Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
Triple-A Affiliate
The Official Site of the Tacoma Rainiers Tacoma Rainiers

July 4 Game Notes: Tacoma Rainiers @ Salt Lake Bees

July 4, 2024

TACOMA RAINIERS (47-37) @ SALT LAKE BEES (36-47) Thursday, July 4 • 5:35 PM PT • Smith’s Ballpark • Salt Lake City, UT LHP Jhonathan Diaz (8-1, 3.26) vs. RHP Zach Plesac (3-7, 5.42)

Thursday, July 4 • 5:35 PM PT • Smith’s Ballpark • Salt Lake City, UT
LHP Jhonathan Diaz (8-1, 3.26) vs. RHP Zach Plesac (3-7, 5.42)

TONIGHT’S GAME: Tacoma and Salt Lake will play game four of their series and the first at Salt Lake tonight, with Tacoma currently leading the series two games to one. Jhonathan Diaz is set to make his 14th start in his 15th game of the year, facing his former team for the third time this year. The southpaw has not pitched since June 22 against Las Vegas, getting recalled to Seattle on June 28. He enters play tonight with an 8-1 record and a 3.26 ERA with the Rainiers, allowing 28 earned runs on 73 hits and 27 walks while striking out 73 batters in 77.1 innings pitched. Opposite Diaz will be right-hander Zach Plesac, who like Diaz, was just optioned from his parent club on June 29. In 13 starts with the Bees, Plesac is 3-7 with a 5.42 ERA, allowing 45 earned runs on 80 hits and 26 walks. He has struck out 51 batters over his 74.2 innings, allowing opponents to hit .272 against him. The Rainiers have had the 29-year-old’s number, as through his first three starts against Tacoma, he is 0-2 with a 6.00 ERA. Plesac has allowed 10 earned runs on 17 hits and 10 walks while striking out 11 over those 15.0 innings.

BACK IN ACTION: Jhonathan Diaz takes the mound for the Rainiers tonight, making his first start since June 22 against Las Vegas. The southpaw is among leaders in the Pacific Coast League in multiple categories, ranking first in ERA (3.26), tied for first in wins (8), fifth in strikeouts (73), fifth in innings pitched (77.1), third in batting average against (.250) and third in WHIP (1.29). Diaz began the year with a 7-1 record and a 2.98 ERA through his first 11 games, allowing just 21 earned runs on 58 hits and 11 walks while striking out 65 batters over 63.1 innings pitched. Since then, however, he has struggled with command, walking five or more batters in each of his three outings with Tacoma since June 5. He has walked more batters in his last three starts (16) than he did over his first 11 games (11) with the Rainiers. Despite struggling with the strike zone, Diaz has gone 1-0 with a 4.50 ERA over the three games, bringing an 8-1 record and 3.26 ERA into tonight’s start.

CAN’T GET OUT OF IT: Brett de Geus had his recent struggles continue last night, allowing four runs on three hits and a walk in the ninth inning last night. The right-hander entered the game with a three-run lead in search of his team-leading eighth save of the season. Instead, he recorded just one out and suffered his fourth loss, moving to 0-4 with an 8.61 ERA. de Geus has struggled over his last five outings, surrendering 14 runs (13 earned) on 13 hits and four walks, also allowing two home runs since June 22. All of that damage has come over just 3.1 innings pitched, as he didn’t record a single out on June 29 and recorded just one last night. The 26-year-old did have a scoreless outing back on Monday against Salt Lake, but couldn’t build off that in last night’s performance.

ANOTHER ONE: Casey Lawrence didn’t get the win after Tacoma gave up four runs in the ninth inning last night, but the right-hander made yet another quality start. Lawrence now has eight quality starts this year for the Rainiers, delivering a quality start in exactly half of his starts. It also accounts for one-third of Tacoma’s quality starts as a team, as they are now 16-8 when receiving a quality start from their starting pitcher this season. Three of Lawrence’s eight quality starts have come against the Bees.

ADDING ON: Jason Vosler clubbed his team-leading 17th home run of the season last night, moving him just six away from his career high in a season. Back in 2018, Vosler hit 23 deep balls with Double-A Tennessee (12) and Triple-A Iowa (11) when he was in the Chicago Cubs’ system. He hit 21 in 2017 with Tennessee, 20 in both 2019 (El Paso) and 2023 (Louisville), hitting 18 in 2022 with Sacramento. The utility-man is on pace to drive in the most runs of his career as well, entering play tonight with 67. He had a career-high 93 RBI in the 2018 season spent with the Smokies and Cubs, 81 in 2017 with Tennessee and 68 last year with Louisville. Vosler leads the Rainiers in games played (78), hits (85), doubles (14), home runs (17), RBI (67) and slugging percentage (.518).

KEPT IT GOING: The first reliever to enter the game for Tacoma last night was Cody Bolton, making his first appearance for the Rainiers since June 11 against Round Rock. He pitched in two games with Seattle over that span, but returned to Tacoma’s active roster when Seattle activated Jhonathan Diaz on June 28. Bolton pitched in his 10th game of the season for Tacoma last night and delivered his 10th scoreless outing, keeping his ERA at a perfect 0.00. Over his 9.2 innings with the Rainiers, the right-hander has allowed just three hits and two walks while striking out nine, holding opponents to an .097 batting average against him. He has thrown 87 of his 139 pitches for strikes, good for 63%.

NOT AGAIN: After hitting a two-run home run in the eighth inning of last night’s game, Jack Lopez clubbed a solo blast in the fourth inning of tonight’s game. His home runs in back-to-back games gives him six on the year against Tacoma, accounting for 60% of his deep flies on the year. In 14 games against the Rainiers, the infielder is hitting .340 (18-for-53) with six home runs and 13 runs batted in, slugging .679. One-third of his hits against Tacoma have left the yard. Michael Stefanic also hit his second home run in as many games last night, clubbing a two-run shot against Lawrence in the third inning after hitting a two-run homer in the third against Rob Kaminsky on Tuesday.

AGAINST SALT LAKE: Tacoma and Salt Lake continue their six-game set tonight with the Rainiers leading the series two games to one. After last night’s loss, the Rainiers lead the season series by three games, 9-6, and the all-time series by 15 games, at 398-383-1. Their loss at home moved their record on the year against Salt Lake at Cheney Stadium to 5-4; they now will play three at Smith’s Ballpark, where Tacoma is 4-2 on the year entering play tonight.

SHORT HOPS: Last night was Tacoma’s first loss on a Wednesday at home, falling to 6-1 at home and 10-4 overall on Wednesday’s…the Rainiers made three errors last night for the third time this year, tying their season high; errors proved costly, as the Bees scored three runs that would not have scored if Tacoma would’ve played clean defensively…Salt Lake has scored 59% (10-of-17) of their runs this series in the eighth inning or later, getting two in the ninth on Monday, three in the eighth and one in the ninth on Tuesday and four in the ninth of last night’s game...Tacoma is now 39-5 when leading after seven innings and 40-3 this year when leading after eight innings.