The Rainiers lost to a rehabilitating Jake Odorizzi and Sugar Land last night, 8-4, in a game that served as an advertisement for the new enforced pitch clock and pace of play rules.
When a major league player is on a rehabilitation assignment in the minors, the pitch clock is turned off and there are no pace-of-play guidelines. When the rehabilitating player is a hitter, it doesn’t really make an impact. But when the rehabilitating major leaguer is a starting pitcher, you really notice the difference.
After watching all of our action packed quick-paced games this year, it seemed like Odorizzi was taking an eternity between pitches. It took him twice as long as a Triple-A player just to throw his warm-up pitches when he took the mound before the top of the first inning. Then the extended wait between pitches, especially when he allowed some baserunners in the second inning, was absolutely grueling. So much standing around with nothing happening.
There is no question that the enforcement of pace-of-play rules has made our game more watchable, and more fun. Last night’s game served as a really stark reminder.
YESTERDAY: Sugar Land scored four runs in the bottom of the first inning, led 8-2 after three, and coasted to an 8-4 win over Tacoma on Friday night. The Rainiers had early two-run singles from Alex Blandino and Jarred Kelenic, but was unable to rally over the final five innings against top Astros pitching prospect Hunter Brown. The series is now tied, 2-2.
TODAY: Tacoma Rainiers (28-41) at Sugar Land Space Cowboys (30-40), 5:05 (Pacific).
OPPONENT AFFILIATION: Houston Astros.
OPPOSING MANAGER: Mickey Storey.
SEASON SERIES: Sugar Land leads, 7-3.
PITCHERS: RHP Daniel Ponce de Leon (4-5, 6.58) at RHP Peter Solomon (1-5, 6.14)
ROSTER MOVES: None as of blog posting time.
HOT HITTERS: Forrest Wall has reached base safely in 11 straight games, and he has a .409 on-base percentage so far this month… Sam Haggerty has reached base safely in his last 18 PCL games… Marcus Wilson has reached base safely in 14 straight games, netting at least one hit in 11 of them… Andrew Knapp has a four-game hitting streak.
OPPONENT NEWS: Sugar Land had a seven-game winning streak end last Saturday in Round Rock, and has gone 2-4 since then… Corey Julks has a 13-game hitting streak, getting exactly one hit in each game. Does that qualify as a hot hitter? He’s 13-for-52 (.250 average) during the streak… the Space Cowboys have received a big lift from infielder Enmanuel Valdez, who was called up from Double-A (where he was batting .357) on June 7. He homered twice in his Triple-A debut and added a three-homer game last week at Round Rock… Kent native and Gonzaga product Taylor Jones is currently with Sugar Land.
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.