If you like young and exciting prospects...well, this wasn’t the game for you, as both parent clubs have been picked fairly clean thanks to struggles at the MLB level. Tacoma is without Dan Vogelbach and Ben Gamel, as well as developmental project/chicken-fried Hanson brother Dillon Overton. The River Cats have lost four players in the past week: true prospect Christian Arroyo, quasi-prospect Kelby Tomlinson, and veterans Drew Stubbs and Mike Morse. It also wasn’t the most exciting pitching matchup, featuring two AAA veterans in Christian Bergman and Ricky Romero. Bergman looked good over his five innings of work, striking out six. Bergman’s stuff isn’t exactly swing-and-miss—the veteran righty’s fastball sits about 88, with a low-80s slider—but he was helped out by the eagerness of hitters to get the heck out of the rain, as well as some fine defensive plays. The return of Leonys Martín bumps Boog Powell to right field, and Leonys looked comfortable patrolling Cheney’s outfield. He had a bad break on a ball once, probably due to the slickness of the turf, but was still able to swoop in and make a nice shoetop catch. The next batter, Juan Ciriaco, hit a ball that split the difference between Martín and Tyler O’Neill, but a hard-running O’Neill dived in to make the catch. Leonys gave him a glove bump on their way back to the dugout.
The Rainiers got all their runs in the second inning. Mike Freeman started things off with a single, and Tuffy Gosewisch worked a walk off Romero. After getting Dario Pizzano to line out—which, “getting,” right now poor Dario Pizzano can’t get a baseball to find grass if he put a drug-sniffing dog on it—Romero would go on to walk the next five batters, as well as mixing in a wild pitch to Leonys that scored a run, to make it 3-0 Tacoma. Romero’s replacement Matt Reynolds didn’t fare much better, walking Tyler O’Neill to make the score 4-0. That was all the offense would need as Bergman was on cruise control tonight, throwing 79 pitches over his five innings of work, 50 of those for strikes. I admit to scratching my head a little over the Bergman signing—his 8.39 ERA (although 5.78 FIP) in Colorado last year is nothing exciting, although COORS—but he’s a great depth piece to have, and he’s now 4-0 on the year with a shiny 1.96 ERA (Fangraphs hasn’t updated yet, but had his FIP a whole run higher than his ERA).
- Leonys didn’t have a great night at the plate, striking out twice, but he did earn himself a walk. We are all pulling for you, Leonys.
- Tyler O’Neill continues to swing at everything within his orbit, but managed to hold off in order to work his RBI walk off Matt Reynolds. He’s hitting the ball hard, though, and totally stung a ball in the fifth that Sacramento shortstop Orlando Calixte made an excellent leaping grab on. Darn BABIP.
- Speaking of which, Dario Pizzano needs to make a sacrifice to the gods of BABIP. He continues to hit the ball hard, but right at people. In the second, he missed an opposite-field home run by a few feet, only to again hit the ball hard, but right to where the center fielder was standing.
- The rain cooled down one of the Rainiers’ hottest hitters in Boog Powell. After going 4-for-5 Monday, Boog was hitless tonight. He did work a walk, though, meaning his streak of getting on base stands at seven. He’s had a hit or a walk in every game this season except one.
- The Rainiers are home for the rest of this weekend before heading out again on Tuesday. The weekend forecasts to be nice and the Mariners are out of town, so consider heading down to Cheney, which has made some nice improvements on what was already a pretty nice ballpark. You never know who you will see! I ran into Leonys headed out to the batting cages to get some extra work in, and relayed our well-wishes, and as the players were headed in for a rain delay, Boog gave a kid a bat and totally made his life.