Tonight the Tacoma Rainiers square off against the Round Rock Express in the opening game of the first (and probably only) competition known as the Triple-A Final Stretch.
What is the Triple-A Final Stretch?
The simplest way to explain it is that the Triple-A Final Stretch is a ten-game competition among all thirty Triple-A teams to see which club can amass the most wins during that time. According to the original MLB press release, the team with the best ten-game record will receive “a prize.” What this prize is has not yet been revealed (maybe it’s this?).
For the purpose of the Triple-A Final Stretch, all thirty teams reset their record at 0-0 and will try to have the best ten-game run to the finish line.
Here’s where it gets confusing, though: the Triple-A Final Stretch is not a playoff or a postseason. Even though Tacoma has already won the Triple-A West championship and the regular season is complete, the results from the ten Triple-A Final Stretch games are going to count in the records. Players have ten more games to add to their final statistics.
MLB has added a cool charitable element called Homers That Help. For each home run hit by every Triple-A team during the Triple-A Final Stretch, MLB is donating $50 to a local charity that was chosen by each club. Whichever team hits the most home runs during these ten games is going to get an extra $5,000 for the charity. The Rainiers will be raising money for Rebuilding Together South Sound.
Tacoma has already won the title that the team cares about, the league championship. Now let’s see if we can hit some bombs and raise some money!
YESTERDAY: The Rainiers were off yesterday. On Tuesday, Tacoma dropped the final game in El Paso, 8-4, as the Chihuahuas limited the Rainiers to just three hits. The Triple-A West Champion Rainiers finished the regular season with a record of 73-47, although the ten games of the Final Stretch will be added to Tacoma’s final won/loss tally.
TODAY: Tacoma (73-47) at Round Rock (61-58), 5:05 PT.
OPPONENT AFFILIATION: Texas Rangers.
OPPOSING MANAGER: Kenny Holmberg.
SEASON SERIES: Tacoma leads, 5-1.
PITCHERS: RHP Robert Dugger (3-5, 7.38) at RHP Cole Winn (0-0, 0.00)
This is the Triple-A debut for Winn, who is one of the top pitching prospects in the Rangers system. He made 19 starts in Double-A and had a 2.31 ERA with just 38 hits allowed in 78 innings pitched, striking out 97.
HOT HITTERS: Jantzen Witte has gone 76-for-231 (.329) over his last 59 games… Dillon Thomas has reached base in 12 straight games, going 13-for-37 at the plate during that time… Jose Godoy had his seven-game hitting streak end on Tuesday… Luis Liberato saw his six-game hitting streak end Tuesday… the Rainiers are 41-21 when Donovan Walton is in the starting lineup, and 32-26 when he is not.
OPPONENT NEWS: Round Rock might be the toughest opponent the Rainiers have faced in a while. The Express have won or tied their last four series, going 16-9 during that time… star catcher Yohel Pozo was just sent back to Triple-A; he has a 12-game hitting streak in this league… top prospect Josh Jung has gone 18-for-40 during a nine-game hitting streak… Jack Kruger has an eight-game hitting streak.
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 Austin Statesman has a preview of the Rainiers series against Round Rock, with a feature item on Express catcher and former Rainier John Hicks.
- The Mariners beat Oakland last night and are going for a four-game series sweep today.
- Larry Stone has a column on the Mariners decision to stick with Jarred Kelenic despite his struggles, and how it may work out in the end.
- J.P. Crawford is in contention to win another Gold Glove.
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.