Feeling of Freedom
The month of June is upon us, believe it or not. Back in the day, June meant freedom to me because summer vacation was here. Because of that, June was, by far, my favorite month.
On the baseball calendar, June is quite the opposite. June is the month where the beginning of the season is too far in the past to remember, and the end of the season is too far away to imagine. This is the time of the season where baseball’s season turns into a grind.
Throw in the warmer temperatures and the fact that the season’s first half ends in less than four weeks, and you’ve got an interesting month of baseball.
Let’s set the table for June 2011 in today’s Facts.
- There are 20 games left in the first half of the season, and the RoughRiders trail San Antonio by seven games for the top spot in the Texas League South. Unfortunately, the schedule makers did not give the ‘Riders any breaks for a possible June surge. Frisco will play 14 of those final 20 games away from home, while the Missions get 14 of 20 at home during that stretch. San Antonio has the best record in the league at home this season (18-4).
- Four of Frisco’s six home games do come against San Antonio, though. The four-game series begins next Wednesday. It is pretty safe to say that if the ‘Riders want to have a fighting chance in the race down the stretch, they need at least three of those four games.
- This year, it pays to be in the North. If the RoughRiders were in that division, they would be a half-game back of first. Springfield, the last place team in the North, is only three games back of the top spot, and the Cardinals would be nine and a half games away from San Antonio if they were in the South.
- Still, as we have talked about on the broadcasts some, the RoughRiders are in a pretty good position with regards to the playoffs. San Antonio is playing the part of juggernaut thus far this year, and if the Missions win both halves, then the team in the division with the second best record throughout the season would get the other spot. Frisco is five games better than Midland and eight up on Corpus Christi.
- Last season, Northwest Arkansas cruised to a pair of division titles, but Springfield pushed the Naturals to the limit in a first round series. The Cardinals took a 2-1 series lead before Northwest rallied to take the series 3-2.
- By the way, do not be fooled by the Texas League All-Star Break. The first half of the season comes to an end after play on June 21st, which is the 70th game of the season. All eight teams are scheduled to be six games into the second half when the All-Star festivities take place.
- Martin Perez returns to the mound tonight for the opener of this three-game series at Northwest Arkansas. Perez rolled the Naturals lineup Thursday morning, going seven scoreless innings and striking out five.
- Perez leads the Texas League in earned run average (2.01), and he is near the top of many other categories. He is second in stirkeouts per nine innings (8.9), second in opponents batting average (.222), third in strikeouts (53), and eighth in WHIP (1.25).
- The Rangers’ number one prospect will face off against a below average offense. The Naturals come in hitting .258 as a team, which is seventh in the league. The Naturals are averaging 4.8 runs per game, good for sixth in the league.
- After a rough day with the ‘Riders Monday in his rehab debut, Julio Borbon played well in defeat with Triple-A Round Rock. Borbon went 2-for-4 with a pair of runs and steals in the Express’ 7-5 loss at Oklahoma City. Borbon is expected back in the Express’ lineup tonight.
The ‘Riders make their first appearance at Arvest Ballpark tonight for a 7:00 showdown with Northwest Arkansas. Pre-game coverage begins at 6:30. Enjoy!