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May 25 Game Notes: Tacoma Rainiers vs. Las Vegas Aviators

May 25, 2024

TACOMA RAINIERS (27-22) vs. LAS VEGAS AVIATORS (24-25) Saturday, May 25 • 6:05 PM • Cheney Stadium • Tacoma, WA RHP Casey Lawrence (2-4, 6.07) vs. LHP Austin Briggs (0-0, 5.40)

Saturday, May 25 • 6:05 PM • Cheney Stadium • Tacoma, WA
RHP Casey Lawrence (2-4, 6.07) vs. LHP Austin Briggs (0-0, 5.40)

TONIGHT’S GAME: Tacoma and Las Vegas will play game five of their six-game set tonight, with the Rainiers in search of the series win. Casey Lawrence gets the starting nod for the Rainiers, looking for his third consecutive win. Lawrence comes into play tonight with a 2-4 record and a 6.07 ERA, allowing 31 earned runs on 62 hits including nine home runs. He has allowed 15 walks while striking out 29 batters over his 46.0 innings pitched. Tonight will be his first start of the season against Las Vegas, as he was on Seattle’s taxi squad in Colorado when Tacoma faced the Aviators earlier this year. Opposite Lawrence will be Austin Briggs making a spot-start for Las Vegas, pitching in his fourth game of the year for the Aviators. Through three outings so far this year, Briggs is 0-0 with a 5.40 ERA, allowing three earned runs on five hits and two walks while striking out two batters over 5.0 innings pitched. He pitched in game one of Thursday’s doubleheader against the Rainiers, tossing 2.0 scoreless innings. He worked around two hits and a walk with one strikeout in the outing. Briggs made one start with the Rookie League Athletics in 2018 and that is the lone start of his professional career in 157 games.

DOUBLE OR NOTHIN’: Infielder Jake Slaughter was acquired by the Seattle Mariners along with cash from the Chicago Cubs for right-handed reliever Tyson Miller back on May 14. He was assigned to Tacoma that day and activated the following day. Since joining the Rainiers, Slaughter is hitting .257 (9-for-35) in his nine games played. The 27-year-old has had a knack for hitting doubles, as five of his nine hits with Tacoma have been two-baggers. Despite playing in just nine games with the Rainiers, Slaughter is tied for fifth on the team with his five doubles.

LOCK DOWN: Joey Krehbiel has been on quite a roll for the Rainiers, allowing just one hit over his last six outings. The hit came last night, when he tossed a scoreless eighth inning, striking out two batters along the way. Krehbiel has used as the late-inning setup man for the Rainiers and has been dominant in that role. The right-hander has now thrown six consecutive scoreless outings covering 6.1 innings, dating back to May 9 at Reno. He has allowed one hit and one walk over that span while striking out six. In all, Krehbiel is 2-0 with a 2.14 ERA in 18 relief appearances for Tacoma this season, allowing five earned runs on 10 hits and four walks. He has struck out 18 batters over 21.0 innings, limiting opponents to a .139 batting average against him.

HITTING IS CONTAGIOUS: Tacoma has done the majority of their damage with big innings this series against Las Vegas, and that was true again last night. The Rainiers put eight runs on the board in their 8-3 victory, scoring all eight runs in just two innings. They were held hitless through the first four frames, but pushed through for five runs in the fifth and added three runs of insurance in the eighth inning. Tacoma now has nine innings this series (out of 29 innings they’ve had at-bast) in which they have scored three or more runs, scoring four or more in six of those nine instances.

LEAD THE WAY: Jhonathan Diaz earned his league-leading seventh win of the season last night, leading all Triple-A pitchers. Diaz is now 7-1 with a 3.16 ERA, allowing just 20 earned runs on 53 hits and 11 walks over 57.0 innings pitched this year. He has struck out 59 batters over that span, limiting opponents to a .248 batting average against him. The southpaw is among Pacific Coast League leaders in ERA (3rd, 3.16), wins (1st, 7), strikeouts (1st, 59), innings pitched (2nd, 57.0), batting average against (4th, .248) and WHIP (1st, 1.12).

BREAK THE STREAK: A win tonight would give Tacoma the series win over Las Vegas, breaking a streak of three straight series without a win. Since winning the series against El Paso back on April 23-28 by taking four-of-six from the Chihuahuas, the Rainiers have gone 0-2-1 in their previous three series. They lost both road series to Sacramento and Reno and split their most recent series against Salt Lake here at Cheney Stadium. Coming into this series against the Aviators, the Rainiers were 3-1-0 in series at home, in search of their fourth series victory at home and fifth overall.

MAKE IT THREE: After starting the year with four losses through his first six starts, Casey Lawrence comes into play tonight having won each of his last two starts. On May 12 against Reno, Lawrence spun 5.2 innings of two-run ball, allowing six hits and two walks while striking out three to earn his first win of the year. He followed that with arguably his best outing of the year last time out against Salt Lake. In that game last Saturday, the 36-year-old allowed one run over a season-long seven innings pitched. He surrendered five hits and three walks while striking out a season-high 10 batters. His 10 strikeouts were one shy of his career-high 11 set back on June 22, 2022, and his most since April 19, 2023, with Triple-A Buffalo against Iowa.

AGAINST LAS VEGAS: The Rainiers and Aviators are playing the fifth game of their six-game series tonight, with Tacoma currently leading the series three games to one. The season series is even entering play tonight, at 5-5, after Las Vegas took four-of-six from the Rainiers in the first meeting between the two teams at Las Vegas Ballpark in April. Last night’s victory for Tacoma moved their all-time record against Las Vegas to five games above the .500-mark, at 308-303.

SHORT HOPS: Tacoma is 4-1 this year when they have an equal hit total as their opponent…in his first game back with the Rainiers, Leo Rivas went 1-for-2 with two runs scored and two walks, raising his batting average to .315 with Tacoma this year…Tacoma stole two more bases in last night’s win, giving them 103 on the year; their 103 stolen bases are tied for the fourth-most in all of baseball, trailing the Aberdeen IronBirds (120), Charleston RiverDogs (108) and Jupiter Hammerheads (105)...infielder Luis Urias and Eduardo Salazar join Tacoma’s roster today, Urias was optioned from Seattle and Salazar was claimed off waivers from Los Angeles-NL.