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Riding Through the Farm (August 5)

Riding Through the Farm v3

“Riding Through the Farm” is your weekly look at what’s going on in the Rangers organization outside of Frisco.

TEXAS RANGERS (63-46 – 1st, AL West)

After making moves to acquire Jonathan LucroyCarlos Beltran, and Jeremy Jeffress at the trade deadline, all three have had success in the past week for the Rangers. Lucroy and Beltran both hit home runs in the three-game series against Baltimore, and Jeffress pitched a scoreless inning in yesterday’s 5-3 victory in the finale.

A huge three-game road series against the Houston Astros begins tonight at Minute Maid Park. The Rangers have won nine of 10 games against the Astros so far this season and lead Houston by 6 1/2 games in the American League West.

Today: at Houston, 7:10 p.m. (SP: LHP Martin Perez)

TRIPLE-A ROUND ROCK EXPRESS (54-59 – T-2nd, PCL American Southern Division)

On Wednesday, Round Rock received four players from the RoughRidersYohander Mendez and Ronald Guzman, two of the Top 5 prospects in the Rangers farm system (according to MLBPipeline.com), have already made an impact with the E-Train.

Guzman went 2-for-4 in his Triple-A debut Thursday, mashing a solo home run in his first at-bat and driving in another run with a double later in the game.

In his second start with the Express last night, Mendez pitched five scoreless innings and allowed just three hits in a win over Oklahoma City. The southpaw has now fired a total of 10 scoreless innings in two Triple-A starts this season.

Today: at Oklahoma City, 7:05 p.m. (SP: LHP Derek Holland)

CLASS-A ADVANCED HIGH DESERT MAVERICKS (66-44 overall, 23-17 second half – 3rd place, California League South Division)

The Mavericks have won seven of their last 10 games, including a four-game sweep of Rancho Cucamonga on the road last week. High Desert is back at home battling the Quakes again, and they started the series with a win yesterday.

Former Rider Cody Palmquist continues to dominate California League opponents out of the bullpen for High Desert. Palmquist was named Rangers Reliever of the Month last month after not allowing a run in all of June. He has given up just four earned runs in 17 relief appearances (26.1 innings pitched) since joining the Mavs on June 4.

Today: vs. Rancho Cucamonga, 9:05 p.m. (SP: LHP Jeff Springs)

CLASS-A HICKORY CRAWDADS (60-49 overall, 22-17 second half – 3rd place, South Atlantic League Northern Division)

A five-game win streak has propelled the Crawdads into third place in the SAL Northern Division standings. Hickory is now just 1 1/2 games behind first-place Hagerstown, who won the division in the first half of the season. The ‘Dads are half a game behind Greensboro for second place and the second-best overall record the division.

However, the Crawdads recently lost outfielder Eduard Pinto and infielder Dylan Moore, who were both promoted to higher affiliates. Pinto joined the RoughRiders last night, while Moore was moved up to High Desert.

Infielder Xavier Turner was just assigned to Hickory from Spokane yesterday. He has a chance to make a big impact for the Crawdads in their push for a playoff spot. Turner played nine games with the Crawdads last season after starting his professional career in the Arizona League.

Today: at Lexington, 6:05 p.m. (SP: LHP Joe Palumbo)

CLASS A-SHORT SEASON SPOKANE INDIANS (23-22 overall, 4-3 second half  3rd place, Northwest League North Division)

As mentioned above, Xavier Turner was promoted to Hickory yesterday after a spectacular performance Tuesday in the Northwest/Pioneer League All-Star Game. Turner won the MiLB.com Top Star Award for the Northwest League, going 3-for-3 with a home run and a pair of runs scored.

Four former Spokane Indians were involved in the Rangers’ trade deadline deal for Carlos Beltran. In addition to Dillon Tate (2015), Erik Swanson (2014), and Nick Green (2016), Beltran was also an Indian back in 1996. Spokane was affiliated with the Kansas City Royals at the time.

Tonight: at Salem-Keizer, 8:35 p.m. (SP: LHP Sal Mendez)

– Steve

Baseball term of the day: pastureworker – An outfielder.

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary

Saddle Up: Riders at San Antonio (8/4)

GAME #110 (2nd HALF GAME #41)

Frisco RoughRiders (54-55 overall, 16-24 2nd half) at San Antonio Missions (41-69 overall, 19-21 2nd half)
Thursday, August 4 – 7:05 p.m.
Nelson W. Wolff Municipal Stadium – San Antonio, TX
—————————————–

Watch: MiLB.TV (San Antonio feed)
Listen: Streaming online and on the TuneIn Radio app (Nathan Barnett)
Live stats: Click here
—————————————–
This series: Game 1 of 4
This season: Game 25 of 32 (Riders 17-7)

FRISCO LINEUP

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

LHP Jack Snodgrass (0-0, -.– ERA)

RIDERS RECAP: Wednesday vs. Midland (W, 10-4)

Box Score
Recap
Postgame Notes

PREGAME INTERVIEW:

SETTING THE STAGE (full game notes here)

LAST TIME OUT:
The RoughRiders came back from down 2-0 and 3-1 over the first three innings before scoring six runs in the fifth to move ahead for good and beat the Midland RockHounds 10-4 in the series finale on Wednesday night…KELLIN DEGLANmashed two homers, JOE JACKSON knocked in four runs, and ISIAH KINER-FALEFA scored three times in the win…Starter CONNOR SADZECK battled through four innings, allowing three runs, while RICHELSON PENA worked five innings, not allowing a run until the ninth for the win.

BACKS AGAINST THE WALL:
With 30 games left, the Riders face a tremendous uphill battle for a postseason spot. If Midland goes .500 the rest of the way, the Riders would need to 26-4 the rest of the way to overtake them for the division title. If Corpus Christi rallies back and wins the division, the Riders still would have to make up a current 5.5 game defict in the overall season standings back of Midland. The good news is that Frisco still plays six more games against the RockHounds this season.

ALL ABOARD THE “E-TRAIN”:
The RoughRiders had four players promoted to Triple-A Round Rock yesterday. Infielder RONALD GUZMAN hit a homer and an RBI double in his Triple-A debut last night. Pitchers YOHANDER MENDEZJOHN FASOLA, and JOSE VALDESPINA all went up as well. Each of the three pitchers have spent limited time with Round Rock this season, while Guzman joined the Express for the first time in his career. In corresponding moves, the Riders activated pitcher JACK SNODGRASS who starts today, received outfielder CARLOS ARROYO, and pitchers SCOTT CARROLL and JUAN GRULLON (Round Rock). Additionally, pitcher REED GARRETT rejoined the squad from Class A-Advanced High Desert, and RYAN CORDELL was placed on the 7-day disabled list.

SOMETHING’S BREWING:
Monday, the Rangers traded outfielder LEWIS BRINSON and right-handed pitcher LUIS ORTIZ to the Milwaukee Brewers in exchange for catcher Jonathan Lucroy and right-handed pitcher Jeremy Jeffress. Brinson hit .237 with 11 home runs and 40 RBI in 77 games with Frisco this season, missing 21 games in June and part of July while on the disabled list. Ortiz joined the squad on May 20 and went 1-4 with a 4.08 ERA in nine outings (eight starts). He struck out 34 while walking just seven in his time with the Riders. Brinson (29th overall pick, 2012) and Ortiz (30th overall, 2014) were both first-round draft picks. Prior to the trade, MLBPipeline.com ranked Brinson as the No. 2 prospect in the Rangers farm system and Ortiz was slotted third. Brinson entered Milwaukee’s rankings at No. 2 and Ortiz at No. 5 when the rankings were updated Tuesday. Brinson was assigned to Triple-A Colorado Springs, going 4-for-4 in his Sky Sox debut on Tuesday and hitting a grand slam last night.

MARVELOUS MARTE:
Riders shortstop LUIS MARTE continues to swing at a torrid rate the last few weeks. Last night, he notched his 13th multi-hit game of the season. He now has hits in 14 of his last 16 games, and 10 of those are mutli-hit affairs. Marte’s .453 average since July 19 leads all full-season minor leaguers and is fourth among all minor leaguers.

DEALING OUT DINGERS:
The Riders haven’t allowed a homer in four straight games. However, they recently had a stretch with homers allowed in 10 of 11 games. Over the last 15 games, Frisco pitching has allowed home runs in 10 games, with two of the homerless games coming with ground-ball specialist ARIEL JURADO starting on the mound. The Riders have given up 15 long balls in the 15-game stretch.  Frisco surrendered 36 home runs, most in the Texas League and fourth-most in Minor League Baseball during the month of July. On the season, the Riders have allowed 98 homers, second only to Springfield (100) for most home runs allowed in the Texas League this season.

SPEAKING OF HOME RUNS…:
The Riders were a home run machine at the plate for the early part of July, hitting 26 homers from July 4 through July 24. However, the RoughRiders hit just one home run in the final week of the month, with the lone long ball coming off the bat ofRYAN CORDELL on Saturday. Frisco finished July with 27 homers, second-most in the Texas League behind Tulsa (28).

RIDERS CROWD MLBPIPELINE  TOP 10:
The most recent MLBPipeline.com rankings include six RoughRiders ranked in the Top 30 from the Rangers farm system, and three are in the Top 10. ANDY IBANEZ (3) and RYAN CORDELL (6) are in  the Top 10 for the first time this season. MLBPipeline also released its mid-season top 100 prospect list, and two current Rangers prospects made the cut. Gallo topped the list at No. 14, and former RoughRider YOHANDER MENDEZ came in at No. 67. LEWIS BRINSON (21) and LUIS ORTIZ (63), traded to Milwakee on Monday, were also ranked in the top 100.

OPPOSING STARTER:
Michael Kelly was a supplemental first round pick of the Padres in June, 2011. He signed with scout Willie Bosque, for a bonus of $718,000 just 20 minutes before the August 15 deadline, turning down a baseball scholarship to the University of Florida… Kelly has an 89-92 mph 2-seam sinking FASTBALL, a 90-96 mph 4-seamer, a 75-77 mph CURVEBALL and a 77-79 mph CHANGEUP…He makes his eighth start of the season for San Antonio today and his first since coming back from Triple-A El Paso on July 31 where he was 6-1 with a 4.54 ERA.

Impressive home run catches

In case you missed last night’s RoughRiders game, a Choctaw Lazy River employee made an incredible catch using a pool net to haul in a Kellin Deglan home run.

The catch was impressive on its own. The unique aspect was the instrument that the employee used to catch the ball, all while maintaining his balance perched on top of the lazy river.

Here are five other amazing catches made by fans during baseball games. Although none of them contain a lazy river, unfortunately, they are still entertaining to watch!

– Steve

Baseball term of the day: lucky seventh – The bottom half of the seventh inning, which was once regarded as lucky for the home team. The term was probably named from the idea of the lucky ‘seven’ as known in the game of dice. Sporting people have long associated good fortune with the number 7.

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary)

Grab a bat: Pitchers hitting for the Riders

Last night, pitcher Ryan Ledbetter was called out of the bullpen to come in and pinch hit for the RoughRiders with two outs in the ninth inning.

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Following Alberto Triunfel‘s ejection in the middle of his at-bat, Frisco had no other position players left on the bench to enter the game. As a result, Ledbetter grabbed a bat and saw three pitches from Midland’s Kyle Finnegan. Ledbetter swung and missed at the first, fouled off the second, and then struck out looking on the third.

It was a rare occurrence seeing a pitcher hit for the Riders. Because Frisco is a Double-A affiliate of the Texas Rangers, an American League team, the Riders always use a designated hitter. In the Texas League, pitchers only have to hit when two National League affiliates square off.

However, there have been three other instances where a pitcher was brought in to a Riders game, either as a pinch-hitter or defensive replacement, and ended up getting an at-bat.

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Jesse Chavez – June 27, 2005 vs. Tulsa (W, 8-6 – 12 innings)

This game featured a situation where Frisco’s designated hitter Seth Taylor entered the game to play second base. As a result, the pitcher’s spot took over the second slot in the batting order. Scott Feldman pitched 2 1/3 innings, through the 10th inning, but he did not get a chance to bat. Instead, it was Chavez who came up to the plate in the 11th after pitching the top half of the inning.

Chavez struck out against Tulsa’s Judd Songster, pitched another scoreless frame, and then the Riders won on a walk-off two-run homer by Will Smith in the bottom of the 12th. Current Riders hitting coach Jason Hart also scored on Smith’s home run.

Ben Snyder – August 15, 2011 vs. Tulsa (W, 3-2 – 12 innings)

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The second time a pitcher hit for the RoughRiders came in another game against the Drillers at Dr Pepper Ballpark. It was also a 12-inning contest that ended in a Riders victory. However, this game featured Snyder entering the game as a defensive replacement for Engel Beltre in the eighth inning. Beltre was ejected after arguing a called third strike in the bottom of the seventh. Snyder played right field, and Jonathan Greene moved over to Beltre’s spot in center.

The lefty Snyder ended up getting two at-bats, as the game went to extra innings. Snyder singled to right field in the ninth inning against Tulsa’s Joe Torres. This still stands as the only time a RoughRiders pitcher has recorded a hit. Snyder struck out looking against Stephen Dodson in the 12th. Two batters later, Jared Bolden hit a walk-off single to plate Jose Felix.

Ryan Rodebaugh – June 6, 2013 at San Antonio

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Rodebaugh was the most recent pitcher to hit in a game before Ledbetter came up to the plate in the ninth inning yesterday. This was also the only time that a Riders pitcher has batted on the road. It was another occasion where a designated hitter entered the game defensively, but this situation was a lot more complex.

Riders shortstop Hanser Alberto was ejected in the fifth inning for arguing a call at first base after grounding into a double play. Odubel Herrera moved from second base to shortstop, Chih-Hsien Chiang took over Alberto’s spot in the batting order playing right field, and Alejandro Selen switched to second base from right field.

However, after Selen’s second strikeout of the game, he was replaced defensively. Herrera took back his original position at second base, and designated hitter Guilder Rodriguez entered at shortstop. Therefore, the new pitcher Arlett Mavare took over Selen’s vacated spot in the lineup.

Mavare pitched a scoreless seventh, and Richard Bleier tossed a 1-2-3 eighth. When Bleier was due up with one out in the ninth, Rodebaugh was called in to pinch hit against San Antonio’s Ryan Kelly. He became the second Riders pitcher to reach base in a game, but it was not on a hit. The second baseman Chris Bisson made a fielding error, allowing Rodebaugh to reach safely. Rodebaugh was promptly doubled off first base after Chiang flied out to the right fielder Kalian Sams.

(Side note: June 6 was the final game Sams played with San Antonio. He hit a home run off Pucetas to lead off the sixth, which was his last hit with the Missions. The Padres promoted Sams to Triple-A Tucson the following day, but he was released by the club on July 19. The Rangers signed Sams to a minor league contract on August 9, and he was assigned to Frisco the next day.)

– Steve

Baseball term of the day: Pittsburgh chopper – A batted ball that becomes a hit because it bounces over a fielder’s head. Its success depends on a downward chopping swing and a hard infield. Named by and for the 1960 world champion Pittsburgh Pirates, who specialized in such hits.

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary)

Saddle Up: Riders vs. Midland (8/2)

GAME #108 (2nd HALF GAME #39)

Frisco RoughRiders (53-54 overall, 15-23 2nd half) vs. Midland RockHounds (59-49 overall, 26-12 2nd half)
Tuesday, August 2 – 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 (Nathan Barnett and Ryan Rouillard)
Live stats: Click here
—————————————–
This series: Game 2 of 4 (RockHounds lead 1-0)
This season: Game 21 of 28 (Series tied 10-10)

FRISCO LINEUP

  1. Luis Marte – SS
  2. Andy Ibanez – 2B
  3. Ryan Cordell – CF
  4. Joe Jackson – LF
  5. Alexeis Bell – RF
  6. Isiah Kiner-Falefa – C
  7. Luis Mendez – 1B
  8. Alberto Triunfel – 3B
  9. Shaq Matta – DH

RHP David Perez (1-4, 5.71 ERA)

RIDERS RECAP: Monday vs. Midland (L, 3-0)

Box Score
Recap
Postgame Notes

PREGAME INTERVIEW: OF Alexeis Bell

Archived interview posted here soon. Listen live on the Dr Pepper Pregame Show around 6:45 p.m.

SETTING THE STAGE (full game notes here)

LAST TIME OUT:

The RoughRiders were shut out by the Midland RockHounds 3-0 Monday…Ben Bracewell and Corey Walter each tossed four scoreless innings, and Jake Sanchez earned the save…Frisco managed nine hits in the game, including three fromLUIS MARTE…The Riders, however, stranded eight runners and went 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position…FRANK LOPEZ turned in his sixth quality start of the season, allowing three runs, two earned, in 6 1/3 innings.

SOMETHING’S BREWING:

Monday, the Rangers traded outfielder LEWIS BRINSON and right-handed pitcher LUIS ORTIZ to the Milwaukee Brewers in exchange for catcher Jonathan Lucroy and right-handed pitcher Jeremy Jeffress. Brinson hit .237 with 11 home runs and 40 RBI in 77 games with Frisco this season, missing 21 games in June and part of July while on the disabled list. Ortiz joined the squad on May 20 and went 1-4 with a 4.08 ERA in nine outings (eight starts). He struck out 34 while walking just seven in his time with the Riders. Brinson (29th overall pick, 2012) and Ortiz (30th overall, 2014) were both first-round draft picks. Prior to the trade, MLBPipeline.com ranked Brinson as the No. 2 prospect in the Rangers farm system and Ortiz was slotted third. Brinson entered Milwaukee’s rankings at No. 2 and Ortiz at No. 5 when the rankings were updated yesterday. Brinson has been assigned to Triple-A Colorado Springs, while Ortiz is bound for Double-A Biloxi.

MARVELOUS MARTE:

Riders shortstop LUIS MARTE continues to swing at a torrid rate the last few weeks. Last night, he notched his fourth three-hit game of the season. He now has hits in 12 of his last 14 games, and eight of those are mutli-hit affairs. Marte’s .446 average since July 19 leads the Texas League and all of Double-A, in addition to ranking sixth in all of Minor League Baseball.

A ROUGH RIDE AGAINST THE ROCKHOUNDS:

The RoughRiders have had a hard time figuring out Midland pitching this season, managing just 3.4 runs per game against the RockHounds this year. Frisco is averaging 4.3 runs per game against the other six Texas League teams. In the last 12 games against Midland, the run production has dropped to 2.3 per game, including four one-run games and two shutouts. In that span, the Riders are hitting just .183 (13-for-71) with runners in scoring position. The Riders have lost five straight to Midland.

DEALING OUT DINGERS:

RoughRiders pitching has been highly prone to home runs the last few weeks. Frisco has allowed home runs in 10 of the last 13 games, with two of the homerless games coming with ground-ball specialist ARIEL JURADO starting on the mound. The Riders have given up 15 long balls in the 13-game stretch, including five in the last series against San Antonio.  Frisco surrendered 36 home runs, most in the Texas League and fourth-most in Minor League Baseball during the month of July. On the season, the Riders have allowed 98 homers, second only to Springfield (99) for most home runs allowed in the Texas League this season.

SPEAKING OF HOME RUNS…:

The Riders were a home run machine at the plate for the early part of July, hitting 26 homers from July 4 through July 24. However, the RoughRiders hit just one home run in the final week of the month, with the lone long ball coming off the bat ofRYAN CORDELL on Saturday. Frisco finished July with 27 homers, second-most in the Texas League behind Tulsa (28).

RIDERS CROWD MLBPIPELINE  TOP 10:

The most recent MLBPipeline.com rankings include eight RoughRiders ranked in the Top 30 from the Rangers farm system, and five are in the Top 10. YOHANDER MENDEZ jumped to No. 2 in the farm system only behind current big leaguer Joey Gallo after today’s trades. ANDY IBANEZ (3), RONALD GUZMAN (5), and RYAN CORDELL (6) are in  the Top 10 for the first time this season. MLBPipeline also released its mid-season top 100 prospect list, and two current Rangers prospects made the cut. Gallo topped the list at No. 14, and Mendez came in at No. 67. LEWIS BRINSON (21) and LUIS ORTIZ (63), traded to Milwaukee on Monday, were also ranked in the top 100.

SLIPPING DOWN IN THE STANDINGS:

The RoughRiders entered a three-game series in Midland last week trailing the RockHounds by six games in the second-half standings. However, after going 0-4 against the RockHounds in the las week and splitting a four-game set against San Antonio over the weekend, the Riders find themselves 11 games behind Midland, their largest standings deficit in either half this season. There are 32 games remaining in the second half, and nine of them come against the RockHounds.

OPPOSING STARTER:

Right-hander Daniel Gossett is quickly climbing the ladder in the Athletics’ farm system. The second round draft pick in 2014 out of Clemson jumped from No. 24 to No. 20 in MLBPipeline.com’s mid-season re-rankings thanks to his strong start to the season. He has gone seven or more innings in four of his 11 starts with the RockHounds, including a career-high 7 1/3 innings July 1 at Northwest Arkansas. In his first start against the Riders, Gossett worked four scoreless innings, allowing one hit and striking out five. Gossett spent a full season with Class-A Beloit last year in the Midwest League before a stint with Class A-Advanced Stockton to begin this season. The Lyman, South Carolina native, went 4-1 with a 3.33 ERA in nine starts with the Ports, earning California League Pitcher of the Week honors for the week of May 16-22. REPERTOIRE: Fastball (91-96), two-seam fastball, curveball (82-83), changeup (82-85), slider.

 

Best starts of the season for Riders pitchers

Ariel Jurado‘s first start at Dr Pepper Ballpark two nights ago was nothing short of spectacular.

He finally allowed a run on two hits in the sixth inning after beginning the evening by hurling five scoreless frames. After giving up a one-out double to Nelson Ward in the first, Jurado retired the next 14 batters he faced.

He struck out the side in the first inning and finished with a total of six. Additionally, he picked up six groundouts, three flyouts, and two popouts.

Jurado’s outing was surely one of the best five starts of the season for the RoughRiders. Let’s take a look back at four other impressive starts we have seen this year (not including Major League rehabilitation starts):

Richelson Pena (April 11 at Arkansas)

In his second appearance and first start with the Riders, Pena pitched a gem at Dickey-Stephens Park. The righty retired the first 17 batters he faced before issuing a two-out walk to Angel Rosa in the bottom of the sixth.

After the walk, Pena exited the game with the no-hitter still in tact. Arkansas finally got a hit in the bottom of the seventh on a two-out double by Andrew Daniel off reliever Reed Garrett.

Garrett preserved Frisco’s 1-0 lead through the bottom of the eighth, and Matt Bush worked around a pair of two-out walks in the ninth to cap off the one-hit gem by the Riders’ pitching staff.

Victor Payano (May 3 at San Antonio)

Payano’s start at Wolff Stadium on May 3 not only set a career-high for him in strikeouts for single game, but it was also the most batters fanned by a Riders pitcher this season. It is a mark that will be very hard to top.

The southpaw fanned 13 batters without issuing a walk in six shutout innings. He gave up just four hits, and the Riders won the game 3-0.

Connor Sadzeck (May 6 at San Antonio)

Three days after Payano’s gem to open the series, Sadzeck closed the series against the Missions with another dominant start for the RoughRiders.

The righty improved his record to 4-0 on the season, allowing just one run on two hits in seven innings. Unfortunately, his nine strikeouts paled in comparison to Payano’s 13 a few days earlier. Still, not too shabby.

Yohander Mendez (July 18 vs. San Antonio)

One of the most amazing things about this list is that four of the five best Riders starts of the season came against San Antonio. The Riders continued to assert their dominance over the Missions in Mendez’s start against the Missions a few weeks ago. Mendez retired the first 14 batters he faced (including striking out the side in the third) before finally giving up a two-out single to Luis Tejada in the top of the fifth.

However, Mendez gave up a two-run triple to Jose Rondon in the sixth. Rondon scored as well on the play, thanks to a throwing error, and the Missions took a 3-2 lead.

It was the first loss for Mendez with the Riders, despite the incredible start. He struck out seven and did not issue a walk, while giving up just three hits.

– Steve

Baseball term of the day: neutral win/loss – An estimate of a pitcher’s won-lost record if that pitcher were given league-average run support.

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary)

Saddle Up: Riders vs. Midland (8/1)

GAME #107 (2nd HALF GAME #38)

Frisco RoughRiders (53-53 overall, 15-22 2nd half) vs. Midland RockHounds (58-49 overall, 25-12 2nd half)
Monday, August 1 – 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 (Nathan Barnett and Ryan Rouillard)
Live stats: Click here
—————————————–
This series: Game 1 of 4
This season: Game 20 of 28 (Riders lead 10-9)

FRISCO LINEUP

  1. Isiah Kiner-Falefa – DH
  2. Andy Ibanez – 2B
  3. Ronald Guzman – 1B
  4. Ryan Cordell – CF
  5. Joe Jackson – LF
  6. Alexeis Bell – RF
  7. Luis Marte – SS
  8. Kellin Deglan – C
  9. Luis Mendez – 3B

LHP Frank Lopez (5-5, 5.06 ERA)

RIDERS RECAP: Sunday vs. San Antonio (L, 11-7 – 10 innings)

Box Score
Recap
Postgame Notes

 

SETTING THE STAGE (full game notes here)

LAST TIME OUT:
The RoughRiders salvaged a series split in the finale against San Antonio with a 4-2 win over the Missions…In his Dr Pepper Ballpark debut, ARIEL JURADO turned in his second straight quality start, going six innings and allowing a run on three hits, while striking out six…Jurado retired 15 of the first 16 hitters he faced, including 14 straight at one point…JOE JACKSON drove in two runs in the first…LEWIS BRINSON added an RBI single in the seventh, and the Riders added another insurance run on a balk.

SOMETHING’S BREWING:
Earlier today, the Rangers traded outfielder LEWIS BRINSON and right-handed pitcher LUIS ORTIZ to the Milwaukee Brewers in exchange for catcher Jonathan Lucroy and right-handed pitcher Jeremy Jeffress. Brinson hit .237 with 11 home runs and 40 RBI in 77 games with Frisco this season, missing 21 games in June and part of July while on the disabled list. Ortiz joined the squad on May 20 and went 1-4 with a 4.08 ERA in nine outings (eight starts). He struck out 34 while walking just seven in his time with the Riders. Brinson (29th overall pick, 2012) and Ortiz (30th overall, 2014) were both first-round draft picks. Prior to today’s trade, MLBPipeline.com ranked Brinson as the No. 2 prospect in the Rangers farm system and Ortiz was slotted third.

ONE-RUN FUN VS. MIDLAND:
The RoughRiders and RockHounds have been no strangers to one-run games this season. Nine of the 19 games between the two squads have been decided by a single tally this year, including six straight meetings (June 14, June 19-22, July 25). Frisco (39 one-run games) and Midland (38) trail only Corpus Christi (40) for most one-run contests in the Texas League this season.

DEALING OUT DINGERS:
RoughRiders pitching has been highly prone to home runs the last few weeks. Frisco has allowed home runs in 10 of the last 12 games, with the only two homerless games coming with ground-ball specialist ARIEL JURADO starting on the mound. The Riders have given up 15 long balls in the 12-game stretch, including five in the last series against San Antonio.  Frisco surrendered 36 home runs, most in the Texas League and fourth-most in Minor League Baseball during the month of July. On the season, the Riders have allowed 98 homers, second only to Springfield (99) for most home runs allowed in the Texas League this season.

SPEAKING OF HOME RUNS…:
The Riders were a home run machine at the plate for the early part of July, hitting 26 homers from July 4 through July 24. However, the RoughRiders hit just one home run in the final week of the month, with the lone long ball coming off the bat ofRYAN CORDELL on Saturday. Frisco finished July with 27 homers, second-most in the Texas League behind Tulsa (28).

FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS:
Cuban star ALEXEIS BELL joined the Riders   Thursday and has gone 4-for-17 with two RBI in his first four games. Texas signed Bell to a minor league contract on July 15, and he began his stateside career with the Arizona League Rangers. In four AZL games, Bell went 4-for-16 with a walk and two strikeouts. Bell played his first 14 professional seasons in the Cuban National Series, where he was a career .319 hitter with 138 home runs and 632 RBI in 659 games. Bell spent last season with Quebec in the Canadian-American Association and played nine games with Quintana Roo of the Mexican League this May. He represented Cuba in the 2008 Olympics and the 2013 World Baseball Classic.

RIDERS CROWD MLBPIPELINE  TOP 10:
The most recent MLBPipeline.com rankings include eight RoughRiders ranked in the Top 30 from the Rangers farm system, and five are in the Top 10. YOHANDER MENDEZ jumped to No. 2 in the farm system only behind current big leaguer Joey Gallo after today’s trades. ANDY IBANEZ (3), RONALD GUZMAN (5), and RYAN CORDELL (6) are in  the Top 10 for the first time this season. MLBPipeline also released its mid-season top 100 prospect list, and two current Rangers prospects made the cut. Gallo topped the list at No. 15, and Mendez came in at No. 69. LEWIS BRINSON (22) and LUIS ORTIZ (65) were also ranked in the top 100.

SLIPPING DOWN IN THE STANDINGS:
The RoughRiders entered a three-game series in Midland last week trailing the RockHounds by six games in the second-half standings. However, after getting swept by the RockHounds and splitting a four-game set against San Antonio, the Riders find themselves 10 games behind Midland entering this three-game series. There are 33 games remaining in the second half, and 10 of them will come against the RockHounds.

OPPOSING STARTER:
Right-handed pitcher Ben Bracewell makes his sixth appearance and second start of the season against the RoughRiders tonight. The 25-year-old is 2-0 with a 2.70 ERA in his first five outings against Frisco this season, including 2 2/3 strong innings of relief Wednesday at Security Bank Ballpark. Bracewell allowed five hits, but just one run and picked up the victory in the series finale. His other start against the Riders came June 22 in Midland, when he allowed three hits and a run over five innings. 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.

Deadline deals involving RoughRiders

Today is a big day in professional baseball. Because of the leap year, August 1 at 3 p.m. CT was deemed the 2016 non-waiver trade deadline (one day later than the usual July 31 deadline).

Although many trades happen throughout the season, including some in the days leading up to the deadline, there is nothing more thrilling than working out a last-minute deal. The moves end up impacting the parent club’s farm system, whether directly or indirectly. Some years, the RoughRiders have been affected more than others.

LOLBTrade640x360.jpg

This year was one of those years that directly affected the RoughRiders. It was recently announced that outfielder Lewis Brinson and right-handed pitcher Luis Ortiz were included in a trade with the Milwaukee Brewers for All-Star catcher Jonathan Lucroy and relief pitcher Jeremy Jeffress.

This is not the only time the RoughRiders lost a player on the day of the deadline. Let’s have a look back at a few major deadline deals that involved RoughRiders players from that season.

July 31, 2015: The Texas Rangers traded RoughRiders LHP Cody Ege and former Riders catcher Tomas Telis to the Miami Marlins for pitcher Sam Dyson.

Ege left the Riders on a stretch of 13 straight relief appearances without allowing an earned run. He was assigned to Double-A Jacksonville and quickly made his way up to Triple-A New Orleans by mid-August. Ege made his Major League debut for the Marlins earlier this year on April 23 and pitched in five games for Miami.

Telis, who made his Major League debut in 2014 for the Rangers, finished the 2015 season on the Marlins 25-man roster. He has played in two games for the big-league club this year, with the majority of his 2016 action coming in Triple-A New Orleans.

July 31, 2011: The Texas Rangers traded RoughRiders SPs Robbie Erlin and Joe Wieland to the San Diego Padres for Mike Adams.

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Joe Wieland, 2011

 

One of the bigger impact trades on the list, the Rangers gave up two very good starting pitching prospects to get one of the best relievers in the National League at the time. For a while it appeared the Rangers would acquire Padres closer Heath Bell, and out of seemingly nowhere, picked up Adams instead.

Erlin and Wieland were both staples of the 2011 ‘Riders rotation. Erlin was 5-2 with a 4.32 ERA in 11 appearances, 10 starts, after his late May promotion from Myrtle Beach. Wieland was not called up from the Pelicans’ squad until mid-June but adapted quickly to Texas League batters. The big righthander was 4-0 with a 1.23 ERA as a RoughRiders pitcher and pitched a nine-inning no-hitter in his final start as a Rangers farmhand on July 29, 2011.

July 31, 2006: The Texas Rangers traded RoughRiders RP Jose Diaz to the Kansas City Royals for Matt Stairs

Attempting a run at the 2006 AL West Crown, the Rangers went out and aquired 38-year-old Matt Stairs, who didn’t hit much for the Rangers (.210/.273/.370) in 26 games down the stretch. Amazingly, Stairs went on to play five more seasons in the big leagues, none of them for Texas.

The cost was Jose Diaz, who got a quick promotion to Triple-A after a stellar start for the Riders in 2006. In eight games, four starts, Diaz posted a 2-0 record with a 1.29 ERA. He pitched in just four games in the majors for the Royals, all coming in 2006. The Rangers actually signed him again in 2008. He pitched for Frisco again, and made it up to Arlington for a single appearance with the big league club.

July 31, 2006: The Texas Rangers traded RoughRiders RP Jesse Chavez to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Kip Wells

Chavez made 38 appearances with the Riders before his promotion to Triple-A in late July and was traded after one appearance for the Triple-A Oklahoma City Redhawks (then a Rangers affiliate). Chavez has played with five different Major League clubs and was just involved in another deadline deal today. He was shipped from the Toronto Blue Jays to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

– Steve

Baseball term of the day: Brew Crew – Nickname for the Milwaukee Brewers, so named after its 13-game winning streak at the beginning of the 1987 season.

Saddle Up: Riders vs. San Antonio (7/31)

GAME #106 (2nd HALF GAME #37)

Frisco RoughRiders (52-53 overall, 14-22 2nd half) vs. San Antonio Missions (41-65 overall, 19-17 2nd half)
Sunday, July 31 – 6:05 p.m.
Dr Pepper Ballpark – Frisco, TX
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Watch: Fox Sports Southwest and MiLB.TV (Nathan Barnett and Michael Tepid)
Listen: Streaming online and on the TuneIn Radio app (Ryan Rouillard and Steve Goldberg)
Live stats: Click here
—————————————–
This series: Game 4 of 4 (Missions lead 2-1)
This season: Game 24 of 32 (Riders lead 16-7)

FRISCO LINEUP

  1. Lewis Brinson – CF
  2. Luis Marte – SS
  3. Ronald Guzman – 1B
  4. Ryan Cordell – LF
  5. Joe Jackson – RF
  6. Isiah Kiner-Falefa – 3B
  7. Alexeis Bell – DH
  8. Kellin Deglan – C
  9. Alberto Triunfel – 2B

RHP Ariel Jurado (0-1, 3.00 ERA)

RIDERS RECAP: Saturday vs. San Antonio (L, 11-7 – 10 innings)

Box Score
Recap
Postgame Notes

PREGAME INTERVIEW: Manager Joe Mikulik

Coming up shortly! (around 5:45 p.m. on the Dr Pepper Pregame Show)

SETTING THE STAGE (full game notes here)

LAST TIME OUT:

Despite a game-tying rally in the ninth inning, the RoughRiders were defeated by the Missions 11-7 in 10 innings Saturday in front of 10,483 fans at Dr Pepper Ballpark…LEWIS BRINSON tied the game in the ninth with a two-out bloop RBI double to shallow right field…Brinson and LUIS MARTE both registered three-hit games…In the 10th, Nick Schulz and Gabriel Quintana hit two-run homers against RYAN LEDBETTER to reclaim the lead for good…The Riders led 6-1 after the first five innings, but San Antonio came back with three runs in the sixth and eighth against the Riders bullpen.

SHOCKER AGAINST SAN ANTONIO:

Last night, the Riders let a 6-1 lead slip away in an extra-inning loss. The bullpen was rocked for 10 runs on seven hits, with three home runs accounting for seven of San Antonio’s runs. The five-run rally was the largest of the season for an opponent against Frisco, topping the previous high of a four-run comeback by Springfield on May 28.

NO TWO-RUN LEAD IS SAFE:

In six of the last seven games between the RoughRiders and Missions, including all three in this series, the team who has taken a two-run lead first has ultimately ended up losing. The Riders have come from behind to win seven games over San Antonio this season, including three in the last seven games. The Missions have rallied for five wins against Frisco, with three coming in the seven recent meetings.

FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS:

Cuban star ALEXEIS BELL joined the Riders Thursday and has gone 2-for-13 with two RBI in his first three games. Texas signed Bell to a minor league contract on July 15, and he began his stateside career with the Arizona League Rangers. In four AZL games, Bell went 4-for-16 with a walk and two strikeouts. Bell played his first 14 professional seasons in the Cuban National Series, where he was a career .319 hitter with 138 home runs and 632 RBI in 659 games. Bell spent last season with Quebec in the Canadian- American Association and played nine games with Quintana Roo of the Mexican League this May. He represented Cuba in the 2008 Olympics and the 2013 World Baseball Classic.

RIDERS CROWD MLBPIPELINE TOP 10:

The most recent MLBPipeline.com rankings include nine RoughRiders ranked in the Top 30 from the Rangers farm system, and six landed a spot in the Top 10. LEWIS BRINSON held on to his No. 2 ranking, while LUIS ORTIZ (3) and YOHANDER MENDEZ (4) are now classified as the top two pitching prospects in the organization. ANDY IBANEZ (6), RONALD GUZMAN (8), and RYAN CORDELL (9) all enter the Top 10 for the first time this season. MLBPipeline also released their mid-season top 100 prospect list, and four Rangers prospects made the cut. Former Rider Joey Gallo topped the list at No. 15, followed by Brinson (22), Ortiz (65), and Mendez (69).

SMOKING SAN ANTONIO:

The RoughRiders have dominated this year’s season-series against the Missions so far. Frisco has won 16 of the first 23 matchups between the two clubs, outscoring San Antonio 119-94 (5.2- 4.1 runs per game). The Riders began this year’s matchups by sweeping the Missions in two straight four-game series. However, San Antonio has been more competitive lately, as the Missions have won six of the last 10 meetings between the two teams.

SLIPPING DOWN IN THE STANDINGS:

After three straight losses to Midland to begin the week, the RoughRiders are now 10 games behind the RockHounds for first place in the South Division second half standings. Frisco has 34 games left in the half, with nine coming against Midland. The 10-game deficit is the largest the team has faced this half.

CARDIAC KIDS:

Seven of the last nine Riders games have been decided by just a single run, and Frisco has played in a total of 11 one-run games in the month of July. The Riders have played in more one-run games (39) than all but one Texas League team (Corpus Christi is first with 40). The club has had success in those games as well, going 22-17, the third-best winning percentage in the league (Springfield is first, 18-8, .692 win percentage). Additionally, 51 of the 105 games played have seen the winner come back from a deficit at some point. Frisco is 29-22 in these games.

OPPOSING STARTER:

The RoughRiders face 28-year-old righty Seth Simmons tonight… Simmons is making his 14th appearance and ninth start for the Missions after being signed by the Padres as a free agent on May 24… Simmons, the former Diamondbacks farmhand who began the season with Triple-A Reno, was released by Arizona on May 20 and assigned to San Antonio upon joining the San Diego organization…He pitched a scoreless inning of relief against Frisco in his third outing with the Missions on June 9, allowing two hits in the frame and striking out one batter…The sixth-year pro made the first start of his Minor League career on June 17 at Midland…After one more relief appearance four days later, Simmons permanently joined San Antonio’s rotation and is now making his eighth straight start…He most recently tossed a career- high 6 2/3 innings in his last start Tuesday against Corpus Christi… Simmons has not allowed more than three runs in any of his appearances so far as a member of the Padres organization, and he has only given up one run in his last 22 innings pitched…The Winston-Salem, North Carolina native was selected by the Diamondbacks in the 40th round of the 2011 MLB Draft out of East Carolina University…REPERTOIRE: Fastball (low 90s), slider (low-to-mid 80s), slurve

Riding Through the Farm (July 31)

Riding Through the Farm v3

“Riding Through the Farm” is your weekly look at what’s going on in the Rangers organization outside of Frisco.

TEXAS RANGERS (61-44 – 1st, AL West)

The Rangers are starting to turn the corner after a slow resumption from the All-Star break. Texas has taken the first three games from Kansas City and is going for the sweep this afternoon.

Earlier this week, the Rangers traded High Desert infielder Travis Demeritte to the Atlanta organization for pitchers Lucas Harrell (starting today) and Dario Alvarez. Demeritte has been assigned to Class A-Advanced Carolina.

Joey Gallo is back with the Rangers and homered in his return to the big leagues earlier this week.

Plus, Mitch Moreland is blistering hot right now, hitting a walk-off homer last night and has four homers in his last four games (including today)

Texas is reportedly making a push for Jonathan Lucroy, who blocked a potential trade to Cleveland earlier today. The trade deadline is tomorrow. Per Jon Morosi, the Brewers would potentially be seeking Luis Ortiz or Yohander Mendez as part of the return package.

Today: vs. Kansas City, 2:05 p.m. (SP: RHP Lucas Harrell)

TRIPLE-A ROUND ROCK EXPRESS (51-57 – T-3rd, PCL American Southern Division)

The Express have been sliding a bit lately, but bounced back last night with a 13-7 win over Memphis that featured four home runs.

Preston Beck is hitting .320 (8-for-25) through his first six games with the Express, but hasn’t played since Tuesday. Alex Burg is 4-for-19 with three doubles since going up last week.

Next: Tonight vs. Memphis (SP: RHP Nick Martinez)

CLASS-A ADVANCED HIGH DESERT MAVERICKS (63-42 overall, 20-15 second half – 1st place overall, California League South Division)

The Mavericks have thrived late in games the last few nights, scoring come-from-behind wins against Dodgers-affiliated Rancho Cucamonga, joining the Mavericks as one of the best teams in the California League.

Outfielder Scott Heineman is in the midst of a hot stretch for the Mavericks, going 9-for-20 with four homers and six RBI in his last five games.

Former Riders pitcher Reed Garrett makes the start tonight for the Mavs, his second since going down on July 22. Garrett gave up six earned runs in five innings in his first start back with High Desert.

Today: at Rancho Cucamonga, 4:05 (SP: RHP Reed Garrett)

CLASS-A HICKORY CRAWDADS (55-49 overall, 17-17 second half – 4th overall, South Atlantic League Northern Division)

After struggling for awhile, the Crawdads are leveling back out a bit in the last few weeks. They remain in the hunt for the second-half title, sitting 3.5 games behind first-place Hagerstown with 36 games to go.

The ‘Dads are currently taking on Hagerstown but have dropped two of the first three games in the four-game set. The finale is today, and a split would be important toward keeping Hickory close in the race.

Last year’s first-round pick Dillon Tate had another so-so outing on Thursday, giving up four runs on seven hits in 4 1/3 innings. Tate has a 3-3 record and a 5.12 ERA through 17 outings (16 starts) this year.

Today: vs. Hagerstown, 5:00 p.m. (SP: RHP Jonathan Hernandez)

CLASS A-SHORT SEASON SPOKANE INDIANS (21-22 overall, 2-3 second half – Northwest League North Division first half champions)

The Indians finished strong in the first half, edging out Padres-affiliated Tri-City to win the first half. They join High Desert as the two teams in the farm system to win the opening half, while the other affiliates are still seeking a playoff berth in the latter half of the season.

Xavier Turner is pacing the Mavericks with a .333 average in his first 28 games. On the mound, the team ERA of 4.01 doesn’t sound all that good, but it puts the Indians fourth in the eight-team Northwest League, where the league’s best ERA is currently 3.42 (Tri-City).

Tonight: vs. Everett, 5:30 p.m. (SP: RHP Tyler Phillips)

– Ryan

Baseball term of the day: KP Duty – Assignment to the bullpen

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary

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