Indeed. In the NBA, that is. While many national prognosticators are putting the Dallas Mavericks on “upset alert,” I just don’t see it. I expect two rounds of fun for the Mavs this spring.
For what it’s worth, I like the Lakers to three-peat after getting past very tough sets against Dallas and San Antonio to get to the Finals. And I think L.A. will square off against Chicago in that final series, after the Bulls dispose of the Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals.
But hey, while I’m in North Texas, I’m embracing the Mavericks run. Go Dirk!
Now, on to your Thursday Facts.
- Another day, another roster move by the RoughRiders. Reliever Mark Hamburger has been placed on the “temporary inactive list,” which carries a three-day minimum. To get to 24 players, fellow right Fabio Castillo is activated from the disabled list.
- Hamburger worked a total of five frames over three appearances, allowing three runs on five hits. He picked up his only decision, a win, Friday against Springfield. That was the ‘Riders’ 7-6, 10-inning triumph.
- As for Castillo, he will be available for the RoughRiders for the first time during the regular season. Castillo did, however, pitch in both exhibitions against Round Rock. Castillo went one inning in each effort and gave up a total of four runs (three earned) to the Rangers’ Triple-A club.
- Castillo and the rest of the bullpen will be working behind Martin Perez tonight. This will be Perez’s second chance this year and against these Cardinals. He worked three innings, giving up two runs on five hits. It is only one start, but that line was very similar to Perez’s average during last season. Manager Steve Buechele wanted to see Perez improve in this his second season in Frisco, and tonight is another chance for that.
- For what it is worth, both runs Perez surrendered in that outing were leadoff runners. Aaron Luna led off the second with a double, and Ryan Jackson began the third with a single.
- File this under the “random” category: this six-game road trip features five different start times. After a pair of 7:07 p.m. starts tonight and tomorrow, the ‘Riders will play at 2:07 p.m., 4:00 p.m., 11:00 a.m., and 7:10 p.m. Adjust accordingly.
- Congrats to Neil Ramirez, who dominated in a spot start for Triple-A Round Rock. Ramirez, who had only one start above the low-A level before this outing, went six scoreless innings for a victory against Omaha, a team that has a loaded lineup. He’ll head back to high-A Myrtle Beach, but that’s exciting for Rangers and RoughRiders fans. With starts like those, Ramirez may be in Frisco sooner rather than later.
- Tonight marks the beginning of the second week of the minor league season, and no team in all of affiliated ball made it through week one unscathed. The final two teams to lose were low-A Hagerstown (Nationals) and high-A Daytona (Cubs).
Aaron Goldsmith has the call of tonight’s series opener between the ‘Riders and the Cardinals. I’ll be with you along the RRBN for the pre- and post-game shows, with our coverage beginning at the easy-to-remember time of 6:37. Enjoy!