rainiers lost their third in a row at Las Vegas, 14-6. Cal Raleigh‘s three-run homer into the swimming pool gave Tacoma a 5-2 lead in the top of the fifth inning, but it was all downhill from there. Las Vegas hit five home runs, two by Cody Thomas. Vegas scored 43 runs and hit 13 homers in the last three games of the series, which ended up being a 3-3 split.
TODAY: Tacoma (22-18) at Albuquerque (13-29), 5:35 PT.
OPPONENT AFFILIATION: Colorado Rockies.
OPPOSING MANAGER: Warren Schaeffer.
SEASON SERIES: 0-0.
PITCHERS: LHP Ian McKinney (0-0, 16.88) at RHP Brandon Gold (1-4, 7.71)
McKinney makes his second career Triple-A start tonight after getting knocked out in the third inning of his debut last week in Las Vegas. Gold is a Rockies 2016 draft pick out of Georgia Tech who has worked his way up the system and is a Triple-A rookie this year.
ROSTER MOVES: There was a surprising number of moves before Tuesday’s game in Las Vegas that we haven’t had a chance to list here until now: the Mariners called up infielder Donovan Walton and optioned reliever Yohan Ramirez to Tacoma. Tacoma activated infielder Eric Campbell off the injured list (and he homered Tuesday night). Pitchers Max Roberts and Leon Hunter were transferred to Low-A Modesto – Roberts, who fared pretty well for Tacoma, is going into the starting rotation at Modesto. Pitcher Evan Johnson was transferred to Everett. Today the Mariners recalled reliever Keynan Middleton and optioned reliever Vinny Nittoli back to Tacoma. Also, the M’s acquired third baseman Wyatt Mathisen from Tampa Bay for cash and assigned him to Tacoma (he’s not here yet). Mathisen is on the 40-man, so to make room reliever Daniel Zamora was designated for assignment.
HOT HITTERS: Cal Raleigh has hit safely in three straight games, right after his 23-game hitting streak came to an end on Friday. He was 38-for-96 (.396) during the streak, which started on May 15… it was Tacoma’s longest hitting streak since Chad Akers tied the franchise record of 26 in 1999… Jack Reinheimer brought his power stick to Vegas, belting four doubles and two homers during the series… Jose Marmolejos has a five-game hitting streak.
OPPONENT NEWS: Albuquerque just lost five out of six in Reno, and has the league’s worst record at 13-29. Only Syracuse (11-31) in the Triple-A East has a worse record among Triple-A teams… that being said, some of the Isotopes’ dormant bats have awakened: after a two-month slump, Sam Hilliard has hit five homers in his last five games, with 13 RBI… Rio Ruiz has 19 hits during an 11-game hitting streak… ex-Rainiers infielder Taylor Motter has a five-game hitting streak and is batting .387 in June… catcher Jose Briceno has a seven-game hitting streak… the Isotopes just signed former Rainiers infielder Kelby Tomlinson.
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.
TRIPLE-A WEST SCOREBOARD: Follow all league games in real-time with links to Gameday screens right here.
STORIES YOU MIGHT LIKE:
- Here’s the Mariners press release on today’s roster moves, which heavily involve the Rainiers.
- Th Albuquerque Journal has a preview of the series, but it’s behind their paywall. If any Albuquerque Journal subscribers out there want to send me their password, please do. I probably won’t use it to log into your bank account.
- The Mariners lost to Colorado yesterday, 5-2, ending their five-game win streak and splitting the two-game series with the Rockies. They are off today.
- The Mariners haven’t had any drama with the umpires checking for foreign substances, Ryan Divish writes.
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About the Tacoma Rainiers
The Tacoma Rainiers are the Triple-A affiliate of the Seattle Mariners. The Rainiers are a member of the Triple-A West. Tacoma has been a Mariners affiliate since establishing the Rainiers moniker in 1995.
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