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 Tacoma Rainiers

Tacoma Rainiers Game Notes: at ABQ (5:35 PT)

May 17, 2023 - Pacific Coast League (PCL)
Tacoma Rainiers News Release


Tonight Tacoma aims to avoid a four-game skid, which would equal a season-high. The Rainiers have lost 10 of 13 overall and are 7-15 on the road.

Tacoma Rainiers (18-22) @ Albuquerque Isotopes (17-23)

Wednesday, May 17, 2023, 5:35p.m. PT | Isotopes Park: Albuquerque, NM

RHP Nick Davila vs. RHP Jeff Criswell

PAT THE BAT: Tacoma infielder Pat Valaika returns to Albuquerque this week for the first time as an opponent; he played in 160 games for the Isotopes between 2016-19, originally a ninth round draft selection of Colorado in 2013. Valaika had a huge run for ABQ in 2019 (84 GP) around 40 MLB games with Colorado: .320, .952 OPS, 25 HR, 75 RBI and went 5-for-18 with a walk and solo HR against Tacoma that season. He was selected to the 2019 Triple-A All-Star Game in El Paso, and is a veteran of 373 MLB games with Colorado and Baltimore (2016-21).

'PEN-EMIES: Two members of the Albuquerque pitching staff spent significant time with Tacoma in 2022. RHP Matt Koch (pronounced "cook") spent nearly all of last season with the Rainiers, aside from appearing in four games (4.1 IP) with Seattle between April 13-29, as the first Tacoma player called up last season. Koch pitched 38.1 innings for the Rainiers (38 G) and struck out 50 (13 BB), while posting a 3.05 ERA and 1.04 WHIP. The other, RHP Phillips Valdez, was claimed by Seattle off waivers from Boston on 7/29/22 and finished the season with Tacoma (18 G, 21.1 IP, 4.22 ERA); he appeared in 13 G (16.1 IP for the Red Sox last season as well.

SCHEIN BRIGHT ON THE DIAMOND: Only three MiLB players have more home runs than Rainiers INF/OF Jake Scheiner's 12, each also at Triple-A; Salt Lake's Jo Adell (14), Luken Baker (14) of Memphis (International League) and Mark Vientos (13) of Syracuse (IL), who was called up by the Mets on Tuesday. Scheiner currently ranks top 5 in the PCL in home runs (T-2nd), doubles (11), extra-base hits (23) and total bases (87). His 32 RBI, 33 runs, 27 walks, and .592 SLG each rank top 10 in the league. Scheiner has hit safely in 13 of his last 15 games and is batting .358 in May over 14 games played (19-for-53, 4 HR, 9 RBI, 13 R, 7 BB, 1.131 OPS). The Triple-A rookie's solid .272 BA is still misleading when you consider his overall .978 OPS (.386/.592).

LEAD-R-BOARD: The Rainiers lead all Triple-A clubs in walks, with 243 drawn over 40 games (6.08 BB/game), a 15-walk cushion over second place El Paso (228). Tacoma infielder Cesar Hernandez's 32 walks (32 GP) is one shy of El Paso's Matthew Batten for the league lead; his .460 on-base percentage is fourth in the PCL (7th-highest in Triple-A). Tacoma's OBP is third in Triple-A and second in the PCL at .379, and their 51 stolen bases (12 CS, 80.95%) rank second in the league, only to Salt Lake's 52 SB.

FORD'S LEAD LAP: With his 10th homer on Friday (solo, 10, T-5th in PCL), Mike Ford leads all of North American professional baseball with 46 RBI (38 GP)...the players closest to Ford are Las Vegas's Cody Thomas (43) and Adolis Garcia of the Texas Rangers, who entered Tuesday's action leading the Major Leagues (by 5) with 44 RBI. At 40 driven in, Albuquerque's Nolan Jones is in a three-way tie for third in all of MiLB. Ford remains top seven in the PCL in SLG (.619), OPS (1.039), extra-base hits (21) and total bases (83).

Ford's career-high 86 RBI came in 2017, over 126 games between Double-A Trenton (EL) and Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (IL) while in the New York Yankees organization.

GREEN LIGHT: Mike Ford's eye-popping RBI numbers come with another double-take stat; the lefty is 10-for-14 (.714) with the bases loaded this season, with two grand slams, two doubles, 18 total bases and 22 of his 46 RBI. Ford hit both grand slams in 10 days, on 4/21 vs. El Paso (3 HR, career-high 8 RBI) and 4/30 at Las Vegas. His OPS is an even 2.000 with the bases loaded.

CADE PARADE: Rainiers OF Cade Marlowe had three hits on Sunday, another last night and has reached base safely in 23 of 25 games played after returning from a strained oblique on April 18. Even with his delayed start, Marlowe is one of 10 PCL players with at least three triples, and Sunday was already his third game with three-plus hits. Marlowe's nine-game hit streak from April 23 through May 4 equaled Brian O'Keefe for the 2023 club-long.

FESTA FIESTA: Rainiers RHP Matt Festa has been absolute nails after being optioned to Tacoma on April 9. He's carrying a 0.60 ERA in 12 games (15.0 IP, 1 ER), and has converted all five of his save opportunities, equaling Wander Suero and Nick Robertson, both of OKC, for most saves in the PCL. Festa is allowing a meager .125 BAA (6 hits) against Triple-A batters, after retiring the side in order on Sunday (9th).


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