clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Midshipmen’s Log, 6/7/22: Jonatan Clase comes back in a big way, Juan Mercedes shines, Taylor Dollard dominates

Also, the Travs offense makes Kyle look real silly, and that’s always fun

Noelvi Marte and Justin Lavey celebrate an AquaSox win on Sunday
Shari Sommerfeld

Welcome to another installment of the Midshipmen’s Log! This week the two complex leagues also got started—the AZL in Arizona and the DSL in the Dominican Republic. We’ll be folding them into the MSL after they’ve played a full week of games, but look for a roster overview for each team sometime this week. In the meantime, let’s check in with our old friends in levels A - AAA:

Modesto (24-27) splits series against Fresno Grizzlies (32-19)

You know, we’ll take a split against the leaders of the Cal League North division. Game 1 was another tough loss for Michael Morales, who continues to take his lumps in his first year of full-season ball. Morales got off to a shaky start, giving up four runs in the first inning (the big blow came on a three-run home run), but gutted it out with two more scoreless innings after that, setting down the Grizzlies 1-2-3 each time. He got two more outs in the fourth but then was lifted after issuing back-to-back walks; Chris Jefferson held things down from there with 2.1 scoreless innings of work. Unfortunately, the offense wasn’t able to pick up Morales, nor the rest of the bullpen, who surrendered another two runs: the two Perezes (Milkar and Robert) each recorded a double as the only extra-base hits for the Nuts, and Edwin Arroyo had a two-hit day, but the Nuts just couldn’t get much going offensively, getting utterly shut down by the Grizzlies’ bullpen after scoring a couple early runs off starter Jarrod Cande.

Things did not improve in Game 2, a 1-7 loss where normally reliable starter William Fleming got lit up for four runs over 4.2 innings and Natanael Garabitos struggled, giving up another three runs and only recording one out in his inning. Meanwhile, Edwin Arroyo once again paced the offense with two hits including a double; Brett Ramirez knocked in the Nuts’ lone run. There’s not been a lot of fun stuff so far, so here, enjoy an Edwin Arroyo compilation:

Modesto’s fortunes turned around some in Game 3, when the Nuts eked out a narrow win, 2-1. The offense was still sleepy, despite Arroyo checking in with his usual two hits, but Walking Cabrera decided to just put the team on his back with a three-hit day against his former organization, scoring both of the Nuts’ runs. Meanwhile, Jimmy Kingsbury spun a strong five innings, allowing just one run on three hits with four strikeouts, and the Nuts’ often-mercurial bullpen made the offense’s two runs hold up between Tyler Driver and Jorge Benitez, who earned his sixth save with two strikeouts in the ninth.

Then things get fun, as Jonatan Clase returned for the weekend series after sitting out a week after being hit on the hand with a pitch. Now, the Nuts lost Game 4, a heartbreaking extra-inning loss (11-10 in 12 innings!), but Clase immediately provided a lift to the sleepy offense, going 2-for-5 with two homers, a walk, a stolen base, and three runs scored. Edwin Arroyo was also excellent, going 4-for-4 with a walk, and Ben Ramirez checked in with another three hits. Let’s just...skip past the pitching for the day, and congratulate the offense on a job well done.

Things worked out much better in Game 5, when the Nuts, despite falling behind early, rallied back for a thrilling late innings 4-3 win. Staff ace Joseph Hernández gave up a couple runs over his four innings of work, both on wild pitches, and looked like he was in line for the loss despite striking out eight (8!) batters, but Yeury Tatíz held things down long enough for the offense to come roaring back. In the seventh, Walking Cabrera doubled home Ben Ramirez to get the Nuts on the board, and then Ramirez came through again in the eighth with an RBI single to make it 2-3, and then the red-hot Clase hit an almost-homer to score the tying run and go-ahead run. He was so bored having to sit that week out, y’all.

Game 6 featured another late explosion from the Nuts offense. Michael Morales hung tough with Grizzlies starter Mason Green, the 19-year-old almost matching the 23-year-old. The Nuts manufactured their first run in the fourth, with Milkar Pérez doubling home Clase to cut the Grizzlies’ lead to 3-2. An Edwin Arroyo RBI single pushed across the tying run in the fifth, and then the Nuts scored the go-ahead run on a wild pitch. After the Grizzlies tied things up again in the seventh, Clase started off the eighth with a double, eventually scoring the go-ahead run on a wild pitch. That would be all Modesto would need thanks to two scoreless innings from Jorge Benitez to close things out and earn him his second win, but just in case, they did add another two runs on a Brett Rodriguez RBI single to make the final tally 7-4.

Next up: Modesto plays at Inland Empire, the Angels affiliate. IE does have cameras, but they’re wonky, so gird your loins for some grainy footage next week. Minor league grinding, baby.

Everett AquaSox (21-29) straight up not having a good time, drop super-sized series to Eugene Emeralds (26-20)

First, some exciting news! We have a couple of award-winners here in Everett: First, Justin Lavey won the NWL player of the month! Lavey slashed .347/.419/.507, and led the league in hits (26), batting average (.347), runs (19) and OBP (.419).

And this week, Juan Mercedes earned the NWL player of the week for his performance, which will be explained a little more down below.

Overall, the Frogs ran into the buzzsaw that is the Eugene pitching staff, and they came out a little worse for wear. San Francisco’s Northwest League affiliate has four pitchers from their top-30 list here, and it shows - they lead the league in WHIP, batting average against, runs allowed, BB/K%, runs allowed, shutouts, etc. For reasons that shall soon become clear, we’ll be breaking this bad boy up into days instead of games, and we’ll be taking things at a higher level overall.

Despite the poor results, this was fun as Everett got some help from some notable names. Let’s jump in.

Tuesday May 31: Time-traveling, star-studded Frogs do not do time travel right, come back to present and atone for sins

The astute Everett follower will remember that we got a little doubleheader from our opening series of the year, the last time Eugene came to town. On Tuesday, we got the conclusion of that game, picking things up from the bottom of the fifth inning (with a 2-1 Frogs lead), plus another seven-inning affair.

Most notably from this first game, we got a visit from Jacob’s beloved, Abraham Toro! The Babe-raham him showed up to hang out in The City of Smokestacks (I am not joking, this is one of Everett’s unofficial nicknames) with the baby M’s to show ‘em how it’s done.

And he did: Toro went 2-for-2 with a pair of RBIs, and he even worked a walk!

Despite Toro single-handedly trying to drag this lovable group of under-performers, he, did not. Everett got Big-Inning’d again, this time to the tune of a pair of home runs in the eighth to drive the score from 4-1 to 5-4.

In the later evening game, Juan Mercedes delivered the most dominant performance of the year so far for Everett. Mercedes delivered a masterful seven-inning no-hitter, striking out ten and allowing two walks to wrap up the victory for Everett’s vivacious bats. He also had this emotional celebration that makes you want to do the emoji with the big ole eyes in real life:

You love to see it!

Toro led off, and unfortunately did not deliver much in the way of offense. Luckily, Everett got really all they needed from a bases-loaded balk in the bottom of the second. Wil Jensen, the starting pitcher for Eugene, was feeling a lil spicy and decided to double down, balking in another run.

Everett earned a few more runs in the bottom of the sixth, on a two-run Berto single, and a Justin Lavey fielders’ choice, to make it 5-0.

Wednesday, June 1: I regret to inform you that the fun part of this recap has ended, Frogs lose 8-2

Yeah, it’s true. Prelander Berroa actually had a solid start for Everett, pitching four innings, giving up just one run on three hits, and notching six strikeouts. Control continues to be an issue for him, as he gave up four walks. Signs still point to him as a solid bullpen arm down the road.

Meanwhile, another guest-star, Ken Giles, is probably good at making friends wherever he goes - he fit right in here in Everett, even rolling out an Everett classic, the Big Inning! He came in for the fifth inning and a single, two doubles, a home run, and a Noelvi Marte error (sadness) later, he had given up five runs to put this one pretty well out of reach.

Offense was tough to find, as the only runs came on a Dariel Gomez solo home run and an Andy Thomas single that scored Noelvi Marte.

Thursday, June 2: Rain is good for frogs, bad for baseball diamonds - game cancelled

Friday, June 3: Bryce Miller strikes out a lot of Eugene Emeralds baseball players, deja vu ensues, Everett loses 8-2

Yes, again.

However, I would like to point out that Everett’s coaching staff is clearly ahead of the curve here - we’ve seen Tampa Bay and their innovative minds bring us the opener/bulk guy paradigm, but have you considered, the three-openers to bulk guy paradigm?

science

Giles again hit his pitch count only two outs into his appearance, giving up two hits, a walk, and a wild pitch to give up his two runs. Big Mike Mokma came in to finish his inning, before getting Everett fans were treated to yet another Mariner on a rehab assignment, the ineffable Swanny Pops. He looked good in his lone inning as he prepares to hopefully, be a boost to the struggling Mariners bullpen.

Miller started out red hot in his first non-start of the year. He struck out 7 in his first three innings, including a stretch of five consecutive strikeouts. Things got dicey for him in the seventh, and he gave up three runs before exiting stage left. He followed that up with a clean eighth inning, only for Leon Hunter Jr., so far the rock of the Everett pen, to have his first clunker of the season.

The offense, again, fell short. Tyler Keenan hit a two-run dong early, in what would be his last game as a Mariner farmhand - he was traded shortly after to the Blue Jays in exchange for Ryan Borucki, who had a scoreless, one-batter appearance last night in the bigs.

Saturday, June 4: Everett takes two-for-one offer, does not realize it was for Ls, oops

On Saturday, Everett had plenty of baseball to play to get their season back on track, as they had a doubleheader due to the rainout on Thursday. Unfortunately, this did not happen.

In the first seven-inning affair, the Frogs lost their bats - only Spencer Packard and James Parker were able to scratch a hit across. The Emeralds only recorded four themselves, but starter Jimmy Joyce sabotaged himself with a throwing error to allow a run, and another RBI single to give up a 2-0 loss.

In the night installment, they fared a little better, but not enough to grab a win. They went with a bullpen game, with a few pitchers getting two-inning installments. Eugene staked an early lead on a three run homer, and by the time Everett got rolling in the bottom of the seventh, it was just a bit too late. Noelvi doubled to score a couple and Packard drove him in, leaving the Frogs just one run short, as they lost 5-4.

Sunday, June 5: Frogs remember how to play a baseball, do a winning, 5-1

Ken Giles, opener (??), had a much better performance in the seventh and final game of this series. His scoreless inning set a good example for the youngsters, as the Everett pitchers combined to give up just one run on four hits in the remaining 8 innings. Mercedes, off the back of his no-hitter on Tuesday, gave another five scoreless innings, giving up just two hits.

As for the offense, it took just two innings for them to score all their runs. A two-run homer from Trent Tinglestad in the fourth, a Myles Miller single and a Noelvi three-run four-bagger in the fifth was enough to put the Frogs comfortably ahead. Noelvi and Tinglestad each had a pair of hits on the day, as did Lavey, as the Frogs played probably their best baseball of the week.

Up Next: The Frogs have won just four of their last thirteen. They hope to change that going into this next series on the road at Hillsboro (26-23). -NV

Arkansas Travelers (27-24) bats explode (but in a good way) to take third series in a row over Springfield Cardinals (20-31)

The Arkansas Travelers must’ve been reading the tweets and articles about me praising their dominant starting pitching staff and overlooking their lackluster offense so far this season. They did a great job of shutting me up over the last week. The offense exploded for 43 runs over the series, an average of over seven runs per game. Just in case you were worried that this whole team got replaced as soon as the calendar turned to June, the pitching was still fairly impressive. Taylor Dollard extended his streak of allowing one run or fewer in every start this season. Stephen Kolek absolutely dealt on Friday night, and Emerson Hancock had his most encouraging outing of the season, even if the numbers don’t necessarily reflect that. I gotta say, this team is much more fun to cover when they are hitting the ball, and personally, I would like for them to continue.

Game one: Dollard deals, offense impresses in 9-4 victory

I’m sure it’ll probably happen eventually, but what if Taylor Dollard never has a bad start? The Ms #14 prospect continues to be the best pitcher in the Texas League. I want to do a deep dive on just how phenomenal he has been, but I am writing this part before his start to close out the series, so we’ll save the more numbers-based praise of Taylor Dollard until after he (hopefully) impresses again in his next start. The cool thing is that even if he “struggles” in the outing, he will still probably be leading the Texas League in most major categories. What Dollard is doing right now is superior to the level of dominance that George Kirby had in his brief stint with the Travelers.

You could easily argue this was Dollard’s worst start of the season, and he was still superb. Six hits over five innings is a tad higher than you would prefer, but he limited the damage to just a single run while striking out seven on the day.

Since we’re saving a bit of the Dollard section until later, we can spend extra time praising the offense. Everything was clicking for the Travs bats to open the series. Arkansas took the lead on just the third batter of the game as Jake Scheiner drove in Cade Marlowe, a sign of great things to come on offense. The Travs added another in the second on Connor Hoover’s first home run of the season.

Two more in the fourth was more than enough insurance runs for Dollard and the Travs bullpen, but the Travs wanted to be extra sure that they did enough for Dollard to hold onto the W. They added three more in the sixth with a Joe Rizzo sac fly and two more RBIs from Scheiner. Other than a bit of a rough outing from David Ellingsong after the game was practically out of reach, the Travs bullpen was strong. Every Trav reached base, with all except Zach DeLoach notching a base hit. DeLoach did drive in the game’s final run on a sac fly, so we’ll it slide.

Game Two: Travs only muster three hits in 7-1 loss

Johnny Vander Meer can breathe a sigh of relief. Connor Jones did not throw a second consecutive no-hitter on Wednesday night. It was Jones’s worst outing since his eight-run debacle back in April. The performance gives some credence to my theory that perhaps Jones was in some sort of Thunderstruck/Space Jam type situation during the month of May.

Jones wasn’t awful, but he was far from his dominant self he was in May, for which he earned the Mariners pitcher of the month (alongside Bryce Miller). He did strike out seven and only walked two but allowing eight hits and four runs scattered over five innings is a bit of a dip from how impressive he has been lately. I guess everyone is allowed a bad start. Hopefully, he proves the thunderstruck theory wrong when he takes the hill for the opener against Wichita tonight.

The offense certainly didn’t help Jones much. Conner Hoover’s double in the second gave the Travs the early 1-0 lead, but they could only manage one more hit the rest of the game.

Game Three: My Super Sweet 16 with the Arkansas Travelers offense

Baseball is neat because one night, you can have three hits and barely put a run on the board, then the next night, everyone in your lineup gets a base knock, and you score 16 runs.

This performance isn’t quite as out of nowhere as it would’ve been when the Travs offense was really floundering a few weeks ago, especially considering they just scored nine runs on Tuesday, but 16 runs in a game is still pretty groovy.

The most impressive part of the offensive explosion is that the Travs only had two home runs, so they scored their last 11 runs of the game playing small ball. Kaden Polcovich picked up the first of his four hits in the first inning as he sent to deep center to give the Travs an immediate 2-0 lead.

Zach DeLoach scored five times, equalling the Cardinals’ total offensive output. One of those times he came around to score was on a Matt Scheffler triple. Scheffler should get some kind of honor for completing the two most challenging parts of the cycle with his two hits of the game.

In addition to Scheffler, the bottom of the lineup came up clutch, with a total of 11 RBIs from the 6-9 hole hitters. A very nice offensive performance.

Every player on the Travs scored at least once, which is something that was a rarity for a whole series not that long ago, so we should cherish this game because literally, every single thing was working offensively, and that’s not always the case with this club.

It is impossible to overstate just how impressive the Travs offense was, but it somehow could’ve been even better. They loaded the bases in four separate innings and left a total of 13 runners stranded for the game.

Game Four: Kolek dominates, offense pushes across just enough in 3-1 win

You know I am taking this starting rotation for granted when they give up 1.6 earned runs per game over the six-game series, and my first thought was, “man, it was a bit of a down week, huh?” This rotation is absurd, and Stephen Kolek was the highlight of it this week. The 25-year-old through six spectacular shutout innings. Kolek struck out nine batters and allowed just two hits and a walk.

If Kolek can bring the consistency of his last two starts, he went seven and gave up just one earned in his previous start, and avoid those eight-run nightmares that he had in the start before that; then he would be challenging Dollard for the top spot in an elite rotation.

The Travs offense really made Kolek work in his outing, not giving him any run support until a Joe Rizzo solo shot made it 1-0.

The Travs offense pretended like it was 2019 and scored all of their runs on the home run. Jake Anchia made it 2-0. The Cardinals added one in the bottom of the seventh, but a Connor Hoover delivered a much-needed insurance run in the top of the ninth. Michael Stryffeler came in for his league-leading ninth save of the season.

Game Five: Emerson Hancock is better than the numbers indicate; Travs offense impresses again in 8-3 victory.

Where was this offense for the first two months of the season? Did the team just collectively decide that they were going to be a juggernaut at the plate as soon as the calendar flipped to June? Do you think they were playing a prank on us for the first 45 games, and this was the plan the whole time? I gotta give them props, I guess, because I definitely fell for it.

The Travs entered the series with a league-worst offense, and although they are exiting it with still having the worst offense in the league, the margin is closer now. I really can’t overstate just how putrid the Travs offense has been this season. To put things in perspective, they scored nearly 20% of their total runs this season during this six-game series. They are also still over 40 runs behind the second-worst offense, so we need a few more weeks like this one.

For the second time this series, every single Trav got a base hit, which kinda makes sense if you told me they scored nine runs while still not having a league-average hitter. This whole week has been the entire team contributing without any one guy truly having a ridiculous hot streak.

Polcovich knocked in three runs, and his bat is starting to heat up a bit as he is tapping into a little bit of power for his third home run of the season. Scheiner launched his team-leading seventh home run of the season. Cade Marlowe also sent a ball over the fence for his fourth dinger of the year. Jack Larsen rounded out the scoring with two RBIs of his own.

The eight runs were plenty for the Travs pitching staff to work with. Emerson Hancock’s numbers don’t jump off the page, but the deeper we dive, the more promising his outing actually was. I mean, two earned runs over four innings is fine on its own, but it is even more encouraging when we see that his only mistakes were two bad pitches over the middle of the plate to consecutive batters for back-to-back home runs. It might be counterintuitive, but I would rather see Hancock keep runners off the bases and get unlucky with the long ball than struggle for a more extended period. Everyone is going to get unlucky and give up a home run occasionally, while everyone except 2022 Taylor Dollard, I guess.

Hancock was nearly flawless outside of those two homers. For the rest of the game, he gave up just one hit over four innings with zero walks and four strikeouts. That is the exact same line as his previous outing last Sunday. Emerson Hancock is starting to look like the guy drafted #6 overall. The best thing to come out of his start on Saturday was that Hancock threw 68 pitches, by far his longest outing of the season. The former Bulldog is getting close to being fully stretched out and able to pitch deep into games. The next couple of months will be fascinating to watch Hancock’s development and if he is able to pitch his way to Seattle by the end of the summer or if they will be a bit more conservative with his arm.

The bullpen was superb after Hancock left. Ben Onyshko, Dayeison Arias, and Braden Shipley threw four hitless innings between them. Travis Kuhn “struggled” for the first time in a minute, but he was still able to finish things off and only gave up one earned run.

Game Six: Taylor Dollard continues to be good at baseball, offense caps off stellar week

We have gotten to the point in the season where I am looking up Jacob deGrom’s 2021 season after looking at what Taylor Dollard is doing. The two are still not totally comparable, 2021 Jacob deGrom is probably the best single season of any baseball player I have ever seen, but the fact that I needed to double check the other night is quite the compliment for Dollard right now.

Dollard lowered his league-leading ERA back down to 0.95. He also has a league-leading 2.64 FIP. I know each of us are pretty narrowly focused on each of our respective teams, but I don’t think I’ll receive much pushback from Kate, John, or Nick when I say that Taylor Dollard is having the best season of anyone in the organization. Ok, maybe a tiny bit of pushback from Kate on behalf of Edwin Arroyo,

Dollard has not had a single bad start this season, We are reaching 2014 Felix levels of consistency at this point. There was a teeny tiny part of me that was a little worried about waiting to praise Dollard until the series finale in case he had a bad outing. I could not have been more wrong. Dollard once again dominated, going six innings with just two hits, three walks, and seven Ks.

I have not mentioned it for the first two months of the season because I did not want it to take away from how outstanding he has been on the field, but it is finally time to talk about his flow. I mean, look at this 80-grade hair.

Taylor Dollard is dialed in both on and off the field right now. It does not make a ton of sense to promote him to Tacoma because of the elevated PCL numbers, but we are probably getting close to at least considering it. I’m not sure what else he has to prove against Texas League hitters right now. Maybe let him start the all-star game and then reward him by sending him to Tacoma, or maybe a little further north...

The offense continued their hot streak, scoring six runs on the day. Jack Larsen opened the scoring with a triple in the sixth to put Dollard in line for the win. The Travs tacked on four more in the seventh on three consecutive doubles to make absolute sure that Dollard was rewarded for his efforts. This series ended with elite pitching and clutch hitting from the Travs, which is going to have to be their formula if they want to continue this little hot streak they are on.

Up Next: The Travelers return home to take on the Wichita Wind Surge (MIN) for a six-game set.

Tacoma Rainiers (19-34) take first three, somehow still only split series to Reno Aces (29-25)

Hello, I hate to break this news to you, but I am unfortunately not John Trupin. John is out of the country, so you will have to settle for me (Kyle, hi, hello) for the next couple weeks recapping the Rainiers. As most of my energy has been spent on the Travelers this season, it will not be as in-depth as John, but bare with me because I have fun Jarred Kelenic gifs and good news about Justus Sheffield. Hopefully if Taylor Dollard gets called up it happens ASAP so I can cover my beloved son make one start before John returns.

Game One: Offense shows up late in thrilling 3-2 win

Tommy Milone continued his perplexing run of dominance against PCL hitters. The veteran allowed just two hits over 5.2 innings with three strikeouts. Unfortunately, one of those hits was a solo home run to former Rainier (and the first professional athlete I ever interviewed) Braden Bishop in the fifth inning.

The Rainiers answered back on a Brian O’Keefe triple to open the seventh inning, followed shortly by an Andrew Knapp single to tie the game at 1-1.

Jarred Kelenic started the eight inning with a double. Oh yeah, Jarred is good again. That’s an exciting development. No, I will not be measured in my optimism whatsoever that he is somehow fixed because he is raking against pitchers who he has already proven he is better than. My cup runneth over with with undying optimism that Jarred Kelenic is good at baseball again.

Forrest Wall (and some sloppy defense) drove Jarred in to give Tacoma the lead. Brian O’Keefe added the much-needed insurance run on a single.

The Aces played some small ball to get one back in the eight, but Danny Young had a perfect ninth inning to close out the game and give the Rainiers the series opener.

Game Two: Rainiers hang on to win rollercoaster 6-5 game

Listen, I am telling you that Jarred is good at baseball again. He opened Wednesday night by sending the first pitch he saw over the centerfield wall.

This game was like seemingly every Kraken game I watched this season. The Rainiers scored twice in the first, Brian O’Keefe brought in an additional run to go with Kelenic’s bomb. Cool, that’s like Jared McCann scoring an early goal. Yay! things are exciting and we are feeling good and oh no they gave up the lead already? The Aces scored twice in the second to even things up.

No worries, lots of game left to work with and oh heck yeah a Forrest Wall two-run homer to give Tacoma the lead back!

The Rainiers, unlike the Kraken most of the times I watched them, actually added onto the lead with an Andrew Knapp solo shot. (please don’t come for me Kraken twitter, I love them and I would already die for Matty Beniers) The Aces chipped back with one in the sixth and one in the eight to make it a one run game. The Rainiers added a crucial insurance run on a Mason McCoy home run. Reno tacked on one more on a home run of their own, but Matt Koch was able to close things out.

Game Three: Justus Sheffield deals in a relaxing 7-0 win

You know what? Here. Just watch this first, then we can have our hypothetical argument.

He is good again, okay? Yes, he should be crushing PCL pitching, but that shouldn’t be a point against Jarred Kelenic being good again. No, the 34.2 K% and 5.1 BB% in Tacoma is decidedly not what you want, but I mean the ball go far when he makes contact. There’s a slight possibility that I am overcorrecting because I can’t have my worst take ever look as bad as it does right now.

things don’t look great right now, tbh

Just astronomically brutal. I don’t know why I willingly exposed just how poisoned my brain is.

Going from one disappointing trade return from New York to another, hey how about Justus Sheffield huh? Justus had by far his best outing of the season, throwing six shutout innings, striking out seven while allowing just four hits and one walk. The performance was enough to earn Sheffield PCL Pitcher of the week. That would be nice if Justus is also good at baseball again.

The offense made things pretty chill for Sheffield, and the fan base, after two anxiety inducing wins to open the series. On top of Jarred, Joseph Odom and Brian O’Keefe also hit solo home runs. Justin Upton knocked in his first run as a Rainier with a single in the eight inning.

The bullpen finished off the shutout to give the Rainiers their second three-game winning streak of the season. Asher Wojciechowski was perfect in his last inning as a member of the Seattle Mariners organization prior to his release on Sunday. Gone, but never forgotten.

Game Four and Game Five: Tacoma can’t keep up with Reno offensive outburst(s)

Both Friday and Saturday followed a similar script. Both games featured the Rainiers losing in games that never really felt as close as the final scores look. And the final scores don’t look all that close in the first place. Friday was a 8-3 loss. Tacoma had an opportunity to crawl back into it when it was 5-3, but Reno put the game out of reach with a Drew Ellis bases clearing double to make it 8-3. The main positive to take away from Friday is that Jarred extended his hitting streak and he had another RBI (an RBI groundout still counts).

The Rainiers got into an early deficit on Saturday thanks to a Stone Garrett two run home run scoring Seth Beer. Time for a quick tangent; everyone on baseball twitter goes wild over Seth Beer’s name. Sure, I get it. It can make for some clever jokes, especially with how he plays. But people. Come on. Stone Garrett is by far the superior name of this duo. Imagine naming your kid Stone and thinking they were destined for anything but greatness. Baseball reference says that is his actual name, so please don’t crush my dreams and tell me otherwise.

Beer poured on another run with a solo shot. (listen, I know, not my best work, but I already embarrassed myself enough today with my Kelenic and Steph Curry comparison so that’s the best beer pun you’re getting) to extend the lead to 4-1. A beer sac fly in the following inning made it 5-1. Tacoma scored once in the sixth and had a shot to do more damage to put some pressure on Reno. They had runners on second and third with one out, but were unable to do narrow the gap as Joseph Odom struck out and Forrest Wall grounded out to end the threat.

The Rainiers again had two on in the eight, this time with no outs, but were unable to capitalize, as the Aces added another in the bottom of the frame.

Game Six: Rainiers win a stunning eight inning baseball game, unfortunately it went nine innings.

You know things are bad when you have such a thrilling comeback, riding as high as possible, momentum totally on your side, only to choke it away and lose in the bottom of the ninth.

Tacoma was trailing 4-1 with two outs and no one on in the eight inning, that lone run on a Justin Upton homer.

Upton is currently preparing the dish for how I should eat my words about how upset I was that he was getting a shot over players in the organization. Forrest Wall started the rally with a double to center. He was promptly driven in by Kelenic. Cool, but still facing a sizable deficit for how the offense has been performing lately. Upton sent his first double of the year to center to make it a one-run game. I like my words sautéed, Justin. Brian O’Keefe followed that with his fourth home run of the season to remarkably give Tacoma the lead.

Until the bottom of the ninth that is. Patrick Weigel relieved Matt Brash to try to cap off the brilliant comeback. He walked the first batter and hit the second, but he did get a pop out for the first out of the inning. Old friend, and 80-grade human being, Braden Bishop singled to left to load the bases. Not ideal, but technically fine. All Weigel needed to do was get a double play or some sort of soft out here and live to see another batter. Dominic Canzone decided to be the hero (villain?) with a single to right to score two runs and ruin Tacoma’s storybook ending to the series.

Up Next: The Rainiers head to Salt Lake for three against the Bees before returning home for three against Round Rock starting on Friday.