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May 29 Game Notes: Tacoma Rainiers at Sacramento River Cats

May 29, 2024 - Pacific Coast League (PCL)
Tacoma Rainiers News Release

TONIGHT'S GAME: Tacoma and Sacramento will play Game Two of their six-game series tonight, with the River Cats currently leading the series 1-0 after last night's comeback victory. Dallas Keuchel will get the start for the Rainiers, set to make his ninth start of the year and second against Sacramento. He suffered a loss his first time out against the River Cats this year back on May 2, allowing four runs (three earned) on six hits and a season-high four walks. He didn't strike a single batter out over his 5.0 innings, allowing Sacramento to hit .263 against him. On the other side, it will be Tommy Romero taking the ball for the River Cats, set to pitch in his 12th game (fifth start) of the season. Romero made one start and one relief appearance against Tacoma in their series earlier this month, dominating the Rainiers in both outings. In his start on April 30, the righty tossed five scoreless innings, allowing just two hits and two walks while striking out four. On May 5, coming out of relief, Romero dealt again, allowing just three hits and two walks while striking out six over 4.1 innings. Entering play tonight, he has spun 9.1 scoreless frames against Tacoma, a big part of his 3-0 record and 2.11 ERA overall on the season.

MAKE SOME CONTACT: Sacramento holds the fourth-best ERA in all of Triple-A entering play tonight, at 4.37. They are also third among all Triple-A teams in strikeouts coming into tonight's game, with 515 on the year, trailing just Norfolk (542) and Iowa (523) as the only three teams in the 500's. Tacoma has played a part in those 515 strikeouts for the River Cats, as the Rainiers have struck out 88 times over their first seven games against Sacramento. That accounts for 17% of Sacramento's total strikeouts on the year (88-of-515) in just 13% (7-of-52) of their games played this year. Sacramento has struck out double-digit batters in six of the seven games between the two teams, recording nine strikeouts in the lone single-digit game. After 13 more strikeouts last night, Tacoma stranded 11 men on-base and went 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position in their two-run loss.

BREAK THE STREAK: Dallas Keuchel is set to make his ninth start of the season for Tacoma tonight, entering play with a 3-4 record and a 5.44 ERA. Keuchel cruised through his first two starts of the year with the Rainiers, allowing just one earned run on five total hits over 10.0 innings, going 2-0 and holding a 0.90 ERA in those starts. After that, he lost four of his next five games, including his May 2 start against Sacramento. Last time out against Las Vegas, the southpaw broke the losing skid, earning his first win since April 12 against Reno. He still wasn't as sharp as he'd like, allowing six earned runs on eight hits and a walk over his 5.0 innings. He did strikeout a season-high six batters, but it marked his second consecutive start allowing six earned runs. Keuchel has spun at least five innings in all eight of his starts coming into tonight, topping out at 7.0 innings on May 16 against Salt Lake.

FIND THE ZONE: Tacoma's pitching staff walked nine batters last night, as each pitcher allowed at least two free passes. The nine walks gives them 179 on the year and 92 in the month of May entering play tonight. Their 92 walks through the first 24 games of the month is already 20 more than they allowed in all of April in 25 games, at 72. They are right around the same strikeout rate, fanning 173 batters through their 24 games in May compared to 185 in 25 games in April. The walks have led to an ERA of 5.95 so far in May compared to a 4.21 ERA in April.

GET TO FIVE: Tacoma scored three runs in their 5-3 loss last night, as Sacramento used a three-run seventh inning to earn the comeback victory. For the Rainiers, they fell to 1-3 when scoring three runs this year and are just 4-16 when scoring four or less. When they score five or more runs, they improve to 24-8, going a perfect 12-0 when scoring eight or more runs. If the Rainiers can get to five runs against Sacramento's pitching staff, they have a good shot at winning. Unfortunately for Tacoma, they have reached five or more runs against the River Cats just twice this year through the first seven games. They both resulted in victories, winning 6-3 on May 3 and 5-4 on May 5.

NOT TOO SHABBY: In his first-career Triple-A game last night, Tyler Locklear went 2-for-4 with a strikeout. He was one of four players in Tacoma's lineup to record a multi-hit game, batting from the cleanup spot in his first contest at this level. Locklear earned a promotion to Tacoma after hitting .291 (46-for-158) with 12 doubles and eight home runs in 41 games with Double-A Arkansas. He is rising through the system quickly after getting drafted in the second round of the 2022 draft, coming into this season ranked as the No. 8 prospect in Seattle's system according to

AGAINST SACRAMENTO: The Rainiers and River Cats get ready for game two of their six-game series tonight, with Sacramento leading 1-0 in the current series and 5-2 through their first seven games. They also hold the all-time series by 10 games over Tacoma now, at 253-243. Through the first seven games between the two teams, Sacramento is outscoring Tacoma by eight runs, at 29-21.

SHORT HOPS: Tacoma scored two runs in the third and one run in the fifth last night, keeping those as their two biggest run producing innings of the season; they have now scored 42 runs in the third inning and 52 in the fifth this season, good for 94 of their 304 (31%) runs scored this year...the Rainiers out-hit Sacramento 11-6 yesterday, dropping to 15-4 when they out-hit their opponents this year...six of Jake Slaughter's 11 hits since joining Tacoma have gone for doubles.

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