July 2011

The ‘Riders Driver

We all know there’s lots of travel involved in minor league baseball.  Yet you probably don’t know anything about the man who makes all that travel possible.  Meet Carlos Coleman, the RoughRiders’ bus driver for the last five seasons.  The only member of the ‘Riders who every year should be named a Texas League All-Star.

A short while back I chatted with the man we all call “Los” and found out that we’re not the only team that he pilots to and fro. During the off-season he drives each visiting team that plays the Dallas Cowboys.  And here’s where it gets really cool.  Los was the lead driver for the Pittsburgh Steelers during the Super Bowl this past year.

Suddenly, we’re not that big of a deal anymore.

The Steelers used four busses and Carlos was the top driver selected by the NFL responsible for overseeing Pittsburgh’s travel throughout DFW.  Coach, the bus company in charge of both the Packers and Steelers transportation, had other drivers in mind who they were planning on brining in from out of state.  Drivers who had Super Bowl experience.  However, the Super Bowl Committee consisting of representatives from the four final teams (Green Bay, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, New York), liked working with Los so much that they requested he be assigned to the Super Bowl.

Our bus driver is cooler than your bus driver.

A devote Washington Redskins fan, Carlos chose to drive for the Steelers.  Why?  “I thought they would win,” he said with a grin.  Officially 0-1 in his Super Bowl predictions, Los had a front row seat for what must have been a painful experience.  “After the game was over and Green Bay won, I watched the lead driver for the Packers hold the [Vince Lombardi] trophy.  I was a little mad, but it was still a great experience.”

Although he’s all smiles now, Carlos was genuinely bummed the Steelers lost.  “I think I was more upset then they were,” Carlos told me.  “Coach Tomlin, who was an awesome, straight up guy, just said to me, ‘Don’t worry, we’ll be back.’”

Think the bus driver for Tulsa or Corpus Christi has ever talked with the head coach of the Steelers?  Me neither.

Even though his team lost, Carlos at least got a free ticket to the big game.  “I got to go inside Cowboy Stadium during the game and mostly hung out in the tunnel,” he said.  “I stood near the end zone and could see right down the length of the field.”

Needless to say, Los can get into any Texas League ballpark he wants when we’re on the road, but I don’t think Nelson Wolff Municipal Stadium here in San Antonio measures up well to Cowboys Stadium.

The work that Carlos does for the ‘Riders goes unheralded – mostly because we’re all asleep when he’s working his hardest.  How does he stay awake during those late night rides through the middle of nowhere?

“I think its a mental thing,” Carlos told me.  “I pump myself up mentally to get ready, plus I’m used to driving at night.”  When Carlos’ kids where young, he would take them on road trips and do the bulk of the driving at night.   “That way they would be asleep and I wouldn’t have to stop,” he said.

So not much has changed for Carlos.  Instead of driving his kids at night, he’s now driving around some of the Texas Rangers’ future stars.  We couldn’t do it without Los and all the long hours he puts in for us. There’s no debate, he’s the best driver in the Texas League.

Even if he’s to blame for taking us to Midland.

-AG

Wieland Is Winning

Statistically, it is tough to find a Rangers pitching prospect who has had a better showing in 2011 than Frisco starter Joe Wieland. Last night’s performance is the prime example.

Quite frankly, outside circumstances had set Wieland up to fail. The right-hander was facing a San Antonio offense that ranks second in the Texas League, so it was one of the best lineups he has ever faced. There was a 61-minute rain delay to deal with. Some would say he was “due” for a rough outing. After all, he came into Tuesday’s start with a 7-3 record and an overall ERA barely above 2.

Photo: James Garner

Then, Wieland walked a pair after a single to load the bases in the first.

Wieland got out of that threat with a strikeout, and he never looked back. Seven innings, one run, two hits, seven strikeouts. At one point, he set down 15 Missions in a row. Five of Wieland’s seven frames ended in 1-2-3 fashion.

In Frisco, Wieland is 2-0 with a 1.86 earned run average in his first five Double-A starts. The Reno, Nev., native has worked through the fifth inning in all of those efforts. He has given up a total of six earned runs. The ‘Riders are a perfect 5-0 when Wieland pitches.

Before the season, Wieland was ranked the 22nd best prospect in the Rangers’ system by Baseball America. So far, he has pitched much better than that ranking. With High-A Myrtle Beach, he went 6-3 with a 2.10 ERA and started for the Carolina League in the All-Star Game right before his promotion to North Texas.

Overall this year, Wieland has never failed to pitch through the fifth inning in a start. He has allowed two earned runs or less in 16 of his 18 starts.

And with the RoughRiders trying to bounce back from a tough 12-inning loss to a Missions team that has had the ‘Riders’ number this year, Wieland offered up his best outing of the season last night.

- Brian

Five Improving RoughRiders

Over the last few days, we have talked about the Rangers’ prospects from Round Rock to Surprise, and we have focused on ten ‘Riders who have improved their prospect stock in the last 12 months.

Today, let’s take a look at five new RoughRiders. These five men got off to slow starts, but they have turned things around and become factors on the second-best team in the Texas League.

Engel Beltre: Beltre’s struggles are well-documented this season, but the guy did enter 2011 as the Rangers’ fifth-best prospect according to Baseball America. The glove has been there all season long, and the bat is starting to come around.

Offensively, Beltre bottomed out in May when he hit .162 in 12 games after returning from a suspension. The outfielder began his upswing in June by hitting .252 and scoring 17 times in 26 games. So far in July, Beltre is thriving–.306 average, 12 runs, four stolen bases (he did not steal any in May or June), and a .729 OPS.

Beltre’s numbers overall don’t scream “top level prospect,” but he has gone through a great deal during the 2011 season. The fact that he has a chance, with a strong finish to the year, to get his stats close to his averages in the minors is impressive.

Jake Brigham: Brigham had his baseball world turned upside down late last month. The right-hander, who had made 14 starts with the ‘Riders, was sent to the bullpen. Prior to this year, Brigham had only acted as a reliever 13 times.

During his first four outings, Brigham allowed ten runs while adjusting to his new role. Since then, Brigham has been dominant. The righty has tossed eight and a third innings of scoreless baseball. He has allowed three hits, walked three hits, and struck out nine batters.

Brigham’s ERA as a bullpen arm is 6.08, but it is dropping quickly. If he continues this recent surge, he will add to an already-talented bullpen.

Justin Miller: Speaking of talented bullpen arms, how about the run of success Miller has had? The key for Miller was finding a role. He struggled a bit as the club’s closer in the first handful of weeks, but he has settled into a job that involves setting up around 75% of the time and closing about 25% of the time.

After a 3.76 ERA through May 31, Miller boasted an ERA of 0.00 in 13 and two-thirds innings in June. So far in July, Miller has surrendered one run in seven and two-thirds. And Miller is able to retire both lefties (.190) and righties (.217), which is a huge asset for an eighth/ninth-inning guy.

A few interesting splits for Miller: he loves night games (1.02 ERA) v. day games (5.84 ERA), and he loves home games (0.68 ERA) v. road games (4.22 ERA).

Elio Sarmiento: We’ve heard about Sarmiento’s excellent cooking abilities, but his performance on the field deserves some praise, too. Sarmiento had to bounce between the team’s second and third catcher during the first few weeks, but now he has a strong case for being Frisco’s best backstop.

Sarmiento’s batting average has gone up in every month this year (.091, .214, .326, .355). In his 21 appearances since June 3, Sarmiento has three home runs and 17 RBIs. Before this year, Sarmiento’s career high in home runs was two. The Venezuela native’s career high in RBIs (25 in ’09) is very much in danger, too.

Since the beginning of June, Sarmiento has played in 21 games, and Jose Felix has played in 19. As you can see, Sarmiento’s efforts have earned him more playing time.

Corey Young: April was not a kind month for the left-handed reliever. He went 0-2 with a 9.00 ERA in eight appearances, and he found himself on the disabled list with a back injury on April 28.

Once Young rejoined the RoughRiders’ active roster five weeks later, he became a force. The southpaw owns a 1.10 ERA in 16 and a third innings. In early June, Young appeared in a few mop-up situations. Since then, he has worked his way into many key situations. In the ninth inning and beyond, Young has allowed only one earned run in seven innings.

Young still needs to work on his efforts against lefties (.353 average), but that is pretty remarkable to see for a lefty who owns a 3.70 ERA. Thus, there is some room for improvement for a man who is already seeing plenty.

- Brian

The RoughRiders One Year Ago

A few days ago, Stephen Harmon detailed the current seasons of many prospects in the Rangers’ system. Today, I’m here to show you how much difference a season can make. Let’s look back at how much improvement many of the key members of this year’s RoughRiders have seen over the last 12 months.

The differences between July 18, 2010, and July 18, 2011, are pretty incredible. And most RoughRiders have improved greatly. Here are ten prime examples:

Mike Bianucci: While with High-A Bakersfield, the slugger was hitting just .247 with just 11 home runs, which was good for a tie for 15th in the California League. Right now, he is in a tie for second in that category. Bianucci’s RBI total is up by 16 runs, and his OPS has improved by almost 100 points. This season, Bianucci is on pace for a career-high 30 homers.

Robbie Erlin: Erlin’s numbers were great at this point last year (4-2, 1.66 ERA), but they were in Low-A Hickory. Erlin has rolled through the Rangers’ system, and he is only two wins away from the RoughRiders’ team lead despite joining the team in late May. Erlin is only 20 years old, which should bring a smile to ‘Riders and Rangers fans alike.

Adalberto Flores: The ‘Riders’ bullpen has been solid all season long. While Flores may not be the poster man for the ‘pen, he has improved upon an average year with Frisco last season. At this point, Flores owned a 2-4 record and a 4.03 ERA in 38 innings of work. Flores has dropped the ERA almost a run and a half (2.68), and he has been counted on more (47 innings of work). The righty also has 17 more strikeouts at this point (51) than he had last year.

Jonathan Greene: The likeable North Carolina native had only played in 16 games by this point last season. He was hitting .218 with two home runs and six RBIs. What a difference a year makes. Greene is in the top 20 in the Texas League in average (.297), home runs (11), and RBIs (52). Greene has also only committed two errors despite being bounced around between two main positions–first base and right field.

Tommy Mendonca: Mendonca has arguably seen the biggest improvement from last year to this year. A year ago on this day, Mendonca was hitting .238 with three homers and 27 RBIs. To put it into perspective, Mendonca’s month of June this year featured four home runs and 30 RBIs. Mendonca dots the top 10 in most offensive categories this year in the Texas League.

Renny Osuna: Osuna’s average has only seen a minimal improvement from this point a year ago (.286 v. .307). It’s the power numbers that put Osuna on this list in a prominent way. Last season, Osuna had just two home runs and 28 RBIs through mid-July. This year, Osuna already has a career-high eight homers, which is fifth on a powerful RoughRiders squad. He also has 43 RBIs, which also places him fifth in the clubhouse. Not bad for a leadoff hitter who has missed 17 games this year.

Martin Perez: Perez is the lone former RoughRider on this list, but his renaissance has been well documented and much needed. Perez was 3-5 with a 5.23 ERA at this point of the year in 2010. In fact, he did not even have enough innings pitched to qualify for the ERA category. He just won his Triple-A debut at Memphis Saturday for the Round Rock Express after dominating in Frisco for the season’s first three months.

Jose Ruiz: Ruiz has come the furthest in terms of an organization’s pecking order. The first baseman was about the join the Dominican Summer League at this point last season, and he was within the Tampa Bay system. He joined Double-A Montgomery in mid-August. The Rays let him go, and the Rangers picked up a guy who has hovered around .300 all year long.

Ben Snyder: Snyder’s ERA is slightly worse this year than it was last year (3.82 v. 3.13), but he has been Mr. Versatile for the pitching staff this season. His next start will be his sixth, which will be the highest for the southpaw since 2008. Snyder has been an unsung hero for the ‘Riders.

Joe Wieland: Remember what we said about Erlin? The same can be said for this talented righty. Wieland’s numbers weren’t as eye-popping with the Crawdads (7-4, 3.34), but he was having some success. Still, 2011 has been Wieland’s breakout season. In four Double-A starts, the Reno, Nev., native is 1-0 with a 2.05 ERA. If you combine his numbers with High-A Myrtle Beach, Wieland is 7-3 with an ERA of 2.09 with more than one strikeout per inning.

There have been many more contributors to the RoughRiders’ fantastic 2011 season. It has been fun to watch these men grow on the field, and there are still almost 50 games left in the regular season.

- Brian

Rangers Roundup – Prospects Edition

NOTE: Like this piece? Check out our look at ten RoughRiders’ drastic improvement from last year to this year, which has put all of them on the prospect radar.

The Rangers’ farm system is among the best in baseball, and top-flight prospects play with all of the club’s affiliates. Today, Stephen Harmon takes you around the system and discusses some of the best farmhands within the Rangers’ organization.

Round Rock Express (Triple-A):

Leonys Martin: The 23-year-old Cuban center fielder batted .348 with four homers and ten stolen bases over 29 games with Frisco before being promoted to Round Rock July 9. According to some scouts, Martin has a matured approach at the plate. However, he needs to become more comfortable in the outfield.  Martin, who signed a five-year, $15.5 million contract May 4, is 8-for-20 in his first five games as a member of the Express.

Martin Perez: After ranking Perez as the top pre season prospect in the Rangers organization, Baseball America rated Perez the sixth best prospect in all of minor league baseball in their midseason rankings. The twenty-year-old Venezuelan native received a promotion to Round Rock July 14 after posting a 4-2 record with a 3.16 ERA. He led the RoughRiders in strikeouts with 83 over 88.1 innings.

Neil Ramirez: The 2007 first-round draft pick opened the year in Myrtle Beach before being called up to Round Rock for a temporary spot start. However, he was impressive enough to earn a regular turn in the rotation where he has posted a 3.77 ERA with 82 strikeouts over 71.2 innings.

Frisco RoughRiders (Double-A):

Robbie Erlin: The left-handed starter is undefeated since joining Frisco, going 5-1 with a 3.95 ERA as of July 15th. Erlin has impressed scouts with his command and mature approach to pitching. It is easy to forget that he is twenty years old and already in Double-A. The former third-rounder boasted a 53 to 6 strikeout to walk ratio.

Tanner Scheppers The third best prospect in the Rangers’ farm system has returned from a lower back injury that sidelined him after one start in Round Rock. The 2009 first round draft pick made his 2011 Frisco debut June 19and has compiled a 3.68 ERA with 11 strikeouts in five appearances. Scheppers owns the best fastball and curveball in the system (Baseball America).

Myrtle Beach Pelicans (High-A):

Mike Olt: The third baseman is rated as the seventh best prospect in the organization according to Baseball America. The 49th overall pick in the 2010 draft entered the season headlining a talented Myrtle Beach team. However, the Connecticut native broke his collarbone sliding into home plate June 6 and is likely to be out the remainder of the season.  At the time of the injury, Olt was hitting .286 with 10 homeruns in 54 games.

Robbie Ross: Ross was selected in the second round of the 2008 draft and ranked 24th on Baseball America’s Rangers top prospect list. The lefty opened the season at Myrtle Beach and has been there the entire year. Through his first three starts in July, the Kentucky native posted a 1.06 ERA. Overall, his ERA sits at 2.40.

Barret Loux: Loux was slotted as the 19th prospect in the Rangers organization entering 2011 and he hasn’t disappointed. Through July 15, the 6’5’’ Texas A&M product leads the Pelicans with 108 strikeouts in 90.1 innings.

Miguel de los Santos: Overshadowed by the success of Ross and Loux, de los Santos came of the DL on June 29 after starting the year in Frisco where he experienced command issues. However, through his first three starts for the Pelicans in July, the Rangers’ tenth best farmhand went 2-1 with a 2.57 ERA and 19 strikeouts.

Hickory Crawdads (Low-A):

Jurickson Profar: Profar started the season as the number two prospect in the organization in just his second year of pro ball. The Curacao native is hitting .272 with nine home runs and 38 RBIs. Scouts have been impressed with his advanced plate discipline as an 18 year old. In the XM All-Star Futures Game last week, Profar posted an RBI triple for the World Team.

Jake Skole: Skole earned the South Atlantic League player of the week honors June 14. The 19-year-old Georgia native is improving every game and has seen his average jump to .278 after struggling to hit .219 in May. Skole was drafted 15th overall in the 2010 draft.

Spokane Indians (Short-Season):

Will Lamb: Standing at 6’6”, the Clemson standout has shown why the Rangers selected him the 2nd round last month. Lamb has compiled 17 strikeouts in his first ten innings of work. After five relief appearances, Lamb made his first professional start July 10, going three innings and allowing one run while striking out three.

Zach Cone: Cone was selected 37th overall in this year’s draft and has adjusted quickly to using wooden bats. The University of Georgia product hit .359 in his first month of professional baseball. Known for his power/speed combo, Cone swiped seven steals in his first 17 games.

Surprise Rangers (Rookie):

Luis Sardinas: The 18 year-old shortstop out of Venezuela enters his second year at Arizona after only appearing in 22 games last year. Many comparisons have been made between Sardinas and Profar, but the consensus is that Luis is more of a contact hitter than Profar. Through the first twelve games of 2011, Sardinas is batting .289.

GAME PHOTOS: July 16 vs. Corpus Christi

As always, thanks to RoughRiders team photographer James Garner for tonight’s shots.

Rangers number four prospect Robbie Erlin battled through six innings of work but suffered his first career Double-A loss.

Renny Osuna jumps back to first after reaching third base in the first inning. Osuna finished the game 1-for-4.

Davis Stoneburner pulled Frisco to within two runs with a fifth-inning sacrifice fly. Stoneburner went 1-for-3 and now has 26 RBIs on the year.

The Hooks earned their second straight win over the RoughRiders Saturday night by a score of 4-2. The finale is Sunday night at 6:05 from Dr Pepper Ballpark.

- Brian

Random MiLB Stats

The dog days of summer are here. Yesterday’s game was Frisco’s 90th, which means there are only 50 left.

We’ve seen enough minor league baseball to know that there are some quirky and unique stats and stories that have taken place. Let’s document those in a minor league-wide edition of the Facts.

FRISCO FACTS:

  • Let’s get a few Frisco numbers out there first. The RoughRiders face one of the largest deficits in all of minor league baseball as a second-place team, yet Frisco would be in first place in eight other divisions around minor league baseball. That’s more than a third of the other divisions.
  • That’s because the ‘Riders share a division with the best team in all of minor league baseball–the San Antonio Missions. San Antonio, the Double-A affiliate of the Padres, is the only full-season club that boasts a .700 winning percentage.
  • Former RoughRider Martin Perez has one of the four no-hitters in minor league baseball this season. Montgomery’s Matt Moore (AA-Rays), Peoria’s Austin Kirk (Low-A-Cubs), Victor Mateo (Low-A-Rays).
  • We can’t forget about our short-season friends. How about these starts to the season: Staten Island (SS-Yankees) is 21-5 and Eugene (SS-Padres) is 22-6. That’s pretty good.
  • Speaking of short-season “fun,” the Burlington Royals faced off with the Danville Braves on the Fourth of July in the Appalachian League. Danville won 27-6. The actual game took 3:59. There were a few delays that totaled 2:04. All of that, plus the post-game fireworks show in Burlington was postponed. That has to be the favorite for worst night at the yard this season in the minors.
  • Let’s get back to San Antonio. The Missions have already hit ten grand slams this season, which is one away from a Texas League record set by two teams (Tulsa in 1960 and Shreveport in 1979). San Antonio is on pace to hit 16 grand slams.
  • Coincidentally, the last Texas League team without a grand slam for an entire season is San Antonio’s 2002 squad.
  • Finally, an incredible number off the field. The Dayton Dragons, the Low-A affiliate of the Reds, sold their game out for the 815th straight time July 9, which broke the all-time record for most consecutive home game sellouts for a professional team. The team is having a celebration next Saturday in Dayton.

The ‘Riders and Hooks resume this four-game series tonight at 7:05. Catch the action either on TXA 21 or the RoughRiders Baseball Network. Enjoy!

- Brian

Becoming Martin Perez

Martin Perez learned yesterday that he was promoted to Triple-A Round Rock, which ends his long tenure with the RoughRiders. Brian Boesch takes a look back at the ups and downs for Perez while in Frisco.
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With only 37 appearances on his minor league résumé, 18-year-old Martin Perez made his Double-A debut with the RoughRiders August 12, 2009. At that point, Perez had a career earned run average of 2.84. The Rangers had the confidence to promote Perez from Low-A Hickory to Frisco without at stop in High-A.

In other words, Perez had not yet failed in the game of baseball. Ever.

Perez’s first start with the RoughRiders was not pretty. In two and two-thirds innings, the Venezuela native allowed six earned runs. He finished the year with a 1-3 mark and a 5.57 ERA in five Double-A starts, with his final effort being a quality start he was used to posting in Spokane or Hickory.

Yes, the numbers were not awesome, but Perez did get better as his short stint in Double-A progressed. As a result, one of the youngest players the Texas League has ever seen earned even more praise and shouldered even more expectations.

Perez, who was the Rangers’ number five prospect prior to the 2009 season, jumped up to number three in Baseball America’s annual countdown. Overall, Perez jumped from baseball’s 86th best prospect to its 17th. Baseball America even believed that Perez’s estimated time of arrival to the big leagues would be the middle of 2011.

At times during 2010, Perez proved why his name was near the top of every prospect countdown. In late June, Perez struck out 15 and scattered seven hits in 12 scoreless innings during a pair of road starts. In early September, the southpaw tossed six dominant innings in what would turn out to be Frisco’s lone playoff victory.

But Perez largely struggled to gain traction in a league filled with big-name prospects. Perez finished with a record of 5-8 and an ERA at 5.96, much higher than anything he had ever experienced. His strikeout total went down. His walk total went up. His WHIP was at 1.68.

For the first time, Martin Perez was just another arm. For the first time, Martin Perez was failing at the game he had dominated for so long.

The praise still came in 2011. Perez was bumped up to the top spot in the Rangers’ farm system, and he was 24th among all farmhands. Frisco manager Steve Buechele said he had not seen Perez pitch as well as he did during Spring Training. Still, results were necessary.

And those results came almost instantly.

After an average effort in his season opener, the left-hander blanked Springfield over five innings April 14. He whiffed nine Cardinals.

That was the appetizer to the incredible main course Perez served five days later. Perez tossed the second perfect game in RoughRiders history. It was a rain-shortened, five-inning perfecto, but it gave Perez the high-profile Double-A showing he had lacked until that stormy night in North Little Rock, Ark.

“It’s great to be perfect,” Perez said in this MiLB feature after the perfect game. “I’m very happy right now.”

What he said later in that feature, though, would be more important and more telling: “My command has gotten better, so I can throw any of my pitches at any time [in the count].”

Indeed he could. Perez’s fastball continued to develop, and his curveball and changeup kept Texas League hitters off balance. His statistics backed this up.

Perez boasted a 2.74 ERA in April and a 1.47 mark in May. Overall, he went 4-2 with a 3.16 ERA in 17 appearances. One could argue he has been the best pitcher in the Texas League this season, which is quite a turn of events after his struggles in ’09 and ’10.

Thursday, Perez took the penultimate step to the big leagues. The Rangers promoted the 20-year-old to Triple-A Round Rock. He will start Saturday against Memphis.

There is no denying that Perez failed at times with the RoughRiders. He would be the first person to admit that. In the end, Perez posted a 10-13 record and a 4.74 ERA in his 46 career Double-A appearances. Those numbers do not scream “star.”

However, the context of Martin Perez’s 23-month tenure in Frisco does. Perez bounced back from his first serious baseball challenges better than ever. Now, Perez is number six on Baseball America’s midseason prospect list.

Even with great numbers in short-season and Low-A ball, Perez wasn’t the prospect in August of 2009 that he is now.

That’s what makes his time in Frisco so special. With the RoughRiders, Martin Perez became Martin Perez.

GAME PHOTOS: July 14 vs. Corpus Christi

Big thanks to our great team photographer James Garner for these great pictures from tonight’s game.  - AG


21-year-old righty Joe Wieland  tossed six innings of five-hit, one-run ball.  One walk and six strikeouts.


Second baseman Davis Stoneburner’s lead-off home run in the fourth inning tied the game at one.

And Stoneburner celebrates with Frisco interim skipper Brant Brown (Boo is taking his allotted vacation days). The ‘Riders went on to win it 2-1.

Road Trip Highlights

The RoughRiders finished up a 5-1 road trip Tuesday night, which, believe it or not, is not even the best road swing of the season. The ‘Riders swept Arkansas after taking two of three in Springfield. Frisco begins a four-game series with Corpus Christi tonight, but let’s take a look back at a great six-game trip in today’s Frisco Facts.

FRISCO FACTS:

  • The ‘Riders swept Arkansas without the services of Tommy Mendonca, who went back home to California to be with his friends and family after two of his close friends passed away in a car accident. Mendonca is back in the lineup tonight, which is a huge boost considering all of Mendonca’s great work during the month of June.
  • Frisco won all three of its games against the Travelers by one run (3-2, 4-3, 3-2). On the season, the ‘Riders own a 19-11 record in one-run games, which is second to San Antonio in all of the Texas League.
  • During the six-game trip, Frisco starters went 3-1 with a 2.83 earned run average. The ‘Riders’ pitching as a whole held opponents to a .186 average with men in scoring position.
  • The RoughRiders’ 13-inning win at Arkansas Sunday was the club’s tenth extra-inning victory in 14 tries, which is good for the best winning percentage in the league. Midland (7) is the next closest in wins in extra-inning affairs.
  • The ‘Riders have made a living against the North Division. On the year, the squad is 23-13 against that division and 13-5 on the road against that quartet. Too bad the regular season slate features games against the North only 34 percent of the time.
  • Frisco’s defense was less than stellar for the first time in a while. During the six-game road trip, the ‘Riders committed eight errors. Still, Frisco (.979) trails only Arkansas (.980) in fielding percentage in the TL.
  • Finally, the RoughRiders are now 2-0 in season series after going 7-5 against both Arkansas and Springfield. Currently, the ‘Riders have the season-series edge against everyone except for San Antonio (6-10) and Corpus Christi (10-10).

The ‘Riders and Hooks open up a four-game series tonight at Dr Pepper Ballpark, and plenty is planned for the quick home stand. If you aren’t coming out to the game tonight, join us on the RoughRiders Baseball Network at 6:35. Enjoy!

- Brian

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