Surging Aces push lead to nine games
At some point, the Aces will slow down.
A key injury will stagnate the steamroll, the dog days of summer will take their toll, the bats will cool off, and/or a relied-upon player will earn a permanent promotion. Something will happen. The 144-game season is too long for everything to go smoothly for the duration.
But it doesn’t appear that momentum-stopping stretch is coming anytime soon.
Reno finished off yet another winning week by taking three of four from Tacoma at Greater Nevada Field over the weekend and now owns a healthy nine-game lead over the Rainiers atop the Pacific Northern Division.
The Aces are 6-2 against the Rainiers, who have now lost nine of 12. Reno has taken advantage of their rivals’ downswing, winning eight of their last 11.
Last week did bring some bad news for Reno, however, as third baseman Carlos Rivero was granted his release to play overseas and earn a significantly larger paycheck. Rivero was a vacuum on the field, a consistently tough out at the plate, and one the enduring figures in the clubhouse.
Kristopher Negron will take over the everyday duties at third and is already capitalizing on the opportunity. Since June 19, he’s grown his batting average 26 points to .289 by going 9-for-15 with four triples in the bottom third of the lineup.
The best team in the PCL hits the road this week to play four at Pacific Southern leading Salt Lake, followed with four at El Paso, before coming back to Reno on the Fourth of July for a quick three-game set with Tacoma.
Last week: 4-2
Upcoming Schedule (June 26 – July 2)
June 26: AWAY at Salt Lake 6:05 p.m.
June 27: AWAY at Salt Lake 6:05 p.m.
June 28: AWAY at Salt Lake 6:05 p.m.
June 29: AWAY at Salt Lake 11:05 a.m.
June 30: AWAY at El Paso 6:05 p.m.
July 1: AWAY at El Paso 6:05 p.m.
July 2: AWAY at El Paso 6:05 p.m.
-3B Carlos Rivero, 29, was granted his release from the Diamondbacks to continue his career overseas. Rivero has been a mainstay both on the field and in the clubhouse for the last two seasons in Reno. This year, the Gold Glove winner at the hot corner was batting .296 with eight home runs and 38 RBIs. This was his seventh season at the Triple-A level, only earning one Major League callup. He played in four games with Boston in 2014, going 4-for-7 with a home run, two doubles and three RBIs. It was hard to see another callup coming, at least not with Arizona, as he was stuck behind 26-year-old Jake Lamb. Lamb is batting .280 this year with 17 home runs and 62 RBIs.
-RHP Silvino Bracho, 24, was promoted to Arizona for the fifth time this season. He made his eighth appearance of the season for the Diamondbacks on Saturday, throwing a perfect 1-2-3 ninth inning to seal a 9-2 win over Philadelphia. In 7.1 innings for Arizona this year, Bracho has allowed seven runs (six earned) on six hits (three home runs) while striking out nine and walking two. He’s 2-1 with a 3.66 ERA over 19.2 innings for the Aces this summer. He was optioned back to Reno on Monday.
-RHP Louis Coleman, 29, was promoted to Reno from the Arizona League. Coleman has thrown 225.1 innings at the big-league level, including 48 for the Dodgers a season ago. He went 2-1 with a 4.69 ERA. The fifth-round draft pick by the Royals in 2009 made his Aces debut in Friday’s 13-6 loss to Tacoma at Greater Nevada Field. He threw the final two innings, allowing two runs on four hits with two strikeouts. He did not walk anyone.
Christian Walker. Still. The Aces’ 26-year-old first baseman continues to torment opposing pitching, going 6-for-9 in the final two games of the series against Tacoma with a home run, two doubles and seven RBIs. Walker has his batting average up to .297 and is tied for the Pacific Coast League lead with 19 home runs to go alone with a league-leading 76 RBIs. Teammate Oswaldo Arcia sits in second with 70 runs driven in.
Eric Jokisch. The Aces’ left-handed starter on Sunday needed nine strikeouts to reach 700 in his career. He entered the game with 681 minor-league punch outs and 10 in the bigs. The celebration will have to wait at least one more turn through the rotation, because Jokisch finished with two strikeouts. He won’t complain however, as he only allowed three hits over seven scoreless innings to pick up the win in the 9-1 decision.
Pacific Coast League Standings
Reno Aces (ARI) 48-28
Tacoma Rainiers (SEA) 38-36
Fresno Grizzlies (HOU) 38-38
Sacramento River Cats (SF) 29-45
Salt Lake Bees (LAA) 42-34
Albuquerque Isotopes (COL) 38-37
El Paso Chihuahuas (SD) 37-39
Las Vegas 51s (NYM) 29-47
Colorado Springs Sky Sox (MIL) 43-30
Oklahoma City Dodgers (LAD) 42-32
Omaha Storm Chasers (KC) 37-36
Iowa Cubs (CHC) 32-43
Memphis Redbirds (STL) 46-29
Nashville Sounds (OAK) 36-39
Round Rock Express (TEX) 36-39
New Orleans Baby Cakes (MIA) 28-47
*All stats and standings are as of Sunday, June 25.