The Rainiers won a typical El Paso slugfest in the opening game of the series on Thursday night, 10-8, and moved closer to clinching the league championship.
Tacoma now leads Sugar Land by three games and Reno by four games with just five to play in the regular season. The Rainiers “Magic Number” to eliminate Sugar Land is three, and for Reno it is down to two (they are the same because Tacoma would win the tiebreaking procedure against Sugar Land, but loses a tie to Reno because the Aces would have a slightly better winning percentage).
Yesterday’s win improved Tacoma’s won/loss record to 70-45 – a whopping 25 games over .500. The last time Tacoma finished the season that many games over .500 came in 2001, when the club went 85-59 and was named PCL Co-Champion with New Orleans when the Championship Series was cancelled due to 9/1.
The best record in Tacoma franchise history has belonged to the 1961 Tacoma Giants for sixty years. That team went 97-57 to go 40 games over .500 – a mark that is reachable if this year’s Rainiers sweep the remaining five regular season games, and then go 10-0 in the “Triple-A Final Stretch.” Not likely, but hey, it’s mathematically possible!
MLB has informed us that despite the Regular Season ending this Tuesday after 120 games, stats and records from the ten added games they are calling the “Triple-A Final Stretch” will count in the final totals. The extra ten games count for the batting title, home run leader, team’s final won/loss records, etc. The only reason for the separator is to determine the Regular Season Champion and the Triple-A Final Stretch Champion.
We’ll discuss the particulars of the Final Stretch more when it begins next week in Round Rock. First, the Rainiers are trying to finish the regular season job.
YESTERDAY: Tacoma overcame a 4-0 first inning deficit and won the first game in El Paso, 10-8. Brian O’Keefe hit two home runs, including a mammoth three-run blast in the third inning that gave Tacoma its first lead. Jantzen Witte and Luis Liberato each homered as well, with Liberato’s two-run shot in the ninth providing needed insurance runs.
TODAY: Tacoma (70-45) at El Paso (44-71), 6:05 PT.
OPPONENT AFFILIATION: San Diego Padres.
OPPOSING MANAGER: Eric Junge. He’s serving as both pitching coach and interim manager.
SEASON SERIES: Tacoma leads, 4-3.
PITCHERS: RHP Ryan Weber (3-1, 3.27) at LHP Daniel Camarena (3-6, 5.29)
ROSTER MOVES: Yesterday the Rainiers activated relievers Aaron Fletcher and Penn Murfee from the injured list and both pitched last night. Mariners pitcher Justin Dunn joined Tacoma on a rehabilitation assignment yesterday, but he left the game after throwing just four pitches due to shoulder discomfort.
HOT HITTERS: Jantzen Witte has gone 75-for-219 (.342) over his last 56 games… Dillon Thomas has reached base in eight straight games, going 11-for-26 at the plate during that time… Jose Godoy has ten hits during a four-game hitting streak… Sam Travis is 11-for-30 with three doubles and a homer over his last eight games… Alen Hanson has a four-game hitting streak.
OPPONENT NEWS: It’s been a tumultuous campaign for El Paso, which fired a coach and saw veteran manager Edwin Rodriguez resign mid-season… El Paso just went 2-5 during a series at Albuquerque. The Chihuahuas are struggling, having lost 11 of their last 13 games… Taylor Kohlwey has a ten-game hitting streak… Jose Azocar has a nine-game hitting streak, and he has ten stolen bases over his last 14 games… Matthew Batten has a six-game hitting streak… El Paso has former Rainiers Patrick Kivlehan, John Andreoli, and Parker Markel.
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:
- There was an official event announcing that the 2023 MLB All-Star Game has been awarded to Seattle.
Listen to every home and away Tacoma Rainiers game for free HERE. You can also download the MiLB First Pitch app for a free and easy one-click listening experience at home, work or in your car. Watch an HD video broadcast of every game with an MiLB.TV subscription. Use code: RAINIERS to save $10 on an annual subscription.
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.
The most up-to-date news and notes about the Tacoma Rainiers and Cheney Stadium can be found at WeRTacoma.com, or by following the Rainiers on Twitter (@RainiersLand), Instagram (@tacomarainiers) and liking the team on Facebook.