SALT LAKE BEES

Triple-Play: What To Know As Bees Get Set To Host Tacoma Rainiers

May 3, 2022, 3:20 PM
jo-adell-batting-los-angeles-angels...
Jo Adell #59 of the Los Angeles Angels bats during a game against the Cincinnati Reds on Tuesday, February 25, 2020 at Tempe Diablo Stadium in Tempe, Arizona. (Photo by Alex Trautwig/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
(Photo by Alex Trautwig/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY – The 12-12 Salt Lake Bees welcome in the 7-17 Tacoma Rainiers for a six-game series at Smith’s Ballpark beginning on Tuesday, May 3.

The Bees are coming off of a pair of home-and-home three-game series’ against the Round Rock Express. Each team won the first two games of three in their home parks.

The Bees and Rainiers meet for the second time this season as the two franchises opened the 2022 in Tacoma in early April. Salt Lake won four of six to begin the season. As has been the case for much of April, Salt Lake’s pitching staff held the Rainiers at bay, limiting them to five runs or less in each game. Tacoma shutout once in the series, a 12-0 Bees win, and held to a single run in three other games.

Elvis Peguero picked up two wins out of the bullpen in the series while Cesar Valdez threw five shutout innings in the 12-0 victory.

Pitching leads the way

Back-to-back PCL Pitcher of the Week honors for Cesar Valdez and now Jhonathan Diaz highlight the Bees strong pitching performance in April.

On April 28 at Round Rock, after giving up a first inning single and hitting a batter in the second, Diaz retired 17 straight Express batters before a defensive error ended the streak. With an efficient 92 pitches across eight innings, Diaz allowed that lone first inning single while striking out seven and not walking a batter for the first time this season. Diaz record now sits at 2-0.

Diaz’s Pitcher of the Week performance followed a Cesar Valdez complete game gem against the Reno Aces on Friday, April 22.

Valdez (3-1) took the hill against Reno and never relinquished the ball, becoming the first Pacific Coast League pitcher to tally a complete game in 2022. Valdez allowed five hits and two earned runs while striking out eight and walking none.

The pair sit atop the Bees leaderboard for wins, innings pitched, strikeouts and WHIP.

Jo Adell returning to Salt Lake

With major league rosters forced to trim down from 28 to 26 players this week, a number of teams have announced a flurry of moves. Included in that player movement is Angels outfielder Jo Adell who has been optioned to Salt Lake.

In 19 games with the Angels this year, Adell has struggled at times both at the plate and defensively. With 24 strikeouts to just one walk, Adell will need to sharpen his strike zone awareness if he is to reach his potential.

Splitting 2021 between Salt Lake and Los Angeles, Adell had 95 RBI and 27 home runs. After hitting .289 in 73 games with the Bees, he saw his average drop more than 40 points, down to .246 with the Angels.

Tacoma Rainiers

Tacoma (7-17) comes into town after a week in Las Vegas saw them drop four of six games, including three losses by a single run, to the Aviators. Sitting in the cellar of the of the Pacific Coast League West division, five games behind the Bees.

Offensively, Tacoma matches up quite well with the Bees. Batting average, on-base percentage and  slugging percentage has the two teams all within a few percentage points of each other. The main difference between the two offenses are strikeouts and speed. Tacoma leads the PCL with 251 strikeouts while Bees batters have whiffed a league low 179 times.

When they avoid the strikeout is when the Rainiers get dangerous. Leading the league with 43 stolen bases, 15 more than second place Sugar Land, Tacoma puts enormous pressure on opposing pitchers. Forrest Wall leads the way with 10 stolen bags while Sam Haggerty and Erick Mejia have contributed seven steal apiece.

An impactful addition for the Rainiers for the series will be Mariners outfielder Kyle Lewis as he begins a rehab assignment following off-season knee surgery.

The 2016 first round pick has spent parts of the last three seasons with the Mariners with his most consistent action coming during the shortened 2020 year where he hit 11 home runs and batted .262 in 58 games.

In 112 games in the bigs, Lewis has compiled a .258 batting average to go along with 22 home runs and 52 RBI.

The Bees will host the the Rainiers for six games beginning on Tuesday, May 3. First pitch is scheduled for 6:35 p.m. (MST) Tuesday-Saturday with a 1:05 p.m. first pitch set for Mother’s Day on May 8. All Bees games can be heard on The Zone Sports Network and tickets can be purchased as slbees.com.

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Triple-Play: What To Know As Bees Get Set To Host Tacoma Rainiers