Archive for the ‘ Dailies ’ Category

Closing In On RoughRiders History

The RoughRiders are chasing their second Texas League championship as a team, but there is quite an individual storyline gathering speed within the ‘Riders clubhouse.

Renny Osuna is three hits away from Frisco's all-time record (James Garner).

In his third season with the RoughRiders, Renny Osuna is just three hits away from matching Steve Murphy’s franchise record in hits, which currently sits at 319.

Osuna, a .294 hitter in his six-year minor league career, has 316 hits while with the ‘Riders. This season, Osuna is batting .299 with a career-high eight home runs. Frisco’s everyday shortstop has driven in 48 runs, which is one off his total from last year and only 18 shy of his career-high mark set in 2008.

Hit number one in Osuna’s Double-A career came in his first ever at-bat with the RoughRiders May 29, 2009, at Tulsa. Osuna singled and came around to score against Drillers starter Brandon Durden.

Osuna’s third hit was his first at Dr Pepper Ballpark June 3, once again against the Drillers. The ’09 season ended with Osuna notching 62 base hits, which was good for a .246 average.

In his first full season in Frisco, Osuna started climbing the hit list quickly. Following a 14-hit April, Osuna’s first Double-A home run was in his first game of May. That home run came during a 3-for-4 day May 3.

Overall in 2010, Osuna hit below .270 for a month only once. The Caracas, Venezuela, native posted a .293 average with four homers and 49 RBIs.

Before the start of this season, Osuna had 194 hits in his ‘Riders career. Despite bouncing around three different positions and missing time with a broken nose, Osuna has 122 hits in 94 games this season. He is on pace to reach or surpass many of his individual marks.

Osuna and the 'Riders play their next nine games at Dr Pepper Ballpark (James Garner).

Osuna is also on pace to break the all-time hits record in Frisco history very soon, and he has gotten within three hits of Murphy’s mark despite appearing in 47 fewer games and going to the plate 149 fewer times.

Isn’t it fitting that the RoughRiders have just begun their longest home stand of the season with Osuna on the brink of history?

Osuna needs just three more hits, and fans at Dr Pepper Ballpark are likely to see those three and many more from Renny.

- Brian

Ramirez Joins RoughRiders’ Rotation

Stephen Harmon is back to introduce another Frisco newcomer. Neil Ramirez will take to the mound for the ‘Riders tonight. Read about his interesting journey to Frisco.

Rangers pitching prospect Neil Ramirez will make his Frisco debut tonight. After jumping from High-A Myrtle Beach to Triple-A Round Rock for a spot start in mid-April, the 22-year-old finds himself joining Robbie Ross as the newest members of the RoughRiders’ rotation.

Ramirez was taken in the first round (44th overall) of the 2007 draft, the same draft that saw former ‘Rider, Blake Beavan go 17th overall. After winning the 2007 Virginia Gatorade Player of the Year, the 6-foot-3 righty signed a letter of intent to play at Georgia Tech. However, after being offered a one million dollar signing bonus, Ramirez agreed to begin his professional baseball career with the Texas Rangers organization.

Ramirez made his professional debut with the Spokane Indians in 2008. The Virginia native spent the next two seasons in Hickory where he refined his mechanics and improved his control. After issuing 41 walks in 66.1 innings in 2009, Ramirez granted just 37 free passes while striking out 142 batters in 140.1 innings last year.

Those impressive numbers earned him a promotion to Myrtle Beach where he opened his 2011 campaign. However, after one dominant start with the Pelicans, Ramirez was sent as a temporary “fill-in” to Round Rock where he pitched six shutout innings against the Omaha Storm Chasers. That performance kept him in the rotation and led to another start where he struck out nine while allowing only two hits.

Overall on the season, the righty has gone 4-3 posting a 3.68 ERA. Perhaps the most impressive figure is his strikeouts per nine-inning ratio, which sits at 10.4. In fact, Ramirez still leads the Express with 85 strikeouts despite sitting out a month on the disabled list with shoulder fatigue.

Ramirez can light up the radar gun and impressed the Rangers with his mid 90’s velocity in spring training. Additionally, he commands an above average curveball and changeup that keeps hitters honest at the dish. Similar to former ‘Riders prospects, Joe Wieland and Robbie Erlin, Ramirez has a calm and relaxed demeanor on the mound.

With Wieland and Erlin in the rotation, the RoughRiders were cruising. Now, the attention turns to Ross and, now, Ramirez to continue the trend.

- Stephen

Why I Love Baseball

Note: The post below doesn’t involve the RoughRiders. It does, however, have everything to do with baseball. We will still have a RoughRider-related post later today. Enjoy!

Aaron, Reid, Stephen and I are incredibly lucky to be here with the RoughRiders and follow baseball on a daily basis. As much fun as baseball is, the game is mentally and physically taxing for everyone involved. By the end of the season, the ‘Riders will have played 140 regular season games in 152 days.

I will never be able to relate to the toll baseball takes on players in the minors. Still, a broadcaster at this level needs some self-motivation here and there during the long season, and this day provides a much-needed jolt for me.

On this day ten years ago, I truly fell for baseball.

I was always a fan. I went to a no-hitter at the age of one (don’t remember that one), a World Series game at the age of five and an All-Star Game at the age of seven while growing up in Cleveland during the glory days of Indians baseball.

This picture sparks many emotions for Rangers fans.

If you are reading this, you have probably been a fan for a long time, too. But for many baseball fans, there is that ONE moment when everything came together. Many Rangers fans experienced that moment last October. Maybe Nelson Cruz’s homer in Game 6 against the Yankees? Or Neftali Feliz’s strikeout of Alex Rodriguez to clinch the pennant? (Aaron’s moment, by the way, is buying the first hot dog in new Busch Stadium’s history. Seriously.).

My “moment” was August 5, 2001. I had tickets to the Indians-Mariners game, which was on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball. After a family emergency that day, it didn’t look like I would get to go, which, at that point, was completely understandable.

About 30 minutes before first pitch, my dad changed his mind. We went to the game hoping for a pick-us-up.

By the time we got there, the Mariners were in the process of taking a 12-0 lead in the third. And this was the Mariners team that finished 116-46 and went to the ALCS. At that point in the season, they boasted a record of 80-30. The main point—they were good.

Going into the bottom of the seventh, it was 14-2. As the probability chart shows near the middle of this page, things weren’t looking good for Chief Wahoo’s crew. We stuck around as the Sunday night, sold-out crowd started to dwindle and as the likes of Eddie Taubensee, Wil Cordero and Russell Branyan replaced some of the Indians’ starters.

The Tribe plated three in the seventh to make it 14-5. In the eighth, the Indians scored four runs and had only one out. All the momentum went away, though, when a potential run was cut down at the plate, and Seattle took a 14-9 lead into the ninth.

During the top of the ninth, my dad pointed at the scoreboard. He said, in what had to be a showing of sarcasm, that the Indians wanted three in the seventh and four in the eighth in order to score five in the ninth.

After an emotional day at home and an ugly night of baseball, my dad said, “I have a feeling.”

Whether or not he truly believed that, I don’t know and I don’t care. He was incredibly correct.

The celebration was on in Cleveland after one of baseball's biggest comebacks.

With two out and a runner at first, four straight runners reached. Bases loaded and two outs in a 14-9 game, and Omar Vizquel (my favorite Indian) was at the plate. On a 3-2 pitch, Vizquel laced a bases-clearing, game-tying triple down the right field line that still gives me goosebumps when I think about it.

Two innings later, in-game addition Jolbert Cabrera drove home the game-winning run for the Indians. Less than 10,000 people were still at Jacobs Field shortly after midnight when Kenny Lofton scored the game-winning run. Still, I’ve never heard a crowd like that one. I’ve never attended a game like that one.

Every year, I relive the play-by-play calls of that magical night, which takes me back to a time, albeit a short one, when baseball was perfect.

Baseball is a game that must be approached with realism, humility, and grit. Every team experiences peaks and valleys. Patience is key, and one streak (positive or negative) does not define a season.

But everyone who has watched this game enough has at least one of these experiences. Baseball keeps bringing us back because we all want to experience something better. Is that likely? Not exactly.

Neither was the Rangers’ run to the Fall Classic. Neither was a win for the Indians on that incredible night ten years ago, either. But these things did happen, and they were perfect.

No matter what happens to our favorite teams, we’ll always have that one moment. And ten years later, mine is still perfect.

- Brian

My Moniker Madness

Houston Summers. Will Startup. Dusty Napoleon. Rowdy Hardy. What do these four guys have in common? Well, they are the previous four winners of the Minors Moniker Madness, a 64-person tournament designed to find the best name in Minor League Baseball.

This is not a game for the Justin Miller’s or Ben Snyder’s of the world. This is for names like Bubbie Buzachero, ZeErika McQueen, Riaan Spanjer-Furstenburg, and others. Those three did not make the field this year, but those are some of the awesome names that have appeared in previous years.

While a current member of the RoughRiders did not make the list (Davis Stoneburner HAD to be a tough omission), former ‘Rider Mark Hamburger is a four-seed as he tries to improve upon his Final Four showing in ’10. Also, Emerson Frostad is an eight-seed, and Rangers prospects Jurickson Profar and Rougned Odor are highly seeded, too.

It is absolutely an inexact science, as last year’s Final Four contained a pair of 2’s along with an 8 and a 15 (there are four brackets with 16 players in each pool).

I skipped the first two rounds in this breakdown, which means some great names like Tobi Stoner, Shooter Hunt, Jetsy Extrano, Taiwan Easterling, and Dock Doyle won’t get much love even though they have great names.

Below, I document my rationale for the best name in the minors. And yes, the rationale for some is just ridiculous and sometimes unfair.

Sweet 16:

#1 Seth Schwindenhammer over #12 Angelberth Montilla: The Sweet 16 with the most letters goes to the top seed with a 15-letter last name.

#15 Bradley Boxberger over #3 Ben Tottle: Boxberger, the Louisville Bat, takes advantage of a weak half of the bracket to continue his Cinderella run into the Elite Eight.

#4 Mark Hamburger over #8 Emerson Frostad: The battle of the former RoughRiders goes to the man who still plays in the Rangers’ system.

#3 Kevin Quackenbush over #2 Jurickson Profar: Profar is the Rangers’ number two prospect, but he fell to a better last name here. Good run for Jurickson, who should be a fixture in this competition for a few years as he progresses in Texas’ farm system.

#1 Beamer Weems over #4 Maverick Lasker: The Mavericks won the NBA Title, but Maverick couldn’t get past the best name in the Texas League, Beamer Weems of San Antonio.

#6 Skyler Stromsmoe over #7 Tuffy Gosewisch: One of the best matchups of the tournament goes to Skyler, who got the necessary push from his team’s name—the Richmond Flying Squirrels.

#1 Deik Scram over #5 Stetson Allie: Allie made it this far because he was in a weak area of the bracket. Why did he advance over the other three? Well, here’s where the rationale gets good: Allie is from Ohio, and I have a good friend named Allie from Ohio. But Deik takes the cake in this matchup.

#14 Billy Spottiswood over #15 Jerod Yakubik: Another great reason for Yakubik getting this far—he attended the greatest college in the history of the world (Ohio University). But Spottiswood is the man here.

Elite Eight:

#1 Seth Schwindenhammer over #15 Bradley Boxberger: In the most lopsided of the four Elite Eight showdowns, Schwindenhammer earns his second straight Final Four appearance.

#3 Kevin Quackenbush over #4 Mark Hamburger: This, on the flip side, was the toughest of the four matchups. I love Hamburger, and I enjoyed talking to and watching Mark, but Quackenbush is a stud rookie in this competition who is off to the Final Four.

#6 Skyler Stromsmoe over #1 Beamer Weems: Weems lasted a while, but Skyler has alliteration and the “msm” trio in the middle of his last name going for him. Stromsmoe knocks off a top seed.

#14 Billy Spottiswood over #1 Deik Scram: There is always a surprise story in the Moniker Madness, and this Mobile BayBear is off to the Final Four.

Final Four:

#3 Kevin Quackenbush over #1 Seth Schwindenhammer: The top two seeds left have to meet one round early, and it spells another Final Four heartbreak for Schwindenhammer, who lost in the final last year.

#14 Billy Spottiswood over #6 Skyler Stromsmoe: Quite a Cinderella story for Spottiswood, who has probably had the toughest road of anyone to get to this point (Xander Bogaerts, Dock Doyle, Yakubik, Scram). I hope to see Stromsmoe back in this next year. He has staying power.

Moniker Championship:

#3 Kevin Quackenbush over #14 Billy Spottiswood: Quackenbush fulfilled the three things necessary to gaining votes in this competition: (1) a crazy word within his name (quack), (2) a weird letter in a noticeable spot (Q to start his name), and (3) a way to personally connect him to the voter (“Bush” is how you pronounce my last name). Everyone will vote differently, but Quackenbush comes out on top in this person’s mind.

Again, if you want to vote, check out this link. I strongly recommend it. The names are fantastic.

Congrats to Quackenbush!

- Brian

Erlin, Wieland Traded to San Diego

It is official. Robbie Erlin and Joe Wieland, members of the RoughRiders’ starting rotation until a few minutes ago, have been sent to the San Diego Padres for right-handed reliever Mike Adams.

Robbie Erlin's first five Double-A decisions were wins (Photo: James Garner).

Promoted to Frisco in late May, Erlin went 5-2 with a 4.32 earned run average in 11 appearances with the ‘Riders. With his numbers while at High-A Myrtle Beach, the Santa Cruz, Calif., native went 8-4 with a 3.34 ERA. In his final outing with the RoughRiders, with many scouts and Rangers’ front office members in attendance, Erlin went seven innings and allowed three earned runs against Midland Tuesday at Dr Pepper Ballpark.

Joe Wieland tossed the fourth no-hitter in RoughRiders history Friday (Photo: James Garner).

Wieland joined the ‘Riders one month later, and he went 4-0 with a 1.23 ERA in seven starts. The right-hander exited the Rangers’ system with a bang, tossing a no-hitter against San Antonio Friday night that blew up our Twitter feed. Overall this season, the Reno, Nev., native is 10-3 with a 1.80 ERA during his time with Myrtle Beach and Frisco.

We don’t know for sure which Padre affiliate Erlin and Wieland will join, but if they remain in Double-A, they will also remain in the Texas League. San Diego’s Double-A affiliate is the San Antonio Missions, which is the best team in the TL. If the ‘Riders make the postseason, they will play the Missions in the first round. Interesting stuff, to say the least.

The Missions are back at Dr Pepper Ballpark August 5-8, and a pair of talented former RoughRiders could very well be there in different uniforms. We wish both Robbie and Joe the best of luck. They were a pleasure to talk with and to watch.

Tonight, the ‘Riders and the Missions continue their four-game series and their race for the second half South Division title. This trade makes things that much more interesting in the Texas League, that’s for sure.

- Brian

Wieland’s No-Hitter On Twitter

Frisco starter Joe Wieland is on Twitter (@JWieland108, for those who want to follow him). So, it is fitting that our Twitter feed blew up after the right-hander became the first RoughRider to pitch a nine-inning no-hitter by himself.

Here is how it unfolded from the game’s early stages until the end on Twitter. If you tweeted at us before 10:20 tonight, you are on this list. When I say “RT” at the end of a tweet, that means that the person retweeted some of our information.

This includes our tweets, and it begins at the beginning of the game. It does not, however, include our straight re-tweets, which totaled 47 by 10:20 p.m.

Ridersbaseball: Underway in San Antonio between the ‘Riders and the Missions. Follow along-Broadcast: http://t.co/PVgr9dQ

Ridersbaseball: Tommy Mendonca’s sacrifice fly (team-leading 75th RBI) gives the ‘Riders a 1-0 lead at San Antonio, middle of the first. #Rangers

Ridersbaseball: Mike Bianucci’s team-leading 25th HR gives Frisco a 2-0 lead on San Antonio, mid 3. Entering tonight the ‘Riders are 2 GB of SA in the South

Ridersbaseball: Through 3, Frisco leads San Antonio 2-0. So far against the best club in MiLB, Joe Wieland in 2 starts: 12 IP, 1 R, 2 H. 9 up/9 down tonight

armenontheair: Joseph Wieland with a great first three innings, allowing zero hits thus far. @RidersBaseball up 2-0.

bull1480: @RidersBaseball Keep it up Joe!

Ridersbaseball: Joe Wieland (@JWieland108) has faced the minimum through 5. The one man who reached (walk) was caught stealing. ‘Riders lead SA 3-0 thru 5.

Ridersbaseball: Joe Wieland with strikeout, groundout, strikeout in the 6th. Still no hits allowed through 6. Frisco leads San Antonio 3-0 through 6.

mikeroblescomic: @RidersBaseball After 6 innings, Joe Wieland pitching a No-Hitter in San Antonio Missions! #milb #mlb #espn #rangers #padres Make the Trade!

Ridersbaseball: Follow along with Joe Wieland’s no-no bid here. 3-0 ‘Riders, middle of 7: Broadcast: http://t.co/PVgr9dQ

many2one: RT

Ridersbaseball: Three up, three down for Joe Wieland in the 7th. Fly to LF, 4-3 GO, K. Just 84 pitches for the righty. No-no through 7 with Frisco up 3-0.

mikeroblescomic: @RidersBaseball After 7 innings, Joe Wieland pitching a No-Hitter in San Antonio Missions! #milb #mlb #espn #rangers #padres Make the Trade!

0s0t0gar1: @RidersBaseball which is why he should stay a future-RANGER

armenontheair: I could’ve gone to @RidersBaseball game on an historic night. RR pitcher Joe Wieland has “faced the minimum amount of batters”, as they say.

Ridersbaseball: Still 3-0 Frisco, mid 8 in San Antonio. We will update every batter that Joe Wieland faces in his no-no bid. Listen live http://t.co/PVgr9dQ

armenontheair: RT

Ridersbaseball: Jedd Gyorko just flew out to the wall to lead off the 8th. Wieland BARELY keeps his no-no bid alive. 5 outs left. #Rangers

Ridersbaseball: Sawyer Carroll with a weak ground out to first base. 2 up, 2 down for Joe Wieland in the 8th. 4 outs left.

Ridersbaseball: Called strike 3 to Jason Hagerty. Wieland with a no-no through 8 in San Antonio. 3-0 Frisco. Listen live: http://t.co/PVgr9dQ

mikeroblescomic: @RidersBaseball After 8 innings, Joe Wieland pitching a No-Hitter at SA Missions! #mlb #espn #rangers #padres http://lockerz.com/s/124863719

armenontheair: In SA at @RidersBaseball game, we are 3 outs away from RR pitcher Joe Wieland doing what pitchers do when they don’t give up a hit. #NoJinx

Ridersbaseball: 98 pitches for Wieland, which is 6 shy of a season high by a RoughRiders pitcher. #Rangers

armenontheair: Here in SA, @NewbergReport – I picked a good first @RidersBaseball away game to attend!! Wieland has made SA look silly through 8.

Ridersbaseball: Bottom of the 9th has begun. ‘Riders up 3-0. Wieland out there trying for the RoughRiders 4th ever no-hitter. #Rangers

armenontheair: Here we go … Bot 9 … Wieland is 3 outs away from history … @RidersBaseball

russell_mcl: RT

Ridersbaseball: Wieland strikes out Anthony Contreras. Two outs away.

Ridersbaseball: Bryan Altman flies out to deep center. One out away for Joe Wieland. Daniel Robertson, the nine-hole hitter, is at the plate. .293 hitter.

armenontheair: ONE OUT AWAY FOR WIELAND!!! @RidersBaseball

Ridersbaseball: Groundout to Davis Stoneburner on the first pitch. Joe Wieland pitches a no-hitter against San Antonio!

ARTravs: @RidersBaseball Congrats to Wieland and the ‘Riders. Thrilling!

mikeroblescomic: @RidersBaseball Joe Wieland has just pitched a No-Hitter against San Antonio Missions! #milb #mlb #espn #rangers #padres Make the Trade!

Ridersbaseball: Wieland faced the minimum and only allowed one runner, a walk in the fourth inning. That man, Andy Parrino, was caught stealing. #Rangers

MistiSkidmore: Way to go, @JWieland108!!! Got a No-No for @RidersBaseball vs. San Antonio tonight. Awesome job!!! #Rangers

CLiebenow: The future. RT

kevinleedodson: RT

Ridersbaseball: San Antonio entered the game in a tie with the San Jose Giants for the best record in Minor League Baseball (69-34).

bryanbooher: @armenontheair @RidersBaseball cool

TexasRangers_HQ: “@MistiSkidmore: Way to go, @JWieland108!!! Got a No-No for @RidersBaseball vs. San Antonio tonight. SA is SD minor league team Yay right?

Ridersbaseball: Wieland was mobbed by his teammates. We believe that it was the first nine-inning no-hitter by a single RoughRider pitcher in team history.

ChrisBeasley: @RidersBaseball Congrats to Weiland & the RoughRiders! :) #Rangers

hannahbaugh: No-hitter for Joe Wieland (@JWieland108) for @RidersBaseball! Way to go!

BLAKIEJ_BAM: RT

AdamGordon1977: @RidersBaseball Congrats Wieland and RRs!

MattGrubs: Congrats to Joe Wieland and @RidersBaseball on the no-hitter!

armenontheair: In @RidersBaseball clubhouse. Awesome atmosphere. Guys are having a blast.

NoPepperPlaying: #Milb #rangers RT

BobbyAguilera: Joe Wieland @RidersBaseball just faced minimum 27 batters in No-Hitter http://t.co/x1XyKY4 via @lonestarball #DoubleA

Pelicanbaseball: Congrats, Joe!!! RT

A_Boone22: No hitter for #Weiland and @RidersBaseball.

mikeroblescomic: @RidersBaseball Joe Wieland after the game no hitter! #milb #mlb #espn #rangers #padres Make the Trade http://lockerz.com/s/124880939

BigTexJosh: AWESOME! RT “@MinorLeagues: @Rangers prospect Joe Wieland pitches @RidersBaseball’s first CG 9-inning no-hitter. http://t.co/ShtxA1p”
______________
Incredible stuff. Again, congrats to Joe on an incredible performance. And thanks to all of you who cared about it.
- Brian

Solving San Antonio

The RoughRiders have been on the outside of first place in the Texas League South because of one team: the San Antonio Missions. They are tied with the San Jose Giants of the California League for the best record in full-season minor league baseball (69-34).

Frisco has been in second place for around 70% of the season, and the ‘Riders have been in first place for only two days because of the Missions’ dominance. So far this year, the RoughRiders have gone 7-13 against San Antonio, and many games have gone down to the wire. Let’s go through these 20 matchups briefly and see why the ‘Riders have played San Antonio better than any other Texas League team.

We will categorize these 20 games into four terms: could have won, should have won, did win, or needed a break. Then we will show you how close the season series is by compiling these totals at the end.

April 25–San Antonio 7, Frisco 3: San Antonio scored four times in the eighth inning to pull away from the RoughRiders in the two clubs’ first meeting. (could have won)

April 26–San Antonio 6, Frisco 5: This was the wackiest game of the season series. With two on and two out in the eighth, Cody Decker crushed his seventh home run of the season to give San Antonio a 6-4 lead. The RoughRiders appeared to have regained the lead with two down in the top of the ninth, but the umpires overturned what was originally a three-run home run by Mike Bianucci. It was ruled an RBI double, which put men at second and third. Tommy Mendonca followed with a swinging strikeout to end the game. (should have won)

April 27–San Antonio 2, Frisco 1: Miguel De Los Santos worked seven innings and struck out ten, but Cody Decker’s two-run homer in the fifth was the difference. (could have won)

April 28–Frisco 5, San Antonio 4: The ‘Riders blew a three-run lead in the seventh but rallied in the tenth for their first win over the Missions this year. (did win)

May 3–Frisco 5, San Antonio 3: Trailing 3-0, the RoughRiders tied the game in the sixth and scored two more in the seventh to earn the victory. (did win)

May 4–Frisco 3, San Antonio 2: During Neftali Feliz and Tommy Hunter’s rehab outings in Frisco, the ‘Riders won on Mike Bianucci’s walk-off sacrifice fly in the tenth. (did win)

May 5–Frisco 5, San Antonio 3: Frisco took the lead in the second and never looked back in the ‘Riders’ first three-game winning streak of the 2011 season. (did win)

May 6–San Antonio 3, Frisco 0: Jake Brigham took a perfect game into the seventh inning, but the ‘Riders did not get any offense. The Missions scored three in the seventh and controlled from there. (needed a break)

May 20–San Antonio 8, Frisco 7: This game was lopsided for much of the night. Credit the ‘Riders for getting back within one, but the score is misleading. (needed a break)

May 21–San Antonio 9, Frisco 5: Kyle Blanks’ walk-off grand slam won it for the Missions in the 11th, but it shouldn’t have gotten to that point. Frisco surrendered a four-run lead in the eighth. This was one of the toughest losses of the year for the ‘Riders. (should have won)

May 22–San Antonio 6, Frisco 2: A five-run second allowed San Antonio to cruise to their third straight win over the ‘Riders. (needed a break)

May 23–Frisco 6, San Antonio 4: The Missions scored four in the ninth to tie the game, but the ‘Riders plated two in the tenth to win it and avoid what would have been a crippling loss. (did win).

June 8–San Antonio 11, Frisco 1: Uh, let’s just move on. (needed a BIG break)

June 9–San Antonio 5, Frisco 2: In this 15-inning marathon, all but two of the runs were scored in extras. Another tough, hard-fought loss against the Missions for Frisco. (could have won)

June 10–Frisco 5, San Antonio 4: Travis Adair’s RBI single in the ninth won it for the ‘Riders, which was a big bounce back victory after two very different losses. (did win)

June 11–San Antonio 9, Frisco 8: Fabio Castillo blew a save because of a Dean Anna home run and a Jose Ruiz error. The ‘Riders had a great chance to win this game, but I can’t make it a “should” because it was a seesaw battle. (could have won)

July 18–San Antonio 7, Frisco 6: Even though the ‘Riders tied the game in the ninth, San Antonio won it in the 12th to earn another narrow win against Frisco. (could have won)

July 19–Frisco 6, San Antonio 1: Joe Wieland. Enough said. Seven innings, one run, two hits, and an impressive win against the best club in the minors. (did win)

July 20–San Antonio 1, Frisco 0: Casey Kelly and the Missions’ bullpen held the ‘Riders off the board. The ‘Riders’ offense never got anything going, so I can’t give this a “could” or a “should.” (needed a break)

July 21–San Antonio 6, Frisco 4: The Missions’ three-run second set the tone for another series win for the Missions against the ‘Riders. (needed a break)

When you count things up, the ‘Riders have seven wins against the Missions. In the 13 losses, the RoughRiders COULD have won five and, in my opinion, SHOULD have won two more. Say the ‘Riders win half of those seven games, and I’ll even round down, and the season series in tied at 10. Tonight begins another showdown. Join us on the RoughRiders Baseball Network at 6:35. Enjoy!

- Brian

100 Things on 100 Games

The RoughRiders have played 100 games this season. With only 40 games left, the ‘Riders currently own the Texas League’s second best record at 57-43. To celebrate the century mark, let’s tell you about 100 things from each of the 100 games. I promise that everything will not be listed, but let’s add up some of the RoughRiders’ most notable numbers and get to 100 x 100, or 10,000. Here we go.

0: The number of runs, hits, or base runners that Martin Perez allowed during his rain-shortened perfect game April 19 at Arkansas.

12: The number of home runs hit in the RoughRiders’ 19-4 victory over Corpus Christi this past Friday. The ‘Riders had eight of those, including three by Tommy Mendonca.

19: Frisco’s run total from that win last week, which matched a franchise-high for runs in a game. The club also surpassed its previous record in home runs (8) and hits (24).

20: How many times Dr Pepper Ballpark has been sold out this season. The RoughRiders currently lead the Texas League in attendance, averaging almost eight thousand people per night.

26: The ‘Riders have come from behind in 26 victories this season, which makes up almost half of Frisco’s wins.

48: How many different men have donned the RoughRiders uniform this season, which is a list that consists of men like defending American League MVP Josh Hamilton and undrafted 2011 free agent Jimmy Swift. And seemingly everyone in between.

65: The number of days the RoughRiders have been tied for or in sole possession of second place in the Texas League South Division.

76: The RoughRiders have made 76 transactions this season. The first one was sending now Chris Mobley, who is now with the Reds, to Triple-A Round Rock April 5. The most recent one was Robbie Diaz’s return to Frisco late last week.

100: Uh well, this is the number of games the ‘Riders have played. Sorry, I had to include it.

103: The number of home runs that the ‘Riders have hit this season, which is already 35 more than the club’s season total last year.

186: When you add the home runs and RBIs for Mike Bianucci (23, 70) and Tommy Mendonca (20, 73), you get 186. According to Michael Damman, the Director of the RoughRiders Statistical Research Department, the RoughRiders are the only team in the minors to have teammates that own 20+ homers and 70+ RBIs.

199: The number of wins in Frisco manager Steve Buechele’s career. He is 199-170 in his career and 120-101 during his time with the RoughRiders.

264: That’s how many minutes the RoughRiders’ longest game lasted. It was a 4-hour, 24-minute thriller that Arkansas won 4-3 in 15 innings.

296: Through Monday’s action, the Rangers’ minor league system has won 296 games, which is third-most in baseball. Texas’ farm system has the best winning percentage at .584.

306: Renny Osuna’s hit total while with the RoughRiders, which is second to Steve Murphy. Murphy had 319 during his time in Frisco.

541: The number of runs Frisco’s offense has scored this season, which is good for more than five runs per contest.

.570 (this is counting as 570, by the way): Frisco’s winning percentage, which would be the fourth-best in franchise history. The previous high is .607 back in 2007.

774: The number of strikeouts that Frisco’s pitching staff has come up with during the season. Jake Brigham leads all ‘Riders with 85.

910: Frisco pitching has thrown 910 innings this year. In that span, the club owns a 4.41 ERA, which is third in the Texas League.

965: How many hits the RoughRiders’ offense has mustered, which is almost ten per game. Frisco trails only Springfield in the Texas League in hits.

1.007 (this is counting as 1,007, by the way): Leonys Martin’s OPS while with the RoughRiders, which leads all 2011 ‘Riders not named Josh Hamilton (1.087), who doesn’t quite count. Martin hit .348 with four homers and 24 RBIs in 29 games at the Double-A level.

1509: The total number of bases the ‘Riders have reached this season. That’s a lot of running.

2004: The year of the RoughRiders’ first and only Texas League championship season. Here in 2011, the ‘Riders have proven through their first 100 games that they have the talent to add another title here in 2011.

Yep, that’s 10,000. It will be fun to see what 1 or 100 amazing things the RoughRiders do in the season’s stretch run. Enjoy the ride along with us.

- Brian

July Is For Pitching

It has been a good month for the RoughRiders yet again in July. Frisco is 14-8, which means the club is on pace for more wins in July than it has had in any month this season.

The offense has been solid as usual, posting a .282 batting average. That is one point higher than the ‘Riders’ team average in June (.281).

But the RoughRiders’ pitching staff has been the group that has improved the most in the first 22 games of July. The staff, which owned an ERA around 4.50 throughout the first three months of the season, boasts a season-best 3.60 ERA this month. Opponents are averaging only 4.2 runs per game against the ‘Riders, and 12 times the opposition has managed less than four runs in a game this month.

Today, we delve into the statistics and find five RoughRiders hurlers who have posted season-best ERAs for a month in July, along with three others who are at or close to their season low.

SEASON LOW ERAs:

Richard Bleier: Bleier has been bounced around all season long, from the disabled list into a few piggyback outing, to the rotation and then the bullpen and back into the rotation. Hopefully you kept up there. Bleier is back in the rotation and set to start tonight. The southpaw is 2-1 with a 3.80 ERA in July, a month during which Bleier has made three starts and three bullpen appearances. He will start for the ‘Riders tonight as they aim for their fifth sweep of the season and their second at Dr Pepper Ballpark.

Jake Brigham: Like Bleier, Brigham began the season as a starter but is now in the bullpen. After a rough start in the ‘pen, Brigham has settled in nicely. The right-hander currently owns a 2.13 ERA in July, which is more than two runs better than his previous best. He has struck out 16 batters in 12 and two-thirds innings of work. Brigham has not pitched since Thursday, so fans can expect to see him again soon.

Robbie Erlin is 5-2 in his young Double-A career (Photo: James Garner).

Robbie Erlin: The Rangers’ number four prospect has been pretty steady during his first two months at the Double-A level, and Erlin has been at his best in July. The left-hander has a 3.75 ERA in four July starts, but his record is only 1-2. In July, the strikeout-per-inning ratio has gone down a bit from June (1.2 in June to 0.8 in July), but Erlin has not walked a single batter in 24 innings this month. The next start for Erlin will be Tuesday against Midland.

Tanner Scheppers: Scheppers has been with the RoughRiders for more than a month, and he has shown flashes of dominance during his time in the Texas League. In July, Scheppers has an ERA of 3.38, but that includes a tough start to July when he allowed four earned runs in three appearances. Since then, the righty has posted six scoreless innings of work in his last five outings. Scheppers has some of the best stuff in the Rangers’ system, and he doesn’t figure to be in Frisco for much longer based on his recent performances. Triple-A Round Rock could be the next destination soon.

Joe Wieland: Wieland’s successes have been documented here on the Insider Blog, and he continued that good work last night with six scoreless innings against Corpus Christi. Wieland’s ERA is at 1.54 in Double-A, and it sits at just 1.50 in July. In all six of his starts, Wieland has worked at least five innings and allowed two earned runs or less.

DESERVING MENTION:

Justin Miller: It was going to be tough for Miller to best his effort in June because, well, he didn’t allow any earned runs in 13 and two-thirds innings of work. Here in July, Miller has recorded 11 and a third frames, and he allowed his only run of the month at Springfield July 9. Throw out that single tally, and the midseason All-Star has not surrendered a run since May 23 in a game at San Antonio that he went on to earn the victory.

Yohan Yan has yet to give up a run for the 'Riders (Photo: James Garner).

Yohan Yan: Yan has been great with both Myrtle Beach and Frisco. So far with the ‘Riders in three appearances, the side-winding right-hander has crafted five and a third scoreless innings of relief. He has held the opposition to just two base hits. Thus, his ERA with the ‘Riders is at its lowest in July because this is his first month here, but he deserved inclusion on this list. So far, so good for the ‘Riders’ newest arm.

Corey Young: Young is almost in the same category as Miller. He gave up just one run in June for an ERA of 0.87. Here in July, Young has only given up one run in three fewer innings, so he could still go on to post a season-low for a month with a few more appearances. When Young went on the disabled list with a back injury in late April, he had an ERA at 9.00. That mark has since dropped to a very healthy 3.51.

- Brian

Former RoughRiders Thriving In Arlington

The Texas Rangers are in first place in the American League West at 58-43 through 101 games. In those 101 games, the Rangers have used 37 different players.

Of those 37 players, 21 of them appeared at one point or another with the RoughRiders. That’s almost 57 percent of the roster!

Who are the former RoughRiders contributing to the Rangers’ push for consecutive playoff appearances? The list is pretty impressive.

Elvis Andrus: A RoughRider during the 2008 season, his first in the Rangers’ system, Andrus is batting .278 with three home runs and 35 RBIs. The shortstop was 19 years old for much of his time in Frisco, and he hit .295 while with the ‘Riders that year.

Julio Borbon: RoughRiders fans saw Borbon during a brief rehab stint earlier this season. Borbon, who is currently on the disabled list, also played 60 games in Frisco back in 2008, rolling through Texas League pitching with a .337 average.

Nelson Cruz played in three games with the 'Riders in 2011 (Photo: James Garner).

Endy Chavez: Chavez had a brief four-game rehab stint with the RoughRiders last season, his first in the Rangers’ system. So far this year, Chavez has been a huge in-house addition to the Rangers (.328 average in 39 games).

Nelson Cruz: Cruz has been with the RoughRiders in back-to-back seasons for brief rehabs. He has gone 6-for-25 (.240) in those six games. In the bigs, Cruz has a team-leading 22 home runs to go along with 65 RBIs.

Chris Davis: Davis is back with the Rangers after Adrian Beltre was placed on the disabled list a few days ago. Davis played 76 games with the ‘Riders in 2007 and 2008. He hit .319 with 25 homers and 67 RBIs, which is just ridiculous.

Cody Eppley: Eppley, who made his big league debut a few months ago, boasted a 1.19 earned run average in 19 games with the ‘Riders in his only season in the Texas League last year.

Scott Feldman: Feldman made a few starts with the RoughRiders this season in a rehab assignment. The righty also made his way through Frisco on his journey to the big leagues, appearing in 46 games and posting a 2.36 ERA in ’05.

Neftali Feliz: Feliz joined the RoughRiders in 2008 for ten starts. The right-hander went 4-3 with a 2.98 ERA. Feliz returned to Dr Pepper Ballpark for a rehab outing earlier this year, and he struck out the side in his only inning.

Craig Gentry: A tenth-round pick in ’06, Gentry has been a valuable reserve for the Rangers in the outfield this year. He spent most of 2008 and all of 2009 with the ‘Riders. He is a lifetime .293 hitter in the Texas League, which is the league he has spent more of his time than any other league.

Josh Hamilton homered in his two-game rehab stint in Frisco back in May (Photo: James Garner).

Josh Hamilton: Who can forget Hamilton’s rehab assignment earlier this year in Frisco? He homered in his second at-bat and helped the ‘Riders to a pair of wins over Midland. By the way, he is still really good in the big leagues.

Matt Harrison: A former Atlanta farmhand, Harrison made nine appearances with the ‘Riders in 2008. He also rehabbed in Frisco in 2010. Harrison has been a solid addition to the Rangers’ rotation (8-7, 3.05 ERA).

Derek Holland: During Holland’s fast track to the majors, he made a brief four-appearance pit stop in Frisco. In those four starts, Holland gave up only two earned runs in 26 innings.

Ian Kinsler rehabs with the 'Riders in 2010 (Photo: James Garner).

Tommy Hunter: RoughRiders fans saw Hunter earlier this season for a rehab start. The ‘Riders also had Hunter in ’08 and ’09 when he went 5-2 with a ERA barely above 4. Hunter is currently in the Rangers’ bullpen.

Ian Kinsler: Kinsler has been a “normal” RoughRider and a “rehabbing” RoughRider in his time within the Rangers’ system. In his 79 games in the TL, Kinsler hit .290 with 52 RBIs.

Michael Kirkman: A RoughRider alum from 2009, Kirkman went 5-7 with a 4.19 ERA. Kirkman has bounced around from Round Rock and Arlington, and he is currently in Triple-A.

Mitch Moreland: Moreland, who has been a regular for the Rangers this season, spent 73 games with the ‘Riders in 2009. He hit .326 with eight home runs and 59 RBIs in Frisco.

Darren O’Day: O’Day, who has only made 11 appearances with the Rangers this year, has one career appearance with the ‘Riders, which came earlier this season. He allowed a run in an inning of work.

Alexi Ogando spent part of '10 in Frisco (Photo: James Garner).

Alexi Ogando: Ogando only spent 2010 in stateside minor league baseball, and his quick journey to the bigs went through Frisco. In seven appearances, Ogando gave up two runs in almost 16 innings of work. He had a WHIP of 0.57.

Pedro Strop: Strop, who has made 11 appearances with the Rangers, spent much of his 2009 campaign in Frisco. The reliever went 5-5 with a 4.38 ERA in 36 appearances, all of the out of the ‘pen.

Taylor Teagarden: Teagarden was with the RoughRiders in 2007, 2008, and 2010, and he has been bounced between Triple-A Round Rock and Arlington this season. In 97 games with the ‘Riders, Teagarden hit .245 with 12 homers and 54 RBIs.

C.J. Wilson: Four of the five current Rangers’ starters were with the RoughRiders at some point in their career, and that group is headlined by Wilson. Wilson spent parts of his ’03, ’05 and ’06 minor league seasons with the RoughRiders. He is 7-13 with a 4.39 ERA in the Texas League.

- Brian

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