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Saddle Up: Riders vs. Corpus Christi (8/31)

GAME #133 (2nd HALF GAME #64)

Frisco RoughRiders (60-72 overall, 22-41 2nd half) vs. Corpus Christi Hooks (81-53, 34-30 2nd half)
Wednesday, August 31 – 7:05 p.m.
Dr Pepper Ballpark – Frisco, TX
—————————————–

Watch: MiLB.TV (Nathan Barnett and Ryan Rouillard)
Listen: Streaming online and on the TuneIn Radio app (Barnett and Rouillard)
Live stats: Click here
—————————————–
This series: Game 2 of 4 (Hooks lead 1-0)
This season: Game 30 of 32 (Hooks lead 19-11)

FRISCO LINEUP

  1. Darin Mastroianni – CF
  2. Eduard Pinto – RF
  3. Andy Ibanez – 3B
  4. Joe Jackson – LF
  5. Luis Marte – SS
  6. Edwin Garcia – 1B
  7. Isiah Kiner-Falefa – C
  8. Kellin Deglan – DH
  9. Alberto Triunfel – 2B

RHP Scott Carroll (1-1, 3.71 ERA)

RIDERS RECAP: Tuesday vs. Corpus Christi (L, 6-5)

Box Score
Recap
Postgame Notes

PREGAME INTERVIEW: Andy Ibanez and Alexeis Bell (part two)

SETTING THE STAGE (full game notes here)

LAST TIME OUT:
In a back-and-forth battle, the RoughRiders lost the series opener against Corpus Christi 6-5  Tuesday night…Major League rehabber COLBY LEWIS worked 3 1/3 innings, allowing five runs on eight hits in his second rehab start with the Riders…Frisco saw an early 3-1 lead turn into a 5-3 deficit after the fourth, but the Riders rallied to tie the game with two runs in the seventh…After four scoreless innings against reliever ARIEL JURADO, the Hooks took the lead in the ninth on a single from Nick TanieluEDUARD PINTO bounced back from a tough road trip, going 4-for-4 and was hit by a pitch.

RIDING TO POST-SEASON STARDOM:
Earlier today, the Texas League announced that outfielder RYAN CORDELL and first baseman RONALD GUZMAN were selected to the Texas League Post-Season All-Star team. Cordell is hitting .264 in 107 games this season with 19 homers and 70 RBI. He was the Texas League and Rangers Minor League Player of the Month for April. Cordell has been on the DL since August 3. Guzman was a .288 hitter with 15 homers and 56 RBI in 102 games with the Riders. He participated in the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game in July and was promoted to Triple-A Round Rock on August 3. Additionally, Riders hitting coach JASON HART was named this year’s recipient of the Mike Coolbaugh Memorial Coach of the Year Award.

HOME IS WHERE THE BATS ARE:
In the month of August, Frisco’s scoring numbers have been starkly different between home and road games. In 10 home games this month, the Riders are scoring 4.9 runs per game, batting .274 as a team, and hitting .302 with runners in scoring position. By contrast, the team is averaging 2.3 runs per game, hitting .203 as a team, and .191 with RISP in 16 games away from Dr Pepper Ballpark.

THE PEN IS MIGHTIER:
During the current seven-game losing streak the bullpen has been one of the bright spots. In the seven contests, the bullpen covered a lot of innings and has performed admirably with a 1.95 ERA (6 ER / 27.2 IP). The relievers have struck out 29 and walked 10.  For the year, the bullpen has a 3.98 ERA with 487 strikeouts and 236 walks in 493.1 IP.

REELING IN SUCCESS AGAINST THE HOOKS:
The Riders have struggled much of the season series against Corpus Christi, losing 14 of 16 to the Hooks at one point. However, Frisco has won five of the last eight games against Corpus Christi. In that stretch, the Riders are averaging 6.3 runs per game and hitting .269 as a team.

TIME TO END THE STREAK:
With seven straight losses, the RoughRiders are in the midst of their second-longest losing skid of the season. Frisco’s lost five-or-more games consecutively four times now this year, with the longest losing streak of eight games coming May 24-June 1 against Springfield and Tulsa. Making the current slide even tougher to swallow is that Frisco has led in four of the seven games, lost two games by two runs, and two in extra innings. Of the RoughRiders’ 41 second-half losses, the club has led in 19 of them, and 19 have been decided by two runs or fewer.

CHASING THE WRONG HISTORY:
The 2016 RoughRiders got off to one of the best starts in team history. The club had the best record through all but one of the first 45 games of the season, beginning the year an impressive 5-0, 9-1, 17-4, 21-6, and 30-13. Since then, however, the Riders have struggled in the win column. In fact, at 22-41, Frisco is on-pace for the worst half in team history. The Riders have thrice gone 29-41, the worst mark to this point in team history: both halves of 2005 and the first half of last year. With a current winning percentage of .349, Frisco is on pace to finish 24-46 in the second half.

MAPLE LEAF MASHER:
Over the last 24 games, the Riders have hit just 11 home runs as a team. Five of those have come off the bat of KELLIN DEGLAN, including a grand slam. On August 3 against Midland, he had his first two-homer game since June 24, 2014 with Class-A Hickory. Deglan has hit nine long balls this year, which leads all players on the active roster. Those homers have come in surges, though. The Canadian catcher went homerless in the months of April and June but hit two jacks in May, two more in a six-game span in July, and this stretch of five in 12 games played in which he has hit .237 (9-for-38) with a double, five HR, and 14 RBI.

NOTHING BUT GOOSE EGGS:
Sunday’s shutout loss in Midland was the 17th time that Frisco has been shut out this season (most in the Texas League) and already the fifth time this month. The 17 shutout defeats is the most in Double-A and tied is now the most in team history (2009, 15). Brevard County and Palm Beach in the Florida State League are tied for the most shutout losses in the minors with 21; Frisco is tied for the fourth-most, also behind Durham (18), and the club is tied with Beloit (17).

OPPOSING STARTER:
22-year-old Trent Thornton makes his first appearance of the season against the RoughRiders tonight. He was promoted to Double-A on July 23 from Class A-Advanced Lancaster. In his time with the JetHawks, he was 7-4 with a 4.12 ERA in 17 outings. Since joining the Hooks, he’s made seven starts and allowed more than two earned runs just once (5, 8/6 at MID). Thornton was selected in the fifth round of the 2015 draft out of the University of North Carolina, where he was a consensus freshman All-American in 2013. REPERTOIRE: Fastball (86-91), curveball, changeup.

Riders reflections, part one: Breakout player

As we near the conclusion of the 2016 season, we wanted to take some time to reflect on the year that’s been. From now until Monday, we’ll look back on different elements of the season and some of the people and moments that stand out.

Today, we start by selecting our breakout players from the 2016 season.

STEVE: Yohander Mendez

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In my opinion, Yohander Mendez was the most improved player we saw in Frisco this season. After beginning the year with High Desert in the California League, Mendez dominated Texas League hitters in his two months with the RoughRiders.

Mendez only allowed more than three runs in one of his 10 starts. The southpaw was called up to make a spot start for Triple-A Round Rock in early July, before he re-joined the Express for good on August 4.

As a member of the 40-man roster, Mendez should have a good chance to make the Major Leagues by next year, or possibly even this September when the MLB rosters expand. Mendez was just a blip in the radar at the beginning of the season, but he has now emerged as the second-ranked player in the Rangers organization, according to MLBPipeline.com.

RYAN: Ronald Guzman

050116 Guzman, Ronald (Photo Credit - Frisco RoughRiders) copy

On our final day at Spring Training this year, we had a chance to take in the prospects game between the best farmhands in the Rangers and Cubs organizations. Ronald Guzman was part of that game, and he hit a mammoth homer to right-center field. That was my first introduction to the Dominican first baseman, and he has continued to impress throughout the summer.

In his first season at the Double-A level, Guzman hit .288 with 15 homers and 56 RBI. He also played rather solid first base for the Riders. In addition to being named a Texas League Mid-Season All-Star, he garnered TL Post-Season All-Star honors today as well. Plus, he was invited to participate in the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game.

Since his promotion to Triple-A Round Rock on August 3, he’s struggled a bit, hitting just .203 with a home run and nine RBI. The homer came on the very first pitch he saw with Round Rock.

All the while, he’s been a great guy to work with as well. We’ll see what next year holds for Guzman, who I’d imagine will start back in Triple-A. It wouldn’t be out of the question for him to end up in Arlington as a September call-up next season.

NATHAN: Ariel Jurado

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Although it’s tough to say Jurado truly “broke out” this season, considering he’s been great throughout his young career, I think the poised 20-year-old took a leap forward that few predicted. The right-hander tore up the extremely hitter-friendly California League to the tune of a 7-2 record and a 3.86 ERA. At the time of promotion, Jurado was eighth on the California League leaderboard in ERA.

He’s kept his grove at Double-A as the league’s youngest pitcher. Save for one outing (in seven for Frisco), he’s allowed two runs or fewer every time out. He pounds the zone with a heavy fastball, getting a ton of groundballs and strikes out far more than he walks (33:7 ratio with the Riders). Furthemore, his secondary stuff already plays and is getting better, working with a good changeup and slider and developing curveball.

After Mendez and Michael Roth, Jurado is currently third in the Texas organization in ERA (3.53).

With the departure of Luis Ortiz, it’s hard to argue against Jurado as the top right-handed pitching prospect in the organization, but I, personally, liked Jurado a little more than Ortiz anyhow. A long-time scout even told me in July that he thought Jurado was the third best pitcher RIGHT NOW in the Rangers organization…big league or otherwise, after Cole Hamels and Yu Darvish. While the ceiling might not be as a #1 or even a #2, I could see Jurado as a #3 or #4 starter for year to come in the big leagues, and this season, he’s earned that praise.

———–

Baseball term of the day: Break his dishes – To break a hitter’s bat handle.

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary

Saddle Up: Riders vs. Corpus Christi (8/30)

GAME #132 (2nd HALF GAME #63)

Frisco RoughRiders (60-71 overall, 22-40 2nd half) vs. Corpus Christi Hooks (80-53, 33-30 2nd half)
Tuesday, August 30 – 7:05 p.m.
Dr Pepper Ballpark – Frisco, TX
—————————————–

Watch: MiLB.TV (Nathan Barnett and Ryan Rouillard)
Listen: Streaming online and on the TuneIn Radio app (Barnett and Rouillard)
Live stats: Click here
—————————————–
This series: Game 1 of 4
This season: Game 29 of 32 (Hooks lead 17-11)

FRISCO LINEUP

  1. Joe Jackson – LF
  2. Eduard Pinto – RF
  3. Isiah Kiner-Falefa – 2B
  4. Andy Ibanez – 3B
  5. Luis Marte – SS
  6. Alexeis Bell – DH
  7. Edwin Garcia – 1B
  8. Darin Mastroianni – CF
  9. Carson Blair – C

RHP Colby Lewis (0-0, 3.38 ERA)

RIDERS RECAP: Sunday at Midland (L, 5-0)

Box Score
Recap
Postgame Notes

PREGAME INTERVIEW: Andy Ibanez and Alexeis Bell (part one)

SETTING THE STAGE (full game notes here)

LAST TIME OUT:
Managing just four baserunners and none in scoring position, the Riders were blanked 5-0 on Sunday afternoon by the Midland RockHounds…Frisco mustered singles in the first, third, and eighth and drew a walk in the fourth…Heath Fillmyer shut down the Riders across five innings, and three Midland relievers combined for the final four frames…The RockHounds scored an unearned run off of Reed Garrett in the third inning and plated four runs, three earned, in the fifth..Brett Vertigan led the way, going 2-for-4 with a run scored, a double, and three RBI.

LEWIS WORKING WAY BACK WITH FRISCO:
Rangers right-handed pitcher COLBY LEWIS continues a Major League rehabilitation assignment the RoughRiders today after throwing 44 pitches in 2 2/3 innings of work on Wednesday. The righty allowed a run on four hits and one walk. Lewis is recovering from a strained right lat muscle.  Prior to the injury, he was one of the go-to arms in the Rangers rotation, posting a 6-1 record alongside a 3.21 ERA in 15 starts with Texas. He became the ninth rehabber to suit up with Frisco this season, joining pitchers YU DARVISHA.J. GRIFFINKEONE KELA, and TANNER SCHEPPERS; catchers CHRIS GIMENEZ and ROBINSON CHIRINOS; plus outfielders JOSH HAMILTON andSHIN-SOO CHOO.

THE PEN IS MIGHTIER:
Although the Riders went 0-6 on the recent road trip, the bullpen was one of the bright spots. In the six contests, the bullpen covered a lot of innings and has performed admirably with a 2.05 ERA (5 ER / 22 IP). The relievers struck out 22 and walked 10.  For the year, the bullpen has a 4.00 ERA with 480 strikeouts and 236 walks in 484.2 IP.

REELING IN SUCCESS AGAINST THE HOOKS:
The Riders have struggled much of the season series against Corpus Christi, losing 14 of 16 to the Hooks at one point. However, Frisco has won five of the last seven games against Corpus Christi, all on the road. In that stretch, the Riders are averaging 6.4 runs per game and hitting .259 as a team.

TIME TO END THE STREAK:
With six straight losses, the RoughRiders are in the midst of their second-longest losing skid of the season. Frisco’s lost five-or-more games consecutively four times now this year, with the longest losing streak of eight games coming May 24-June 1 against Springfield and Tulsa. Making the current slide even tougher to swallow is that Frisco has led in three of the six games, lost two games by two runs, and two in extra innings. Of the RoughRiders’ 40 second-half losses, the club has led in 18 of them, and 18 have been decided by two runs or fewer.

CHASING THE WRONG HISTORY:
The 2016 RoughRiders got off to one of the best starts in team history. The club had the best record through all but one of the first 45 games of the season, beginning the year an impressive 5-0, 9-1, 17-4, 21-6, and 30-13. Since then, however, the Riders have struggled in the win column. In fact, at 22-40, Frisco is on-pace for the worst half in team history. The Riders have thrice gone 29-41, the worst mark to this point in team history: both halves of 2005 and the first half of last year. With a current winning percentage of .355, Frisco is on pace to finish 25-45 in the second half.

DUCKS ON THE POND:
After hitting .322 (19-for-59) with runners in scoring position on the homestand, the Riders have struggled in those spots during the recent road trip. Frisco is just 5-for-32 (.156) with runners in scoring position in the series.

MAPLE LEAF MASHER:
Over the last 23 games, the Riders have hit just 11 home runs as a team. Five of those have come off the bat of KELLIN DEGLAN, including a grand slam. On August 3 against Midland, he had his first two-homer game since June 24, 2014 with Class-A Hickory. Deglan has hit nine long balls this year, which leads all players on the active roster. Those homers have come in surges, though. The Canadian catcher went homerless in the months of April and June but hit two jacks in May, two more in a six-game span in July, and this stretch of five in 12 games played in which he has hit .237 (9-for-38) with a double, five HR, and 14 RBI.

NOTHING BUT GOOSE EGGS:
Sunday’s shutout loss in Midland was the 17th time that Frisco has been shut out this season (most in the Texas League) and already the fifth time this month. The 17 shutout defeats is the most in Double-A and tied is now the most in team history (2009, 15). Brevard County and Palm Beach in the Florida State League are tied for the most shutout losses in the minors with 21; Frisco is tied for the fourth-most, also behind Durham (18), and the club is tied with Beloit (17).

OPPOSING STARTER:
Right-hander Cy Sneed faces the Riders for the sixth time this year and his fourth as a starter. Through 23.0 innings, he has a 1.57 ERA against the Riders, walking just five against 30 strikeouts. Most notably, Sneed picked up a career-high-tying 10 strikeouts across four innings in a relief outing at Dr Pepper Ballpark on June 23. Named after the great Cy Young, Sneed came to the Astros from the Brewers organization during the offseason in a trade for Jonathan Villlar…Sneed was a third-round draft pick of the Brewers in 2014 out of Dallas Baptist University. His arsenal includes a fastball in the low-mid 90s, a changeup, curveball and splitter…Cy’s older brother Zeb preceded him to pro ball as the Royals’ 11th-round pick in 2011

Brinson reflects on trade, hot start with Sky Sox

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Lewis Brinson is hitting .397 in his first 18 games with Triple-A Colorado Springs of the Milwaukee organization (Paat Kelly / Colorado Springs Sky Sox)

Imagine that you’re watching the nightly news and see that you’ve been assigned to a new job. In some ways, that’s what Lewis Brinson went through on August 1.

Brinson, the former Riders outfielder, was in the training room at Dr Pepper Ballpark getting ready for a game against Midland. In the final minutes of the trade deadline, Brinson saw his name pop up on TV as part of the deal that brought Jonathan Lucroy to Texas and sent him to the Milwaukee organization, alongside former Riders pitcher Luis Ortiz.

“It was very shocking. It didn’t hit me until I actually got to [Triple-A] Colorado Springs and I wasn’t going to see all my teammates from before and knowing that you’re in a different organization. It was pretty wild.”

Since moving past the initial shock, Brinson has been brilliant for the Sky Sox. In 18 games, Brinson is hitting .397 with six doubles, four home runs and 17 RBI. His .397 average ranks second in the Pacific Coast League in that span.

052016 Brinson, Lewis (Photo Credit - Frisco RoughRiders)He opened his time in Colorado Springs on an eight-game hitting streak, including a 4-for-4 performance in his debut on August 2.

“You couldn’t ask for a better debut,” said Brinson. “With a new team, trying to show them that they made the right deal and you’re their guy. Going 4-for-4, that really sealed it for me and I haven’t really looked back since. So that was a good night, good start for me.”

The only thing that could slow him down was a strained left hamstring, which put him on the disabled list for a week. Additionally, it caused him to miss the first three games of a four-game series in Round Rock against his former club. He was cleared to play in the series finale, and made a prominent return to Dell Diamond by crushing the second pitch of the game over the left field fence.

“It was great,” said Brinson. “First at-bat, going deep there, rounding first, and seeing Joey [Gallo]’s reaction and seeing everybody react to it. Being there on the opposing side was pretty cool. It was a little weird at first coming out of the visitor’s locker room, but it was very cool to have that experience that last day.”

As he rounds out his first month with the Brewers, the 22-year-old outfielder fondly remembers his time with Texas, but is excited by what lies ahead with Milwaukee.

“Those guys (Rangers teammates) will stick with me for a long time, and hopefully, I play against them [in the big leagues] someday,” said Brinson. “It was a lot of fun. I’m with a new organization now, and I’m going to make the best of it. I think it’s meant to be for me, so I’m going to make the best of it here. I wish all those guys over there the best of luck.”

-Ryan

Baseball term of the day: Breezer – A fastball

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary

Saddle Up: Riders at Midland (8/29)

GAME #132 (2nd HALF GAME #63)

Frisco RoughRiders (60-71 overall, 22-40 2nd half) at Midland RockHounds (73-59 overall, 40-22 2nd half)
Monday, August 29 – 6:30 p.m.
Security Bank Ballpark – Midland, TX
—————————————–

Watch: MiLB.TV (MID feed)
Listen: Streaming online and on the TuneIn Radio app (Nathan Barnett)
Live stats: Click here
—————————————–
This series: Game 3 of 3 (RockHounds lead 2-0)
This season: Game 25 of 28 (RockHounds lead 13-11)

FRISCO LINEUP

  1. Joe Jackson – LF
  2. Eduard Pinto – RF
  3. Isiah Kiner-Falefa – 2B
  4. Andy Ibanez – 3B
  5. Luis Marte – SS
  6. Alexeis Bell – DH
  7. Edwin Garcia – 1B
  8. Darin Mastroianni – CF
  9. Carson Blair – C

RHP Colby Lewis (0-0, 3.38 ERA)

RIDERS RECAP: Sunday at Midland (L, 5-0)

Box Score
Recap
Postgame Notes

PREGAME INTERVIEW: Riders bus driver Elroy Jones

SETTING THE STAGE (full game notes here)

LAST TIME OUT:

Managing just four baserunners and none in scoring position, the Riders were blanked 5-0 on Sunday afternoon by the Midland RockHounds… Frisco mustered singles in the first, third, and eighth and drew a walk in the fourth…Heath Fillmyer shut down the Riders across five innings, and three Midland relievers combined for the final four frames…The RockHounds scored an unearned run off of REED GARRETT in the third inning and plated four runs, three earned, in the fifth..Brett Vertigan led the way, going 2-for-4 with a run scored, a double, and three RBI.

 

THE PEN IS MIGHTIER:

Although the road trip has been a tough one (0-6 record), the Riders bullpen has had a nice trip. In the six contests, the bullpen has had to cover a lot of innings and has performed admirably with a 2.05 ERA (5 ER / 22 IP). The relievers have struck out 22 and walked 10. For the year, the bullpen has a 4.00 ERA with 480 strikeouts and 236 walks in 484.2 IP.

TIME TO END THE STREAK:

With six straight losses, the RoughRiders are in the midst of their second-longest losing skid of the season. Frisco’s lost five-or-more games consecutively four times now this year, with the longest losing streak of eight games coming May 24-June 1 against Springfield and Tulsa. Making the current slide even tougher to swallow is that Frisco has led in three of the five games, lost two games by two runs, and two in extra innings. Of the RoughRiders’ 39 second-half losses, the club has led in 18 of them, and 18 have been decided by two runs or fewer.

ONE LAST CHANCE:

In addition to losing six straight, Frisco’s lost 10 straight road games, the second-longest road losing streak in club history. The Riders dropped 11 straight road games from April 25 – May 25, 2005. Today marks the final road game of the season.

CHASING THE WRONG HISTORY:

The 2016 RoughRiders got off to one of the best starts in team history. The club had the best record through all but one of the first 45 games of the season, beginning the year an impressive 5-0, 9-1, 17-4, 21-6, and 30-13. Since then, however, the Riders have struggled in the win column. In fact, at 22-40, Frisco is on-pace for the worst half in team history. The Riders have thrice gone 29-41, the worst mark to this point in team history: both halves of 2005 and the first half of last year. With a current winning percentage of .355, Frisco is on pace to finish 25-45 in the second half.

DUCKS ON THE POND:

After hitting .322 (19-for-59) with runners in scoring position on the homestand, the Riders have struggled in those spots during this road trip. Frisco is just 5-for-32 (.156) with runners in scoring position in the series.

MAPLE LEAF MASHER:

Over the last 23 games, the Riders have hit just 11 home runs as a team. Five of those have come off the bat of KELLIN DEGLAN, including a grand slam. On August 3 against Midland, he had his first two-homer game since June 24, 2014 with Class-A Hickory. Deglan has hit nine long balls this year, which leads all players on the active roster. Those homers have come in surges, though. The Canadian catcher went homerless in the months of April and June but hit two jacks in May, two more in a six-game span in July, and this stretch of five in 12 games played in which he has hit .237 (9-for-38) with a double, five HR, and 14 RBI.

NOTHING BUT GOOSE EGGS:

Last night’s shutout loss to Midland was the 17th time that Frisco has been shut out this season (most in the Texas League) and already the fifth time this month. The 17 shutout defeats is the most in Double-A and tied is now the most in team history (2009, 15). Brevard County and Palm Beach in the Florida State League are tied for the most shutout losses in the minors with 21; Frisco is tied for the fourth- most, also behind Durham (18), and the club is tied with Beloit (17).

OPPOSING STARTER:

Right-handed pitcher Ben Bracewell makes his seventh appearance and third start of the season against the RoughRiders tonight. The 25-year-old is 2-0 with a 2.18 ERA in his first six outings against Frisco this season…The Mississippi State product joined the RockHounds from Class A-Advanced Stockton on April 27, despite going 1-1 with a 12.60 ERA in five outings with the Ports. Bracewell went undrafted out of MSU and began his career with the River City Rascals of the independent Frontier League before signing with the A’s in July 2014. REPERTOIRE: Fastball, slider, changeup, curveball.

Final road trips and homestands

With the season coming to a close next week, the Riders are playing their final game on the road tonight against Midland. Frisco will then head home to Dr Pepper Ballpark for one last seven-game homestand.

Historically speaking, the Riders have done well on their final homestands of the year, while struggling a bit more on the road. Through the first six games of this year’s final road trip, the Riders now have an overall record of 43-44 on their final trips of a season. At home, however, Frisco is 43-33 in games that were a part of the last homestand of the season.

The best finish came in 2004, when the Riders went 5-3 on their final road trip followed by 9-3 in a 12-game homestand to wrap up the regular season. That squad went on to win the Texas League championship.

The worst finish to a regular season was last year. Frisco went 1-6 in its final seven road games, followed by being swept in a three-game series at home to end the season. The Riders finished the year on a seven-game losing streak.

At the moment, the Riders are 0-6 on the current road trip. The team will match last year’s final road trip record with a win tonight, or they could slip to a team-worst 0-7 on their final trip with a loss this evening.

Frisco still has a chance to finish on a positive note with seven more games coming up at Dr Pepper Ballpark starting Tuesday night against Corpus Christi. The Riders will play four games against the Hooks, followed by three more with Midland to conclude the season.

– Steve

Baseball term of the day: Oregon boot – The figurative shoe of a slow runner.

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary

Saddle Up: Riders at Midland (8/28)

GAME #131 (2nd HALF GAME #62)

Frisco RoughRiders (60-70 overall, 22-39 2nd half) at Midland RockHounds (72-59 overall, 39-22 2nd half)
Sunday, August 28 – 2:00 p.m.
Security Bank Ballpark – Midland, TX
—————————————–

Watch: MiLB.TV (MID feed)
Listen: Streaming online and on the TuneIn Radio app (Nathan Barnett)
Live stats: Click here
—————————————–
This series: Game 2 of 3 (RockHounds leads 1-0)
This season: Game 24 of 28 (RockHounds leads 12-11)

FRISCO LINEUP

  1. Isiah Kiner-Falefa – 2B
  2. Eduard Pinto – LF
  3. Joe Jackson – DH
  4. Alexeis Bell – RF
  5. Andy Ibanez – 3B
  6. Luis Marte – SS
  7. Carson Blair – C
  8. Edwin Garcia – 1B
  9. Darin Mastroianni – CF

RHP Reed Garrett (3-6, 5.12 ERA)

RIDERS RECAP: Saturday at Midland (L, 5-3)

Box Score
Recap
Postgame Notes

PREGAME INTERVIEW: Manager Joe Mikulik

SETTING THE STAGE (full game notes here)

LAST TIME OUT:
Allowing the final five runs of the game, the RoughRiders lost 5-3 to the Midland RockHounds Saturday night…Frisco plated three unearned runs against Joel Seddon in the second, but that lead only lasted through the fourth…JACK SNODGRASS tossed four hitless innings but surrendered four runs on five hits, including a three-run homer by Beau Taylor, in the fifth…Taylor added another run for Midland with an RBI single in the seventh…Frisco managed just two baserunners over the final seven innings.

THE PEN IS MIGHTIER:
Although the road trip has been a tough one (0-5 record), the Riders bullpen has had a nice trip so far. In the five contests, the bullpen has had to cover a lot of innings and has performed admirably with a 2.37 ERA (5 ER / 19 IP). The relievers have struck out 17 and walked nine.  For the year, the bullpen has a 4.03 ERA with 475 strikeouts and 235 walks in 484.2 IP.

TIME TO END THE STREAK:
With five straight losses, the RoughRiders have matched their second-longest losing skid of the season. Frisco’s lost five-or-more games consecutively four times now this year, with the longest losing streak of eight games coming May 24-June 1 against Springfield and Tulsa. Making the current slide even tougher to swallow is that Frisco has led in three of the five games, lost two games by two runs, and two in extra innings. Of the RoughRiders’ 39 second-half losses, the club has led in 18 of them, and 18 have been decided by two runs or fewer.

CHASING THE WRONG HISTORY:
The 2016 RoughRiders got off to one of the best starts in team history. The club had the best record through all but one of the first 45 games of the season, beginning the year an impressive 5-0, 9-1, 17-4, 21-6, and 30-13. Since then, however, the Riders have struggled in the win column. In fact, at 22-39, Frisco is on-pace for the worst half in team history. The Riders have thrice gone 29-41, the worst mark to this point in team history: both halves of 2005 and the first half of last year. With a current winning percentage of .360, Frisco is on pace to finish 25-45 in the second half.

DUCKS ON THE POND:
After hitting .322 (19-for-59) with runners in scoring position on the homestand, the Riders have struggled in those spots during this road trip. Frisco is just 5-for-32 (.156) with runners in scoring position in the series, going 2-for-7 last night.

MAPLE LEAF MASHER:
Over the last 22 games, the Riders have hit just 11 home runs as a team. Five of those have come off the bat of KELLIN DEGLAN, including a grand slam. On August 3 against Midland, he had his first two-homer game since June 24, 2014 with Class-A Hickory. Deglan has hit nine long balls this year, which leads all players on the active roster. Those homers have come in surges, though. The Canadian catcher went homerless in the months of April and June but hit two jacks in May, two more in a six-game span in July, and this stretch of five in 12 games played in which he has hit .237 (9-for-38) with a double, five HR, and 14 RBI.

LEWIS BEGINS COMEBACK WITH FRISCO:
Rangers right-handed pitcher COLBY LEWIS began a Major League rehabilitation assignment the RoughRiders Wednesday, throwing 44 pitches in 2 2/3 innings of work. The righty allowed a run on four hits and one walk. Lewis is recovering from a strained right lat muscle.  Lewis is expected to make another rehab start Monday for the Riders before rejoining the big league club. Prior to the injury, he was one of the go-to arms in the Rangers rotation, posting a 6-1 record alongside a 3.21 ERA in 15 starts with Texas. He became the ninth rehabber to suit up with Frisco this season, joining pitchers YU DARVISHA.J. GRIFFINKEONE KELA, and TANNER SCHEPPERS; catchers CHRIS GIMENEZ and ROBINSON CHIRINOS; plus outfielders JOSH HAMILTON and SHIN-SOO CHOO.

NOTHING BUT GOOSE EGGS:
Tuesday’s shutout loss to San Antonio was the 16th time that Frisco has been shut out this season (most in the Texas League) and already the fifth time this month. The 16 shutout defeats is the most in Double-A and tied is now the most in team history (2009, 15). Brevard County (Brewers Class A-Advanced affiliate, Florida State League), has the most shutout losses in the minors with 21; Frisco is tied for the fourth-most, also behind Palm Beach (20), and Durham (18), and the club is tied with Beloit (16), Fort Wayne (16), and Kane County (16).

OPPOSING STARTER:
Right-hander Heath Fillmyer makes his eighth Double-A start today…He arrived from High-A Stockton, where he’d spent all year, on July 21 to throw five innings of two-run ball on four hits at San Antonio, taking no-decision…Drafted in the 5th round out of Mercer County Community College (West Windsor, NJ) in 2014, he signed for a reported $305,000…Fillmyer is in his third pro season after spending his rookie year in the Arizona League, named most-improved pitcher at the A’s instructional league that fall, and all of last season with Low-A Beloit…Fillmyer entered the 2016 season ranked by MLB.com as the A’s No. 19 prospect (now No. 18) and was ranked the 25 player on the farm by Baseball America prior to the season (up from No. 28 prior to 2015)…Fillmyer was previous selected by the Colorado Rockies after his freshman season the 28th round of the 2013 draft but did not sign… As a freshman, the 6-foot-1, 193-pound Fillmyer, a shortstop, filled in at closer and pitched 7 2/3 innings out of the bullpen…He returned for his sophomore year and moved full-time to the mound where he went 9-0, 0.68 in 2014 ….REPERTOIRE: a 92 to 96 mph FASTBALL with sinking action and downhill angle. He also spins a CURVEBALL with tight break, and a CHANGEUP with splitter-like action, which is known as his best pitch.

Saddle Up: Riders at Midland (8/27)

GAME #130 (2nd HALF GAME #61)

Frisco RoughRiders (60-69 overall, 22-38 2nd half) at Midland RockHounds (71-59 overall, 38-22 2nd half)
Saturday, August 27 – 7:00 p.m.
Security Bank Ballpark – Midland, TX
—————————————–

Watch: MiLB.TV (MID feed)
Listen: Streaming online and on the TuneIn Radio app (Nathan Barnett)
Live stats: Click here
—————————————–
This series: Game 1 of 3
This season: Game 23 of 28 (Tied 11-11)

FRISCO LINEUP

  1. Andy Ibanez – 3B
  2. Isiah Kiner-Falefa – 2B
  3. Joe Jackson – LF
  4. Eduard Pinto – RF
  5. Luis Marte – SS
  6. Alexeis Bell – DH
  7. Edwin Garcia – 1B
  8. Darin Mastroianni – CF
  9. Kellin Deglan – C

LHP Jack Snodgrass (3-0, 1.96 ERA)

RIDERS RECAP: Friday at San Antonio (L, 3-1)

Box Score
Recap
Postgame Notes

PREGAME INTERVIEW: RHP Connor Sadzeck

SETTING THE STAGE (full game notes here)

LAST TIME OUT:

With all four runs in the game coming in the third, the RoughRiders lost 3-1 in the series finale to the San Antonio Missions, getting swept in the four- game set…The Riders outhit the Missions seven to two but dropped the finale of the series…CONNOR SADZECK fanned a career-high ten batters but suffered the loss…He walked only one and allowed three runs, two earned in six innings…San Antonio southpaw Tim Berry walked a season-high seven and allowed six hits but limited the RoughRiders to one run in five innings of work…The Missions bullpen limited the Riders to one baserunner, a ninth-inning single, the rest of the way…The Riders left nine on base and went just 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position.

PLAYING FOR PRIDE:

While the RoughRiders were eliminated from winning the second half Sunday night, the club was still technically in contention for a postseason spot until last night. They needed Corpus Christi to win the second half and finish ahead of Midland for the second best overall record. While the Hooks are still in contention, with an elimination number of four, the Riders are now 10.5 games behind Midland in the overall standings with ten games left.

CHASING THE WRONG HISTORY:

The 2016 RoughRiders got off to one of the best starts in team history. The club had the best record through all but one of the first 45 games of the season, beginning the year an impressive 5-0, 9-1, 17-4, 21-6, and 30-13. Since then, however, the Riders have struggled in the win column. In fact, at 22-38, Frisco is on-pace for the worst half in team history. The Riders have thrice gone 29-41, the worst mark to this point in team history: both halves of 2005 and the first half of last year. With a current winning percentage of .367, Frisco is on-pace to finish 26-44 in the second half.

DUCKS ON THE POND:

After hitting .322 (19-for-59) with runners in scoring position on the homestand, the Riders have struggled in those spots during this road trip. Frisco is just 3-for-25 (.120) with runners in scoring position in the series, including 1-for-9 last night.

MAPLE LEAF MASHER:

Over the last 21 games, the Riders have hit just 11 home runs as a team. Five of those have come off the bat of KELLIN DEGLAN, including a grand slam last Friday. On August 3 against Midland, he had his first two-homer game since June 24, 2014 with Class-A Hickory. Deglan has hit nine long balls this year, which leads all players on the active roster. Those homers have come in surges, though. The Canadian catcher went homerless in the months of April and June but hit two jacks in May, two more in a six-game span in July, and this stretch of five in 11 games played in which he has hit .229 (8-for-35) with a double, five HR, and 14 RBI.

ALFARO COMPLETES ROAD TO THE SHOW:

Former RoughRiders catcher Jorge Alfaro (with Frisco in 2014-15) was recalled by the Philadelphia Phillies yesterday, but did not make his Major League debut last night. He was sent back down to Double-A Reading today. Alfaro missed a majority of last season with an injury before being dealt to the Phillies in the eight player trade for Cole Hamels and Jake Diekman. Alfaro is the 147th former RoughRider to make the big leagues and eighth to make the show for the first time this season along with Nomar Mazara (2014-2015 with Frisco, debuted with Texas Rangers), Brett Nicholas (2013 with Frisco, Rangers), Cody Ege (2015 with Frisco, Miami Marlins), MATT BUSH (2016 with Frisco, Rangers), Jared Hoying (2012-2013 with Frisco, Rangers), Richard Bleier (2012-2013 with Frisco, New York Yankees), JOSE LECLERC (2015- 2016 with Frisco, Rangers), and Jake Thompson (2014-2015 with Frisco, Phillies).

NOTHING BUT GOOSE EGGS:

Tuesday’s shutout loss to San Antonio was the 16th time that Frisco has been shut out this season (most in the Texas League) and already the fifth time this month. The 16 shutout defeats is the most in Double-A and tied is now the most in team history (2009, 15). Brevard County (Brewers Class A-Advanced affiliate, Florida State League), has the most shutout losses in the minors with 21; Frisco is tied for the fourth-most, also behind Palm Beach (20), and Durham (18), and the club is tied with Beloit (16), Fort Wayne (16), and Kane County (16).

OPPOSING STARTER:

Righty Joel Seddon takes the ball for Midland in today’s series opener. He is in his third season as a professional and his first with the RockHounds. Seddon has a 1-1 record with a 3.71 ERA in five starts against Frisco… After a rough first half, when he went 1-6 with a 7.48 ERA, Seddon is 7-2 with a 1.76 ERA in the second half of the season…He’s won his last five decisions…The University of South Carolina product was selected by the Athletics in the 11th round of the 2014 draft. He was previously selected in the 20th round by Toronto out of St. Clair High School in 2011. He was mostly a reliever in college and in his first season in the Oakland farm system, but he made 14 starts in 34 appearances with Class A-Advanced Stockton last season. REPERTOIRE: Four- seam fastball, two-seam FB, changeup, slider, curveball.

Road to the show

Sometimes, I find myself pondering the vast landscape of baseball’s farm systems. The intricate layout of a farm system can affect player development and fan interest, along with numerous other factors.

The Frisco RoughRiders are fortunate to be extremely close to the team’s Major League affiliate, the Texas Rangers. However, many Minor League teams do not have that luxury. In fact, some are located on completely opposite ends of the country.

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With that in mind, I was curious to find out the distances between Minor League affiliates and their respective Major League parent clubs. Creating a spreadsheet was a beneficial way to compare and contrast between different organizations and each level of Minor League Baseball. (zoom in for details)

1

This is each farm system, mapped out by affiliate location and distance from the affiliate’s home ballpark to the parent club’s ballpark. These are driving distances, not flying distances. So, say you wanted to hop in the car and travel from Centennial Field in Burlington (home of the Class A-Short Season Vermont Lake Monsters) to the Oakland Coliseum. That would be a whopping 3,016-mile trip, the longest driving distance between any Minor League team and its Major League affiliate.

The table above has each organization sorted by average distance (total miles/number of farm teams). Oakland has the most spread out farm system, with the Class A-Advanced Stockton Ports being the only A’s affiliate within 750 miles of the Oakland Coliseum. The Baltimore Orioles, meanwhile, have their entire farm system (with the exception of the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League Orioles) neatly spread across the Mid-Atlantic region. The average distance between an Orioles affiliate and Oriole Park at Camden Yards is just 242 miles.

In terms of average distance, the Rangers place 17th out of 30. However, the top two levels of the farm system are very close to home. Frisco is just a 35-mile drive from Globe Life Park in Arlington, ranking second among Double-A affiliates (only the Bowie Baysox are closer – 27 miles from Baltimore).

It is also interesting to note the trend of Minor League teams being closer to home in higher ranks of the farm system. 14 Class A-Advanced teams are located at least 1,000 miles from their Major League affiliate, while just five Triple-A teams top the 1,000 mark (Las Vegas is the farthest Triple-A affiliated, located 2,535 miles from Citi Field in New York). Additionally, eight teams in Triple-A are located within 100 miles of their Major League affiliates.

Highs and Lows:

Triple-A: Tacoma – 36 miles from Seattle … Las Vegas – 2,535 miles from New York (NL)

Double-A: Bowie – 27 miles from Baltimore … Richmond – 2,869 miles from San Francisco

Class A-Advanced: Potomac – 30 miles from Washington … Fort Myers – 1,700 miles from Minnesota

Class-A: Lake County – 19 miles from Cleveland … Augusta – 2,618 miles from San Francisco

Class A-Short Season: Brooklyn – 21 miles from New York (NL) … Vermont – 3,016 miles from Oakland

Rookie: AZL Diamondbacks – 21 miles from Arizona … AZL Indians – 2,033 miles from Cleveland

– Steve

Baseball term of the day: frostie – A pitch in slow pitch softball that is above 12 feet in arc. The term alludes facetiously to the frost that appears at higher altitudes.

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary

Saddle Up: Riders at San Antonio (8/26)

GAME #129 (2nd HALF GAME #60)

Frisco RoughRiders (60-68 overall, 22-37 2nd half) at San Antonio Missions (54-75 overall, 32-27 2nd half)
Friday, August 26 – 7:05 p.m.
Wolff Stadium – San Antonio, TX
—————————————–

Watch: MiLB.TV (SA feed)
Listen: Streaming online and on the TuneIn Radio app (Nathan Barnett)
Live stats: Click here
—————————————–
This series: Game 4 of 4 (Missions lead 3-0)
This season: Game 32 of 32 (RoughRiders lead 18-13)

FRISCO LINEUP

  1. Darin Mastroianni – CF
  2. Eduard Pinto – RF
  3. Andy Ibanez – 3B
  4. Joe Jackson – LF
  5. Luis Marte – SS
  6. Carson Blair – DH
  7. Isiah Kiner-Falefa – 2B
  8. Edwin Garcia – 1B
  9. Kellin Deglan – C

RHP Connor Sadzeck (9-7, 4.40 ERA)

RIDERS RECAP: Thursday at San Antonio (L, 4-3 – 10 innings)

Box Score
Recap
Postgame Notes

PREGAME INTERVIEW: LHP Joe Filomeno

SETTING THE STAGE (full game notes here)

LAST TIME OUT:

For the second straight night, the Riders fell 4-3 in 10 innings…Frisco took a 3-1 lead to the eighth, but the Missions collected five straight hits to open the inning, three off JEFRI HERNADNEZ and another pair off JOE FILOMENO to tie things up…With the bases loaded and no outs, Filomeno got out of the jam to keep the game tied…Filomeno and DAVID PEREZ got out of another jam in the ninth, with a runner at third and no outs, to keep the game tied at 3-3 and send the game to extra innings…Perez could not hold back San Antonio in the 10th, however, as the Missions put two in scoring position with one out, and Luis Tejada drove in the winning run with a sacrifice fly…SCOTT CARROLL pitched well, taking no-decision, allowing just a run in 5 2/3 innings of work…ANDY IBANEZ smacked three hits, and JOE JACKSON reached safely three times as well.

TIGHTENING UP WITH SAN ANTONIO:

After winning the first eight games in the season-series with San Antonio, things have gotten much closer. Frisco has lost 13 of the last 23, and each of the last five series have been either splits or losses, including this current four-game set (0-3). In addition, 10 of the last 14 games in the series have been decided by two runs or fewer, including eighth one-run games and four extra-inning games. The Riders have dropped six straight to the Missions, the longest such losing streak for the club since 2010, when the Riders dropped eight straight games to the Missions 7/30-8/2 at home and 8/6-8/9 at San Antonio. All six of the losses on this losing streak have come at Wolff Stadium.

ALFARO COMPLETES ROAD TO THE SHOW:

Former RoughRiders catcher Jorge Alfaro (with Frisco in 2014-15) was recalled by the Philadelphia Phillies today. Alfaro missed a majority of last season with an injury before being dealt to the Phillies in the eight player trade for Cole Hamels and Jake Diekman. Alfaro is the 147th former RoughRider to make the big leagues and eighth to make the show for the first time this season along with Nomar Mazara (2014-2015 with Frisco, debuted with Texas Rangers), Brett Nicholas (2013 with Frisco, Rangers), Cody Ege (2015 with Frisco, Miami Marlins), MATT BUSH (2016 with Frisco, Rangers), Jared Hoying (2012-2013 with Frisco, Rangers), Richard Bleier (2012-2013 with Frisco, New York Yankees), JOSE LECLERC (2015-2016 with Frisco, Rangers), and Jake Thompson (2014-2015 with Frisco, Phillies).

EXTRA! EXTRA! READ ALL ABOUT IT!:

Frisco played its fourth extra-inning affair with San Antonio this year and the third in the last four games of the season-series. The Riders have lost all four. In fact, Frisco has lost its last five games that have gone to extra innings. Contrastingly, the Missions, who have played 20 extra-inning games, the most in the league, have won eight of their last nine extra-inning games and 13 overall.

NOTHING BUT GOOSE EGGS:

Tuesday’s shutout loss to San Antonio was the 16th time that Frisco has been shut out this season (most in the Texas League) and already the fifth time this month. The 16 shutout defeats is the most in Double-A and tied is now the most in team history (2009, 15). Brevard County (Brewers Class A-Advanced affiliate, Florida State League), has the most shutout losses in the minors with 21; Frisco is tied for the fourth-most, also behind Palm Beach (20), and Durham (18), and the club is tied with Beloit (16) and Fort Wayne (16).

DUCKS ON THE POND:

After hitting .322 (19-for-59) with runners in scoring position on the homestand, the Riders have struggled in those spots during this series. Frisco is just 2-for-16 (.125) with runners in scoring position in the series, including 1-for-10 last night.

MAPLE LEAF MASHER:

Over the last 20 games, the Riders have hit just 11 home runs as a team. Five of those have come off the bat of KELLIN DEGLAN, including a grand slam Friday. On August 3 against Midland, he had his first two-homer game since June 24, 2014 with Class-A Hickory. Deglan has hit nine long balls this year, which leads all players on the active roster. Those homers have come in surges, though. The Canadian catcher went homerless in the months of April and June but hit two jacks in May, two more in a six-game span in July, and this stretch of five in ten games played in which he has hit .250 (8-for-32) with a double, five HR, and 14 RBI. Deglan, however, has not played in each of the last three games.

FOURTH-INNING FUN:

The Riders have had a lot of success in the fourth inning, both recently and over the course of the season. Frisco scored a total of 12 runs and held opponents scoreless in the fourth inning on the last homestand, including a six-run inning last Wednesday against Springfield and a five-run frame Saturday. This year, Frisco has outscored opponents 75-50 in the fourth, the largest positive run differential (+25) for the Riders in any single inning this season. The seventh inning has been Frisco’s worst (-36).

OPPOSING STARTER:

Left-handed pitcher Tim Berry makes his eighth start with San Antonio tonight and second against Frisco…In seven outings, he’s 1-3 with a 8.33 ERA and is coming off his first win of the year, tossing five innings of two-run ball against Northwest Arkansas…The Riders have tagged him to the tune of a 14.73 ERA (12 ER / 7.1 IP) in two starts…The San Diego native was signed by his hometown Padres on July 6 after being released by the Miami Marlins the previous day and made his Missions debut against the Riders on July 17…Berry was originally drafted by the Baltimore Orioles in the 50th round of the 2009 draft… He was added to the Orioles 40-man roster in 2014 and was recalled on June 6, but he did not pitch and was optioned back to Double-A Bowie the following day…Despite appearing on a Major League 25-man roster, Berry has never pitched above the Double-A level in the Minors…After signing with the Padres, he made two starts with Class A-Short Season Tri-City before joining San Antonio…Berry signed with the Orioles out of San Marcos High School in California, bypassing a scholarship to play college baseball at the University of Oregon.