The biggest mystery surrounding the Tacoma Rainiers on Monday night was about a player who failed to be in uniform.
Pitcher Erasmo Ramirez, scheduled to make his first start for Tacoma since May 29, was a late scratch minutes before the Rainiers opened their four-game homestand with the Reno Aces.
The reason? Manager Roy Howell’s lips were sealed before the game, yet afterward, said Ramirez “had difficulty” getting to Cheney Stadium in time in what turned out to be the Rainiers’ 6-2 win over the Aces.
“We didn’t want to rush him,” said Howell, who said Ramirez will get the start Tuesday.
That meant recent Double-A Jackson transfer and Seattle native Forrest Snow’s scheduled Tuesday start was bumped up a day.
Snow pitched four innings and left with Tacoma’s lead at 1-0 – on Chris Taylor’s first-inning home run – and gave up two hits and tied his season-high with five strikeouts.
The former University of Washington star said his structured routine better prepares him for such situations like he was put in Monday — learning to be ready at any time, even a start on 30 minutes notice and on two days of rest following Friday’s four innings of relief with Jackson.
“I got up, threw my cleats on and I was ready to go,” Snow said. “I’ve been a swing man, a utility pitcher, I like to say, my entire career, even through college. I try to say, ‘One inning at a time’ — it doesn’t matter if it’s the first inning or the ninth inning, you have to be adaptable because this game throws you curveballs all the time.”
Abraham Almonte’s two-run triple started a five-run fifth inning that also included a two-run home run by Corey Hart to extend the lead to 6-0 for the Rainers (39-44).
Almonte has hit three triples in the past two games. Since June 8, he’s hitting .316 with 13 RBIs and eight extra-base hits.
The Rainiers and Aces continue their four-game series at 7:05 p.m. Tuesday. Tacoma will send Ramirez (1-3, 4.55 ERA) to the mound against Reno right-hander Lucas Harrell (3-1, 4.64). The game will be broadcast on 850-AM.