Tacoma Rainiers (68-73) vs. Round Rock Express (75-66)
Tuesday, September 20, 2022, 6:05 p.m. PT | Cheney Stadium: Tacoma, WA
RHP Darren McCaughan vs. RHP Zak Kent
THE OPEN-R: The Rainiers are 18-7 in series-opening games this season. 26.5% of Tacoma’s 68 wins have come in a game one.
#DarrenDay: Rainiers RHP Darren McCaughan ranks third in the Pacific Coast League in strikeouts, with 132. McCaughan’s 141.1 IP is second-most on the circuit entering today’s action, and his 1.20 WHIP is second-lowest among qualified starting pitchers in the notoriously offensive league. McCaughan’s 26 starts lead Tacoma, and tie him for the PCL lead.
SPREAD CRUSHERS: With season-highs six homers and 19 runs in Sunday’s series finale win at Las Vegas, the Rainiers outscored 12 NFL teams in week two: IND (0), MIN (7), SEA (7), TEN (7), HOU (9), CHI (10), NO (10), PIT (14), CAR (16), DEN (16), CIN (17), NE (17). Tacoma outscored two victorious teams, New England and Denver.
IN A ROUND-A-BOUT WIN: The Rainiers have had their way with the Round Rock Express since their entry into the Pacific Coast League in 2005, the club moving back in forth in affiliation between Mariners American League West rivals Texas and Houston (club name is a homage to former Rangers and Astros Hall-of-Fame hurler Nolan Ryan, “The Ryan Express”). While Tacoma is 46-27 against Round Rock all-time, the Rainiers have won 16 of their last 21 games at Cheney Stadium against the Express, dating to 2012, and are 26-7 all-time against Round Rock at home (2-1 this season).
LOCALIZE IT: Round Rock has a local on their club, infielder Nick Tanielu, a Federal Way native and alum of the Washington State baseball program. Tanielu, in his first season in the Texas Rangers organization, had previously played against the Rainiers with Fresno (HOU, 2018) and El Paso (SD, 2021), and first played for Round Rock as an Astros affiliate in 2019. He was Houston’s 14th round draft pick in 2014 (406th overall) out of Wazzu.
It’s been a banner year for local products visiting Tacoma; Las Vegas/Oakland INF Nate Mondou (Tacoma-born/Lake Tapps native), Albuquerque/Colorado 1B Michael Toglia (Gig Harbor) and Salt Lake/LAA RHP Janson Junk (Federal Way) have all opposed the Rainiers at Cheney in 2022.
TURN-R-OUND: Tacoma began this season 9-23 (through May 11), but is 59-50 since. The Rainiers’ low-water mark was 16 games under .500 at 28-44 on June 28….