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Bees 4, Rainiers 3

It just wasn't Tacoma's evening in Salt Lake tonight. The Rainiers dropped their second in a row, this time in tough, tough fashion to the first-place Bees. Starter Ryan Feierabend gave up a run in each of the first two innings, and Salt Lake starter Kasey Olenberger kept the Rainiers under wraps for the first six. Wladimir Balentien hit a two-run homer in the seventh to tie, but Salt Lake grabbed the lead right back, getting two off of reliever Brad Thomas. The Rainiers fall to 7-10, the Bees stay in first place of the Pacific Northern Division at 10-7.

A day game tomorrow, 1:05 first pitch. Jorge Campillo (1-1, 2.37) against Henry Bonilla (2-0, 4.80).

Box from Minor League Baseball

Crud.

So, no sweep. The recently called up Jason Mackintosh (and by “recently” we mean about 10 minutes before first pitch) had a fine AAA debut, going 5 scoreless innings. Unfortunately, the bullpen did him no justice as Ryan Rowland-Smith gave up 4 runs in 2/3 of an inning. The bats were weren't much better, as the Rainiers collected only 5 hits. Tacoma ends this eight-game homestand 4-4, and now head off the Salt Lake and Las Vegas. First up is the Bees, tomorrow at 5:35 PST.

It might be PDT, we never bothered to learn which was which.

We have to point this out from the official site, regarding the pitching match up tomorrow


Ryan Feierabend starts for Tacoma against Kasey Olenberger in a battle bewtween pitchers with really long last names.
Memo to the press release writer: It is our job to be snarky and funny. Please don't put us out of business. While we are impressed with recent teaks tweaks to the official site, we ask that you please remember your place. Leave any potential humor to under-employed part-time bloggers such as us.

And in return, we will not point out any possible spelling errors.

Update: Well, now we should REALLY not point out any possible errors. Though a nice teak finish might be nice for TacomaRainiers.com.

Ahem.

Thank You.

Box from Minor League Baseball

As mascots go, the Lake Elsinore Storm have a set that aren’t all that creepy. Thunder is a giant, green mutant dog creature. Jackpot is a giant Jackrabbit, usually pink, sometimes tan, always wearing giant sunglasses. Pretty basic, really. Actually not nearly as creepy and weird as the Storm hat.

Yes, those are eyes. Move on. Best not to think of

No, Thunder and Jackpot are actually indescribably cool. And why is that?

Storm Wars



What other mascots - minor league, major league or in-between - star in their own Star Wars parody? Not one, mind you, that would be easy. How about two episodes of Storm Wars?

In the first, our heroes are attacked by a portly Sith wearing an ill-fitting mask. In the sequel - bigger and more technically sound, but lacking the innocence of the original - Thunder and Jackpot face a bounty hunter who dresses like a ninja topped with a Hannibal Lector mask.

Not to missed, my friends. Not to be missed.

Again, all thanks to Deadspin. If you don't read Deadspin... well, why the hell aren't you?

The Rainiers take their third in a row over Fresno. Jim Parque continued his comeback with an excellent start, going seven innings, giving up only one run and six strikeouts. Jeremy Reed hit a sacrifice fly and a third-inning double. Prentice Redman (I didn’t know he was on the team, and neither did you) hit a two-run homer in the fourth, and that was all Parque and reliever Byron Embry needed.

Tomorrow the Rainiers go for their first sweep of the year. It’s Friday night at Cheney Stadium, so that means Fireworks Night. First pitch is 6:05, and then it’s off to Salt Lake for another road trip. Cha Baek (1-0, 2.55) against Matt Palmer (1-0, .371).

And who makes the schedules for these guys? Who ever heard of a Friday night get-away?

Box from Minor League Baseball.


Rhubarb comes for YOU!

Mr Lincecum

I braved the rain and cold on Tuesday to see Tim Lincecum pitch for the Grizzlies. Boy, he sure seems like the real deal.

Now, that's some stunning scouting, huh? It's just that kind of knowledge that keeps 'em coming back.

His line for Tuesday was spectacular: 6.2 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 11 K. That isn't the story though. Watching this game, I had to wonder just how the Rainiers managed to get those three hits. Lincecum's stuff is overpowering, and if he keeps his walks down – or non-existent – as was the case against Tacoma, it's a wonder if we'll see him again when Fresno comes to town in July.

Justin Lehr pitched six innings to pick up his first victory of the year as Tacoma beat Fresno for the second straight night. The Rainiers notched runs in four of the first five innings, including three against Grizzly starter Erick Threets in just 2.2 innings. While Lehr picked up the win, the pitching star for this game might well be a rapidly improving bullpen Renee Cortez and Eric O'Flaherty contributed three scoreless innings, with O'Flaherty picking up his third save.

Jon Nelson was the hitting star for the Rainiers, picking up two hits and an RBI double. Same two tomorrow night for game three at 6:05. Jim Parque (0-1, 9.31) continues his comeback against Matt Kinney (1-1, 4.15).

Box from Minor League Baseball

There weren’t many fans left at Cheney Stadium for the bottom of the ninth, but those that were got a treat. The Rainiers picked up two in the ninth to spoil Tim Lincecum’s dominant homecoming start. Jeff Clement hit a two-run double to drive in Gookie Dawkins and Wladimir Balentien. After Lincecum’s dominance (6 2/3 innings, 3 hits 11 K), the Rainiers seemed to get to the Grizzlies’ bullpen, but Jeremy Reed struck out with the bases loaded in the eighth. Fresno closer Brian Wilson couldn’t hold it in the ninth though, and Tacoma gets a much-needed win.

We were at this game, and it was a fun one. I’ll have some pictures and general thoughts tomorrow.

One easy one: Lincecum can really bring it.

Box from MiLB

Again tomorrow at 6:05. Justin Lehr for the Rainiers against Erick Threets for Fresno. Threets is an interesting case. He was a heralded prospect before wildness and injury problems derailed his career. He was once supposedly clocked at 104 mph. That -if verifiable - would be the fastest fastball ever recorded.

The modern-day Pacific Coast League is a massive enterprise consisting of 16 teams stretching from Tacoma and Portland in the Pacific Northwest to New Orleans of the Deep South. These are the teams our hometown nine will face throughout the long season.



The Team: Salt Lake Bees

The Location: Salt Lake City, Utah

The Affiliation: Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (ridiculous, I know)

The Website: SLBees.com

The Ballpark: Franklin Covey Field. Opened in 1994, Franklin Covey was one of the first double-decker minor league fields. Set in a commercial area of Salt Lake, the stadium features a view of the Wasatch Mountains

The History: Salt Lake City first hosted a PCL franchise in 1915, hosting the former Sacramento Solons, a team that had already found itself in Tacoma and Fresno in addition to three separate stays in Sacramento. The Salt Lake Bees lasted until 1925, when other PCL owners tired of the long travel, moved the team to Southern California. That team – the first version of the PCL Tacoma Tigers – spent the majority of the century as the San Diego Padres. The PCL would return to Utah in 1958, with the Hollywood Stars move. That lasted until 1965, when that version of the Bees moved to Tacoma, replacing the departing Giants. The PCL would return again in 1970 as the Salt Lake Angels, then as the Salt Lake Gulls. That team left in 1985 and moved to Calgary. Finally, the current team arrived in 1994, when the former Portland Beavers were moved into the brand-new Franklin Covey Field.

The Name: This PCL team was originally named the Buzz (which is awful), then changed to the Stingers (which is a tiny bit better) in 2002 to avoid a lawsuit from Georgia Tech. In 2005, the team revived the Bees moniker and brought back these gorgeous throwback uniforms.

Whew….That was far more complicated than it needed to be.

The Prospects: Brandon Wood, Jeff Mathis, Terry Evans

The first half of the Rainiers' first homestand ends poorly, as the Rainiers drop three out of four to Sacramento. Tacoma finally got to River Cats starter Brad Halsey in the sixth, only to see the door slammed by a trio of Sacramento relievers. Wlad and Mike Morse go deep, but it just wasn't enough. The Grizzlies come to town for four starting tomorrow at 6:05.

An update from yesterday; Tim Lincecum pitches Tuesday for Fresno, so don't miss it. Jorge Campillo takes the mound for Tacoma. These two staged quite a duel in Fresno last week, so this should be a feast for fans of good pitching.

Box from Minor League Baseball

The Week That Was: Not a great week for the hometown nine; the Rainiers started the week getting blasted 16-1 in Fresno, and ended it by dropping the first two games at home in excruciating fashion. Some measure of success was reached to end the week, as the Rainiers beat Sacramento 4-1. Overall Tacoma finished the week 2-5. The Rainiers are tied for second in the PCL Pacific North, three games behind Salt Lake.

On Deck: The Rainiers finish the four game series with Sacramento Monday evening, which is the last we shall see of the River Cats until mid-June. Fresno comes to town for a four-game series starting on Tuesday, with all games starting at 6:05. The can't miss game should be Wednesday. If the Grizzlies' rotation holds up, Tim Lincecum will take the mound at Cheney Stadium.


In The Hole: After the Grizzlies series Tacoma starts on another road trip with four against the very tough Salt Lake Bees. The Bees, at 7-4 sporting the best record in the PCL, are a strong team starring third baseman Brandon Wood. Named the 2005 Baseball America Minor League Player of the Year after clubbing 43 homers for Rancho Cucamonga of the California League, Wood followed that up with another 25 at Double-A Arkansas. A tall shortstop in the Cal Ripken mode, Wood is switching to third to avoid the glut of middle infielders controlled by parent club Los Angeles.

After dropping the first two at home, the Rainiers rode a strong start from Cha Seung Baek and stronger relief from Renee Cortez, Sean Green and Eric O'Flaherty to notch Tacoma's first win at home. Baek went six innings, allowing one run on five hits and two walks. Each of the three relievers pitched a scoreless inning and Bryan LaHair ripped a two-run double in the fourth.

Next up: the finale of a four-game series with Sacramento. A nice pitching matchup on Monday, Ryan Feierabend makes his home debut against Brad Halsey. First pitch at 6:05.

Box Score/Wrap-Up from the Minor League Baseball official site.

42

Sixty years ago today, a 28 year old black man - a father, a veteran, a decorated athlete in three sports - stepped on to the field in Brooklyn, wearing number 42 emblazoned on a snow-white Dodger uniform. He would play for 10 seasons, collect 1518 hits, 137 home runs and 947 runs scored. He would win the Rookie of the Year in 1947, the MVP in 1949, and be elected to the Hall of Fame in 1962.

And he changed our national game - and our nation - forever.

Photo courtesy of the Academy of Achievement

Happy Jackie Robinson Day.

We skipped this game – yes we are allowed to do so – and goodness gracious are we glad we did. There was much going on today in the No Rhubarb! household (mainly the wedding), and we spend much of the day baseball free. Not completely of course, and we did listen to a couple innings of Mike Curto. The team was up 8-2 and we figured we would post a quick huzzah tonight.

Nevermind.

This team blew a six-run lead. Not much more needs to be said. Tomorrow at 1:35, Cha Seung Baek against Jason Windsor. In the name of Vin Scully, we ask for sunshine and a bullpen that doesn't collapse.

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