April 2011

Perez’s Perfecto

If you haven’t heard, Martin Perez threw a perfect game yesterday in Frisco’s 1-0, rain-shortened victory over the Arkansas Travelers.

It is the second perfect game in RoughRiders history, and the fifth in the history of the Texas League.

Here are the responses from Perez while talking with MiLB.com last night after the game. The interview was for this story that was on the MiLB home page. Enjoy!

Martin Perez Sound_Perfect Game_Edited.MP3

Also, here’s Aaron Goldsmith’s final call of the third out in the fifth inning. Little did everyone know that it would be such a historical moment.

Martin Perez perfect through 5.mp3

- Brian

Being an “Impact Player”

How exactly does a person become an “impact player.” I don’t know exactly, and I don’t want to try to form specific criteria.

But, I do know this: impact players pique your interest when you see them at the plate or due up in a game-deciding situation.

When the RoughRiders took a 3-2 lead in the top of the 13th yesterday, I couldn’t help but notice that Mike Trout was due up in the bottom half. He hit a game-tying home run.

In the 15th, with a man at second and nobody out, the 19-year-old put down a bunt to get the runner to third. That run came around to score.

Trout will be in the big leagues sooner rather than later. Plenty of writers and analysts know it, including FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal. He wrote a lengthy nugget on Trout, which includes the outfielder’s grand slam off Rider Vision at Dr Pepper Ballpark one week ago today.

He is as much of an “impact player” as I’ve seen this year, and Frisco found out the hard way, yet again, in that tough loss.

We’ll get to that loss, and much more, in today’s edition of the Facts.

FRISCO FACTS:

  • The RoughRiders made another move today, activating right-handed reliever Mark Hamburger from the temporary inactive list. Fellow reliever Ben Snyder has been placed on the seven-day disabled list with a hamstring injury.
  • Getting Hamburger back should move around the roles within the Frisco bullpen. Justin Miller appeared in a pair of games as the “de-facto” closer while Hamburger was away tending to a personal issue, and it was adventurous. Miller earned the save in Frisco’s only victory away from home, a 6-4 triumph over Springfield in the opener of the double dip Saturday. Miller gave up a run in that frame and loaded the bases with one out, but he was able to get out of the jam. The right-hander also appeared yesterday and earned the loss. He gave up both Arkansas runs in extra innings.
  • Throw out Miller’s two runs allowed, and the RoughRiders’ ‘pen was incredible. After a very good bounce-back start from Wilfredo Boscan, the ‘Riders shut down the Travelers until the 13th. After Darwin Perez’s two-run double in the third, the Travs did not earn another hit until a one-out double from Orlando Mercado. Those two at-bats were separated by 31 plate appearances. Boscan, Beau Jones, Ramon Aguero, Adalberto Flores and Corey Young were all a part of that hit-less period. That’s pretty special.
  • Unfortunately, that collective effort did not bring about a victory. Over the last few days, Frisco has not been able to take advantage of opportunities with men aboard. The ‘Riders have stranded 27 men on the base paths and have hit just .207 (6-for-29) with men in scoring position in their last two games, both close losses. Before those two games, the RoughRiders were hitting .290 in runners at second and/or third.
  • There have been some bright spots offensively. I mentioned Jonathan Greene yesterday, and he just kept raking during the 15-inning marathon. He went 2-for-5 yesterday and has gone 6-for-13 with four runs scored against Arkansas this year.
  • It hasn’t been an overwhelming change for outfielder David Paisano, but he has started to be a consistent threat at the plate after a sluggish start. Paisano has hit safely in five straight games. And after a 1-for-12 start, Paisano is hitting .269 (7-for-26). He has also been the most frequent mover within the lineup. The RoughRiders need him to produce with Joey Butler up in Round Rock.
  • The Texas League schedule makers allow everyone to settle into the season. Tomorrow is the second off-day of the young season, and all teams will be 12 games into the campaign. After tomorrow’s respite, though, things pick up. The RoughRiders will play 20 straight and 32 of the next 33 days beginning Thursday. During that month-long stretch, the ‘Riders will play only three teams–division opponents Corpus Christi, Midland and San Antonio. Tonight’s game will be the last against the North until May 25th against Northwest Arkansas.
  • We wish former RoughRider pitcher Eric Hurley the best. Four pitches into just his second start since 2008, he was hit in the head with a comebacker and had to leave the game. According to the Round Rock release, Hurley suffered a contusion and was taken to a local hospital for tests. He did leave the field under his own power. For a man who has had to deal with many injuries, we hope that this is not a significant setback in his drive to return to the big leagues.
  • Details on two upcoming events at Dr Pepper Ballpark are now available on the site: The Legends of Baseball Vintage Showdown and the 2011 RoughRiders Baseball Academy

It’s getaway day in North Little Rock. Join us along the RoughRiders Baseball Network at 6:40 for Frisco and Arkansas. Enjoy!

- Brian

Longest Game Ever

No, not the one between Arkansas and Frisco yesterday, even though it felt like it at times. Today is the 30th anniversary of the start of the longest game in professional baseball history.

It all began as a seemingly ho-hum International League contest between the Rochester Red Wings and the Pawtucket Red Sox. The two teams would play until 4:09 a.m. on the 19th before stopping the game. They resumed the game June 23rd, and the outcome took only 18 minutes to decide. The Red Sox won 3-2.

There is a connection between that game and the RoughRiders. John Clemens, the public-address announcer at Dr Pepper Ballpark, was on the broadcast for Pawtucket as the studio host. I can’t even describe how strange of an experience that must have been.

It’s an incredible story. Check out more about this game here (by the way: both teams scored a run in the 21st!). And here’s a feature on John’s involvement with the game. Crazy stuff.

FRISCO FACTS:

  • Yesterday’s game was not the longest game ever, but it was the longest of this young season (3:26). After three innings, though, the game was already 1:30 old. Based on the score and the flow of the game, it probably felt even longer for Frisco fans.
  • One ‘Rider who is starting to heat up after a slow start is Davis Stoneburner. The infielder, who played for four different Rangers affiliates last season, began the season 2-for-17 with two RBIs. Over the last three games, though, Stoneburner has excelled when the RoughRiders have been without Renny Osuna. He is 4-for-12 with four runs scored and four RBIs. Actually, in the series, he has hit for the cycle, including a two-run homer in the first inning yesterday.
  • Here’s a stat that surprised me: Mike Bianucci notched his third multi-hit game of the year yesterday. It surprised me because the guy is hitting .324 through ten games. I thought he had more than that. Regardless, he has been steady.
  • Jonathan Greene also has three multi-hit efforts after a 3-for-4 day yesterday. Don’t look now, but Greene is making a pitch for more playing time. The Boone, N.C., native has hit safely in five of his six starts this year. He’s 9-for-21 (.429) for the young campaign. His OPS sits at a ridiculous 1.097. He is quietly putting together a very good start to 2011.
  • Yesterday’s game featured 25 men stranded, 14 of whom were in scoring position at the end of the inning. Frisco had 15 and eight in those two categories, respectively. And in six of the nine frames, the ‘Riders spoiled chances with at least two men aboard. It’s pretty easy to see why the RoughRiders lost when you gander at those numbers.
  • Pitch counts will always prevent minor league starters from going deep into games, but that’s not the only reason this club doesn’t have many innings pitched from the starters. The team has gotten 38.2 IP from them this year, which is just shy of 4 IP/start. The staff has an 8.15 ERA to go with that low ratio. Martin Perez (2.25) is the only starter who has an ERA under 5.40. 
  • With yesterday’s loss, the ‘Riders are now 4-6 after starting 2-0. But keep in mind, this is an up-and-down league. For example, Northwest Arkansas has dropped 3 of 4 after starting 5-1. San Antonio started the year 2-3, and the Missions now sit at 6-4. And Arkansas is 5-1 over the last 6 since beginning the year with four straight losses. Just some food for thought.
  • We’ve had a great response to our “Extra Bases Question” so far. If you haven’t heard of it yet, this is a chance for you to be a part of the post-game show. During our interactive game-day blog (The Extra Bases Blog), you can ask us questions. I will answer the best question from that day during the post-game coverage.
  • Finally, check out this year’s RoughRiders Baseball Academy for children ages 9-12. The information is online here. It is always a great event every year. I could have used some of this training during my baseball “career.”

We’re on early today. 10:30 pre-game. Note to those listening on 1630 KKGM: We will again be on tape-delay. You can hear the game in its entirety at 6:30 this evening. Enjoy!

- Brian

Earning Runs

Thanks to “Chatter from the Pressbox” for this tidbit: the RoughRiders are one of two minor league baseball teams that have yet to allow an unearned run. Frisco has given up 51 runs in the first nine games of the season, and all have been earned.

The only other team to replicate this feat is the Jacksonville Suns, the Double-A Southern League affiliate for the Florida Marlins. The Suns have allowed 35 runs through nine contests.

Not only are the Suns tremendous at this, but they have the coolest man doing some video work for them. It’s tough not to like the Suns after watching this video from last year. Who wouldn’t want to ring that bell with him?

By the way, be sure to check out chatterfromthepressbox.blogspot.com for some more ‘Riders information. The guys do a great job with it!

Without further ado, let’s wrap up another series with a Sunday edition of the Facts.

FRISCO FACTS:

  • Fans got a chance to see how manager Steve Buechele would juggle his lineup without Renny Osuna available. The most noticeable change came in Osuna’s normal spot in the lineup–the leadoff spot. Buechele placed the Rangers’ number 5 prospect Engel Beltre in that slot, and he hit well. He went a combined 2-for-6 with a pair of walks and runs scored. He did get picked off in game one after a leadoff walk, but other than that, he was solid. 
  • By the way, Osuna went back to Frisco for tests on his broken nose. His nose broke in two places, but there was not any other structural damage. There is still no timetable set for his return.
  • We also saw how the ‘Riders would deal with one fewer outfield option after Joey Butler’s promotion to Triple-A. David Paisano was in right field for both games yesterday. Mike Bianucci and Jonathan Greene started in left field. With Greene sliding into that “fourth outfielder” role, Jose Ruiz will likely play more than he would if Butler (and even if Osuna) were in North Texas.
  • Frisco starter Miguel De Los Santos is an interesting prospect to discuss. 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.
  • On the flip side, Jake Brigham is extremely consistent. In both starts, he allowed three runs on five hits in five innings of work. Through those two starts, he has whiffed 11 batters.
  • The impact offensive guy for the RoughRiders has been Mike Bianucci, but Tommy Mendonca is not far behind. With his two home runs yesterday, Mendonca is now tied for third in the Texas League with four dingers, one off Bianucci and San Antonio’s Cody Decker’s pace. But Bianucci and Mendonca are one and two in HR/AB ratio (1/6.6 for Bianucci and 1/7.5 for Mendonca).
  • The only downside for Mendonca’s early start has been the strikeout numbers. Mendonca is tied for first in the TL with 11 Ks. In fact, Mendonca either reached base or struck out yesterday in the double dip at Springfield.
  • The RoughRiders’ bullpen was much better yesterday than it was Thursday night. However, the ‘pen is still letting a lot of men get on for free. In four innings of work yesterday, the bullpen gave up one run on two hits, but the relievers walked six and hit a batter.
  • Two guys who the ‘Riders are glad they won’t see again until June 30th: Matt Adams and Niko Vasquez. That duo went a combined 8-for-20 (.400) with a home run and 10 RBIs.
  • Another thing fans won’t see for a long time: bowling. The PBA Tour season is over, which makes me very sad. Dick Allen defeated Chris Barnes in the PBA Playoffs Final earlier today. NOW it is officially baseball season! For all of your off-season bowling news, be sure to check out PBA.com. I’m a huge fan of bowling, and you should be too.

I’m also a big fan of today’s broadcast of the RoughRiders and the Travelers. Check it out along the RRBN or online at 3:30. I will also be along for the Extra Bases Blog, so join me there beginning at 3:45! Enjoy!

- Brian

The Most Hectic 30 Minutes In Sports

For press box staffers during doubleheaders, the 30 minutes between the final pitch of game one and the first pitch of game two is indeed very hectic. Is today’s title entirely true? Maybe not, but to me it is.

Fortunately, it is much easier for the road crew (aka Aaron and I) during these double dips. So I guess we’ve avoided some of the intensity.

Anyways, here are a few Facts to lead you up to today’s two-for-one.

FRISCO FACTS:

  • Doubleheaders in the minor leagues consist of a pair of seven-inning games. There are no other differences to the games, unless you include the seventh-inning stretch as a part of the game. If so, please note that many stadiums do the “fifth-inning stretch.” No word on Hammons Field’s tendency.
  • Last year, the RoughRiders had three games postponed which brought about three doubleheaders. In those games, Frisco went 4-2. Two other interesting notes: two of the three twin bills came against Springfield, and all three took place between July 3-13.
  • No changes to the starting pitchers for today for the ‘Riders. Jake Brigham is slated to go in game one, while Miguel De Los Santos will be the hurler in the nightcap. Both men impressed at times in their first outings of the season. Brigham whiffed seven against these Cardinals one week ago, while De Los Santos rung up eight Travelers Sunday afternoon.
  • There is a tweak to the Springfield rotation. Deryk Hooker is still slated to go against Brigham in the opener. However, it will be Richard Castillo starting game two instead of Michael Blazek. If you have a great memory, you’ll recall that Castillo was the man who committed the throwing error April 8 that allowed Frisco’s winning run to score in the 10th inning. Castillo has had one other outing this year, and that was Tuesday at Midland. He worked three scoreless frames, scattering three hits.
  • The San Antonio offense was at it again last night. Three nights after clubbing Tulsa 23-10, the Missions pummeled Northwest Arkansas 26-5. Seriously. Through eight games, San Antonio is hitting .366 as a team (116-for-317), which is at least 89 points better than everyone in the Texas League. Plus, the team already has 20 home runs this year. That’s two and a half per game!

Our pre-game coverage begins at 1:37 from Springfield. Game one’s first pitch is set for 2:07. We will be along for the ride from 1:37 until the end of the game, so be sure to stay tuned for a pre-game/post-game combination to bridge both games this afternoon.

Also, be sure to check out http://ridersbaseball.com/extrabases during the game today. Today will be the debut of the “Extra Bases Question” to be answered during the post-game show. I’ll answer one question from that day’s blog live during our post-game show, so be sure to take part in our interactive gameday blog. Enjoy!

- Brian

Some Comic Relief

UPDATE: Check out Aaron Goldsmith’s conversation with yesterday’s starter, Martin Perez. Details on Perez are available in this post.

Martin Perez Interview 4.15.11.mp3

_____________________

During our interactive gameday blog, the “Extra Bases Blog,” someone decided to have a little bit of fun. This person logged in as “Fabio Castillo” and posted things like this:

guys this is my first time pitching all year can
u cut me some slack? i did have a broken foot im still recovering from,
ill get em next time right”

its a long season and this is only my 4th double a apperance (sic) ill be ready next time”

Baseball is such a long season, and I hope that Castillo is able to recover from what was a rough outing. And for the fans of Castillo and the RoughRiders, hopefully this bit of comic relief helped after last night’s loss at Springfield.

With “Fake Fabio’s” approval, we head to the Facts.

FRISCO FACTS:

  • First, some injury news. Infielder Renny Osuna has been placed on the disabled list with a broken nose. He tried to bunt his way aboard in the sixth, but the ball went off his bat and then hit his nose. The ‘Riders add a pitcher for the 24th man–reliever Ramon Aguero. Aguero signed with the Rangers following the 2010 campaign after spending his entire minor league career in the Pirates organization.
  • Aguero was with Triple-A Round Rock for the start of the ’11 season. He worked two scoreless innings, which included a win in his only decision.
  • A former RoughRider is back in the bigs, at least for a few days. Pitcher Michael Kirkman was called up today through MLB’s new Paternity Leave List. Colby Lewis’ wife Jenny gave birth to a girl Wednesday, so he is spending a few days away. By rule, Lewis must be reinstated to the Rangers’ roster no later than Monday.
  • Another day, another big showing from Mike Bianucci. Bianucci clubbed his fifth home run of the very young season in yesterday’s fourth inning. It is obviously early, but think about this. Over the last four seasons, here are the home run totals for the Texas League leader at year’s end: 29 (NW Arkansas’ Clint Robinson), 26 (Frisco’s Chad Tracy), 26 (NW Arkansas’ Kila Ka’aihue and Arkansas’ Corey Smith), and 29 (Springfield’s Colby Rasmus).
  • Where am I going with this? Well, the Texas League season spans five months. So, all five of these home run leaders failed to average six home runs per month. Bianucci has five in the month of April, and the ‘Riders still have 15 games before May arrives. Wow.
  • The RoughRiders seemed to have complete control last night when they took a four-run advantage because of some slump busting. After two men were out, Engel Beltre reached on a single, which snapped an 0-for-11 skid. Bianucci followed suit with a walk, and Tommy Mendonca shed a sizable slump of his own (0-for-13) with an RBI single. Tack on Jonathan Greene’s first RBI of the season, and the ‘Riders had quite a showing in the sixth.
  • That was the good. We’ll get to the bad momentarily. But we have to touch on the great from last night’s game–Martin Perez. Perez, the Rangers’ top prospect, went five innings and struck out nine, which ties a career high. He scattered four hits and stranded five runners. Of his 81 pitches, 51 were strikes. 
  • Since the beginning of the 2010 season, Perez had pitched at least five innings of scoreless baseball only twice before yesterday. Those outings came in back-to-back starts last year: June 23rd against Midland and June 28th against Corpus Christi. 
  • Now, the bad. We will not delve into the seventh inning, with the exception of this: single, strikeout, single, single, double, intentional walk, single, single, walk, ground out, single, fly out. That was the batter-by-batter happenings in that frame. In all, the Cardinals banged out 16 hits, the most by a ‘Rider opponent since Corpus Christi banged out 17 on September 2nd, 2010.
  • Frisco’s pitching staff is now sixth in the league with a 5.86 ERA. The ‘Riders are barely above Arkansas’ 5.96 mark. Tulsa’s staff has a 7.40 ERA, with many of those runs coming in the Drillers’ 23-10 loss earlier this week to San Antonio.
  • We will be back with Richard Durrett of ESPNDallas.com for his live blog of the Rangers-Yankees game. During the game, we’ll be giving updates from the ‘Riders-Cards contest. You can access the blog and ask Richard and others your Rangers and RoughRiders questions here. We’ll also have the Extra Bases Blog up and rolling, as always at http://ridersbaseball.com/extrabases

Aaron Goldsmith has the call from Hammons Field at 7:07. Our coverage along the RRBN gets going at 6:37. Enjoy!

- Brian

Playoffs?!?

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.

FRISCO 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!

- Brian

On The Road Again

By far, the least glamorous part of minor league baseball is the travel. Let’s just say it isn’t always fun or comfortable.

A few leagues are fairly condensed. For example, the longest trip within the Florida State League (Daytona to Fort Myers) is about four hours. In the Appalachian League, the longest trip is a little less than five hours (Danville, Virginia to Greeneville, Tennessee).

There are some brutal trips in other leagues, though. For example, imagine almost 11 hours from Vancouver, British Columbia to Boise, Idaho in the Northwest League. Or almost 11 hours from Grand Chute, Wisconsin to Bowling Green, Kentucky in the Midwest League. Or more than 10 hours from Youngstown, Ohio to Burlington, Vermont in the New York-Penn League.

The Texas League has a mammoth trip. It is about 15 hours from Springfield to Corpus Christi. Ugh.

Fortunately, the RoughRiders are fairly centrally located within this league. Here are the seven trips (all according to Google Maps):

  • Arkansas: 5:20
  • Corpus Christi: 7:30
  • Midland: 6:00
  • NW Arkansas: 5:30
  • San Antonio: 5:10
  • Springfield: 7:00
  • Tulsa: 4:20

Nothing too long, but there isn’t a true “short” one, either. Anyways, here’s a quick version of the Facts to get you by on this off day.

FRISCO FACTS:

  • With Josh Hamilton’s injury, former ‘Rider Chris Davis was called up to the big leagues. That’s been all over the news. But, to fill Davis’ place, outfielder Joey Butler has been called up to Triple-A Round Rock. Butler was hitting .316 (6-for-19) with two homers and four runs batted in.
  • To fill the spot on the Frisco roster, infielder Erik Morrison has been added from the disabled list. Morrison was with high-A Bakersfield all of last year (.242, 13 HR, 45 RBI). He played in two games here in Frisco back in ’09.
  • The ‘Riders only have three outfielders on the roster because of Butler’s promotion. I don’t expect any shifting of Engel Beltre from center.
  • The question is: where will David Paisano and Mike Bianucci be? Of Paisano’s 467 career games, he has played in right only 91 times. But 61 of those came last year. He has been in left field for all five of his starts thus far this season. Bianucci has started in left once this season; the other five starts have come at DH. But he has spent more time in right in his minor league career (111 games) than Paisano. The outfield alignment will be interesting to monitor.
  • The Northwest Arkansas Naturals are off to their best start in franchise history: 5-1. They have won four of their games by one run.
  • Only two minor league teams remain undefeated: the Hagerstown Suns (South Atlantic League, 5-0) and the Daytona Cubs (Florida State League, 6-0). The Suns, by the way, have the services of Baseball America’s top overall prospect–Washington’s Bryce Harper.

Enjoy a day away from the RoughRiders. We’ll be back tomorrow at 6:37 along the RRBN for the ‘Riders and the Cards. Take care.

- Brian

‘Riders on ESPNDallas.com

We’ve got a special treat for you this morning/afternoon. Richard Durrett of ESPNDallas.com has invited us on his live blog for the Rangers’ afternoon date with the Tigers.

You can view the blog here. We will be providing in-game updates of the rubber match between the ‘Riders and the Travelers. The participation for these Rangers blogs have been great, so check it out.

Also, check out Durrett’s recent feature on former RoughRider Alexi Ogando’s journey to the majors. Ogando worked seven scoreless innings for his second straight victory yesterday in Detroit. Ogando and the Rangers are now 9-1.

Here’s a Tuesday edition of the Facts before brunch with the Riders at 11 a.m.

FRISCO FACTS:

  • It was a tough night for the heart of the RoughRiders order last night. The 2-5 hitters (Engel Beltre, Joey Butler, Mike Bianucci, and Tommy Mendonca) went a combined 2-for-16 (.125). That quartet, which has remained the same through the first five games of the season, was hitting a combined 18-for-61 (.295). 
  • Even Bianucci cooled off after an incredible four-game start. He went 0-for-4 to lower his batting average to .350 (7-for-20). He still leads the league in homers (4) and is second to Tulsa’s Tim Wheeler in RBIs (8).
  • Joey Butler did have his best game of the young campaign. The right-fielder who spent all of last year with Frisco (.277, 10 HR, 58 RBIs in 132 games) went 2-for-4 with an opposite field, two-run homer. 
  • Jose Ruiz, a free agent signing after being let go by the Tampa Bay Rays, added two more hits last night to keep his average at .500 (7-for-14), which ties him for the league lead. Despite his big frame (6’3″, 235), though, all of his hits have been singles. His good work at the plate earned him a move up in the lineup. Ruiz will hit fifth today after getting four starts in the seven hole.
  • The ‘Riders pen has been the better of the two pitching units through the first turn in the rotation. The bullpen has two of the three wins and a 2.96 ERA, while the starters have a 6.23 ERA. Plus, the relievers have tossed more innings (24.1) than the starters (21.2). Only two starters have reached the five-inning mark–Jake Brigham and today’s starter Wilfredo Boscan.
  • Interesting note from second-year skipper Steve Buechele regarding early games that follow a typical 7 p.m. start: the starting pitcher for the morning/early afternoon game does not leave the previous night’s game early. Thus, Boscan was at the stadium last night until at least 10:16, which was one minute after the final pitch of yesterday’s 6-4 Arkansas win.
  • We talked about it on the broadcast last night, but check out the box score from yesterday’s 23-10 victory for San Antonio over Tulsa. I checked three different sources before I believed that score. Crazy stuff. 

Our coverage begins at 10:35 a.m. on the RoughRiders Baseball Network. For those who tune in via 1630 KKGM, please note that today’s game will be played on tape delay beginning at 6:35 this evening. Enjoy the game!

- Brian

My Play of the Game

I know it is early in the season, but I have to toot my own horn. I promise I won’t do it often. I may never do it again. But during yesterday’s game, I caught a foul ball.

During my play-by-play call of the third inning, Mike Bianucci fouled one off behind home. The ball hopped off the roof in front of our booth and shot inside it. I tapped it up with my right hand and then made the catch after a brief collision with the wall to my right.

I feel bad because Aaron left the booth for only one inning last night. And it happened to be the third. Good thing he wasn’t there to witness it, from my perspective, because I was probably sporting a petrified face as the ball came at me.

Anyways, let’s get you a Monday edition of the Facts.

FRISCO FACTS:

  • Almost everyone took part in the hit parade yesterday. All RoughRiders starters except Tommy Mendonca had at least one hit and scored at least one run. Three ‘Riders (Renny Osuna, Engel Beltre and Mike Bianucci) had multi-RBI efforts. That trio, plus Jonathan Greene, posted at least two hits.
  • Through four games, admittedly a small sample size, the RoughRiders are second in team batting average (.295), second in runs scored (27), tops in homers (seven), and second in OPS (.915) in the Texas League.
  • Why are the ‘Riders leading the way in homers? Two words: Mike Bianucci. Bianucci, who made his first start in left field yesterday after three straight starts at designated hitter, has four of the ‘Riders seven. Within the Texas League, Bianucci is the only batter with more than two. Taking it a step further, Bianucci has hit four of the 33 within the league. In other words, he has hit 12.1% of the home runs in the TL so far.
  • Frisco starter Miguel De Los Santos was brilliant at times yesterday afternoon. At one point, the southpaw rung up five straight (four coming on called-third strikes). He whiffed eight for the game. De Los Santos did, however, labor in the fourth. The Travelers, a club that hasn’t scored more than four runs in a game this season, plated four in the fourth alone. Three straight doubles, none of which were cheap, plus a home run from Ryan Mount made the game interesting.
  • Outside of those four batters, though, here’s De Los Santos’ line: 4.2 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 1 BB, 8 Ks. Only two balls left the infield during that span.
  • For the fifth straight day, batters two through five are set in manager Steve Buechele’s lineup: Beltre, Joey Butler, Bianucci and Mendonca. Safe to say that those four guys are pretty set in the order.
  • The first go-around in the rotation wraps up tonight, as Carlos Pimentel toes the rubber for the RoughRiders. Pimentel had a pretty unique line in Tuesday’s exhibition against Round Rock (3.0 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 5 BB). Out of the bullpen, Pimentel escaped a bases-loaded, one-out jam with a double play line out to second in the fourth. The fifth was pretty clean, with two strikeouts and only a one-out walk. In the sixth, the Express left men at second and third with two away.
  • Fantastic job by the RoughRiders staff and fans over the last four days. The four-day attendance total of 39,248 (or 9,812 per game) is the highest total and average in all of affiliated baseball.
  • Great tweet from Scott Lucas (@scottrlucas) of the Newberg Report: “Chris
    Davis has more homers than 17 AAA teams.” The former ‘Rider has four in
    four games for Round Rock. The Memphis Redbirds, the Triple-A affiliate for the Cardinals, do not have a home run yet this
    season.
  • How about this game from the low-A South Atlantic League: Kannapolis 2-Lakewood 0 in 16 innings. And it was game one of a doubleheader, which means they were only slated to play seven innings! Lakewood only had three hits in the game.

It’s game two of this three-game set between Frisco and Arkansas. Pre-game begins at 6:35 along the RRBN, with first pitch set for 7:05. By the way, if you have any questions, comments, or suggestions for the blog, feel free to send them my way: bboesch@ridersbaseball.com. Thanks!

- Brian

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