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May 18 Game Notes: Tacoma Rainiers vs. Salt Lake Bees 

May 18, 2024

TACOMA RAINIERS (23-20) vs. SALT LAKE BEES (18-24) Saturday, May 18 • 6:05 PM • Cheney Stadium • Tacoma, WA RHP Casey Lawrence (1-4. 6.92) vs. LHP Kenny Rosenberg (4-2, 2.72)

Saturday, May 18 • 6:05 PM • Cheney Stadium • Tacoma, WA
RHP Casey Lawrence (1-4. 6.92) vs. LHP Kenny Rosenberg (4-2, 2.72)

TONIGHT’S GAME: Tacoma and Salt Lake will play game five of their six-game series tonight, with the series even at two games apiece. Casey Lawrence will take the ball for Tacoma, making his eighth start of the season. The right-hander is coming off his first win of the year, entering playing tonight with a record of 1-4 and a 6.92 ERA. In his last outing, he allowed just two earned runs on six hits and two walks, striking out three Reno hitters over 5.2 innings pitched. Lawerence will face the Bees for the third time already this season. Opposite Lawrence will be Kenny Rosenberg toeing the rubber for Salt Lake. Rosenberg comes into play tonight with a 4-2 record and a 2.72 ERA through eight starts, allowing just 15 earned runs on 41 hits and 17 walks. He has struck out 48 batters over his 49.2 innings pitched, limiting opponents to a .228 batting average against him. Two of the southpaw’s four wins have come against the Rainiers, as he beat them back on April 2 and 7. Lawrence and Rosenberg matched up against each other in game two of a doubleheader back on April 7, a 2-1 walk-off win for the Bees.

TWO TIMES: Coming into the current series against Salt Lake, Tacoma had allowed the same player to hit two home runs in the same game four times. It has now happened four times through the first four games of this series, all in the last three games. On Wednesday night, Jack Lopez hit two out, both solo shots against Levi Stoudt. In Thursday’s game, when Salt Lake hit six home runs as a team, both Lopez and Jordyn Adams hit two home runs. Last night, Tacoma finally shut Lopez down, but Hunter Dozier hit two home runs, driving in four of Salt Lake’s five total runs. Salt Lake entered the series with just 27 home runs as a team, the lowest of any team in the Pacific Coast League. They had eight fewer than the next lowest team, El Paso who had hit 35 home runs as a team entering play on Tuesday. That has not been the case this series, however, as the Bees have hit 11 home runs as a team, moving their total to 38 on the year. Their 11 home runs have driven in 19 of their 28 runs scored this series, good for 68%.

WHAT A STREAK: Jhonathan Diaz suffered his first loss of the season in his ninth game last night, moving to 6-1 with a 3.18 ERA. The southpaw nearly had a quality start, allowing four earned runs on six hits and one walk while striking out nine over 7.0 innings pitched. His nine strikeouts were one short of his season-high 10 strikeouts, also against Salt Lake. His 19 strikeouts against the Bees account for 35% of his total strikeouts, recording 36 strikeouts over his other seven games this season.

PROVIDING POP: Samad Taylor went deep for the second time this series last night, evening the game with his solo home run in the second inning. The long ball gave him three on the season and extended his current hitting streak to three games. Taylor is hitting .226 (30-for-133) with three doubles, a triple, three home runs and 20 runs batted in for Tacoma this season. He has also taken 17 walks in his 37 games, bringing his on-base percentage to .316.

GET TO KENNY: Tonight’s starter for Salt Lake, Kenny Rosenberg, is set to make his ninth start of the year and third against Tacoma. Through his first two starts against the Rainiers, Rosenberg has a 2-0 record and a 1.38 ERA, allowing just two earned runs on eight hits over 13.0 innings pitched. In those two games he has not walked a batter while striking out 13. The lefty is among league leaders in ERA (2nd, 2.72), wins (T-3rd, 4), strikeouts (2nd, 48), innings pitched (2nd, 49.2), batting average against (2nd, .228) and WHIP (2nd, 117).

KEEP IT ALIVE: With back-to-back losses to even the series at two games apiece, Tacoma is now in danger of not winning a home series for the first time this season. They have won each of their previous three series here at Cheney Stadium. They took two of three from Oklahoma City in the first series of the year, five-of-six from Reno and won four games against El Paso. The last two nights is the first time all season Tacoma has lost back-to-back games at home, giving them just their fifth and sixth home losses of the season. A win tonight would keep their chances of taking their fourth straight series alive heading into the finale tomorrow.

IN THE GROOVE: Carlos Vargas started the season with seven straight appearances without surrendering an earned run. Over that span, he allowed three hits and three walks, striking out seven in 7.0 innings. He gave up his first earned run of the season on April 21 at Las Vegas and then allowed three more from May 4-10 against Sacramento and Reno. Since returning home, Vargas has looked like he did at the beginning of the year, tossing 1.1 scoreless frames, allowing one hit while striking out a batter. The 24-year-old is a big part of Tacoma’s bullpen, entering games in the later innings for the Rainiers.

AGAINST SALT LAKE: Tacoma and Salt Lake will meet for game five of their six-game set tonight, with the series tied at two games apiece. Tacoma still holds a 6-4 lead in the season series and 395-381-1 record in the all-time series, despite dropping each of their last two games.

SHORT HOPS: Jonatan Clase went 3-for-3 last night, marking the first three-hit game of his Triple-A career; the outfielder recorded two hits six times for Tacoma this season entering play last night…the Rainiers have gotten 7.0 innings from their starting pitcher in back-to-back games after getting it just once through their first 41 games…last night was the first time Tacoma has lost in a game Jhonathan Diaz started, they were previously 7-0…Tacoma and Salt Lake played in front of the largest home crowd of the season for the Rainiers last night, as 7,088 fans were in attendance.