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Opponent Profile: Rainiers return as an average team

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The Tacoma Rainiers were the first team to visit Albuquerque this season. They took three of four games back on April 11-14.

Since then, Tacoma (57-57) has been neither good nor bad. Though many of the Rainiers have been up and down with the Mariners, they simply have never broken out or fallen apart.

The starting rotation has been fairly stable for a Triple-A team. Three pitchers have 18 or more starts.

Right-hander Erasmo Ramirez (2-4, 4.15 ERA) has only made 10 starts, bouncing back and forth between Tacoma and Seattle all season. He gets the nod in Saturday's series opener.

Another right-hander, Andrew Carraway (5-5, 5.73) will start Sunday. The comes right-hander Taijuan Walker (4-2, 4.14), the Mariners' No. 1 prospect, on Monday.

Walker has spent time on the disabled list this year and has three starts in the Majors. The 21 year old has gone 1-2 with a 3.60 ERA with the Mariners.

Tuesday's starter has not been announced. The other main starters this year have been Jordan Pries (8-6, 3.79), James Gillheeney (3-9, 5.99) and former Isotope Matt Palmer (2-8, 4.96), though he is currently on the DL.

Tacoma's bullpen has been led by prospect Carson Smith (1-2, 3.12, 8 saves). Logan Kensing (4-1, 2.51, 2 saves) and lefty Lucas Luetge (3-1, 3.33, 2 saves) have been the primary setup men.

The Rainiers' leading hitters have been first baseman-designated hitter Jesus Montero (.300/.364/.523, 16 HR, 73 RBI) and second baseman-third baseman Ty Kelly (.263/.388/.437, 15 HR, 69 RBI). Outfielder Xavier Avery (.276/.341/.405, 8 HR, 35 RBI, 27 stolen bases) has set the table for them.

There have been a lot of recent changes to the lineup. Outfielder Abraham Almonte was traded to the Padres and infielder Nick Franlkin was dealt to the Rays.

Shortstop prospect Chris Taylor is now up with the Mariners. Two outfielders were sent back down in James Jones (.313/.382/.450) and Stefen Romero (.283/.286/.522).

The series will kick off Saturday at 7:05 p.m. Sunday's game will start at 6:05 p.m., with Monday and Tuesday both at 7:05.

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