April 2011

Loving the Draft

I’m a sports nerd. I will never try to deny it. That’s why I enjoy this weekend. A lot.

The NFL Draft is addicting. All of these teams instantly adding to their rosters. All of these players living out a dream. Great stuff.

And I’m glad that Major League Baseball is starting to devote some attention to the MLB Draft. Because players do not instantly join big league rosters, it will never get to the level of the NFL or NBA Drafts. It still can be a great event for the league, especially because it takes place during the season.

Just a quick aside. Anyways, off we go to today’s Facts.

FRISCO FACTS:

  • Sometimes, you are good and someone is better. That was the case for Frisco starter Wilfredo Boscan last night. Boscan lasted six and two-thirds innings, his longest outing of the season by almost two frames. Of the 20 men he retired, 12 came by virtue of the groundout. In fact, the only inning he registered a fly out was in the second, when all three of his outs came that way.
  • Overall, manager Steve Buechele has been pleased with the rotation’s improvement as a whole. “So far, so good,” Buechele said. “Jeff [Andrews] and I are really pleased with what we’re seeing out of the starters…We don’t see any reason why they can’t go out and keep doing what they’re doing.”
  • It was also a nice debut for Tyler Tufts, who had a stint with the ‘Riders last year. Tufts set down all four men he faced, including Brandon Wikoff with men at first and second and two away in the seventh.
  • However, Corpus Christi starter Xavier Cedeno was dominant. He scattered five hits over seven innings. It wasn’t just the low number of hits, but it was the timing of the hits. Two of them were two-out singles. The other three were one-out singles. Cedeno did not allow a leadoff runner to get on base all night long.
  • The ‘Riders only had one legitimate opportunity to score. It came in the seventh after back-to-back one-out singles. That was when Cedeno buckled down and struck out both Elio Sarmiento and Travis Adair. After missing out on that chance, it was just a matter of time before Frisco would suffer a shutout.
  • It was the first shutout suffered by the RoughRiders’ since September 1, 2010, at Corpus Christi. The ‘Riders have blanked three teams since that date, for what it’s worth.
  • Mike Bianucci’s single in the top of the first extended his hitting streak to nine games, which is the longest for a RoughRider so far this season. Tommy Mendonca’s eight-game hitting streak, which had been the best in Frisco this year, came to an end in Thursday’s game.

Game two of this four-game set is tonight at 7:05. Pre-game at 6:35 on the RBN. Enjoy!

- Brian

Cherish Everyone

Before arriving in Frisco, I had the great pleasure of covering the Ohio University football team. When you are involved in sports, whether as a fan, media member, or broadcaster, you feel like you get to know the members of the team.

Sometimes, those people seem slightly above human. They are all parts of a game that people love. Unfortunately, those players are human, and the Ohio football family found out the hard way Wednesday.

Former defensive lineman Marcellis Williamson passed away just months after finishing his senior season. I talked with him a few times, and he couldn’t have been nicer. Really sad stuff.

Just goes to show that fans should cherish all players, even the ones at less-than-glamorous positions.

Anyways, let’s get happy with a Frisco victory and today’s Facts.

FRISCO FACTS:

  • A losing-streak snapper never seems to come easily, now does it? Frisco is the best defensive club in the Texas League with a .982 fielding percentage, but Tommy Mendonca, who has probably been this club’s most complete player so far this year, allowed a pair of runs to score on a throwing error.
  • Mendonca has an extremely strong arm at the hot corner, but sometimes he can be inaccurate on the throws. He has three errors thus far on the young season, which is tied for the most among third baseman in the Texas League.
  • Credit Mendonca for being patient enough to draw a tenth-inning walk. It is easy for a guy who committed an error and had been 0-for-4 to try to swing as hard as he can and make up for all of it. However, his walk, drawn on a 3-2 count, was the key battle in that tenth inning, if you ask me. Jonathan Greene followed suit with another walk on a 3-2 count that chased home the go-ahead run.
  • The first and last pitchers who toed the rubber for the RoughRiders were extremely impressive. After a pair of rough starts, righty Carlos Pimentel has had a couple of solid outings. Yesterday, Pimentel allowed only a Blake Tekotte solo homer in six innings of work. He scattered four hits and struck out six, a season high. Over his last two starts, Pimentel has a 2.31 ERA over 11.2 innings.
  • Overall, Frisco’s starting rotation has improved greatly since the start of the year. Over the last two turns in the rotation, the RoughRiders’ starter has pitched at least five innings eight times.
  • And how about the effort of Justin Miller. Miller, who had struggled in a few late-game situations earlier this season, was dominant in his two innings of work. With all the momentum in the San Antonio dugout, Miller wiped through the 2-3-4 men in the Missions’ order in the ninth to send the game to extras. After Frisco took the lead in the tenth, Miller did the same.
  • Miller, like many ‘Riders on the hill, had struggled a bit with his command earlier in the year. Yesterday, he only needed 25 pitches to go through the heart of the best order in the Texas League and retire six straight. 16 of those pitches were over for strikes.
  • Renny Osuna had a great effort in his return from the disabled list. He drove in a run in the seventh on a double. Three innings later, his leadoff single turned into the eventual game-winning run. On the year, Osuna is hitting .304.
  • On the flip side, Travis Adair’s Double-A debut wasn’t spectacular. He went 0-for-4 and stranded four men on the bases. However, he did put the ball in play in a scoring chance and earned an RBI on a groundout in the second.
  • Pretty impressive that the ‘Riders won a game when their 3-4-5 men (Mike Bianucci, Mendonca, Greene) went a combined 0-for-10. Baseball is strange, but the ‘Riders will take it.

Our pre-game coverage begins at 6:35 for the opener of Frisco’s four-game series in Corpus Christi. First pitch is set for 7:05. Enjoy!

- Brian

Malls Are Big

Normally, I try to take it easy during the morning and early afternoon before road games. Today, though, I went to the mall.

I’m not a shopper at all, but my girlfriend is a self-proclaimed pro. However, I happened to leave the mall (after about three hours worth of shopping, I might add) with more items (a pair of sunglasses) than her.

This shopping thing just doesn’t make sense if you aren’t going to get anything, but she’s the pro. Not me.

Here’s the Thursday edition of the Facts, free of charge.

FRISCO FACTS:

  • The ruling is in for Frisco center fielder Engel Beltre. The Texas League has suspended Beltre for 15 games after his altercation in San Antonio. The suspension includes yesterday’s game and will hold him out of action until May 13th.
  • There were other moves by the RoughRiders today. Infielder Renny Osuna has been activated from the disabled list after suffering a broken nose April 14th. Osuna had been the leadoff hitter while in the lineup, so I would expect him to return to that spot with Beltre out for a while.
  • Also, left-hander Corey Young has been placed on the seven-day disabled list with a back injury and infielder Edwin Garcia, who made his debut with the ‘Riders yesterday, is heading back to extended spring training. Garcia was only a stopgap with a few position players out of the mix.
  • The RoughRiders received two players from high-A Myrtle Beach. Outfielder Travis Adair is now with the club after hitting .365 with two homers and 13 RBIs in 16 games with the Pelicans. In those 16 games, Adair has played left field nine times. He has been the designated hitter in the other seven games. It would seem likely, then, to see Adair and Mike Bianucci split those two roles.
  • Also getting the bump up to Frisco is Tyler Tufts. The right-hander was 1-0 with a 1.35 ERA in six outings for the Pelicans this year. This will be Tufts’ second stint with the ‘Riders. Last year, he had a 2.50 ERA in 14 outings in North Texas. He has to be good because he’s from Ohio.
  • I’ve been meaning to put this link up for a few days, but I have neglected to do so. Here’s a feature on Frisco starter Martin Perez from the Texas League home page. Pretty good stuff here.
  • How about Nick Derba squeezing the S-Cards past Northwest Arkansas yesterday for a walk-off victory. Not bad for a catcher. Springfield starter Nick Additon also took a perfect game into the seventh. 

The ‘Riders aim to snap a five-game losing streak tonight in San Antonio. Carlos Pimentel looks for his first win of the season. Pre-game along the RBN begins at 6:35. Enjoy!

- Brian

Everyone Struggles Sometimes

Yesterday was not a good one for the Frisco RoughRiders. However, the great thing about baseball is that chances at redemption come quickly.

Frisco has lost four straight and 11 of 14. However, I know of another team that lost 11 of 14 last year. The San Francisco Giants.

From June 18-July 2, the defending World Series champion fell to only one game above .500 at the halfway mark of the season. Look what happened after that.

Every team in baseball has a lull or two. The best teams bounce back from them well. We’ll see how the ‘Riders bounce back from this two-week valley.

We’re still peaking on the Facts. Let’s get a Wednesday edition underway.

FRISCO FACTS:

  • The RoughRiders have placed outfielder Engel Beltre on the temporary inactive list. He must sit out at least three days. Mark Hamburger was on this list a few weeks ago. (UPDATE: He is still active. There may be a move at some point soon, though.)
  • Apparently, the official ruling on the overturned home run off the bat of Mike Bianucci in the ninth inning yesterday was a ground-rule double. Aaron Goldsmith tells me that the rationale was that the ball hit Sawyer Carroll’s glove, then the wall, then his glove again, and then went over the fence. I wasn’t there, so I didn’t see it. Strange stuff.
  • Obviously, Bianucci and the ‘Riders were frustrated about that call. However, Frisco’s primary designated hitter is starting to heat up again. After a 3-for-19 slump without an RBI, Bianucci has four RBIs and a .400 (8-for-20) average over his last five games.
  • Another player who is heating up is outfielder David Paisano. The outfielder, one of only three listed on the Frisco roster currently, is hitting .444 (8-for-18) with three runs scored over the last five games. His average is up to .262, which is the highest he has been so far this season.
  • Getting off to quick starts is not something the RoughRiders have been known for so far this year. Frisco has led after five innings only six times this year, which is last in the Texas League. The RoughRiders are also seventh in this eight-team league with a 1-11 mark when either trailing or even after five frames. There have been 16 victories in those situations thus far this year throughout the TL, so the ‘Riders are well below average.
  • In these situations, one must look for the positives. One thing the RoughRiders can look at is their improved starting pitching. Six of the last eight starters have pitched through the fifth inning after only four starters reached that plateau in the rotation’s first two turns.
  • It appears that Jake Brigham is a specialist, in that he specializes in going five innings and giving up three earned runs. After all, he has done exactly that in all four of his starts this year–his first four outings at the Double-A level. Pretty crazy stuff for the Rangers’ 30th ranked prospect.
  • The ‘Riders have held the best hitter in the Texas League, James Darnell, relatively in check. Darnell is just 2-for-8 in the series, lowering his batting average from .482 to a still-healthy .453. Darnell remains the batting leader right now, and he is one of two (Corpus Christi’s Wladimir Sutil the other) who is hitting above .400. Frisco’s Jonathan Greene is on the outside looking in with a .396 mark, which is third.
  • It’s safe to say that Frisco manager Steve Buechele has settled on much of his lineup at this point. The 1-6 spots–Engel Beltre, Davis Stoneburner, Bianucci, Tommy Mendonca, Greene, and Jose Ruiz–in the order have remained the same for the last seven games. However, that will have to change with Beltre being on the Temporary Inactive List.
  • Former Frisco catcher Robbie Diaz has begun his stint with Triple-A Round Rock on a tear. Diaz is hitting .600 (6-for-10) in his first three games, including a 3-for-4 effort yesterday against Oklahoma City.
  • Texas’ number two prospect, shortstop Jurickson Profar, has returned from the disabled list with three hits in his first two games. Profar has reached base in five of his eight plate appearances for low-A Hickory.

Game three of this four-game series begins at 7:05. Pre-game coverage begins at 6:35 along the RoughRiders Baseball Network. Enjoy!

- Brian

Think About Vilonia

Yesterday’s severe weather may have hit Vilonia, Ark., the hardest. A tornado ripped through the town north of Little Rock last night, killing four people. Three others died because of floods caused by this storm. Dozens are still missing.

The video of this storm is incredible. Please keep those who were affected in your thoughts today.

With that somber note out of the way, let’s get you a few facts before today’s morning showdown.

FRISCO FACTS:

  • Frisco’s pitching staff did an admirable job against the Missions with the bases loaded. San Antonio came in with a .375 batting average in those situations, and Frisco pitching limited the club to one hit in five chances. However, the one hit was ultimately the game-winner. It was Blake Tekotte’s two-run single with one down in the eighth.
  • Martin Perez did not have his best stuff yesterday, and San Antonio took advantage in the first. Credit Perez for limiting the damage after a rough beginning. Not only did Perez strand two in the first inning after getting hit around, but none of his four walks came back to bite him. Also, he held the Missions to an 0-for-2 showing with the bases packed. With no one out, Perez struck out Jaff Decker, the home run and RBI leader in this league, and induced a Kyle Blanks double play.
  • I didn’t see Perez last year, but that is an important part of development. Pitchers will not always have their best stuff, and the Rangers’ number one prospect was able to manage a very respectable outing against a fantastic offense.
  • Corey Young has had three scoreless outings and three bad ones. Last night was a bad one. The lefty only retired one of the eight men he faced, with the first two reaching on walks. The more surprising note is that left-handers are roughing up Young. Lefties are hitting .556 off him, and both of the hits he allowed yesterday were against left-handed hitters.
  • I’m not saying this to defend Young. Those numbers need to improve. But the guy is always here very early. He is trying to make it work, and as a fan, I hope things can improve for a pitcher who seems to really care.
  • Good stat from the fantastic “Riders Press Box” twitter account: reliever Adalberto Flores Adalberto Flores extended his scoreless inning streak to 12 with three
    scoreless innings yesterday. His ERA is at 0.69, and his WHIP sits at 0.77.
  • Both games involving North Division teams were rained out yesterday. The Travelers and Naturals have not played since Friday because their last three games have been postponed. To put it into perspective, Frisco had four games either postponed or canceled due to weather in 2010.
  • Here’s the hour-by-hour weather in San Antonio today. First-pitch temperature is set for 85, and the temperature will rise to 97 by 2 p.m. Ouch. 

We begin the pre-game at 10:35 this morning. For those listening on 1630 KKGM, today’s game will be broadcast on a tape delay. It will begin at 6:35 p.m. Enjoy!

- Brian

Hurry! Act Now!

If you have a twitter, I’m sure you are already following us (@ridersbaseball, by the way). But if you aren’t, you are in luck. We are nearing the 2000-follower mark. If you are the 2000th follower, well, that would be pretty sweet.

We’ll give that 2000th follower a nice shout out here on the blog. We do appreciate all 1980ish followers we currently have!

Without further ado, here are your Facts for a Monday, whether you are a “follower” or not.

FRISCO FACTS:

  • Twitter traffic will continue to come toward the RoughRiders if Martin Perez continues to rack up awards and attention. Perez was named the Texas League Pitcher of the Week today after his five-inning perfect game Tuesday. It is his first such honor within the Texas League.
  • Warning: this is all opinion here. It is easy to want Perez to move up quickly and get to Round Rock and eventually to Arlington. We’ve received some tweets and questions on our blogs about Perez and his status in the organization. Others have said he should be promoted. The reality is, Perez has now had five truly “dominant” outings in Frisco since the start of the 2010 season. My guess (and again, these are my thoughts) is that the organization still wants to see more from the lefty here in North Texas before sending him south to the Express.
  • That being said, this is a GREAT start for a young man who experienced his first failure in the game of baseball at the Double-A level. If he continues this, Perez has nowhere to go but up, and in this case “up” means Triple-A. He’ll get there eventually.
  • Today is an interesting match-up for the 20-year-old Perez. He gets to start against the hottest offense in the minor leagues. San Antonio is coming off a three-out-of-four take from Midland this past weekend. The Missions are now 10-6, which is the best mark in the league.
  • San Antonio’s team batting average is .338, 60 points better than second-place Northwest Arkansas. That mark is also the best in all of minor league baseball, barely above high-A Bakersfield’s .337 mark within the California League. I was surprised to see that there are seven teams in the minors that boast batting averages above .300. Four of those seven are in the Pacific Coast League. Poor Round Rock is sixth in the PCL despite a very solid .285 batting average.
  • This four-game series will feature two of the Texas League’s hottest hitters. As we’ve talked about over the last few days, Frisco third baseman Tommy Mendonca is on fire as of late. Mendonca is hitting .400 over the last 10 games with four homers and 12 RBIs. For the Missions, James Darnell is hitting an absurd .514 with three homers and 10 RBIs. On the season, Darnell is hitting .482 (27-for-56).
  • The Missions also have Jaff Decker, who leads the TL in homers (seven) and RBIs (25). Overall, San Antonio has five of the top ten hitters in terms of batting average in the league.
  • Tonight begins the first of two eight-game road trips this year for the RoughRiders, which will be the longest trips of the season. The ‘Riders’ other eight-gamer is June 12-19. Last year, Frisco had a 12-game swing away from Dr Pepper Ballpark from June 17-28. For what it’s worth, the team went 8-4 on that trip to close down a first-half division championship. 
  • Finally, former RoughRider reliever Beau Jones made his debut for Triple-A Round Rock yesterday. Jones went two and a third frames and scattered three hits, striking out three. He did not allow a run.

Aaron is in San Antonio for game one of this four-game series. The pre-game begins at 6:35, as I’ll be along for the ride on the RoughRiders’ Pre-Game Show with Aaron. Enjoy!

- Brian

Happy, Happy, Happy

Happy Easter. Happy Passover. Happy Sunday.

Whatever you may be celebrating, enjoy it. Easter only comes once every 365 days. Passover only comes once every 52 weeks. And Sunday only comes around every seven days.

My present to you is a whole lot of the same–your Facts.

FRISCO FACTS:

  • As mentioned on the broadcast yesterday, the RoughRiders have not strung together back-to-back victories since games one and two of the year. But the ‘Riders have been close to doing so. In their last five losses following victories this year, Frisco has lost by a total of ten runs. In four of those five contests, the ‘Riders had a lead at some point. In other words, this club has been close to a “winning streak” but just hasn’t been able to seal the deal.
  • We mentioned the string of nine straight games with an RBI for Corpus Christi outfielder J.D. Martinez, a streak that came to an end two nights ago. Well, Frisco third baseman Tommy Mendonca is giving the RBI streak thing a try. Mendonca has posted at least one RBI in four straight games. Taking it back to April 14, Mendonca has driven in a run in seven of his last nine contests.
  • I asked Mendonca before yesterday’s game if this is the best string of baseball he has played while within the Rangers’ organization. “You can say, so far, it has been,” Mendonca said. “I’m back having fun. It’s like I’m a little kid again.”
  • Not only is Mendonca fifth in the Texas League with his 15 RBIs, but he is tied with Hickory’s Tomas Telis for the organizational lead. Telis has played in three more games than Mendonca so far this season.
  • Engel Beltre continued his solid swinging last night from the leadoff spot. Since assuming that role when Renny Osuna went on the disabled list, Beltre is 11-for-35 (.314) with seven runs scored in eight games. Last night, Beltre was the only ‘Rider with a multi-hit game.
  • Here’s an interesting note: the RoughRiders have only three men listed as outfielders, and one of those (Mike Bianucci) has only made three starts in the outfield. The rest of his 12 starts have been in the designated hitter slot. On the flip side, there are six active infielders and two infielders on the disabled list. One of those listed infielders–Jonathan Greene–has played some left to make up for this unbalance.
  • Former RoughRider Cody Eppley threw two scoreless innings out of the bullpen in his major league debut yesterday, a 3-1 Texas victory over the Royals. Eppley certainly has a chance to stick with the big league club considering its bullpen struggles so far this year.
  • The San Antonio offense is back at it. After outputs of 26 and 23 runs earlier this month, the Missions spanked Midland 21-8 last night. San Antonio’s team batting average now sits at .343, and the Missions are averaging 8.2 runs a game. Jaff Decker had two homers and seven runs batted in. Decker now has six homers (tied for first in the Texas League) and 23 RBIs (tops in the TL).
  • Finally, the two Arkansas teams have been washed out for the second straight day. Now, the Naturals and Travelers will play double dips May 21 and 23 in Springdale. The ‘Riders will play the Naturals immediately following that series May 25-27 at Dr Pepper Ballpark.

We kick off our coverage at 3:35 this afternoon, with first pitch set for 4:05. Enjoy!

- Brian

Looking Pretty

Most men never wear makeup. However, if you are on television, a little bit of makeup is sometimes necessary for men or women.

I’ve worn makeup before, but only to go on television. The biggest use, for those who are wondering, is to avoid a shiny, weird perception of your skin on camera. It also hides any sort of marks or sweat. Strange, but true.

That’s what Aaron Goldsmith and Jason Cole will deal with tonight for the first of ten television broadcasts on TXA 21. You can catch the game beginning at 7 p.m. The rest of the TV schedule is available here.

The ‘Riders hit the bright lights of television after a complete effort yesterday. Let’s delve into that, plus some roster moves, in today’s Facts.

FRISCO FACTS:

  • First, a few roster moves. Reliever Beau Jones, who has four scoreless outings with the RoughRiders on his 2011 resume, is now with Triple-A Round Rock. It is Jones’ first trip to that level. Joining the ‘Riders is middle infielder Edwin Garcia, who had been with low-A Hickory. In just two games, Garcia is 3-for-6 with the Crawdads.
  • Also, Frisco places two more men on the disabled list. Reliever Ramon Aguero (rotator cuff strain) and infielder Erik Morrison (left thumb contusion) are on the seven-day list. Renny Osuna and Ben Snyder are also on the DL.
  • Now, to yesterday’s blowout victory. After scoring just ten runs in the previous three games, Frisco plated 11 runs on a season-high 19 hits. As mentioned in the game story, all but one starter (Guilder Rodriguez) had MULTI-hit games. That’s pretty remarkable.
  • Jonathan Greene and Jose Ruiz became the sixth and seventh different players to hit homers for the ‘Riders this season. Unfortunately for those two, Tommy Mendonca’s pair of long balls overshadowed their efforts. Mendonca continues to rake for the ‘Riders. Since a bit of a slump during the end of Frisco’s last home stand, the Turlock, Calif., native is hitting .424 (14-for-33) with four of his six home runs and 11 of his 16 RBIs. He is working on an eight-game hitting streak, which is the longest for a ‘Rider this year.
  • Miguel De Los Santos had a variation of the term “unhittable stuff” yesterday. He only allowed one base hit, but he walked another five men. That’s 11 for the lefty in 13 and two-thirds, which obviously isn’t very good. De Los Santos’ WHIP (walks and hits per innings pitched) sits at only a 1.62, which is pretty remarkable considering the high walk rate. He has only allowed eight hits in 2011.
  • It’s a big start tonight for Carlos Pimentel tonight. The other four starters have, at least once, delivered a solid outing. This is Pimentel’s chance to do just that. The right-hander has given up a run in each of the last five innings he has begun. Overall, Pimentel has a 13.50 ERA and a 3.00 WHIP. Those numbers are big, but the season is young. Look at how different De Los Santos’ numbers look after five scoreless innings. The same can happen for Pimentel tonight.
  • Another great crowd was on hand at Dr Pepper Ballpark last night, as 10,073 enjoyed the blowout victory. That’s the fourth time Frisco surpassed the 10,000 mark. Pretty neat stuff.
  • Round Rock’s 2-1 victory over Oklahoma City yesterday was the Express’ 12th on the year, which is second in minor league baseball to the St. Lucie Mets (14-2) of the Florida State League. Overall, the Express is fourth in winning percentage in all of the minors.

As mentioned above, the ‘Riders will be on TXA 21 this evening. You can still catch the audio along the RoughRiders Baseball Network. I’ll take the air at 6:35. Enjoy!

- Brian

Have a Great Weekend

Don’t worry. We’re not going to abandon you for the weekend. Just need to get out my “Happy Easter” to all those who celebrate it.

I am one of those people. I’ve been lucky to be close to home (if not actually home) for many of the big holidays. Baseball prevents me from being home for this one, though. I hope all those who celebrate Easter are able to get home or at least get a little piece of home.

I fully expect a package filled with candy from my parents. We’ll see if they deliver.

We keep chugging along with the Facts on this Friday.

FRISCO FACTS:

  • The pitching staff has begun to turn things around. Over the last three games, the RoughRiders have surrendered only 10 runs. That doesn’t seem like a noteworthy number, but considering the fact that the ‘Riders had surrendered six runs or more in all but one of the previous seven games, that is a step forward.
  • Where has the biggest improvement come from? The bullpen. Since the ‘pen collapsed in a loss to Springfield April 14, here are the numbers for the relievers: 22.1 IP, 6 R, 6 ER, 18 H. That calculates to a 2.42 ERA. 
  • Yesterday, Mark Hamburger returned after a brief time away for a personal issue. The righty tossed a pair of scoreless innings. Same deal for fellow right-hander Mike Perconte, who has now thrown nine and a third frames and given up just one run on six hits. Opponents are hitting just .194 against the former Cubs farmhand. 
  • The other reliever to appear yesterday was Ramon Aguero, who had to leave after a pitch to Brian Esposito, the second batter he faced in the game. No word on his condition, but we’ll try to get an update sometime this weekend.
  • On the flip side, the offense has been limping lately. A popular way of examining a player or a team’s recent play is to look at the stats over the last five games. As a club, the ‘Riders are a .250 hitting unit in the last five contests, which isn’t totally out of the ordinary, but only two batters are hitting above the .261 mark–Tommy Mendonca and Jonathan Greene.
  • We’ve mentioned the hot stretches of Mendonca and Greene, a duo that is hitting a combined .447 with seven of the club’s 15 RBIs in the last five games. Yesterday, those two had four of the six Frisco hits. Everyone else in the lineup went a combined 2-for-25.
  • The most glaring stumble within the starting nine has been Mike Bianucci. It’s somewhat unfair that he is looked at like this because of his torrid start. Those types of numbers are flat out unsustainable over the course of a month, let alone a season. However, Bianucci has hit just .182 (6-for-33) over the last nine games, and he hasn’t driven in a run since Saturday.
  • Here’s what is amazing about Bianucci: the dude is still boasting a .949 OPS. Anything over .900 in this category is considered very good. Even with this lull, Bianucci’s numbers are still better than 90% of the players in this league so far.
  • Miguel De Los Santos gets the ball tonight for the RoughRiders. I’m pulling this directly from the blog post I had after his last start, but the numbers are too intriguing to mention only once: Through two starts, De Los Santos has gone 1-2-3 in some way in six
    of the ten innings he has begun. In those frames, here’s De Los Santos’
    line: 6.0 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 1 BB, 9 K. However, in the other
    four innings, here’s his line: 2.2 IP, 10 R, 7 H, 5 BB, 4 K. He finished
    two of those innings. In the other two, he left with a man at first and
    two away and he left with the bases loaded and nobody out.
  • I mentioned J.D. Martinez’s hot stretch in yesterday’s blog, and what does he do? 2-for-5 with a pair of doubles and an RBI. He has now driven in a run in nine consecutive games.
  • For what it’s worth, the Major League record for most consecutive games with an RBI belongs to Ray Grimes of the Chicago Cubs. Grimes drove in at least one run in 18 straight games from June 27-July 23 of 1922. 
  • For what it’s worth, part two: Corpus Christi play-by-play voice Matt Hicks said the Hooks played their best game of 2011 last night.
  • The Rangers’ farm system continues to shine. Round Rock won its tenth in 11 tries over Oklahoma City to improve to a PCL-best 11-4, and Hickory swept a double dip from Bryce Harper and the Hagerstown Suns to seize the South Atlantic League’s best mark. Also, Myrtle Beach is a half-game behind Salem for the best mark in the Carolina League despite losing to Kinston yesterday.

It’s a Fireworks Friday at Dr Pepper Ballpark, and our coverage along the RoughRiders Baseball Network begins at 6:35. First pitch is set for 7:05. Enjoy!

- Brian

Get Hooked on Corpus

Eight-team leagues have unique schedules, especially when they are full-season, 140-game leagues. The Carolina League distributes things evenly, with all teams playing against each other 20 times.

That means that the Myrtle Beach Pelicans, the Rangers’ high-A affiliate and the southernmost member of the CL, must travel to Wilmington, Del. (ten hours away) as many times as they travel to Kinston, N.C. (three hours away).

It’s a little different in the Texas League, where teams play the opposite division 48 times (12 games per team) and the same division 92 times. Within the South, the ‘Riders play two teams (this year, Corpus Christi and San Antonio) 32 times and one team (this year, Midland) 28 times.

As you can see, Frisco fans get a chance to know future Astros, Athletics, and Padres very, very well.

Today is game one of 92 within the South. Let’s preview it with a set of Facts.

FRISCO FACTS:

  • Before getting to a roster move, we need to touch on Martin Perez’s perfect game (for the thousandth time). Perez’s rain-shortened gem caught the attention of many media outlets: LoneStarDugout.com, NBC-DFW, the Newberg Report, SB Nation, and many others. Scroll down to yesterday’s blog entry here, and you can hear the “15th out” and Perez’s thoughts.
  • True “perfect game” or not, it was pretty cool to experience. And it is a great sign moving forward in terms of Perez’s progression. In his last two outings, Perez has amassed 10 scoreless innings. He has struck out 12 and scattered four base hits. Last year, Perez held his opposition scoreless only three times.
  • With pitcher Brett Tomko and former Frisco catcher Taylor Teagarden getting the call-up to Arlington, the rest of the organization was shaken up a bit. For the RoughRiders, it was a pretty easy switch. Catcher Robbie Diaz was moved up to Round Rock, and fellow backstop Elio Sarmiento was activated from the disabled list. Sarmiento was with the ‘Riders last year and hit .191 (39-for-204) with 21 RBIs in 59 games.
  • Diaz was technically the back-up in Frisco with Jose Felix, the organization’s 26th-ranked prospect, ahead of him. He had only appeared in five games with the ‘Riders, which happened to be his first run through Double-A since 2007. This gives Diaz a chance to go back to the level he has played at since ’08.
  • For what it is worth, Diaz has been at the Triple-A level long enough to evaluate. Over 178 games within the Blue Jays, Pirates, and Tigers’ organization, Diaz has hit .266 with six homers and 62 RBIs.
  • One other random tidbit about Diaz, a minor leaguer since 2002: he played on the “Medicine Hat Blue Jays” during the franchise’s final season in the Pioneer League. The city of Medicine Hat is in Alberta, Canada. The likes of Jay Gibbons, Mike Timlin and David Wells went through Medicine Hat. If you don’t believe me on the name, check it out.
  • With apologies to Jonathan Greene and what he has done over the last handful of games, third baseman Tommy Mendonca has been the hottest RoughRider. Mendonca is 9-for-20 in his last five efforts with two homers and six RBIs. What makes this run even more impressive is that Mendonca had been in a funk before this surge (2-for-16 in his previous five games).
  • The Rangers’ farm system has been hot, too. In fact, Texas owns the best minor league record (33-18) so far this season. The Athletics are only percentage points behind the Rangers at 34-19, with the Dodgers a half-game back at 34-20.
  • If there is one Hook to look out for in this series, it has to be outfielder J.D. Martinez. He has driven in a run in each of his last eight games and leads the Texas League with 18 RBIs. With men in scoring position, he is hitting a ridiculous .467 (7-for-15).
  • The RoughRiders hope he cools down soon, especially because the next few weeks are loaded with Frisco-Corpus match-ups. Of the 32 meetings between these two teams this year, 12 of them will take place over the next 25 days. Overall, the RoughRiders’ next 32 games are against the South Division. Frisco will not cross back over into the North until May 25 against Northwest Arkansas.
  • Martin Perez wasn’t the only member of the Rangers’ minor league system who has had no-hit stuff. Round Rock starter Zach Jackson took a no-no into the eighth Tuesday.

Pre-game coverage along the RoughRiders’ Baseball Network begins at 6:35, with first pitch set for 7:05. Enjoy this quick homestand!

- Brian

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 55 other followers