The Sox put a 13-1 hurting on the Tacoma Rainiers last night behind a first inning grand slam by Ian Stewart and five hits by red-hot first baseman Mike Jacobs.
The slam was the first hit for Stewart in a Sox uniform since joining the team Wednesday and the first Sky Sox grand slam since Michael McKenry hit one against New Orleans on August 4th last season.
Jacobs’ five hits included a solo shot in the eighth inning to cap the scoring. It was Jacobs fifth home run of the season. He finished with three RBI and now has 17 on the season to lead the team. The five hits were the most for a Sox player since Kaz Matsui did it July 7th last season.
Eric Young Jr. and Mike Macri also enjoyed productive nights. Young went 3-for-4 with two walks, four runs scored and his fifth stolen base. Macri finished 3-for-5 with his first home run, two runs scored and three RBI.
Alfredo Amezaga recorded two more hits and extended his team-best hitting streak to ten games.
Sky Sox pitchers have certainly enjoyed playing in Tacoma. Before the start of the series, the Sox had a combined team ERA of 7.89. Over the past three games, they’ve posted an ERA of 2.00.
One possible explanation for the turnaround could be the relative lack of elevation in Tacoma, WA. The Sox played their first 12 games of the season in Colorado Springs or in Reno, NV, two locations with extremely high elevations. Security Service Field in Colorado Springshas the highest elevation of any ballpark in North America at 6,531 feet above sea level. Reno isn’t far behind, sitting 4,400 feet above sea level. Conversely, Tacoma is only 380 feet above sea level. With the way the ball travels in high altitudes, Sox pitchers are undoubtedly thankful for the short respite.
Thankfully, the offense hasn’t struggled playing at the lower elevation. Over the past three games, the offense is scoring 7.3 runs per game.
The Sox will look to win their first series of the year tonight in the final game of their four-game set with Tacoma. John Maine (0-1, 9.69) will make his fourth start of the year for the Sox. He’ll be opposed by Luke French (0-2, 5.40) for Tacoma. First pitch is set for 8:05 PM MT.
- First baseman Mike Jacobs is enjoying a tremendous start to the season. Through 15 games, Jacobs leads the league in on-base percentage (.523), ranks second in home runs (5), third in walks (12), fourth in batting average (.423) and RBI (17), and fifth in slugging percentage (.788) and total bases (41).
- Jacobs also ranks fourth in the league in home runs per at-bat ratio with one homer every 10.4 at-bats.
- Sox pitchers John Maine and Josh Muecke are tied for the league lead with three sacrifice hits allowed each.
- Flame throwing lefty Rex Brothers is third in the PCL in strikeouts per nine innings. He has 14 strikeouts in eight innings for a ratio of 15.75 strikeouts per nine innings.