Greetings from Sugar Land, Texas – home of the Sugar Land Skeeters, who the Tacoma Rainiers will be playing in a six-game series starting tonight at 5:05 (Pacific Time).
Sugar Land was once the home of a huge sugar plantation, hence the name. The Imperial Sugar Company is based here. Sugar Land City Hall is located across the street from our team hotel, and sitting on the edge of the lawn in front of the building is a small candy store. They take the sweet stuff seriously here in Sugar Land. I had a nice glazed doughnut with my coffee this morning, just to get in the spirit of things.
The Skeeters are new to Triple-A this year, despite the fact that a brand new Triple-A caliber ballpark was built in the city in 2012. Sugar Land is 19 miles from downtown Houston and is located in the Astros territory as defined by Major League Baseball, so an affiliated team could not play here without the Astros consent. The ballpark housed an independent team that played in the Atlantic League from 2012 until the reorganization of minor league baseball this past winter, when the Houston Astros bought the Skeeters and made them their Triple-A affiliate.
This is Tacoma’s first trip to Sugar Land. Apparently the ballpark here, named Constellation Energy Field, is a real pitcher’s park. Maybe we’ll get some low-scoring games and our pitchers will be happy for a while.
The Skeeters are good, sitting atop the East division standings with a 31-22 record and a 3.5-game lead over second place Oklahoma City. Most of the Skeeters offense comes from a heavy-hitting outfield trio of Bryan De La Cruz, Jake Meyers, and Jose Siri. Kentwood High School product Taylor Jones was just sent down from the Astros, and he has put up numbers in Triple-A in the past.
This will be Tacoma’s second consecutive series against a first-place opponent. The Rainiers just went 2-4 against West division leader Reno, and now face the top of the East division. Should be a fun series in a new place!
YESTERDAY: The whole league was off yesterday. On Tuesday the Rainiers lost at home to Reno, 6-4, and dropped the series four games to two. The game had a puzzling finish when Donovan Walton was caught stealing third base for the final out of the game when the winning run was in the batter’s box. Cal Raleigh returned to the lineup and had two hits including a homer. Jake Hager and Eric Filia each had two hits as well.
TODAY: Tacoma (28-24) at Sugar Land (31-22), 5:05 PT.
OPPONENT AFFILIATION: Houston Astros.
OPPOSING MANAGER: Mickey Storey.
SEASON SERIES: Tied, 0-0.
PITCHERS: LHP Ian McKinney (1-1, 8.59) at RHP Hector Velazquez (1-1, 1.74)
Velazquez had been a reliever until last week, when the Skeeters moved him into the rotation and he made his first start.
ROSTER MOVES: The Mariners ended reliever Erik Swanson‘s rehabilitation assignment yesterday by activating him from the Injured List.
HOT HITTERS: Jantzen Witte has a five-game hitting streak, and he has gone 13-for-32 over his last nine games… Ty Kelly has a four-game hitting streak… Jack Reinheimer has gone 10-for-28 with four doubles and two homers over his last eight games… Jarred Kelenic has tallied six hits over the last two games… Jose Marmolejos is 7-for-10 over his past three games… Dillon Thomas has reached base with a hit or walk in ten straight games.
OPPONENT NEWS: Sugar Land has won four straight games and went 5-1 in a series at Round Rock the ended Tuesday… Bryan De La Cruz has a torrid five-game hitting streak, going 13-for-21 with four homers and 11 RBI during it… Jake Meyers has hit safely in 16 of his last 17 games… Taylor Jones graduated from Kentwood High School and played college ball at Gonzaga.
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:
- The Yankees beat Mariners all-star Yusei Kikuchi last night and have won the first two games of the three-game series.
- The Seattle Times has a story on the contract situation of Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto.
- We have updates on Mariners pitchers Justus Sheffield (injured) and Hector Santiago (appealing a suspension).
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.
Find more information and purchase single game tickets here. Questions regarding season tickets can be directed to Tickets@WeRTacoma.com.
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.