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June 6 Game Notes: Tacoma Rainiers vs. Reno Aces

June 6, 2024

TACOMA RAINIERS (32-27) vs. RENO ACES (28-31) Thursday, June 6 • 7:05 PM • Cheney Stadium • Tacoma, WA RHP Casey Lawrence (4-4, 5.02) vs. RHP Chris Ellis (2-3, 7.28)

TACOMA RAINIERS (32-27) vs. RENO ACES (28-31)
Thursday, June 6 • 7:05 PM • Cheney Stadium • Tacoma, WA
RHP Casey Lawrence (4-4, 5.02) vs. RHP Chris Ellis (2-3, 7.28)

TONIGHT’S GAME: Tacoma and Reno will play game three of their six-game series tonight, with the Rainiers looking for their third straight win. Casey Lawrence will get the start for the Rainiers, set to make his 11th start of the season and fourth against Reno. Lawrence comes into play today with a record of 4-4 and a 5.02 ERA, allowing 34 earned runs on 72 hits and 16 walks. He has struck out 39 batters over his 61.0 innings this year, allowing opponents to hit .290 against him. Lawrence enters play tonight having won each of his last four starts, beginning on May 12 against the Aces. Opposite Lawrence will be Chris Ellis getting the start for Reno, entering play tonight with a 2-3 record and a 7.28 ERA. Ellis has allowed 24 earned runs on 32 hits and 16 walks while striking out 20 over 29.2 frames. Two of his seven starts this year have come against Tacoma, going 1-1 with a 4.50 ERA. In those two games, he has allowed five earned runs on 10 hits including two home runs, walking and striking out six over 10.0 innings.

IT’S BEEN A STRUGGLE: Joey Krehbiel allowed three earned runs in his outing last night, marking four straight games in which he has allowed runs to score. This comes after six consecutive scoreless outings from May 9-24 in which he allowed just one hit over 6.1 innings. The right-hander spun a scoreless seventh inning of relief last night, getting three straight ground outs to keep a 2-1 lead intact for the Rainiers. It was a different story in the eighth, as he came back out for a second inning of work. Krehbiel allowed four consecutive batters to reach base with a walk, back-to-back RBI doubles and an RBI single. Over his first 18 games of the season, the 31-year-old allowed just five earned runs on 10 hits and four walks, striking out 18 over 21.0 innings pitched. He held opponents to just a .139 batting average against him over that span, pitching to a 2.14 ERA.

GETTIN’ ON: Since starting his time with Tacoma going 0-for-6 through his first two games, Luis Urias has really turned it around, getting on base in each of his last seven games. Since May 29, the infielder is hitting .348 (8-for-23) with nine runs scored, a double, two home runs and 11 RBI. He also has more walks than strikeouts, walking 11 times compared to just seven strikeouts. Urias has walked three times in each of his last two games, hitting .400 with seven runs batted in against Reno this series. He enters play tonight with a six-game hitting streak.

NOT AGAIN: Last week at Sacramento, Tacoma lost the series, dropping four of the six games. In three of their four losses, they held a lead into the later innings. It started in game one of the series, when the Rainiers led 3-2 after six frames. A costly error extended the seventh inning for the River Cats, who put up a three-spot and eventually won the game 5-3. After winning game two of the series, they were in position to take game three as well, up 2-1 after seven innings. Once again, Sacramento struck for three runs, this time in the eighth, to win 4-2. Tacoma won game four, and similarly to game one, they entered the seventh inning with a 3-2 lead in game five. A three-run frame from the River Cats was enough to take the fifth game of the series by the same score as game one, as they won 5-3 to take a series lead. Tacoma led after six innings in each of the first five games of the series, allowing 11 runs to score in the seventh inning or later. Last night was a similar feeling, as they led 2-1 entering the eighth inning. They allowed three runs in the eighth to go down 4-2. Luckily for the Rainiers, they were able to come back and win the game in extras, but the late-inning runs have shown to be a big problem in the last two weeks.

FOUR’S WILD: Casey Lawrence gets the nod tonight for Tacoma, looking for his fifth straight win. The right-hander took four losses over his first six starts of the season, going 0-4 with a 7.56 ERA over six games. Since his loss on May 7 to Reno, he has won each of his last four starts, allowing two or less earned runs in each start. It started on May 12 against Reno, allowing two earned runs on six hits over 5.2 innings. He then beat Salt Lake with 7.0 innings of one-run ball on May 18 and Las Vegas with 6.2 innings of one-run ball on May 25. In his last outing, on May 31 against Sacramento, he tossed a season-high 8.1 innings, allowing two earned runs on seven hits. Over his four-game winning streak, the veteran right-hander has allowed just six earned runs on 21 hits and six walks, striking out 23 batters over 27.2 innings. Opponents are hitting just .206 against Lawrence over that span. Tonight’s game is also his fourth start of the season against Reno, going 1-1 with a 6.35 ERA through his first three.

NOT HIMSELF: Jhonathan Diaz made the start for Tacoma last night and was very uncharacteristic compared to how he has pitched all season. The southpaw entered the game with a 7-1 record and a 2.98 ERA, allowing just 21 earned runs on 58 hits and 11 walks over his 63.1 innings. Over that span, he struck out 65 batters, allowing opponents to hit .244 against him. Diaz had shown supreme control, walking just 11 batters compared to 65 strikeouts. Entering play last night, he had walked four batters in an outing against Sacramento on May 3, but aside from that, walked no more than two batters. He had walked none in five of his 11 games, but last night was a different story. The 27-year-old walked five batters in a season-low 3.0 innings, needing 76 pitches to get through the three frames. He allowed three hits but used two strikeouts to work around the base runners, allowing just one run.

TURN IT AROUND: It has been a struggle at the plate lately for Cade Marlowe, as the outfielder is hitting .214 on the season. Since game two of a doubleheader on May 23 against Las Vegas, Marlowe is hitting .111, going 5-for-45 over that span. He has taken five walks compared to 24 strikeouts in those 11 games, striking out two or more times in eight of the 11 contests. Marlowe struck out four times in a single game twice against Sacramento last week and struck out three times in five at-bats last night. He took a walk in his final plate appearance of the game last night and will look for that to get him going. The 26-year-old is hitless in his last three games, going 0-for-13 with eight strikeouts since June 1.

AGAINST RENO: Tacoma and Reno will play game three of their current six-game series and game 15 of the season between the two teams. With Tacoma’s win last night, the home team is now 11-3 in the series, as Tacoma is 7-1 through eight home games and 2-4 in their six games at Greater Nevada Field. The Rainiers are leading the season series 9-5 but trail the all-time series by 38 games, at 110-148.

SHORT HOPS: Joey Krehbiel has allowed more earned runs (7) over his last four games than he did over his first 18 games of the season (5)…Jake Slaughter hit .225 in his first 11 games with Tacoma, but has settled in and is hitting .345 over his last seven games; the infielder has a double, home run and five runs batted in over those seven games, walking four times compared to six strikeouts…with the win, Tacoma moved to 2-2 in extra innings this year and a perfect 5-0 in Wednesday home games...after last night’s no-decision, Jhonathan Diaz has now gone two straight starts without earning a win for the first time this season.