June 1st, 2014
‘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.
Welcome to June! Hard to believe we are two months into the season already. The sixth month promises to bring plenty of excitement as the RoughRiders barrell towards a possible playoff berth and the All-Star game looms on the horizon.
After a mediocre start, the ‘Riders finished strong in May and won seven of the month’s final ten games and wrapped up the week with a 5-1 record. Frisco finished with a 16-12 record and although the mark is a few games lower than their 17-9 start in April, the strong finish after Memorial Day erased a 9-11 start.
The road to a first-half south division title and the confluent playoff ticket is far from a guarantee. Frisco still needs to play every team in its division before the second half commences on June 17. The ‘Riders open an eight-game homestand against the red-hot San Antonio Missions June 3-6. The Missions sat five games below .500 (19-24) as of May 19, only to rip off wins in nine of their last 12 and post a winning record for the first time since April 17.
Second-place Midland comes to town next from June 7-10, and the ‘Riders will then hit the road to Whataburger Field to take on the Corpus Christi Hooks in a four-game series. The first half concludes midway through a four-game series with the Midland RockHounds at Security Bank Ballpark in west Texas. As of June 1, every team in the Texas League South Division carries a winning record.
Still, the ‘Riders possess the tools to secure the franchise’s eighth postseason appearance in the first half of the season (the team has only clinched a playoff berth in the second half once). Frisco batted .302 in May, and after the staff’s ERA ballooned to 4.46 earlier in the month, the pitching buckled down and lowered the average to 3.97.
Here’s to a great June as we reflect on the final week of May in “‘Riders on the Record:”
Field manager Jason Wood in the May 25 edition of “Sunday with the Skipper:”
Roving instructor Brian Da Yett visited Frisco during the team’s final homestand in May. Coach Da Yett works specifically with hitters and comments on his time with Jake Smolinski, Drew Robinson and up-and-comers in the pipeline. The clubhouse refers to Da Yett as “Bama” and the former big leaguer also shares the origins of his nickname:
Second baseman Odubel Herrera is playing like a changed man this season. After a strong first month with Advanced-A Myrtle Beach, Odubel hasn’t missed a beat since his promotion of Frisco on May 12 (.317 and 12 RBI with Frisco). His attitude is what has changed the most since last season, he says:
Assistant coach James Vilade traveled with the ‘Riders for the first time this season on their north division road trip to Tulsa and Springfield, respectively. Coach V has fond memories of the Oil City, as he shares with on the Pregame Show, and he also details the pre-draft work load shared among the coaching staff:
Springfield pitcher Mitch Harris is the first opposing player to appear on “‘Riders on the Record” this season. Harris pitched against the RoughRiders on at Dr Pepper Ballpark on Monday, May 26. The appearance bore extra significance to the righty, who served two tours of duty with the U.S. Navy. He chats with Alex about life in the armed forces and the transition into a professional baseball career:
We conclude “‘Riders on the Record” in the same way we began. Field manager Jason Wood rings in the month of June with Alex Vispoli and reflects on a rainy roadtrip to the north division and the improved play of Odubel Herrera:
As always, thanks for tuning in.
Miss the last RoughRiders game? Catch up on the action or relive the highlights with ‘Riders Rewind, a daily capsule of yesterday’s big moments. Listen to previous editions of ‘Riders Rewind here.
The RoughRiders closed the second month of the regular season on a high note with an 9-1 win over the Springfield Cardinals on Saturday. Click here to read the full game recap.
After the Redbirds won handily in game one, Frisco returned the favor with a romp in the middle installment of the three-game series. The ‘Riders fell one hit shy of tying their single-game high this season (17).
In case you missed it: Jake Smolinski cracked his eighth home run of the season in the fifth inning. Unlike his previous seven, however, Jake’s latest was not a solo home run. Jake’s parents live in Rockford, Illinois, and made the trek down to Springfield, Missouri to watch their son play. The left fielder blew a kiss to his folks as he crossed home plate. Along with Tomás Telis, Springfield’s center fielder Rafael Ortega is a native of El Tigre, Venezuela.
Star of the Game: SS Guilder Rodriguez – 4/5, R, 2RBI
G-Rod continues to shine since his return to the RoughRiders on May 14 from Triple-A Round Rock. Guilder racked up a season-high four hits in Saturday’s game and drove in a pair of runs on a single to right field as the ‘Riders pulled away in the fifth inning. The Venezuelan is now on a seven-game hit streak. The 30-year-old has only one extra-base hit this season, but that hasn’t stopped the switch-hitter from batting .317 with a .423 on-base percentage.
Enjoy the highlights and thanks for tuning in.