Rainiers PCL Playoff Series Game 3 Gamethread
Traffic prevented me from getting here early, so I’ll make this quick:
The Rainiers send Mauricio Robles to the mound today versus Vin Mazzaro of Sacramento.
The line-up is Ackley, Halman, Mangini, Winfree, Carp, Smoak, Nelson, Alfonzo, Hulett.
Chris Carter’s starting at DH for the RiverCats, and Michael Taylor is in CF.
Summary: The Rainiers lost game 3 of their best of 5 series tonight 6-2 because Mauricio Robles wasn’t sharp and because the RiverCats hit 2 HRs. Robles velocity was down and he couldn’t command his FB. A great change-up helped him rack up strike-outs, but he couldn’t find the zone consistently enough to give hitters, particularly righties, something else to look for. I’m pleased he was able to pitch as well as he did (for as long as he did) when he clearly didn’t have it tonight.
The R’s will try and close things out tomorrow at noon here at Safeco. Should they win, it’s on to Memphis for the championship series. But as Cheney’s been bulldozed and because the Red Sox are visiting the Mariners, the Rainiers would play every game on the road.
Halman K’d twice, but had two of the better swings against RiverCats starter Vin Mazzaro. Dustin Ackley had a forgettable game. If you’d like the gory details and a few pictures, they’re below.
Everyone seemed to have a good excuse, but uh…this place is deserted. If you’re local and you want to sit in the Diamond Club seats, here’s your chance. Pick a seat…any seat!
The Rainiers check out their new digs in the home dugout:
We’re underway, with an outside FB from Robles at 93. So far his FB velo’s down quite a bit from when I saw him, and while he’s not a command guy, it’s not hurting him so far. Oops…spoke too soon, Matt Watson yanks a pitch right down the RF line for a HR. 2-0 Sacto. 2K, 1BB in the first.
Robles pitched out of a jam in the 2nd, but he had help. Travis Buck doubled to lead off, and then a walk to Chris Carter and a balk put runners on 2nd and 3rd with no outs. But he blew away Michael Taylor with his best FB of the night (96), then fanned Baisley on a change. But Corey Wimberley hit a fliner to medium left, right down the line. Out of nowhere to make an amazing diving catch comes…Mike Carp. I’m still shaken.
Pictures! Here’s Robles in the stretch, and one of Tug Hulett and the massive container ship that is Chris Carter.
(Robles is in trouble again after a walk, a WP and a stolen base in which the runner was practically sliding into 3rd before the ball left Robles’ hand. Still, he got a big K of Everidge. The biggest change for Robles today is his FB which he can’t command and doesn’t have much life. His change is better, however, so he’s throwing a lot of them.)
Sacto gets a 3rd on a sacrifice fly scoring Sogard. Halman’s throw was on-line but just a bit late.
Offense? Base hit to RCF by Alfonzo and then a line drive 2B to the LCF gap. 2 on in scoring position, no out. But Dustin Ackley’s rung up on a…questionable check-swing. Wow. These umps are not having a great game. Halman scores Alfonzo with a line-drive sacrifice fly, but Matt Mangini flies out to CF to end it. 3-1 RiverCats after 3.
Attendance is 2,460. Sheesh. Is there something else going on tonight? M’s go quietly in the 4th; they really need to get to the RiverCats bullpen, which they’ve destroyed in the first two games. Mazzaro’s making it tough – he’s got 5 Ks through 4 with only 1BB (Robles has 4). That said, Mazzaro now has thrown more pitches than Robles.
Robles has settled down, and got through the 4th and 5th on 18 total pitches. He’s using his slider a lot; he’s basically at the Rich Harden 60/40 pitch mix right now. Can’t complain, he’s got way more command of the CH than the FB tonight, and the AAAA guys like Everidge are utterly lost against his change right now.
Now it’s Mazzaro who looks tired. He’s walked Tug Hulett on 4 pitches. Men on 1st and 2nd with 1 out for the Rainiers.
Dustin Ackley pops out to CF and Greg Halman hits a rope to LF, but Watson makes the catch. 3-1 still.
Robles gives up a hit, and his command could go either way now – either ‘a bit worse’ or ‘gone.’ Goes back to the change to get Josh Donaldson swinging, a few pitches after a good 94 mph FB. He’s not tiring as quickly as he did in his first few AAA games. He’s making Travis Buck look ridiculous right now; maybe it’s time to throw 80% change-ups. ….That would’ve been advisable, as Michael Taylor hits a FB just over the RF wall and it’s now a 6-1 lead.
Mazzaro’s now out of the game – 5Ip, 3H, 1R, 2BB, 5K, 102 pitches, 59 strikes. Edwar Ramirez is in, whom the Rainiers roughed up in game 1.
Robles is done after 6; Levale Speigner replaces him. 6IP, 4H, 6R, 5BBs, 9Ks, 2HRs, 1WP, 1balk tonight for Mauricio Robles.
Edward Paredes in now for the R’s. Tacoma picked up a run in the 7th on a couple of hits, an error, and a fielder’s choice ground-out by Dustin Ackley. Need some XBHs. Ramirez gets through the 8th without incident.
Paredes pitching in the 9th; good FB, but not quite up to his standards. Like Robles, Paredes seems like he’s missing a few MPH, and the RiverCats are putting good swings on the ball.
I cannot believe the M’s game turned out to be better than this one.