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May 12 Game Notes: Tacoma Rainiers @ Reno Aces

May 12, 2024

TACOMA RAINIERS (20-18) @ RENO ACES (19-19) Sunday, May 12 • 1:05 PM • Greater Nevada Field • Reno, NV RHP Casey Lawrence (0-4, 7.56) vs. RHP Chris Ellis (1-2, 5.84)

Sunday, May 12 • 1:05 PM • Greater Nevada Field • Reno, NV
RHP Casey Lawrence (0-4, 7.56) vs. RHP Chris Ellis (1-2, 5.84)

TODAY’S GAME: With Reno having already won the series, taking four of the first five games, the two teams will meet for the finale this afternoon. It will be a pitching rematch of game one from Tuesday, a 6-4 Reno victory. Casey Lawrence will take the ball for Tacoma, still in search of his first win of the season. The right-hander allowed six runs (five earned) on 10 hits and two walks while striking out four in Tuesday’s loss. Opposite Lawrence will be Chris Ellis toeing the rubber for the Aces, looking for his second straight win over the Rainiers. In game one of the series, he allowed just two earned runs on four hits and three walks, striking out three batters over his 5.0 innings pitched.

HEATING UP: Jonatan Clase is getting back on track after struggling at the plate since returning from Seattle. The 21-year-old started the season with Tacoma, hitting .311 (14-for-45) in his first 12 games of the year. Over that span, he recorded four doubles, two triples, two home runs and drove in 11 runs. He also drew seven walks compared to 12 strikeouts and stole three bases. He was then recalled by Seattle and played in nine games with the Mariners from April 15-28. After being optioned to Tacoma, Clase struggled, hitting just .091 (3-for-33) over his first nine games. He still showed patience, drawing nine walks, but struck out 14 times and recorded just one extra-base hit. Over his last two games, however, the switch hitter has looked to get back in a groove. He is 4-for-10 with five runs scored, two home runs, three RBI and a walk in his last two games, clubbing home runs in each contest. If Clase could get going at the top of the order, it could really spark Tacoma’s offense and get them back to their winning ways.

BEHIND THE DISH: After going 2-for-5 with a run scored, a double and two runs batted in in his Triple-A debut on Friday night, Matt Scheffler started at catcher in last night’s game. He is the first player to start at catcher this season other than Michael Papierski or Blake Hunt, who had combined to catch each of Tacoma’s first 37 games. Scheffler went 1-for-3 with a run scored, a run batted in and a walk out of the nine-hole in his second game at Triple-A, showing he can play at this level.

GET NUMBER ONE: Casey Lawrence has pitched well at times this season but hasn’t been able to get into the win column yet. He is the only pitcher on Tacoma’s roster with at least six starts that has yet to record a win. The righty enters play today with an 0-4 record and a 7.56 ERA through his first six starts, allowing 28 earned runs on 51 hits including seven home runs. He has walked 10 batters compared to 16 strikeouts over his 33.1 innings pitched. Lawrence has tossed two of Tacoma’s seven total quality starts coming into today’s game.

THE WRONG DIRECTION: Tacoma entered the series with the top pitching staff in many categories across the Pacific Coast League. They were second in ERA (4.10), first in hits allowed (245) and runs allowed (138). After allowing 49 runs over the first five games of the series, they are now fourth in the PCL in ERA (4.83), tied for fourth in this allowed (317) and third in runs allowed (187).

HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE: In the first series between these two teams back on April 9-14 at Cheney Stadium, Tacoma took five-of-six from Reno. They dominated the series, outscoring the Aces by 21 runs through the six games, 46-25. Unfortunately for the Rainiers, their current series has not gone as well. Reno has taken over the series and showed their offensive power, taking four of the first five games while outscoring Tacoma by 16 runs, 49-33. Reno has scored 10+ runs in three of their last four games, including each of the last two.

THE END IS NEAR: Tacoma is set to play in the final game of their 12-game road trip today, one they are looking forward to ending. The Rainiers have not had much success in their time away from Cheney Stadium, having gone 3-8 through the first 11 games of the trip. When the team left for the road trip, they were riding a three-game winning streak and held a 17-10 record. In the 11 games since, they have gone one two separate three-game losing streaks and are now just two games above .500, at 20-18. After today’s game, Tacoma will come to Cheney Stadium for a 12-game homestand against Salt Lake and Las Vegas.

AGAINST RENO: After already being handed their second consecutive series loss with last night’s defeat, Tacoma will look to take their second game from Reno and end the series on a high note. Reno currently leads the series 4-1 and the all-time series over Tacoma by 41 games, at 148-107. After taking five of the first six games the two teams played at Cheney Stadium back in April, Tacoma still holds a one-game lead over the Aces this season, at 6-5 entering play today.

SHORT HOPS: Last night’s loss moved Tacoma to 0-3 in Saturday road games this year…last night was the first time this year someone other than Michael Papierski or Blake Hunt has caught a single inning for Tacoma, as the two combined to catch each of the first 37 games on Tacoma’s schedule…the Rainiers have now had at least one error in each of the last six games they have played…Michael Chavis extended his hitting streak to a season-high six games last night, he is hitting .385 (10-for-26) over that span.