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June 16 Game Notes: Tacoma Rainiers at Round Rock Express

June 16, 2024 - Pacific Coast League (PCL)
Tacoma Rainiers News Release


Sunday, June 16 - 4:35 PM PT - Dell Diamond - Round Rock, TX

LHP Jhonathan Diaz (7-1, 2.98) vs. RHP Adrian Sampson (7-2, 4.41)

TONIGHT'S GAME: Tacoma and Round Rock will play the sixth and final game of their series tonight, with the Rainiers having already taken the series. Jhonathan Diaz will take the ball for Tacoma, coming off his first big league start of the season. He pitched 5.1 innings for Seattle on Tuesday, allowing three earned runs on nine hits including two home runs. He walked one compared to four strikeouts in the outing. He comes into play with a 7-1 record and 2.98 ERA in 12 Triple-A games, allowing just 22 earned runs on 61 hits and 16 walks compared to 67 strikeouts in 66.1 innings. Opposite Diaz will be another seven-game winner in Adrian Sampson. Sampson will make his second start of the series against Tacoma after starting the opener on Tuesday. In that outing, he allowed three earned runs on eight hits, striking out two batters over 5.2 innings. On the year, Sampson is 7-2 with a 4.41 ERA in 12 starts for Round Rock, allowing 31 earned runs on 73 hits and 15 walks while striking out 43 batters over 63.1 innings.

WALK DOWN THE LINE: Tacoma drew just five walks as a team last night, but four of the five were to infielder Leo Rivas. Rivas didn't record an official at-bat, walking four times and scoring a run in his four plate appearances. It was the most walks for an individual hitter in a single game all season for the Rainiers, as they had previously had an individual player walk three times in a single game 13 times prior to last night.

SHUT THEM DOWN: The Rainiers' pitching staff tossed their second shutout of the series last night, marking their sixth of the season. Four pitchers combined to keep Round Rock off the board for a 4-0 victory to take the series. Three of the four pitchers were the same pitchers who combined to shutout the Express on Thursday, as Collin Snider, Carlos Vargas and Joey Krehbiel kept Round Rock off the board after 6.0 scoreless frames from starter Dallas Keuchel. On Thursday, Michael Mariot started the game with 5.1 scoreless innings, allowing just one hit while striking out five. He was followed by Trevor Kelley, Snider, Vargas and Krehbiel, who combined to throw the remaining 3.2 frames. The four relievers allowed just three hits while walking one and striking out four. Last night, Keuchel spun 6.0 scoreless innings of two-hit ball, walking one and striking out seven. Vargas, Snider and Krehbiel combined to allow two hits and strike out four in the remaining three innings. Michael Perez has caught both shutouts this series, lowering the ERA when he is a catcher to 3.63 over 72.0 innings. With their two shutouts through five games this series, Tacoma ranks tied for third in ERA and runs allowed in the Pacific Coast League.

FIRST SINCE THE FIRST: Last night's victory gave Tacoma their first road series win since their first road series of the year, when they took four-of-six from Salt Lake back on April 2-7. In between those six games against the Bees and this set against the Express, Tacoma had dropped four consecutive road series. A victory tonight would give them their first five-win road trip of the season and their 17th road win of the season.

NOT HIMSELF: Jhonathan Diaz most recently started for Seattle on Tuesday against the Chicago White Sox, tossing 5.1 innings of three-run ball. Prior to that, his most recent start with the Rainiers was back on Wednesday, June 5 against Reno. In that outing, the southpaw was very uncharacteristic compared to how he has pitched all season. He entered play last week having allowed just 11 walks over his first 63.1 innings, striking out 65 over that span. In his outing against Reno, however, he walked five batters in a season-low 3.0 innings pitched, needing 76 pitches to get through the three frames. He allowed just three hits and used two strikeouts to work around the free passes, surrendering just one run in the outing. Diaz will look to get back into form tonight against a team that he has had success against over his career.

TIE IT: Tacoma enters the finale with three consecutive wins against Round Rock, their first three-game winning streak since May 12-15 against Reno and Salt Lake. Since that streak, they had won two consecutive games four separate times, but hadn't gotten to three. A win tonight would tie their longest winning streak of the season at four games. It would be the third time this season in which they win four straight and the first since April 9-12 against the Aces.

AGAINST ROUND ROCK: The Rainiers and Express will play the series finale of their six-game set tonight, with Tacoma having already won the series after taking four of the first five games played. The Rainiers lead the current series 4-1 and the all-time series 58-41 after three straight wins.

SHORT HOPS: Jonatan Clase is 4-for-8 with five runs scored, a double, a home run and a run batted in over his last two games; the outfielder has scored five of Tacoma's 10 runs over that two games against Round Rock, Carlos Vargas has struck out five of the six batters he has faced over two perfect innings.

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