‘Riders on the Record – Road Weary
‘Riders on the Record is a weekly rundown of the pregame interviews recorded by broadcasters Alex Vispoli and Chris Vosters with RoughRiders players and coaches and occasionally a special guest. You can find all previous editions by clicking here.
The RoughRiders reopened Dr Pepper Ballpark for the first time in nine days on May 3. The team wrapped up its second road trip with a 3-5 record, which on paper seems like a stark contrast to the 6-0 record posted on the first venture outside the Metroplex.
The ‘Riders split a four-game set with Corpus Christi at Whataburger Field and then dropped a four-gamer with San Antonio three games to one. The Missions have the lowest team batting average in the eight-team Texas League and as of May 4, had the second-worst record. At one point, immediately prior the series with Frisco, San Antonio ripped off 40 straight innings without scoring a run.
For the first time this season, the pitching staff ran into a few bumps along the road. Luke Jackson suffered his first loss in 2014, while Kyle Lotzkar, Alec Asher and Edwar Cabrera each struggled in respective outings. Even the bullpen blinked a couple times on the road, giving up four runs in a in 9-7 loss to the Missions on April 29. Matt West allowed his first run of the season in nine appearances, and Jon Edwards gave up six runs in 3 2/3 innings of work. That’s not to take anything away from Jerad Eickhoff, who pitched brilliantly in the lone win of the series against San Antonio.
But the staff certainly doesn’t assume complete responsibility. Far from it, in fact. Against the Missions, the ‘Riders scored first in every game, but scored a total of one run after the fourth inning. It puts a lot of pressure on the ‘pen when a team only scores runs in the first half of each game. Rougned Odor went 2-for-16 against the Hooks, before turning it on against San Antonio. Drew Robinson donned the infamous “golden sombrero” with a four-strikeout night on April 29.
And yet, the ‘Riders battled in every game, save the 11-2 whitewashing from Corpus Christi on a getaway day. They rallied for three runs over the final two innings in a 6-4 loss to the Hooks on April 25. In the three losses to San Antonio, Frisco took one game to extras, and even in an 8-3 loss on May 2, the ‘Riders trailed by three in the fourth inning when a double-play opportunity went awry and allowed the Missions to pull away.
The horsemen have a chance to regain control of the Texas League South with a series win against the Midland RockHounds. They took a solid first step in that regard with a 3-1 win on Saturday night.
It is in this vein we present the latest edition of ‘Riders on the Record, featuring highlights from the eight-game road swing. Hitting coach Jason Hart makes his first appearance on the program to talk Ryan Rua (on-base streak at 26 games through this publication). Former major league shortstop Tony Fernandez, now a special assistant to Rangers General Manager Jon Daniels, joined the team on the trip and also makes an appearance. He lends an interesting anecdote about a young shortstop for the New York Yankees named Derek Jeter, with whom Fernandez played at the end of his career. Enjoy!
Hitting coach and former RoughRider (class of ’05), Jason Wyatt Hart:
Special Assistant to General Manager Jon Daniels, Tony Fernandez, talks about the organization’s top prospects with the ‘Riders:
Catcher Tomas Telis, who will surprise you with his speed around the bases:
Rougned Odor makes his debut on ‘Riders on the Record. Thanks, Roogie!
Edwar Cabrera reflects on his last two starts on the mound and his recovery road following shoulder surgery in 2013:
As always, thanks for tuning in.