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June 22 Game Notes: Tacoma Rainiers vs. Las Vegas Aviators

June 22, 2024 - Pacific Coast League (PCL)
Tacoma Rainiers News Release


Saturday, June 22 - 6:05 PM - Cheney Stadium - Tacoma, WA

LHP Jhonathan Diaz (8-1, 2.99) vs. RHP Joe Boyle (0-1, 5.59)

TONIGHT'S GAME: The Rainiers and Aviators will play game five of their six-game series tonight, as Tacoma will look for the series win after three consecutive victories. Jhonathan Diaz will get the nod for Tacoma, looking for his league-leading ninth win of the season. He enters play tonight with an 8-1 record and a 2.99 ERA, allowing 24 earned runs on 66 hits and 22 walks. He has struck out 69 batters over his 72.1 innings pitched, limiting opponents to a .244 batting average against him. Opposite Diaz will be Joe Boyle taking the ball for the Aviators, coming into play tonight with an 0-1 record and a 5.59 ERA through four starts. He has allowed six earned runs on six hits and 10 walks, striking out nine over 9.2 innings pitched. Boyle has not faced the Rainiers this year, but made his Triple-A debut against Tacoma last year, allowing two earned runs on two hits and four walks, striking out eight over 4.0 innings back on Aug. 25, 2023.

HOLDING IT DOWN: Tacoma's pitching staff has done more than their part during this recent hot stretch for the team, allowing just 28 runs over their last 10 games played, dating back to June 11. They have allowed more than three runs three times over that span, including an extra-inning victory on June 14. Eight of the 28 runs allowed came in game one of the current series against Las Vegas, as they spun two shutouts against Round Rock and have allowed just five runs over the previous three games. The team ERA has gone down from 4.84 entering play on June 11 to 4.52 coming into tonight's game.

GO FOR THE SERIES: After three consecutive wins, Tacoma has the chance to win the series with a victory over Las Vegas tonight. It would mark their third consecutive series win after taking four-of-six from Reno and five-of-six from Round Rock on the road. The Rainiers enter play having gone 5-1-0 in home series this year, looking for their sixth series home win. After three straight wins, they guaranteed themselves to not lose a single series at home in the first half of the season.

EARLY AND OFTEN: Tacoma continued their trend of getting ahead early last night, scoring in the first inning on a solo home run from Jorge Polanco. It marked the 12th time in their last 13 games that they have scored first and the ninth in which they have put runs on the board in the first frame. They have now scored 17 runs in the first inning over those 12 games, going from 27 runs in the first inning to 44 entering play tonight. Their record over those 13 games is 10-3, with two of their three losses coming by just one run.

BOTH SIDES: Jorge Polanco got the scoring started with a solo home run in the first inning last night, giving Tacoma a 1-0 lead. With the game tied after four frames, Polanco struck again in the fifth, once again providing a one-run lead. Each home run came from a different side of the plate, as his first deep fly came against a lefty and his second against a right-hander. Through three games on Major League rehab with Tacoma, the second basemen is hitting .364 (4-for-11) with a double and two home runs. He has driven in three runs and taken three walks while striking out once. He is the first Rainiers' player to hit two home runs in a single game since Blake Hunt did so back on April 28 against El Paso.

LOSING CONTROL: Jhonathan Diaz has been Tacoma's ace this year, leading the league with a 2.99 ERA and eight wins. He started the year with impeccable control of the strike zone, walking just four batters through his first six starts and 11 batters through his first 11 games. Over that span, the southpaw struck out 65 batters over his 63.1 innings pitched. June has been a different story, however, as Diaz has walked 11 batters over his two starts with the Rainiers. Back on June 5 against Reno, he allowed one earned run on three hits and five walks in just 3.0 innings pitched, striking out two along the way. In his most recent start against Round Rock, the 27-year-old earned a win, allowing just two earned runs over 6.0 innings pitched. He worked around five hits and a season-high six walks, striking out two in the outing. His six walks in his last start tied a career high mark. Diaz has doubled his walk total in his last two outings and will look to find the zone with more consistency tonight against the Aviators.

AGAINST LAS VEGAS: Tacoma and Las Vegas will play game five of their six-game series tonight, with the Rainiers leading the series 3-1 after three consecutive wins. Their three straight wins gives them the chance to win the series tonight and officially win the season series as well. They enter tonight's game leading the season series by two games, at 9-7. They are also seven games up in the all-time series, at 312-205.

SHORT HOPS: After going 1-for-2 with a run scored and two walks yesterday, Nick Solak is now hitting .306 with a .409 on-base percentage through 36 games with the Rainiers this season...Tacoma moved to a season-high 11 games over .500 with their win last night, entering play tonight with a record of 42-31...Dallas Keuchel earned his second straight win and seventh of the year, allowing just one earned run on five hits in 6.0 innings pitched last night.

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