August 14th, 2014
The writing was on the wall for Alex Claudio to make his Rangers debut, and the former 27th round draft choice did just that on Wednesday against the Tampa Bay Rays. In a 10-1 thumping at Globe Life Park, Claudio pitched the eighth inning and allowed no runs on no hits with no walks and one strikeout. The Puerto Rican, and new father, tossed nine pitches and seven for strikes.
Claudio enjoyed a good run with the ‘Riders over the middle part of the season. Despite his preference to pitch out the bullpen (he was excited the arrival of Jake Thompson meant he could work as a reliever), Frisco utilized the lefty primarily as a starter. Claudio did not miss a beat. He posted a 2-2 record and a 2.17 ERA through eight appearances and six starts. Over 37 1/3 innings, Claudio allowed nine earned runs and only two walks alongside 22 strikeouts. When Thompson did arrive, the ‘Riders, albeit briefly, had a lock-down southpaw in the pen that could pitch extended innings if necessary.
Fans may remember Claudio broke camp with the ‘Riders before the season, but he wound up on the wrong side of a numbers game and the organization sent him to Advanced-A Myrtle Beach to begin the season. To his credit, Claudio didn’t sulk and instead dominated to the tune of a 1.09 ERA over nearly 50 innings. ‘Riders fans should be thankful for the month they had with Claudio (June 28-August 3), but personally, I selfishly lamented to Alex how Frisco had been deprived of some time with the changeup specialist.
Interestingly, Claudio’s style of pitching, with a fastball that maxed out in the mid-80s (yes, a fastball), may have suited him better for Triple-A, where pitchers rely less on pure power and more on moving pitches and off speed stuff than in the comparatively fireballing Double-A ranks. But the wiry 6-foot-3, 160-pounder lasted only 5 1/3 innings with Round Rock before the Rangers made Claudio the 121st RoughRider to play in a major league game and 14th this season. Based on his season with three different affiliates, the decision to give the 22-year-old a ticket to the show is certainly no changeup.
In case you missed it, take a listen to our interview with Alex on July 23. Thanks once again to Guilder Rodriguez who served as translator.
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Like a hitter in a hot streak at the plate, this pitching staff is grooving right now. A 2-1 loss in 11 innings hardly falls on the shoulders of the pitchers. Instead, the offense stayed under wraps provided virtually no run support for Jerad Eickhoff & co. Click here to read the game recap.
Star of the Game: RHP Jerad Eickhoff – 7.0 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 6 K
Jerad did not earn a win on Wednesday, but least he was spared a losing decision. The Texas League leader in strikeouts upped his total to 128 and turned in a seven-inning outing for the fifth time this season.
In case you missed it:
-Curt Smith’s walk-off home run was the first run allowed by Martire Garcia in over 18 innings as a RoughRider this season.
-Springfield reliever Sam Tuivailala gave his best Keone Kela impersonation and topped out at 101 mph on the Hammons Field Radar gun. He loaded the bases with no outs in the eighth and blew a save when a wild pitch allowed the ‘Riders to tie the game. The ‘Riders could have taken the lead for good, but Tuivailala denied them the chance when he struck out the side in order. He finished with six strikeouts in two inning.
-After Tuivailala, Joey Donofrio took the hill and gave the ‘Riders fits for the final three innings. Donofrio sat down all nine batters he faced and added four strikeouts to his line. The RoughRiders struck out 15 times in the ballgame.
-Gallo watch: 0-for-5, 5 SO
Telvin Nash hit a home run on Wednesday for Corpus Christi and now leads Joey by two in the Texas League home run chase. Joey last hit a homer on August 8.
-A look at the RoughRiders home run leader board (active players only):
1. Joey Gallo (17)
2. Trever Adams (12)
3. Drew Robinson (11)
4. J.T. Wise (6)
5. Jake Skole (5)
6. Teodoro Martinez (3)
6. Jorge Alfaro (3)
8. Chris Grayson (2)
8. Odubel Herrera (2)
10. Patrick Cantwell (1)
10. Nomar Mazara (1)
10. Hanser Alberto (1)
New arrival and top ten Rangers prospect Nomar Mazara sits down with Alex and talks about his first Double-A home run and his basketball background in the Dominican Republic:
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