October 19th, 2012
The 2012 Frisco RoughRiders season was an unquestioned success. The ’Riders won the first half South Division title, finished with an 80-60 record (good for the second-best overall mark in the Texas League) and advanced to the Texas League Championship Series before losing to the Springfield Cardinals. Along the way, there were standout performances from big-time prospects, thrilling games and terrific storylines. Before looking ahead to the 2013 season, we look back at a special 2012 campaign that proved to be a memorable one for the ’Riders.
Record: 19-10 (1st of 8 TL teams)
Average: .269 (4th)
Home Runs: 19 (T-5th)
ERA: 3.31 (1st)
Top Offensive Players: Leury Garcia (.324-0-3, 2B, 3 3B, 9 R, 8-10 SB, .420/.426/.846), Chris McGuiness (.326-3-18, 8 2B, 14 R, .430/.505/.935), Jared Prince (.317-3-11, 4 2B, 11 R, .378/.476/.853)
Top Pitchers: Wilfredo Boscan (6 GS, 3-1, 2.73 ERA, 33 IP, 29 H, 31 K, 7 BB, 1.09 WHIP, .238 BAA), Cody Buckel (5 G, 4 GS, 3-0, 3.38 ERA, 26.2 IP, 23 H, 25 K, 8 BB), Wilmer Font (9 G, 1-0, 3.21 ERA, 1 SV, 14 IP, 9 H, 26 K, 7 BB, .180 BAA), Carlos Pimentel (7 G, 2 GS, 0-1, 0.50 ERA, 18 IP, 8 H, 20 K, 11 BB, 1.06 WHIP, .136 BAA), Ryan Rodebaugh (10 G, 1-2, 1.76 ERA, 2-2 SV, 15.1 IP, 11 H, 18 K, 2 BB, 0.85 WHIP, .204 BAA), Ross Wolf (12 G, 1-0, 3.00 ERA, 5-5 SV, 12 IP, 11 H, 11 K, BB, 1.00 WHIP)
Consistency is what made the RoughRiders so successful l in the season’s first two months. Led by a very good pitching staff and an opportunistic offense, Frisco put together the best record in the Texas League over first half. But that consistency abandoned the team for most of June and July and the ’Riders, though they had already qualified for the playoffs, looked like they would be due for an early exit. Corpus Christi was leading the division and looked particularly strong against Frisco. After some early season struggles, the Hooks won 11 of 14 games against the ’Riders in June and July.
But in August, Frisco got back to the formula that made the squad so good in the first place: terrific pitching and just enough offense. The ’Riders saw their rotation stabilize and bullpen bolstered with the additions of hard throwing right-handers Wilmer Font and Roman Mendez. That helped offset the tremendous loss of Mike Olt, who was called up to the big leagues early in the month.
Olt, who was among the league leaders in most offensive categories at the time of his promotion, was replaced by Tommy Mendonca, who was not producing at Triple-A Round Rock but rediscovered his offensive game back in the Texas League. Mendonca, Chris McGuiness, Leury Garcia, Jared Prince, Jared Hoying and Engel Beltre all took turns leading the offense in August.
As the team was primed for their playoff run, Frisco would be presented one more challenge by the end of the month with one last prominent player departing for the Majors.
August 1:Four roster moves are made before tonight’s game against Midland, most notably the addition of hard-throwing reliever Wilmer Font from Myrtle Beach. With a temperature of 106 degrees in Frisco at first pitch, this is the hottest start time for a ’Riders game this season. Frisco loses 6-5 in 12 innings despite Mike Olt’s Double-A leading 28th home run. After the game, news breaks that Olt has been promoted to the Rangers, where he will remain for the rest of the year. In 95 Texas League games, he hit .288 with 28 homers, 17 doubles, a triple and 82 RBI.
August 2: With Olt officially a Texas Ranger and the 106th RoughRiders player to make the Major Leagues, Frisco only manages two runs against RockHounds prospect Sonny Gray. Midland, however, gets blanked by four Frisco pitchers in a combined three-hitter as the ’Riders win 2-0. Mark Lowe finishes his rehab stint with Frisco by pitching two scoreless innings. Tommy Mendonca, a ’Rider and TL All-Star in 2011, arrives from Triple-A Round Rock to play third base in Olt’s absence.
August 4: After four straight no-decisions, Barret Loux (6 IP, 7 H, 1 R, 2 K) wins for the 13th time in 2012 in a 6-1 victory at the Missions. Eight of nine Frisco batters reach base at least twice and the win ensures that the RoughRiders will finish with a winning record against division bully San Antonio for the first time since 2008.
August 6: Jared Hoying blasts a first inning home run, but so too does San Antonio’s Nate Freiman, igniting a fierce Missions attack in a 12-4 ’Riders loss. It clinches what will be the only series defeat of the month for the Frisco nine.
August 8: Chris McGuiness and Mendonca both crack two run home runs in the third inning at Tulsa, providing just enough offense in a 4-3 victory.
August 9: Former All-Star pitcher Lee Smith throws the ceremonial first pitch before Frisco’s game at Tulsa and seems to steal the “closer mojo” from ’Riders stopper Ross Wolf. Frisco takes a 6-2 lead into the ninth inning before the Driller strike for three runs against Wolf and put the tying runner in scoring position. The normally automatic Wolf settles down to strike out prospect third baseman Nolan Arenado and deliver the RoughRiders a stressful 6-5 win.
August 11: Nick Tepesch (6 IP, 9 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 4 K, balk) is a bit shaky, but the ’Riders string together 16 hits and homers from Jared Prince and Mendonca to beat Northwest Arkansas 10-3.
August 12: The ’Riders take a 2-0 lead into the seventh at the Naturals, but Northwest Arkansas ties it and then takes a two-run lead in the eighth inning. Frisco, 0-43 when trailing after eight frames this season, shocks the Nats when McGuiness hits a grand slam off Brendan Lafferty and the ’Riders go on to win 6-4. It is McGuiness’ second slam of the year and it starts a hot stretch that continues for the rest of the South Carolinian’s season. In a strange statistical quirk, McGuiness has now homered in seven of the 14 games he has played on Sundays.
August 13:Again, the ’Riders blow a late lead at Northwest Arkansas but this time are unable to rally back in a 4-3 loss. The game ends when former RoughRiders catcher Manny Pina throws out Ryan Strausborger trying to steal third base with Jurickson Profar, who had homered earlier in the contest, standing in the batter’s box.
August 15: The Rangers send electric reliever Roman Mendez (up from Myrtle) and utility man Guilder Rodriguez (down from Round Rock) to Frisco. That night, Wilfredo Boscan (6 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 9 K) pitches marvelously against Tulsa in a no-decision. McGuiness’ two-run double triggers a three-run bottom of the eighth and Frisco pulls out a 4-2 victory. It is his fifth game-winning base hit of 2012 (he will finish with six in total), the most on the team.
August 17: Behind a bloodlessly efficient Nick Tepesch (7 IP, 2 H, 0 R, BB, 5 K on just 78 pitches), Frisco silences the Drillers once again in a 5-1 win. Nolan Arenado’s two-out, ninth inning solo home run off Mendez is the only thing that prevents a shutout as the ’Riders sweep Tulsa for the second time this season.
August 18: After playing 123 games, the RoughRiders are rained out for the first time all season with the Naturals in town.
August 19: Playing their first doubleheader of the year, the ’Riders dispose of Northwest Arkansas twice. Mendonca hits two solo home runs in a 3-0 game one win while Alex Buchholz goes deep in game two, also won by Frisco 3-1.
August 20: Mendonca and Tepesch are named TL “Player” and “Pitcher of the Week,” respectively. Frisco gets another dominant pitching performance from a starter, as Cody Buckel (6 IP, 5 H, R, 0 BB, 7 K) handcuffs the Naturals in a 6-1 win. Prince, who has been heating up as the month goes on, swats a three-run home run – his 11th of the season – in the fifth inning as the RoughRiders finish their home stand with a perfect 6-0 record.
August 22: It is looking like a lost night for the ’Riders midway through their second game in San Antonio. Frisco leaves eight men on base over the first four innings – including the bases loaded twice – and Loux yields five runs in the fourth after looking very good early. Down 7-1 through five frames, the RoughRiders mount their biggest comeback of the season. They score two runs in the sixth inning, three in the seventh and three more in the ninth to emerge with a 9-7 victory, the team’s eighth straight. Hoying puts Frisco on top for the first time with a two-run double in the final frame. The team bangs out a season-high 20 hits with Hoying (4-for-5, 2B, 5 RBI, 2 R), Profar (5-for-6, 2B, 2 R), Engel Beltre (3-for-5, RBI, 2R, SB, HBP), McGuiness (3-for-4, RBI, BB, HBP) and Strausborger (3-for-6) leading the way offensively.
August 23: Frisco’s season-best eight-game win streak ends with a 9-3 loss to the Missions. Former RoughRiders pitcher Robbie Erlin (5 IP, 3 H, 2 R) gets the win.
August 25: The RoughRiders and RockHounds are rained out in Midland. Meanwhile at Whataburger Field, Corpus Christi defeats San Antonio 5-2 to clinch a spot in the postseason, where they will face Frisco in the South Division Championship Series next month.
August 26: Frisco and Midland play a long doubleheader, which is swept by the RoughRiders. Steve Buechele’s club takes game one by a 4-2 score. The seven-inning contest takes two hours and 36 minutes while game two takes an even longer two hours and 50 minutes. Frisco takes that game 11-4. Hoying has six hits on the day while Strausborger provides a pair of triples.
August 27:A strange series comes to a strange end in another long game at Citibank Ballpark. Midland ties it at 1-1 in the fourth inning and the score does not change for some time. The game goes to extra innings and the ’Riders, out of pitchers after the doubleheader the day before, insert infielder Rodriguez into the game to pitch in the 11th. To the amazement of his teammates, G-Rod throws a scoreless 11th and 12th innings with two strikeouts. His magic runs out in the 13th inning when a walk and an Anthony Aliotti double send the RockHounds to a 2-1 win in three hours and 44 minutes.
August 28: In a playoff preview, the ’Riders return home to face Corpus Christi and win a taut 2-1 affair. Up by a run in the ninth inning, Frisco allows the Hooks to load the bases with one out before Ryan Rodebaugh slams the door shut with back-to-back strikeouts, ending the game. In a foreshadowing of a future role, Profar enters the game late after starting on the bench. He repeats this in each of the next two contests.
August 29: Strausborger triples twice and Buckel (5 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 7 K) handles the Hooks bats in a 3-0 Frisco win. With Beltre’s triple the next day Frisco will finish the season with 59 three-baggers for the season, the most by any team in Minor League Baseball.
August 31: The RoughRiders play another tight game with the Hooks and lead 2-0 before Corpus Christi ties it up in the seventh against Justin Grimm, who is back from Round Rock to adjust to pitching out of the bullpen. Zach Zaneski snaps the 2-2 tie with an RBI double in the bottom of the inning and then later scores to give Frisco the lead. In the ninth, Wolf gives up a home run and puts the tying runner at first base, but escapes thanks to a game-ending double-play as the ’Riders win 4-3 and capture the series. After the game, the Rangers announce that Profar will be called up to the Major Leagues the next day when big league rosters expand.
Coming next week: Our season in review series concludes with a look back at September and the playoffs.
– Alex V.
- Posted on October 19, 2012 at 5:51 pm
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- Tags: Alex Buchholz, Anthony Aliotti, Barret Loux, Brendan Lafferty, Carlos Pimentel, Chris McGuiness, Cody Buckel, Engel Beltre, Frisco RoughRiders, Guilder Rodriguez, Jared Hoying, Jared Prince, Jurickson Profar, Justin Grimm, Lee Smith, Leury Garcia, Mark Lowe, Mike Olt, Nate Freiman, Nolan Arenado, Roman Mendez, Ross Wolf, Ryan Strausborger, Sonny Gray, Texas Rangers, Tommy Mendonca, Wilfredo Boscan, Wilmer Font, Zach Zaneski