It’s been a Comeback Series for the Rainiers so far in Albuquerque.
In the opener on Tuesday, the Rainiers overcame an early 8-1 deficit and won in the tenth inning, 10-9. In game two last night, the Rainiers were down 7-2 after three innings and came up just short, dropping the game 7-6.
Tonight the Rainiers are starting Daniel Ponce de Leon, who was moved up a day in the rotation and pitches on a standard four days of rest. Ponce de Leon delivered five shutout innings in his Tacoma debut last week against Salt Lake, and the club is hoping for another strong start tonight.
Yesterday the Mariners called up Tacoma reliever Matt Koch, who was off to a tremendous start to the season. Koch pitched two perfect innings for Tacoma, striking out five of the six batters he faced with an immaculate inning in the season opener.
With Koch here, and four more games remaining in high-scoring Isotopes Park, it’s always a good idea to have some extra pitching. Tacoma has added two arms from Low-A Modesto in Juan Mercedes and Kelvin Nunez.
One more personnel note: veteran outfielder Steven Souza Jr. is out for a couple days with muscle tightness in his right leg. He suffered the injury trying to leg out an infield grounder in the series opener on Tuesday. Manager Tim Federowicz described him as day-to-day.
Looking at the big picture in the Mariners/Rainiers universe, the story of last night’s game was the return to the mound of Roenis Elias. The veteran lefty pitched two scoreless innings (25 total pitches), retiring six of the seven batter he faced with one strikeout. It was his first game since September of 2019 when he was with the Washington Nationals – he’s coming off of Tommy John surgery on his left elbow.
Elias has always pitched well for Seattle in the past, and last night he looked like he can help the Mariners again. He reached 93 mph repeatedly with his fastball, and had good control. He’ll be pitching on a set schedule for the Rainiers as he regains strength in his left arm.
YESTERDAY: Tacoma nearly pulled off a second straight big comeback in Albuquerque, but this time the Rainiers came up just short in a 7-6 loss. Albuquerque led 5-0 after two innings and 7-2 after three. The Rainiers had the tying runner at third base with one out in the ninth inning but were unable to get him in. Mike Ford had three hits and scored three runs to lead the Tacoma offense, and both Zach Green and Joe Odom hit home runs.
TODAY: Tacoma Rainiers (3-5) at Albuquerque Isotopes (2-6), 5:35 PT.
OPPONENT AFFILIATION: Colorado Rockies.
OPPOSING MANAGER: Warren Schaeffer.
SEASON SERIES: Tied, 1-1.
PITCHERS: RHP Danie Ponce de Leon (0-0, 0.00) at RHP Mike Dennis (0-1, 4.91)
ROSTER MOVES: I spoke too soon yesterday, as we did have an unexpected roster move prior to the game: reliever Matt Koch was called up by the Mariners, who had to place Sergio Romo on the injured list with shoulder inflammation. Today the Rainiers will add two pitchers from Low-A Modesto for depth: Juan Mercedes and Kelvin Nunez. You can never have too many pitchers during a six-game series at Albuquerque.
HOT HITTERS: Zach Green has hit safely in six of his seven games played… Mike Ford is 5-for-8 over the first two games of the Albuquerque series.
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.
- Tacoma’s Sam Haggerty played college baseball here in Albuquerque and he is enjoying his return to the city.
- The Mariners dropped one in the Chicago rain last night, and are playing a day game today as I type this.
- Top pitching prospect George Kirby was dominant for the Mariners Double-A Arkansas affiliate last night.
- Kirby leads off today’s Fangraphs Prospect Notes.
- The first no-hitter of the minor league season occurred last night in the International League, and former Rainiers pitcher Chase DeJong was the starting pitcher.