We’re back in action today, with the Tacoma Rainiers opening a six-game series at Sacramento with the first game tonight at 6:45. Over the weekend Tacoma passed Sacramento in the division standings, moving into fourth place now 1.5 games ahead of the River Cats.
The Rainiers expect to have rehabilitating Mariners outfielders Mitch Haniger and Taylor Trammell in the lineup today. Hopefully they don’t need much more time before they are able to help the big club, which is currently battling multiple position player injuries.
As a side effect of the MLB trade deadline, the Rainiers have had a ton of transactions in the last 36 hours, which are detailed down below. A couple noteworthy ones:
The Mariners decided to take a look at MLB veteran Jonathan Villar, inking him to a minor league deal and assigning him to Tacoma.
Villar, who has nearly eight years of MLB service time, plays both infield and outfield. He used to be known for his blazing speed, leading the National League with 62 steals in 2016 while playing for the Brewers – like all of us, he has slowed down a bit as he has gotten older.
Last year with the Mets, Villar hit ,249 with 18 homers and 14 stolen bases. This year, however, he has struggled to a .208/.260/.302 slash line with two different major league teams, the Cubs and the Angels, and now he’s here.
Reliever Michael Stryffeler was added, becoming the first player promoted from Double-A Arkansas to Triple-A Tacoma this season (on August 2nd!). Over the last two years at Arkansas, Stryffeler appeared in 76 games and posted a 2.17 ERA with 22 saves. He struck out 128 batters in 78.2 innings pitched, with 55 walks. The walks are why he was in Double-A for so long – he’s cut down his walk rate this season, although it’s still pretty high with 19 in 35.2 IP.
Stryffeler was a nice find by the Mariners scouting department, an undrafted senior out of Division II Lake Erie College in Painesville, Ohio. Undrafted players earning their way to Triple-A are rare enough – we’ll be in the front row watching to see if Stryffeler can make the final jump to the show.
The series here in Sacramento will be played in heat, with the temperature expected to reach 100 today, and 99 degrees for tomorrow’s noon game. Yikes! Fortunately, they’re better equipped to handle the heat here, where it is quite common. Air conditioning is everywhere.
YESTERDAY: The league was off yesterday. On Sunday the Rainiers beat El Paso, 8-3, and won the series four games to two. Mitch Haniger capped a five-run rally in the second inning with a three-run homer. Scott Heineman went 3-for-3 with a double and two RBI, and Zach Green had two hits and scored three runs. The Tacoma bullpen pitched six innings without permitting an earned run, allowing only one hit.
TODAY: Tacoma Rainiers (43-55) at Sacramento River Cats (42-57), 6:35.
OPPONENT AFFILIATION: San Francisco Giants.
OPPOSING MANAGER: Dave Brundage.
SEASON SERIES: Tacoma leads, 7-5.
PITCHERS: LHP Justus Sheffield (3-5, 6.85) at RHP Tristan Beck (4-6, 6.27)
ROSTER MOVES: On Sunday the Mariners called up outfielder Jarred Kelenic, and designated reliever Anthony Misiewicz for assignment. Misiewicz was then traded to the Kansas City Royals for cash considerations. Monday was very busy: LHP Brennan Bernardino was optioned back to Tacoma, recently designated outfielder Marcus Wilson cleared and was outrighted to Tacoma, catcher Josh Morgan was activated from the injured list, infielder/outfielder Jonathan Villar was signed as a free agent, and RHP Michael Stryffeler was promoted from Double-A Arkansas. On the other side of the docket, reliever Danny Young was designated for assignment, and infielder Alex Blandino was released.
HOT HITTERS: Mitch Haniger has homered twice in his past three games… not a hitter, but reliever Danny Young has allowed just one earned run in his last 14 appearances, spanning 13.2 innings pitched.
OPPONENT NEWS: the River Cats completed a nine-game road trip on Sunday, going 0-3 at Oklahoma City and then 2-4 at Round Rock… they have lost nine of the last 11 games overall… catcher Andrew Knapp signed with Sacramento after the Mariners designated him for assignment, and he has homered in four straight games coming into the series, winning the PCL Player of the Week award… former Rainiers and Mariners infielder Donovan Walton is on the Sacramento roster, but he has not played since the all-star break… top prospect Heliot Ramos has also been out of the lineup for the past week… Austin Dean had an 11-game hitting streak end on Sunday.
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 a Tacoma Rainiers report, catching up with Mitch Haniger about his rehabilitation process.
- The paper also posted a photo gallery from the Rainiers win on Sunday on Pink at the Park day.
- The M’s were suddenly hit with a wave of injuries late in Saturday’s game at Houston, causing logistical problems as they tried to get replacements into Houston in time for Sunday’s day game.
- New starter Mariners Luis Castillo has reported for duty and met with the media.
- Seattle lost to the Yankees last night, 7-2.
- No Mariners appear on this week’s edition of the Baseball America Prospect Hot Sheet, but here it is anyway.
- It’s the trade deadline! Here’s the MLB trade tracker.