Final road trips and homestands

With the season coming to a close next week, the Riders are playing their final game on the road tonight against Midland. Frisco will then head home to Dr Pepper Ballpark for one last seven-game homestand.

Historically speaking, the Riders have done well on their final homestands of the year, while struggling a bit more on the road. Through the first six games of this year’s final road trip, the Riders now have an overall record of 43-44 on their final trips of a season. At home, however, Frisco is 43-33 in games that were a part of the last homestand of the season.

The best finish came in 2004, when the Riders went 5-3 on their final road trip followed by 9-3 in a 12-game homestand to wrap up the regular season. That squad went on to win the Texas League championship.

The worst finish to a regular season was last year. Frisco went 1-6 in its final seven road games, followed by being swept in a three-game series at home to end the season. The Riders finished the year on a seven-game losing streak.

At the moment, the Riders are 0-6 on the current road trip. The team will match last year’s final road trip record with a win tonight, or they could slip to a team-worst 0-7 on their final trip with a loss this evening.

Frisco still has a chance to finish on a positive note with seven more games coming up at Dr Pepper Ballpark starting Tuesday night against Corpus Christi. The Riders will play four games against the Hooks, followed by three more with Midland to conclude the season.

– Steve

Baseball term of the day: Oregon boot – The figurative shoe of a slow runner.

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary

Saddle Up: Riders at Midland (8/28)

GAME #131 (2nd HALF GAME #62)

Frisco RoughRiders (60-70 overall, 22-39 2nd half) at Midland RockHounds (72-59 overall, 39-22 2nd half)
Sunday, August 28 – 2:00 p.m.
Security Bank Ballpark – Midland, TX
—————————————–

Watch: MiLB.TV (MID feed)
Listen: Streaming online and on the TuneIn Radio app (Nathan Barnett)
Live stats: Click here
—————————————–
This series: Game 2 of 3 (RockHounds leads 1-0)
This season: Game 24 of 28 (RockHounds leads 12-11)

FRISCO LINEUP

  1. Isiah Kiner-Falefa – 2B
  2. Eduard Pinto – LF
  3. Joe Jackson – DH
  4. Alexeis Bell – RF
  5. Andy Ibanez – 3B
  6. Luis Marte – SS
  7. Carson Blair – C
  8. Edwin Garcia – 1B
  9. Darin Mastroianni – CF

RHP Reed Garrett (3-6, 5.12 ERA)

RIDERS RECAP: Saturday at Midland (L, 5-3)

Box Score
Recap
Postgame Notes

PREGAME INTERVIEW: Manager Joe Mikulik

SETTING THE STAGE (full game notes here)

LAST TIME OUT:
Allowing the final five runs of the game, the RoughRiders lost 5-3 to the Midland RockHounds Saturday night…Frisco plated three unearned runs against Joel Seddon in the second, but that lead only lasted through the fourth…JACK SNODGRASS tossed four hitless innings but surrendered four runs on five hits, including a three-run homer by Beau Taylor, in the fifth…Taylor added another run for Midland with an RBI single in the seventh…Frisco managed just two baserunners over the final seven innings.

THE PEN IS MIGHTIER:
Although the road trip has been a tough one (0-5 record), the Riders bullpen has had a nice trip so far. In the five contests, the bullpen has had to cover a lot of innings and has performed admirably with a 2.37 ERA (5 ER / 19 IP). The relievers have struck out 17 and walked nine.  For the year, the bullpen has a 4.03 ERA with 475 strikeouts and 235 walks in 484.2 IP.

TIME TO END THE STREAK:
With five straight losses, the RoughRiders have matched their second-longest losing skid of the season. Frisco’s lost five-or-more games consecutively four times now this year, with the longest losing streak of eight games coming May 24-June 1 against Springfield and Tulsa. Making the current slide even tougher to swallow is that Frisco has led in three of the five games, lost two games by two runs, and two in extra innings. Of the RoughRiders’ 39 second-half losses, the club has led in 18 of them, and 18 have been decided by two runs or fewer.

CHASING THE WRONG HISTORY:
The 2016 RoughRiders got off to one of the best starts in team history. The club had the best record through all but one of the first 45 games of the season, beginning the year an impressive 5-0, 9-1, 17-4, 21-6, and 30-13. Since then, however, the Riders have struggled in the win column. In fact, at 22-39, Frisco is on-pace for the worst half in team history. The Riders have thrice gone 29-41, the worst mark to this point in team history: both halves of 2005 and the first half of last year. With a current winning percentage of .360, Frisco is on pace to finish 25-45 in the second half.

DUCKS ON THE POND:
After hitting .322 (19-for-59) with runners in scoring position on the homestand, the Riders have struggled in those spots during this road trip. Frisco is just 5-for-32 (.156) with runners in scoring position in the series, going 2-for-7 last night.

MAPLE LEAF MASHER:
Over the last 22 games, the Riders have hit just 11 home runs as a team. Five of those have come off the bat of KELLIN DEGLAN, including a grand slam. On August 3 against Midland, he had his first two-homer game since June 24, 2014 with Class-A Hickory. Deglan has hit nine long balls this year, which leads all players on the active roster. Those homers have come in surges, though. The Canadian catcher went homerless in the months of April and June but hit two jacks in May, two more in a six-game span in July, and this stretch of five in 12 games played in which he has hit .237 (9-for-38) with a double, five HR, and 14 RBI.

LEWIS BEGINS COMEBACK WITH FRISCO:
Rangers right-handed pitcher COLBY LEWIS began a Major League rehabilitation assignment the RoughRiders Wednesday, throwing 44 pitches in 2 2/3 innings of work. The righty allowed a run on four hits and one walk. Lewis is recovering from a strained right lat muscle.  Lewis is expected to make another rehab start Monday for the Riders before rejoining the big league club. Prior to the injury, he was one of the go-to arms in the Rangers rotation, posting a 6-1 record alongside a 3.21 ERA in 15 starts with Texas. He became the ninth rehabber to suit up with Frisco this season, joining pitchers YU DARVISHA.J. GRIFFINKEONE KELA, and TANNER SCHEPPERS; catchers CHRIS GIMENEZ and ROBINSON CHIRINOS; plus outfielders JOSH HAMILTON and SHIN-SOO CHOO.

NOTHING BUT GOOSE EGGS:
Tuesday’s shutout loss to San Antonio was the 16th time that Frisco has been shut out this season (most in the Texas League) and already the fifth time this month. The 16 shutout defeats is the most in Double-A and tied is now the most in team history (2009, 15). Brevard County (Brewers Class A-Advanced affiliate, Florida State League), has the most shutout losses in the minors with 21; Frisco is tied for the fourth-most, also behind Palm Beach (20), and Durham (18), and the club is tied with Beloit (16), Fort Wayne (16), and Kane County (16).

OPPOSING STARTER:
Right-hander Heath Fillmyer makes his eighth Double-A start today…He arrived from High-A Stockton, where he’d spent all year, on July 21 to throw five innings of two-run ball on four hits at San Antonio, taking no-decision…Drafted in the 5th round out of Mercer County Community College (West Windsor, NJ) in 2014, he signed for a reported $305,000…Fillmyer is in his third pro season after spending his rookie year in the Arizona League, named most-improved pitcher at the A’s instructional league that fall, and all of last season with Low-A Beloit…Fillmyer entered the 2016 season ranked by MLB.com as the A’s No. 19 prospect (now No. 18) and was ranked the 25 player on the farm by Baseball America prior to the season (up from No. 28 prior to 2015)…Fillmyer was previous selected by the Colorado Rockies after his freshman season the 28th round of the 2013 draft but did not sign… As a freshman, the 6-foot-1, 193-pound Fillmyer, a shortstop, filled in at closer and pitched 7 2/3 innings out of the bullpen…He returned for his sophomore year and moved full-time to the mound where he went 9-0, 0.68 in 2014 ….REPERTOIRE: a 92 to 96 mph FASTBALL with sinking action and downhill angle. He also spins a CURVEBALL with tight break, and a CHANGEUP with splitter-like action, which is known as his best pitch.

Saddle Up: Riders at Midland (8/27)

GAME #130 (2nd HALF GAME #61)

Frisco RoughRiders (60-69 overall, 22-38 2nd half) at Midland RockHounds (71-59 overall, 38-22 2nd half)
Saturday, August 27 – 7:00 p.m.
Security Bank Ballpark – Midland, TX
—————————————–

Watch: MiLB.TV (MID feed)
Listen: Streaming online and on the TuneIn Radio app (Nathan Barnett)
Live stats: Click here
—————————————–
This series: Game 1 of 3
This season: Game 23 of 28 (Tied 11-11)

FRISCO LINEUP

  1. Andy Ibanez – 3B
  2. Isiah Kiner-Falefa – 2B
  3. Joe Jackson – LF
  4. Eduard Pinto – RF
  5. Luis Marte – SS
  6. Alexeis Bell – DH
  7. Edwin Garcia – 1B
  8. Darin Mastroianni – CF
  9. Kellin Deglan – C

LHP Jack Snodgrass (3-0, 1.96 ERA)

RIDERS RECAP: Friday at San Antonio (L, 3-1)

Box Score
Recap
Postgame Notes

PREGAME INTERVIEW: RHP Connor Sadzeck

SETTING THE STAGE (full game notes here)

LAST TIME OUT:

With all four runs in the game coming in the third, the RoughRiders lost 3-1 in the series finale to the San Antonio Missions, getting swept in the four- game set…The Riders outhit the Missions seven to two but dropped the finale of the series…CONNOR SADZECK fanned a career-high ten batters but suffered the loss…He walked only one and allowed three runs, two earned in six innings…San Antonio southpaw Tim Berry walked a season-high seven and allowed six hits but limited the RoughRiders to one run in five innings of work…The Missions bullpen limited the Riders to one baserunner, a ninth-inning single, the rest of the way…The Riders left nine on base and went just 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position.

PLAYING FOR PRIDE:

While the RoughRiders were eliminated from winning the second half Sunday night, the club was still technically in contention for a postseason spot until last night. They needed Corpus Christi to win the second half and finish ahead of Midland for the second best overall record. While the Hooks are still in contention, with an elimination number of four, the Riders are now 10.5 games behind Midland in the overall standings with ten games left.

CHASING THE WRONG HISTORY:

The 2016 RoughRiders got off to one of the best starts in team history. The club had the best record through all but one of the first 45 games of the season, beginning the year an impressive 5-0, 9-1, 17-4, 21-6, and 30-13. Since then, however, the Riders have struggled in the win column. In fact, at 22-38, Frisco is on-pace for the worst half in team history. The Riders have thrice gone 29-41, the worst mark to this point in team history: both halves of 2005 and the first half of last year. With a current winning percentage of .367, Frisco is on-pace to finish 26-44 in the second half.

DUCKS ON THE POND:

After hitting .322 (19-for-59) with runners in scoring position on the homestand, the Riders have struggled in those spots during this road trip. Frisco is just 3-for-25 (.120) with runners in scoring position in the series, including 1-for-9 last night.

MAPLE LEAF MASHER:

Over the last 21 games, the Riders have hit just 11 home runs as a team. Five of those have come off the bat of KELLIN DEGLAN, including a grand slam last Friday. On August 3 against Midland, he had his first two-homer game since June 24, 2014 with Class-A Hickory. Deglan has hit nine long balls this year, which leads all players on the active roster. Those homers have come in surges, though. The Canadian catcher went homerless in the months of April and June but hit two jacks in May, two more in a six-game span in July, and this stretch of five in 11 games played in which he has hit .229 (8-for-35) with a double, five HR, and 14 RBI.

ALFARO COMPLETES ROAD TO THE SHOW:

Former RoughRiders catcher Jorge Alfaro (with Frisco in 2014-15) was recalled by the Philadelphia Phillies yesterday, but did not make his Major League debut last night. He was sent back down to Double-A Reading today. Alfaro missed a majority of last season with an injury before being dealt to the Phillies in the eight player trade for Cole Hamels and Jake Diekman. Alfaro is the 147th former RoughRider to make the big leagues and eighth to make the show for the first time this season along with Nomar Mazara (2014-2015 with Frisco, debuted with Texas Rangers), Brett Nicholas (2013 with Frisco, Rangers), Cody Ege (2015 with Frisco, Miami Marlins), MATT BUSH (2016 with Frisco, Rangers), Jared Hoying (2012-2013 with Frisco, Rangers), Richard Bleier (2012-2013 with Frisco, New York Yankees), JOSE LECLERC (2015- 2016 with Frisco, Rangers), and Jake Thompson (2014-2015 with Frisco, Phillies).

NOTHING BUT GOOSE EGGS:

Tuesday’s shutout loss to San Antonio was the 16th time that Frisco has been shut out this season (most in the Texas League) and already the fifth time this month. The 16 shutout defeats is the most in Double-A and tied is now the most in team history (2009, 15). Brevard County (Brewers Class A-Advanced affiliate, Florida State League), has the most shutout losses in the minors with 21; Frisco is tied for the fourth-most, also behind Palm Beach (20), and Durham (18), and the club is tied with Beloit (16), Fort Wayne (16), and Kane County (16).

OPPOSING STARTER:

Righty Joel Seddon takes the ball for Midland in today’s series opener. He is in his third season as a professional and his first with the RockHounds. Seddon has a 1-1 record with a 3.71 ERA in five starts against Frisco… After a rough first half, when he went 1-6 with a 7.48 ERA, Seddon is 7-2 with a 1.76 ERA in the second half of the season…He’s won his last five decisions…The University of South Carolina product was selected by the Athletics in the 11th round of the 2014 draft. He was previously selected in the 20th round by Toronto out of St. Clair High School in 2011. He was mostly a reliever in college and in his first season in the Oakland farm system, but he made 14 starts in 34 appearances with Class A-Advanced Stockton last season. REPERTOIRE: Four- seam fastball, two-seam FB, changeup, slider, curveball.

Road to the show

Sometimes, I find myself pondering the vast landscape of baseball’s farm systems. The intricate layout of a farm system can affect player development and fan interest, along with numerous other factors.

The Frisco RoughRiders are fortunate to be extremely close to the team’s Major League affiliate, the Texas Rangers. However, many Minor League teams do not have that luxury. In fact, some are located on completely opposite ends of the country.

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With that in mind, I was curious to find out the distances between Minor League affiliates and their respective Major League parent clubs. Creating a spreadsheet was a beneficial way to compare and contrast between different organizations and each level of Minor League Baseball. (zoom in for details)

1

This is each farm system, mapped out by affiliate location and distance from the affiliate’s home ballpark to the parent club’s ballpark. These are driving distances, not flying distances. So, say you wanted to hop in the car and travel from Centennial Field in Burlington (home of the Class A-Short Season Vermont Lake Monsters) to the Oakland Coliseum. That would be a whopping 3,016-mile trip, the longest driving distance between any Minor League team and its Major League affiliate.

The table above has each organization sorted by average distance (total miles/number of farm teams). Oakland has the most spread out farm system, with the Class A-Advanced Stockton Ports being the only A’s affiliate within 750 miles of the Oakland Coliseum. The Baltimore Orioles, meanwhile, have their entire farm system (with the exception of the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League Orioles) neatly spread across the Mid-Atlantic region. The average distance between an Orioles affiliate and Oriole Park at Camden Yards is just 242 miles.

In terms of average distance, the Rangers place 17th out of 30. However, the top two levels of the farm system are very close to home. Frisco is just a 35-mile drive from Globe Life Park in Arlington, ranking second among Double-A affiliates (only the Bowie Baysox are closer – 27 miles from Baltimore).

It is also interesting to note the trend of Minor League teams being closer to home in higher ranks of the farm system. 14 Class A-Advanced teams are located at least 1,000 miles from their Major League affiliate, while just five Triple-A teams top the 1,000 mark (Las Vegas is the farthest Triple-A affiliated, located 2,535 miles from Citi Field in New York). Additionally, eight teams in Triple-A are located within 100 miles of their Major League affiliates.

Highs and Lows:

Triple-A: Tacoma – 36 miles from Seattle … Las Vegas – 2,535 miles from New York (NL)

Double-A: Bowie – 27 miles from Baltimore … Richmond – 2,869 miles from San Francisco

Class A-Advanced: Potomac – 30 miles from Washington … Fort Myers – 1,700 miles from Minnesota

Class-A: Lake County – 19 miles from Cleveland … Augusta – 2,618 miles from San Francisco

Class A-Short Season: Brooklyn – 21 miles from New York (NL) … Vermont – 3,016 miles from Oakland

Rookie: AZL Diamondbacks – 21 miles from Arizona … AZL Indians – 2,033 miles from Cleveland

– Steve

Baseball term of the day: frostie – A pitch in slow pitch softball that is above 12 feet in arc. The term alludes facetiously to the frost that appears at higher altitudes.

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary

Saddle Up: Riders at San Antonio (8/26)

GAME #129 (2nd HALF GAME #60)

Frisco RoughRiders (60-68 overall, 22-37 2nd half) at San Antonio Missions (54-75 overall, 32-27 2nd half)
Friday, August 26 – 7:05 p.m.
Wolff Stadium – San Antonio, TX
—————————————–

Watch: MiLB.TV (SA feed)
Listen: Streaming online and on the TuneIn Radio app (Nathan Barnett)
Live stats: Click here
—————————————–
This series: Game 4 of 4 (Missions lead 3-0)
This season: Game 32 of 32 (RoughRiders lead 18-13)

FRISCO LINEUP

  1. Darin Mastroianni – CF
  2. Eduard Pinto – RF
  3. Andy Ibanez – 3B
  4. Joe Jackson – LF
  5. Luis Marte – SS
  6. Carson Blair – DH
  7. Isiah Kiner-Falefa – 2B
  8. Edwin Garcia – 1B
  9. Kellin Deglan – C

RHP Connor Sadzeck (9-7, 4.40 ERA)

RIDERS RECAP: Thursday at San Antonio (L, 4-3 – 10 innings)

Box Score
Recap
Postgame Notes

PREGAME INTERVIEW: LHP Joe Filomeno

SETTING THE STAGE (full game notes here)

LAST TIME OUT:

For the second straight night, the Riders fell 4-3 in 10 innings…Frisco took a 3-1 lead to the eighth, but the Missions collected five straight hits to open the inning, three off JEFRI HERNADNEZ and another pair off JOE FILOMENO to tie things up…With the bases loaded and no outs, Filomeno got out of the jam to keep the game tied…Filomeno and DAVID PEREZ got out of another jam in the ninth, with a runner at third and no outs, to keep the game tied at 3-3 and send the game to extra innings…Perez could not hold back San Antonio in the 10th, however, as the Missions put two in scoring position with one out, and Luis Tejada drove in the winning run with a sacrifice fly…SCOTT CARROLL pitched well, taking no-decision, allowing just a run in 5 2/3 innings of work…ANDY IBANEZ smacked three hits, and JOE JACKSON reached safely three times as well.

TIGHTENING UP WITH SAN ANTONIO:

After winning the first eight games in the season-series with San Antonio, things have gotten much closer. Frisco has lost 13 of the last 23, and each of the last five series have been either splits or losses, including this current four-game set (0-3). In addition, 10 of the last 14 games in the series have been decided by two runs or fewer, including eighth one-run games and four extra-inning games. The Riders have dropped six straight to the Missions, the longest such losing streak for the club since 2010, when the Riders dropped eight straight games to the Missions 7/30-8/2 at home and 8/6-8/9 at San Antonio. All six of the losses on this losing streak have come at Wolff Stadium.

ALFARO COMPLETES ROAD TO THE SHOW:

Former RoughRiders catcher Jorge Alfaro (with Frisco in 2014-15) was recalled by the Philadelphia Phillies today. Alfaro missed a majority of last season with an injury before being dealt to the Phillies in the eight player trade for Cole Hamels and Jake Diekman. Alfaro is the 147th former RoughRider to make the big leagues and eighth to make the show for the first time this season along with Nomar Mazara (2014-2015 with Frisco, debuted with Texas Rangers), Brett Nicholas (2013 with Frisco, Rangers), Cody Ege (2015 with Frisco, Miami Marlins), MATT BUSH (2016 with Frisco, Rangers), Jared Hoying (2012-2013 with Frisco, Rangers), Richard Bleier (2012-2013 with Frisco, New York Yankees), JOSE LECLERC (2015-2016 with Frisco, Rangers), and Jake Thompson (2014-2015 with Frisco, Phillies).

EXTRA! EXTRA! READ ALL ABOUT IT!:

Frisco played its fourth extra-inning affair with San Antonio this year and the third in the last four games of the season-series. The Riders have lost all four. In fact, Frisco has lost its last five games that have gone to extra innings. Contrastingly, the Missions, who have played 20 extra-inning games, the most in the league, have won eight of their last nine extra-inning games and 13 overall.

NOTHING BUT GOOSE EGGS:

Tuesday’s shutout loss to San Antonio was the 16th time that Frisco has been shut out this season (most in the Texas League) and already the fifth time this month. The 16 shutout defeats is the most in Double-A and tied is now the most in team history (2009, 15). Brevard County (Brewers Class A-Advanced affiliate, Florida State League), has the most shutout losses in the minors with 21; Frisco is tied for the fourth-most, also behind Palm Beach (20), and Durham (18), and the club is tied with Beloit (16) and Fort Wayne (16).

DUCKS ON THE POND:

After hitting .322 (19-for-59) with runners in scoring position on the homestand, the Riders have struggled in those spots during this series. Frisco is just 2-for-16 (.125) with runners in scoring position in the series, including 1-for-10 last night.

MAPLE LEAF MASHER:

Over the last 20 games, the Riders have hit just 11 home runs as a team. Five of those have come off the bat of KELLIN DEGLAN, including a grand slam Friday. On August 3 against Midland, he had his first two-homer game since June 24, 2014 with Class-A Hickory. Deglan has hit nine long balls this year, which leads all players on the active roster. Those homers have come in surges, though. The Canadian catcher went homerless in the months of April and June but hit two jacks in May, two more in a six-game span in July, and this stretch of five in ten games played in which he has hit .250 (8-for-32) with a double, five HR, and 14 RBI. Deglan, however, has not played in each of the last three games.

FOURTH-INNING FUN:

The Riders have had a lot of success in the fourth inning, both recently and over the course of the season. Frisco scored a total of 12 runs and held opponents scoreless in the fourth inning on the last homestand, including a six-run inning last Wednesday against Springfield and a five-run frame Saturday. This year, Frisco has outscored opponents 75-50 in the fourth, the largest positive run differential (+25) for the Riders in any single inning this season. The seventh inning has been Frisco’s worst (-36).

OPPOSING STARTER:

Left-handed pitcher Tim Berry makes his eighth start with San Antonio tonight and second against Frisco…In seven outings, he’s 1-3 with a 8.33 ERA and is coming off his first win of the year, tossing five innings of two-run ball against Northwest Arkansas…The Riders have tagged him to the tune of a 14.73 ERA (12 ER / 7.1 IP) in two starts…The San Diego native was signed by his hometown Padres on July 6 after being released by the Miami Marlins the previous day and made his Missions debut against the Riders on July 17…Berry was originally drafted by the Baltimore Orioles in the 50th round of the 2009 draft… He was added to the Orioles 40-man roster in 2014 and was recalled on June 6, but he did not pitch and was optioned back to Double-A Bowie the following day…Despite appearing on a Major League 25-man roster, Berry has never pitched above the Double-A level in the Minors…After signing with the Padres, he made two starts with Class A-Short Season Tri-City before joining San Antonio…Berry signed with the Orioles out of San Marcos High School in California, bypassing a scholarship to play college baseball at the University of Oregon.

Riding Through the Farm: August 26

“Riding Through the Farm” is your weekly look at what’s going on in the Rangers organization outside of Frisco.

TEXAS RANGERS (75-53 – 1st, AL West)

Texas enters the day 7.5 games up on Seattle and 8.5 ahead of Houston in the AL West race. The Rangers opened their series against first-place Cleveland last night with a resounding 9-0 win over the Indians.

Aside from another dominant outing from Cole Hamels, Carlos Gomez homered in his first at-bat with the Rangers.

The Rangers take on Cleveland for three more before Seattle comes to town. Texas has a chance to really create some space in the standings over the next six games.

Today: vs. Cleveland, 7:05 p.m. (SP: LHP Martin Perez)

TRIPLE-A ROUND ROCK EXPRESS (66-67 – 2nd, PCL American Southern Division)

Nashville is about to knock Round Rock and the rest of the American Southern Division out of the playoffs with its magic number at one game.

That said, Round Rock continues to have a productive month of August. The Express are 15-9 this month. On Tuesday, though, they had to watch former teammate Lewis Brinson go deep against them in his first at-bat back at Dell Diamond. As you can see in the clip below, his trip around the bases included a lot of smiling.

After allowing his first two runs as a Triple-A pitcher his last time out, Yohander Mendez came out of the bullpen last night and worked four scoreless innings. His ERA with Round Rock is a ridiculous 0.64 through 28.1 innings. He appears to be running away with Rangers Minor League Pitcher of the Year honors.

Today: at New Orleans, 7:00 p.m. (SP: LHP Michael Roth)

CLASS-A ADVANCED HIGH DESERT MAVERICKS (77-53 overall, 34-26 second half – 2nd in the second half, California League South Division)

In case you haven’t heard already, the Mavericks are entering their final few weeks as a franchise. Next year, we’ll be writing about the Kinston ______s here on “Riding Through the Farm”.

Sam Dykstra at MiLB.com wrote an interesting piece a few days ago about the difference in park effects that Rangers farmhands will experience when they shift from Adelanto to Kinston. Suddenly, the Rangers’ Class A-Advanced affiliate will be in a slight pitcher’s park, according to the metrics.

That said, the end of the regular season won’t be the finale for the Mavs. High Desert is guaranteed a playoff spot by way of winning the first-half crown. The Mavericks are still on track to face Lancaster in the first round of the playoffs.

In player news, Dylan Moore was sent to the Braves this week as part of a three-team deal that garnered international slot money for the Rangers.

Lastly, Luke Tendler was named California League Player of the Week on Monday after hitting .435 with four doubles, three homers, and eight RBI.

Today: vs. Lake Elsinore, 9:05 p.m. (SP: LHP Tyler Davis)

CLASS-A HICKORY CRAWDADS (69-61 overall, 31-29 second half – T-3rd in the second half, South Atlantic League Northern Division)

Hickory is quickly sliding out of playoff contention by way of first-place Lakewood’s seven-game winning streak. Hickory was the last team to beat the BlueClaws, but the Crawdads are now six games back in the second-half standings, seeing their elimination number drop to five games.

Yesterday, Josh Altmann was promoted to High Desert. He was hitting .260 with six home runs and 30 RBI prior to the promotion.

Charleston is in town for three, starting tonight. Nick Green, who was part of the Carlos Beltran trade, is slated to start tomorrow. Dillon Tate, also part of that trade, has been used as a reliever with the RiverDogs. He last pitched Tuesday, so perhaps he makes an appearance this weekend at L.P. Frans Stadium. Tate is 0-0 with a 3.60 ERA in his first four outings (10.0 IP) with Charleston.

Today: vs. Charleston, 6:00 p.m. (SP: RHP Blake Bass)

CLASS A-SHORT SEASON SPOKANE INDIANS (28-37 overall, 9-18 second half – 4th in the second half, Northwest League North)

Yesterday’s off day was a much-needed one for Spokane. The Indians enter the day on a seven-game losing streak and are just 1-12 in their last 13 games. In this 13-game dry spell, Spokane is hitting .207 as a team with a 4.91 ERA.

Amazingly, the Indians are just one game out of second place right now, although everybody is looking up at 20-7 Everett. That’s the beauty of winning the first half.

Benjamin Hill of the Ben’s Biz Blog had this fun story about a mysterious safe at Spokane’s Avista Stadium. What do you think is inside it?

Tonight: vs. Tri City, 8:30 p.m. (SP: RHP Tyler Phillips)

– Ryan

Baseball term of the day: Mixed ball – A fastball that breaks in.

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary

Saddle Up: Riders at San Antonio (8/25)

GAME #128 (2nd HALF GAME #59)

Frisco RoughRiders (60-67 overall, 22-36 2nd half) at San Antonio Missions (53-75 overall, 31-27 2nd half)
Thursday, August 25 – 7:05 p.m.
Wolff Stadium – San Antonio, TX
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Watch: MiLB.TV (SA feed)
Listen: Streaming online and on the TuneIn Radio app (Nathan Barnett)
Live stats: Click here
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This series: Game 3 of 4 (Missions lead 2-0)
This season: Game 31 of 32 (RoughRiders lead 18-12)

FRISCO LINEUP

  1. Darin Mastroianni – CF
  2. Eduard Pinto – RF
  3. Carson Blair – DH
  4. Joe Jackson – RF
  5. Andy Ibanez – 3B
  6. Luis Marte – SS
  7. Isiah Kiner-Falefa – C
  8. Edwin Garcia – 1B
  9. Alberto Triunfel – 2B

RHP Scott Carroll (1-1, 4.29 ERA)

RIDERS RECAP: Wednesday at San Antonio (L, 4-3 – 10 innings)

Box Score
Recap
Postgame Notes

PREGAME INTERVIEW: C/1B Carson Blair

SETTING THE STAGE (full game notes here)

LAST TIME OUT:
Rallying back from down 3-1, the Riders fell 4-3 in 10 innings on Wednesday night to the San Antonio Missions…Rangers rehabber COLBY LEWIS tossed 2 2/3 innings of one-run ball…JOE JACKSON homered off of Seth Simmons to tie the game in the fourth, but the Missions scored in the fourth and sixth to take a two-run lead…Down 3-1 in the ninth, the Riders rallied for a pair of runs off of closer Jimmy Brasoban to tie things up, but JUAN GRULLON allowed the winning run in the 10th on a two-out, two-strike single by Ryan Miller to end the ballgame.

EXTRA! EXTRA! READ ALL ABOUT IT!: 
Frisco played its third extra-innings affair with San Antonio this year and the second in the last three games of the season series. The Riders have lost all three. In fact, Frisco has lost its last four games that have gone to extra innings. Contrastingly, the Missions, who have played 19 extra-innings games, the most in the league, have won seven of their last eight extra-innings games.

TIGHTENING UP WITH SAN ANTONIO:
After winning the first eight games in the season-series with San Antonio, things have gotten much closer. Frisco has lost 12 of the last 22, and each of the last four series have been splits or losses. In addition, nine of the last 13 games in the series have been decided by two runs or fewer, including seven one-run games and three extra-inning games.

NOTHING BUT GOOSE EGGS:
Tuesday’s shutout loss to San Antonio was the 16th time that Frisco has been shut out this season (most in the Texas League) and already the fifth time this month. The 16 shutout defeats is the most in Double-A and tied is now the most in team history (2009, 15). Brevard County (Brewers Class A-Advanced affiliate, Florida State League), has the most shutout losses in the minors with 21; Frisco is tied for the fourth-most, also behind Palm Beach (18), and Durham (18), and the club is tied with Beloit (16).

DUCKS ON THE POND:
Despite struggling to hit with runners in scoring position at times throughout the season, the RoughRiders performed very well of late. Despite going 1-for-6 in this series, Frisco has hit .308 (20-for-65) with runners in scoring position over the past eight games.

MAPLE LEAF MASHER:
Over the last 19 games, the Riders have hit 11 home runs as a team. Five of those have come off the bat of KELLIN DEGLAN, including a grand slam Friday. On August 3 against Midland, he had his first two-homer game since June 24, 2014 with Class-A Hickory. Deglan has hit nine long balls this year, which leads all players on the active roster. Those homers have come in surges, though. The Canadian catcher went homerless in the months of April and June but hit two jacks in May, two more in a six-game span in July, and this stretch of five in ten games played in which he has hit .250 (8-for-32) with a double, five HR, and 14 RBI.

FOURTH-INNING FUN:
The Riders have had a lot of success in the fourth inning, both recently and over the course of the season. Frisco scored a total of 12 runs and held opponents scoreless in the fourth inning on the last homestand, including a six-run inning last Wednesday against Springfield and a five-run frame Saturday. This year, Frisco has outscored opponents 74-50 in the fourth, the largest positive run differential (+24) for the Riders in any single inning this season. The seventh inning has been Frisco’s worst (-37).

LEWIS BEGINS COMEBACK WITH FRISCO:
Rangers right-handed pitcher COLBY LEWIS began a Major League rehabilitation assignment the RoughRiders last night, throwing 44 pitches in 2 2/3 innings of work. The righty allowed a run on four hits and one walk. Lewis is recovering from a strained right lat muscle. Prior to the injury, he was one of the go-to arms in the Rangers rotation, posting a 6-1 record alongside a 3.21 ERA in 15 starts with Texas. He becomes the ninth rehabber to suit up with Frisco this season, joining pitchers YU DARVISHA.J. GRIFFINKEONE KELA, and TANNER SCHEPPERS; catchers CHRIS GIMENEZ and ROBINSON CHIRINOS; plus outfielders JOSH HAMILTON and SHIN-SOO CHOO.

OPPOSING STARTER:
A second-year professional, southpaw Jerry Keel makes the start for the Missions today in his Double-A debut after yesterday’s promotion. Pitching at his third different level, Keel gets the jump to San Antonio after four pedestrian starts for Class A-Advanced Lake Elsinore, going 2-2 with a 6.14 ERA. He was, however, outstanding with Class-A Fort Wayne in the Midwest League where his 2.97 ERA there would be sixth if he qualified. He made nine starts and 16 relief outings for the Tin Caps…Keel, 22, hails from Lancaster, California, home of the Astros Class A-Advanced affiliate, and played his college ball at Cal State-Northridge in Los Angeles after graduating from Palmdale High School… Keel was a three-year varsity starting pitcher for the Falcons of Palmdale, helping his team to the Cecil Fielder World Series Championship in 2010, where he was named the Most Valuable Pitcher and the R.B.I. World Series Championship in 2011. As a senior in 2011, he led the league with a 1.32 ERA and 101 strikeouts and was also named to the All-CIF Southern Section Team. In college, Keel was Big West Freshman Pitcher of the Year and a Freshman All-American…His 2.75 ERA as a collegiate is eight-best in Northridge history, and he logged the most innings (370.1 IP) in school history…The Padres selected Keel in the ninth round of the 2015 draft after his senior season with the Matadors.

 

Riders continue to show ninth-inning resiliency

walk off

The Riders have four walk-off wins in the ninth inning this season.

Last night, the RougRiders staged another late rally in San Antonio, scoring twice in the ninth to force extra innings. Though Frisco ultimately lost 4-3 in 10 innings, the ninth-inning resiliency is becoming a nice trend for the Riders in 2016. Here are some of the numbers:

  • Frisco has scored 40 runs in the ninth inning this season, including three or more runs on four different occasions. The season-high for runs in the ninth is seven (July 14 at CC).
  • The Riders have surged ahead five different time in the ninth inning this season, including four walk-off wins.
  • Last night’s game marked the fourth time this year that Frisco has come from behind to tie the game in the ninth inning. The Riders also tied the game in the seventh inning of a seven-inning game (effectively, the ninth inning) at Midland on May 19.
  • Jimmy Brasoban, who was on the mound for San Antonio in the ninth inning last night, has taken his only two blown saves this season against the Riders.
  • On a similar note, seven of Corpus Christi’s 15 blown saves this season have come against the RoughRiders.

– Ryan

Baseball term of the day: Ramicack – To hit a baseball.

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary

Saddle Up: Riders at San Antonio (8/24)

GAME #127 (2nd HALF GAME #58)

Frisco RoughRiders (60-66 overall, 22-35 2nd half) at San Antonio Missions (52-75 overall, 30-27 2nd half)
Wednesday, August 24 – 7:05 p.m.
Wolff Stadium – San Antonio, TX
—————————————–

Watch: MiLB.TV (SA feed)
Listen: Streaming online and on the TuneIn Radio app (Nathan Barnett)
Live stats: Click here
—————————————–
This series: Game 2 of 4 (Missions lead 1-0)
This season: Game 30 of 32 (RoughRiders lead 18-11)

FRISCO LINEUP

  1. Darin Mastroianni – CF
  2. Eduard Pinto – RF
  3. Andy Ibanez – 2B
  4. Joe Jackson – LF
  5. Luis Marte – DH
  6. Carson Blair – C
  7. Isiah Kiner-Falefa – 3B
  8. Edwin Garcia – 1B
  9. Alberto Triunfel – SS

RHP Colby Lewis (0-0, -.– ERA)

RIDERS RECAP: Tuesday at San Antonio (L, 6-0)

Box Score
Recap
Postgame Notes

PREGAME INTERVIEW: Missions broadcaster Mike Saeger

SETTING THE STAGE (full game notes here)

LAST TIME OUT:
The Riders were blanked 6-0 by the San Antonio Missions last night…The club mustered just one runner into scoring position, coming on an infield single and an error, allowing ANDY IBANEZ to reach second base with two outs in the fourth…Frisco hit into two double plays, leaving just two of its four runners on base…Meanwhile, San Antonio’s Gabriel Quintana had himself a career night, going 3-for-3 with a homer, double, and a walk, and he collected a career-high six RBI…Former big leaguer Daniel McCutchen (7 IP), Michael Dimock (1 IP), and Trey McNutt (1 IP) tossed the three-hit shutout, marking the lowest hit total for the Riders in almost two weeks (2 hits, August 11 at Springfield)…REED GARRETT allowed six runs, all earned, in four innings, but the bullpen worked four scoreless innings: RYAN LEDBETTER tossed two, FRANK LOPEZ fired one, and RICHELSON PENA threw another…The Riders combined to throw 14 strikeouts while walking just two.

NOTHING BUT GOOSE EGGS:
Yesterday’s shutout loss to San Antonio was the 16th time that Frisco has been shut out this season (most in the Texas League) and already the fifth time this month. The 16 shutout defeats is the most in Double-A and tied is now the most in team history (2009, 15). Brevard County (Brewers Class A-Advanced affiliate, Florida State League), has the most shutout losses in the minors with 21; Frisco is tied for the fourth-most, also behind Palm Beach (18), and Durham (18), and the club is tied with Beloit (16).

TIGHTENING UP WITH SAN ANTONIO:
After winning the first eight games in the season-series with San Antonio, things have gotten much closer. Frisco has won 10 of the last 21, but each of the last four series have been splits or losses. In addition, eight of the last 12 games in the series have been decided by two runs or fewer, including six one-run games.

DUCKS ON THE POND:
Despite struggling to hit with runners in scoring position at times throughout the season, the RoughRiders performed very well on the recent homestand. As a team, Frisco has hit .322 (19-for-59) with runners in scoring position over the past six games against Springfield and Tulsa. Frisco went 0-for-1 with runners in scoring position last night.

MAPLE LEAF MASHER:
Over the last 18 games, the Riders have hit 10 home runs as a team. Five of those have come off the bat of KELLIN DEGLAN, including a grand slam Friday. On August 3 against Midland, he had his first two-homer game since June 24, 2014 with Class-A Hickory. Deglan has hit nine long balls this year, which leads all players on the active roster. Those homers have come in surges, though. The Canadian catcher went homerless in the months of April and June but hit two jacks in May, two more in a six-game span in July, and this stretch of five in ten games played in which he has hit .250 (8-for-32) with a double, five HR, and 14 RBI.

FOURTH-INNING FUN:
The Riders have had a lot of success in the fourth inning, both recently and over the course of the season. Frisco scored a total of 12 runs and held opponents scoreless in the fourth inning on the last homestand, including a six-run inning Wednesday against Springfield and a five-run frame yesterday. This year, Frisco has outscored opponents 73-49 in the fourth, the largest positive run differential (+24) for the Riders in any single inning this season. The seventh inning has been Frisco’s worst (-37).

POWERED BY PINTO:
After joining the team on the last road trip and getting off to a great start, Riders outfielder EDUARD PINTO kept the mojo going at home. Despite losing a seven-game hitting streak last night, Pinto is hitting .359 (23-for-64) in his first 17 games at the Double-A level, with four doubles and nine RBI. He has also reached safely in 14 of the 17 games and had six multi-hit games, including a three-hit contest and two four-hit games. For his career, Pinto is averaging a multi-hit game exactly once every in three contests (113 in 340 career games).

LEWIS BEGINS COMEBACK WITH FRISCO:
Rangers right-handed pitcher COLBY LEWIS begins a Major League rehabilitation assignment the RoughRiders tonight, and he is scheduled to throw three innings or 45 pitches. Lewis is recovering from a strained right lat muscle. Prior to the injury, he was one of the go-to arms in the Rangers rotation, posting a 6-1 record alongside a 3.21 ERA in 15 starts with Texas. He becomes the ninth rehabber to suit up with Frisco this season, joining pitchers YU DARVISHA.J. GRIFFINKEONE KELA, and TANNER SCHEPPERS; catchers CHRIS GIMENEZ and ROBINSON CHIRINOS; plus outfielders JOSH HAMILTON and SHIN-SOO CHOO.

OPPOSING STARTER:
The RoughRiders face 28-year-old righty Seth Simmons tonight…Simmons is making his 17th appearance and 12th start for the Missions after being signed by the Padres as a free agent on May 24…Simmons, the former Diamondbacks farmhand who began the season with Triple-A Reno, was released by Arizona on May 20 and assigned to San Antonio upon joining the San Diego organization…Although, the Riders hit Simmons well on July 31 (6 IP, 10H, 4ER), the right-hander has dazzled thus far in the Texas League with a 2-3 record and a 1.97 ERA…He’s also the reigning Texas League Pitcher of the Week…The sixth-year pro made the first start of his Minor League career on June 17 at Midland…After one more relief appearance four days later, Simmons permanently joined San Antonio’s rotation and is now making his 12th straight start…In only one of his 11 starts has Simmons allowed more than three runs as a member of the Padres organization…The Winston-Salem, North Carolina native was selected by the Diamondbacks in the 40th round of the 2011 MLB Draft out of East Carolina University…REPERTOIRE: Fastball (low 90s), slider (low-to-mid 80s), slurve (mid-to-upper 70s).

A baseball’s journey through Dr Pepper Ballpark

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Hey there! My name is Bill, and I’m a baseball. You may have seen me flying and rolling around Dr Pepper Ballpark recently.

Have you ever thought about where I come from? Plus, did you realize how many of my brothers and sisters get to take part in a baseball game on a given night?

I was born a few months ago in China. The Rangers called Rawlings and said they needed more of my family members to come to Dr Pepper Ballpark. They said something about how my parents, uncles, and aunts got fouled away and taken home by people, so me and approximately 1,200 of my brothers and sisters (yeah, we have a really big family) got on a plane and headed all the way to Frisco. We got box seats for the flight over (as in, they put us in a box). Can you believe we didn’t get first class tickets?!

Once we got here, we went to a closet near the clubhouse. It turns out we weren’t needed right away, so we got to hang out and get used to our new surroundings. We also got to say hi to our cousins, the Major League balls. They are pretty similar to us with a few differences. Most notably, they were born in Costa Rica.

Finally, one afternoon, our box opened and approximately 100 of us got a free ride across the park to the umpires room. When we got there, they splashed us around in a special kind of mud (apparently, we were too shiny). Don’t worry; it wasn’t as bad as it sounds.

We enjoyed our time with the umpires, but we didn’t get to stay very long. The bat boys came and took us into a bucket in the dugouts. It was almost game time and we were getting excited!

I had to watch the first few innings from the dugout, but at long last, the home plate umpire stuck up three fingers toward the dugout and, before I knew it, I was getting picked up by the bat boy and raced out to home plate. I was happy to see the home plate umpire again, but instead of rejoicing when he saw me, he stuffed me in his side pocket. After a few of my siblings were fouled off, he reached into his pocket and threw me out to the pitcher.

Woohoo! I was making my minor league debut (and I got to go straight to Double-A!) before my first birthday.

I had a lot of fun out there, hanging with Riders pitcher Connor Sadzeck. He threw me almost 100 miles per hour! What a thrill. My Double-A debut didn’t last too long, though. Apparently, I did something to upset Tulsa’s Willie Calhoun, because he hit me really hard. In fact, so hard that I went flying toward the Choctaw Lazy River. It was pretty hot, so I was excited to go swimming. On my way down, one of the awesome Riders employees caught me in his net. Then, I got paired with my new parents and got to go home with them. They’ve been great. They put me on display at their house!

A lot of my siblings end up going home with a lucky fan. Some of them, however, do stay at the park. At any time, you can find about 100 of them in the batting practice bucket. If they make it past the wear and tear of batting practice without finding a new home, they get sent to the batting cage. My grandparents are up there. Maybe my new family will bring me back to the park for autographs for one of these days so I can see them and all my other friends.

You may not realize it, but about 100 of my siblings (again, I’ve got a really big family) see game action on any given night at Dr Pepper Ballpark. Over the course of a 70-game home season, that means approximately 7,000 of us will be used.

Our careers are short, and we’ll never have a shot at the big leagues like the players that use us. That said, it’s still a great life. I’m happily in retirement now.

– Ryan

Baseball term of the day: Ballite – A baseball fan.

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary

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