Rainiers remain in the division hunt

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UPCOMING TACOMA GAMES
AT CHENEY STADIUM

  • THURSDAY, MAY 31 – 7:05 P.M.
    VS. SALT LAKE BEES
  • FRIDAY, JUNE 1 – 7:05 P.M.
    VS. SALT LAKE BEES
  • SATURDAY, JUNE 2 – 5:05 P.M.
    VS. SALT LAKE BEES
  • SUNDAY, JUNE 3 – 1:35 P.M.
    VS. SALT LAKE BEES

The Tacoma Rainiers return home for a quick five-game home stand against the Salt Lake Bees following a short, but solid, series in Las Vegas. Despite a bevy of roster moves dictated by the Seattle Mariners, the Rainiers find themselves just a stone’s throw out of first place in the Pacific Coast League’s Pacific Northern Division standings.

As of this issue, the Rainiers are 27-26 on the season and trail the Fresno Grizzlies (31-22) by just four games. With a total of 16 games scheduled at Cheney Stadium in June, the Rainiers not only look to be in good shape to remain in the hunt for the division title, but they could close the gap.

Two big roster moves went down in the past week for Tacoma. Unable to shake himself out of his funk at the plate, the Mariners designated infielder Taylor Motter for assignment. Now available on the market, Motter was nabbed by the Minnesota Twins on Monday, May 28.

The loss of Motter and his anemic bat should probably be a plus for the Rainiers, allowing for another up-and-comer to step in and get more plate time.

It also helps that Seattle has, yet again, sent first baseman Daniel Vogelbach back to the Rainiers. Vogelbach went 1-for-5 in his recent stint with the Mariners. To be honest, you’ve really got to feel for the guy. He has yet to get a solid run of games in the big leagues to see if he can find his Major League Baseball groove at the plate. Here’s hoping that Vogelbach can bounce back and return to the monster form he was showing for the Rainiers, prior to his recent call-up to the Mariners.

Let’s get caught up on the previous week of Rainiers’ baseball.

On Wednesday, May 23, the Rainiers hosted the El Paso Chihuahuas for a matinee game at Cheney Stadium. Six strong innings from Ariel Miranda were just what Tacoma needed in the 5-4 victory in front of 5,521 fans. While there were no long balls, the Rainiers were powered by doubles from Cameron Perkins, Zach Vincej and Danny Muno.

The following day, the Rainiers looked to cap their home stand with a victory before heading out for a short road trip. The Chihuahua weren’t in a giving mood though, dropping the Rainiers by a score of 3-2. Starting pitcher Rob Whalen put in five solid innings, striking out seven El Paso batters, while giving up just two earned runs. However, the Tacoma bats couldn’t get it together, knocking around just six base hits, including a solo home run by Vincej.

Tacoma would hit the ground running in Las Vegas on Friday, May 25. Starting pitcher Casey Lawrence secured his third win of the season with five innings of work. Lawrence struck out four Vegas batters, while giving up three earned runs. The Rainiers played long ball with home runs by Motter, Seth Mejias-Brean and Perkins to drive the 8-6 victory.

The bats came alive for Tacoma the following night, with the Rainiers driving in 11 runs on 12 hits. Starting pitcher Christian Bergman got his fourth win of the season on six innings of work. Home runs by Chris Herrmann, Mike Marjama, Vincej and Mejias-Brean accounted for six of the Tacoma runs.

After several rough outings, Tacoma finally got a solid start from pitcher Roenis Elias. The veteran pitched 6.2 innings of scoreless baseball. The Tacoma bats were electric, knocking around 16 hits on their way to a 10-4 victory at Las Vegas’ Cashman Field.

The boys from “Sin City” would get a little revenge on Tacoma before bidding the Rainiers farewell. Las Vegas defeated the Rainiers by a score of 10-2 on Monday, May 28, and followed it up with a tight 4-3 victory the next day.

Rainiers’ fans will be served up a fireworks treat following Tacoma’s game against Salt Lake City on Friday, June 2. With the weather beginning to take a turn for the better, it’s time to start planning some outings to Cheney Stadium. If the recent trend continues, this summer is going to be a race to the finish.

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