The Tacoma Rainiers’ season came to an end Monday, 76 wins and 68 losses after it started.
That 68th loss came in the finale, a sloppy 9-6 home loss to the Sacramento River Cats.
However, when it was over, manager John Stearns preferred to devote his postgame assessment to remembering many of the better performances that had come before.
“It was a fun season,” he said. “Unfortunately, in the second half we didn’t play that well. But we sent a lot of guys to the big leagues. I think we accomplished what we’re trying to do here. You always want to win. These guys battled. I’m proud of them — especially the way we played down the stretch when we kind of fell out of it.”
In the finale, Tacoma jumped to a 3-0 lead in the first, which Sacramento (79-65) erased with four runs in the second. The Rainiers tied it in the third and then fell behind again in the fourth and never caught up.
James Jones went 3-for-3 for Tacoma, Carlos Triunfel went 3-for-4 and drove in two runs, and Joe Dunigan had two hits and
three RBI. The loss went to starting pitcher Andrew Carraway (6-8).
The result ended a three-game winning streak for the Rainiers, who won six of their last nine.
“I thought the last two weeks we gave a really good effort,” Stearns said. “We got some new players who just came in — I’m talking about (Xavier) Avery, (Ji-Man) Choi, Jones — that’s the future of our team here and in Seattle. To see these young guys coming up is exciting. Overall it was a fun year.”
Tacoma set franchise records for strikeouts by its pitchers, 1,145; and also by its batters, 1,291.
Over the course of the season, the Rainiers were involved in 142 player transactions — 34 more than in 2012. The changes went down to the final day, when pitcher James Paxton was called up to the Mariners, and Scott Savastano came off the disabled list and started at third base.
Of the 25 players who started the season on the active roster, 10 were around for the final game. Only pitcher Logan Bawcom and infielder Nate Tenbrink were with Tacoma the whole way.
Over the course of the season, 10 Rainiers earned their first promotion to the major leagues: Abraham Almonte, Brandon Bantz, Nick Franklin, Brad Miller, Jesus Sucre, Mike Zunino, Bobby LaFromboise, Yoervis Medina, Taijuan Walker and Paxton.
“A lot of your teammates are going up and down, or just going up and staying,” Bawcom said. “So it’s pretty cool to look up there at the big club and see a lot of guys you know. It gives you extra incentive out there.”
The final game was played before a crowd of 4,557 at Cheney Stadium. That brought the season home attendance to 320,080, an average of 4,445 – 15th in the 16-team Pacific Coast League.
Before the game, the Rainiers announced these team awards: Abraham Almonte as offensive player of the year, Bawcom as pitcher of the year, Rich Poythress as defensive player of the year, and Tenbrink for community service.
The 2014 season begins April 3 when the Albuquerque Isotopes visit Cheney Stadium.Don Ruiz: 253-597-8808 firstname.lastname@example.org