April 21st, 2011
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.
- 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!