I’m a huge fan of the letter “B.” After all, that’s the first letter of my first and last name. In the season opener last night, the letter “B” was huge for the RoughRiders. Consider this:
*Mike Bianucci, Engel Beltre and Joey Butler had six of the ‘Riders seven hits.
*Bianucci and Butler hit a combined total of three home runs.
*Wilfredo Boscan and Beau Jones earned a win and a hold, respectively.
On the flip side, Springfield had only one player with a first or last name that starts with a “B” appear in last night’s game. Brett Zawacki tossed a scoreless inning of relief.
It’s all about the B’s. There will be plenty of B’s in today’s Facts.
- That was quite a Double-A debut for Mike Bianucci. In his first at-bat, the designated hitter clubbed a pitch that was low and a little outside over the Dr Pepper Patio in left-center. I don’t have the best set of eyes in the world, but, in my opinion, that ball went 400+ feet. In the seventh, Bianucci hit another blast more toward center field.
- The two pitches that Bianucci hit were not in the typical “wheelhouse” of your normal player, but that’s just fine with him. “They were down in the zone, but those are pitches that I like,” Bianucci said. “I can get my hands extended on them pretty easily…those are my pitches.”
- To put this day into perspective, go back to last year. A RoughRider drove in 3 or more runs 18 times last year. Only five times did someone surpass Bianucci’s run-producing effort. “It’s not what you are expecting,” Bianucci said about his big day. “I had a lot of adrenaline going last night, and I tried to just calm myself down and put good swings on the ball and I think I did last night.”
- In the minors, lineup changes are always fun to watch, especially early in the season. To no one’s surprise, the 2-5 hitters for Frisco (Beltre, Butler, Bianucci, Mendonca) will remain intact. Renny Osuna will get the start at second and will lead off. David Paisano, who hit in the one-hole yesterday, falls down to sixth. Jonathan Greene gets the start at first base in place of Jose Ruiz, and he will hit seventh. The Felix-Rodriguez combo at 8 and 9 is back in place tonight.
- I have to include a Fact on Wilfredo Boscan, the RoughRiders’ starter from last night. Boscan, in the lid-lifter of his Double-A career, gave up two runs over five innings for the victory. The only two tallies came on solo home runs, one of which hit the yellow padding of the wall in right-center and bounced over. He has never made an in-season jump in the minor leagues, so, if history holds true, fans in Frisco should get familiar with Boscan.
- All eyes will be on tonight’s starting pitcher–Martin Perez. Perez is back in Frisco after a 5-8 season in 2010. The Rangers’ top prospect posted a 5.96 ERA. No minor league pitcher will ever be the prototypical “work horse,” but Perez did not get deep into outings last year even in the context of a minor league hurler. He averaged 4.15 innings per outing in ’10. But manager Steve Buechele has said on multiple occasions that Perez pitched better than he ever has during spring training, and ’11 is a chance for Perez to showcase that improvement.
- Not a good day for former ‘Rider Michael Kirkman. The 2010 Pacific Coast League Pitcher of the Year gave up 10 runs on 10 hits in three and a third innings in Triple-A Round Rock’s 12-9 loss to Iowa last night.
- On the flip side, how about the low-A debuts of a pair of top-10 Rangers’ prospects. Infielder Jurickson Profar, the number two prospect according to Baseball America, homered to left in his first at-bat for Hickory. Later in that first inning, outfielder Jake Skole, number nine on Baseball America’s list, hit a three-run double in his first full-season AB. That was all the offense Hickory needed in a 4-2 triumph over Asheville.
- Good luck to the Myrtle Beach Pelicans, the newest Texas high-A affiliate, as they open the Carolina League slate tonight at home against the Wilmington Blue Rocks.
- Finally, tonight is the first fireworks display of the season here at Dr Pepper Ballpark. There will be 16 shows this season!
Join us on the Network at 6:35 this evening for more from Mike Bianucci and a preview of game two of the series. It’s Springfield and Frisco. Enjoy!