June 23 Game Notes: Tacoma Rainiers vs. Las Vegas Aviators (2024)

TACOMA RAINIERS (43-31) vs. LAS VEGAS AVIATORS (36-38) Sunday, June 23 • 1:35 PM • Cheney Stadium • Tacoma, WA RHP Casey Lawrence (4-5, 4.94) vs. RHP Brandon Bielak (0-1, 7.16)

TACOMA RAINIERS (43-31) vs. LAS VEGAS AVIATORS (36-38)
Sunday, June 23 • 1:35 PM • Cheney Stadium • Tacoma, WA
RHP Casey Lawrence (4-5, 4.94) vs. RHP Brandon Bielak (0-1, 7.16)

TODAY’S GAME: Tacoma and Las Vegas will play both the series and season finale between the two teams this afternoon. It will be a pitching rematch of Tuesday’s series opener, as Casey Lawrence will take the ball for the Rainiers. Lawrence is set to make his second start of the series and 14th of the season, entering play tonight with a 4-5 record and a 4.94 ERA. He has allowed 43 earned runs on 92 hits and 20 walks, striking out 55 batters over 78.1 innings pitched. In game one of the series on Tuesday, the 36-year-old allowed four earned runs on five hits and two walks while striking six over 6.0 innings. Opposite Lawrence will be Brandon Bielak getting the nod for the Aviators. The right-hander is 0-1 with a 7.16 ERA through four starts with Las Vegas this season, allowing 13 earned runs on 17 hits and nine walks. He has struck out 10 batters in 16.1 innings, as opponents are hitting .266 against him. On Tuesday, Bielak allowed four earned runs on five hits (two home runs) on two walks and three strikeouts over 4.0 innings.

NOT ALWAYS PRETTY: Brett de Geus secured his seventh save of the season last night, good for third among qualified pitchers in the Pacific Coast League. It hasn’t always been pretty for the right-hander, as has allowed runs in five of his nine save opportunities this season. Last night, he entered the ninth with a three-run lead and allowed a two-run blast, making it a one-run contest. He recorded the final outs to complete the save, but the earned runs bumped his ERA to 4.79 on the year. Last night marked the third time this year in which de Geus has allowed two earned runs and managed to record a save.

GOING DEEP: Tacoma has not been known for their power this season, ranking sixth in the Pacific Coast League with their 81 home runs as a team entering play today. Last night’s win was a different story, however, as three of their five this left the yard. They got a solo home run from Samad Taylor, his sixth of the year. Jason Vosler hit his team-leading 15th home run of the season, also a solo shot. The third home run was the biggest, a three-run shot from Major League rehabber, Jorge Polanco. For Polanco, it was his third in the last two games, as he hit one from each side of the plate in Friday’s win over the Aviators. Both Taylor and Polanco’s deep flies came in the sixth inning, marking the first time Tacoma has hit two home runs in the same inning since back on May 23, in the fifth inning also against Las Vegas.

WORKED THROUGH IT: For the third consecutive start, Jhonathan Diaz didn’t nearly have his best stuff last. He allowed five runs (four earned) on seven hits and five walks, striking out four over his 5.0 innings of work. Diaz started the year with a 7-1 record and a 2.98 ERA through his first 11 games, walking 11 compared to 65 strikeouts over his 63.1 innings. Since then, in his three starts this month, he has allowed seven earned runs on 15 hits and 16 walks, striking out eight over 14.0 innings. His 16 walks over three starts are five more than he had in his first 11 games (10 starts), walking at least five batters in all three starts. Despite his struggle with his command, Diaz is 1-0 with a 4.50 ERA over the three starts.

FINAL COUNTDOWN: Today is the final game of the first half, a half of the season in which Tacoma had great success. They enter play today a season-high 12 games over .500, at 43-31, tied for first place in the Pacific Coast League Western Division with the Sacramento River Cats. Tacoma ended the first half going 17-19 on the road and enter play today with a 26-12 record at home. They come into today’s game on a four-game winning streak, tied for their season-best. They have won four games in a row four times so far this season, most recently in their last series against Round Rock on June 13-16.

NOT TOO SHABBY: Tacoma won their fourth straight game last night, earning the series victory over Las Vegas after dropping the opener. The win gave the Rainiers three straight series wins and eight overall in the first half. They went 6-1-0 in seven series at Cheney Stadium, holding a record of 2-4 in their six-road series. Impressively, the Rainiers didn’t drop a single series at home, tying just one.

QUITE THE MONTH: The month of June started with two straight losses for Tacoma, but has since become an extremely successful month. They have had two different four-game winning streaks, tying their season long. The Rainiers enter play today with a record of 13-6 this month, tying their number of wins from May, when they went 13-14. They are just two wins shy of tying their best month of the year so far, when they went 15-10 in April.

SLOW HIM DOWN: Seth Brown joined Las Vegas on Thursday and has made quite the impact to the Aviators’ offense in three games. He is hitting .333 (4-for-12) with three home runs and five runs batted in over those three games. Brown went 3-for-5 with three runs scored, two home runs and four RBI last night alone.

AGAINST LAS VEGAS: The Rainiers and Aviators will play the sixth and final game of their current series and the final game of 18 between the two teams this year. Tacoma already took both the current and season series, winning four of the first five games against Las Vegas coming into play today. They lead the current series 4-1 and the season series by three games, at 10-7, going 8-3 in 11 home games. Through the first 17 games, they are outscoring Las Vegas by 37 runs, at 125-88. Their four straight wins have moved their lead in the all-time series to eight games, at 313-305.

SHORT HOPS: Jason Vosler has three hits this series and has collected 11 total bases with those three hits, clubbing two home runs and recording a triple…the Rainiers are tied for first place in the Pacific Coast League Western Division entering the final game of first half today; it marks the first time they have had a share of the division lead since April 28 after a victory over El Paso…both Samad Taylor and Jorge Polanco’s home runs came in the sixth inning last night, marking the first time Tacoma has hit two home runs in the same inning since back on May 23, in the fifth inning also against Las Vegas.

June 23 Game Notes: Tacoma Rainiers vs. Las Vegas Aviators (2024)
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