Tacoma Rainiers (69-74) vs. Round Rock Express (76-67)
Thursday, September 22, 2022, 7:05 p.m. PT | Cheney Stadium: Tacoma, WA
LHP Tommy Milone vs. RHP Cole Winn
I’M DREW (DA BA DEE): Through his walk-off grand slam last night, Rainiers infielder Drew Ellis is batting .476 (10-for-21) over his last five games with four homers (8 RBI, 6 R, 2 BB, SB). Ellis is OPSing 1.570 over his last 23 plate appearances, hitting safely in all five games.
SEA US RISE: With the selection of catcher Luis Torrens back to the Major League roster yesterday, 28 players have been promoted from Tacoma to Seattle this season. In 2021, that number was 24, beginning with RHP J.T. Chargois and ending with INF Kevin Padlo. RHP Matt Koch was this season’s first MLB promotion from the Rainiers, selected on April 13.
LONG WAY ROUND: With the expansion of the Triple-A regular season to 150 games, the Rainiers will play a game 144 tonight for the first time since September 7, 2015, a 5-0 win at Las Vegas when the schedule was that length. (Tacoma played 143 in 2016 with one rainout that was not made up, going 81-62 with a division title.) In 2015, Pat Listach managed the Rainiers to a third place finish with a 68-76 record.
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 and 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 47-28 against Round Rock all-time, the Rainiers have won 17 of their last 23 games against the Express at Cheney Stadium, dating to 2012, and are 27-8 all-time against Round Rock at home (3-2 this season).
TURN-R-OUND: Tacoma began this season 9-23 (through May 11), but is 60-51 since. The Rainiers’ low-water mark was 16 games under .500 at 28-44 on June 28. They’re 41-30 since, 31-23 post-break and 39-30 in the second half.
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…