The Tacoma Rainiers begin a six-game series at Las Vegas tonight. It’s the Triple-A version of the American League West rivalry between the Mariners and the Oakland A’s.
Tacoma enters the series on a four-game losing streak. The team received much-improved starting pitching in the last few days, but the offense sputtered and the team lost a couple of low-scoring games.
The Aviators play in a high-scoring environment at Las Vegas Ballpark, so the Rainiers bats are going to need to step up. One Las Vegas player to watch out for is outfielder Ramon Laureano, who is the Oakland A’s starting center fielder but is here on a “rehab” assignment. The rehab is in quotes because Laureano is not coming back from an injury – rather, he’s returning from an 80-game suspension for testing positive for performance enhancing drugs. He’s allowed to play in a handful of rehabilitation games right at the tail end of the suspension term.
The weather here is perfect for baseball, with temperatures in the 80s. The team was in good spirits coming into town, and the guys are fully aware that it’s time to start picking up some wins. Let’s see if they can get this 12-game road trip off to a positive start.
YESTERDAY: The whole league was off yesterday. On Sunday the Rainiers lost to Sugar Land in ten innings, 3-2. Tacoma took an early 2-0 lead on an RBI single by Trent Tingelstad and Ben Ramirez‘s first Triple-A home run, and Asher Wojciechowski delivered his best start of the year (six innings, one run allowed on just two hits), but the Rainiers could not hold on. Sugar Land won the series, five games to one.
TODAY: Tacoma Rainiers (5-13) at Las Vegas Aviators (9-9), 7:05.
OPPONENT AFFILIATION: Oakland A’s.
OPPOSING MANAGER: Fran Riordan.
SEASON SERIES: 0-0.
PITCHERS: RHP Daniel Ponce de Leon (1-1, 6.35) at RHP James Kaprielian (0-0, 7.71)
ROSTER MOVES: Outfielder Trent Tingelstad has been transferred to Advanced-A Everett. First baseman Mike Ford was optioned to Tacoma, but then the Mariners designated him for assignment so he is not with the team right now while he waits to see if anyone claims him – that’s the same situation that Kevin Padlo is currently going through. All we can do is wait and see what happens.
HOT HITTERS: Mason McCoy has a five-game hitting streak, going 7-for-18 with a homer… Sam Haggerty saw his five-game hitting streak end on Sunday… Erick Mejia has reached base in seven straight games, and he has a four-game hitting streak.
OPPONENT NEWS: Las Vegas has played three six-game series and split all three of them, 3-3, giving them a 9-9 record… Eric Thames pinch-hit and made an out on Sunday, ending a nine-game hitting streak. Thames played for Tacoma in 2013 before becoming a huge star in the Korean Baseball Organization… catcher Shea Langeliers is a highly-ranked prospect who was the key return when Oakland traded Matt Olson to Atlanta… Dermis Garcia has a four-game hitting streak; he hit 31 home runs in Double-A last year (with a .210 batting average)… Dalton Kelly hit hit first homer of the year on Sunday, he belted 27 dingers for International League champion Durham last year… Luis Barrera has hit safely in 11 of 12 games.
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 News Tribune has its weekly Rainiers update, which focuses on the Puget Sound flavor of the Tacoma roster.
- Seattle wrapped up a nine-game homestand with a 7-2 record by finishing a sweep of Kansas City on Sunday.
- Ty France is the AL Player of the Week. Fangraphs took a deep statistical dive into his success.
- The Mariners strong start to the season feels legitimate, Matt Calkins writes.
- The numbers say the M’s offense has been really good.
- We always link to Baseball America’s Prospect Hot Sheet, because it’s fun.