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Saddle Up: Riders at San Antonio (5/3/16)

GAME #24
Frisco RoughRiders (17-6) at San Antonio Missions (9-15)
Tuesday, May 3 – 7:05 p.m.
Wolff Stadium (San Antonio, TX)
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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 5 of 32 (Riders lead, 4-0)

Weber

Garrett Weber went 3-for-4 Monday and has multi-hit games in his last three games

FRISCO LINEUP

  1. Luis Mendez – SS
  2. Garrett Weber – 3B
  3. Lewis Brinson – CF
  4. Ronald Guzman – 1B
  5. Alex Burg – DH
  6. Zach Cone – LF
  7. Preston Beck – RF
  8. Alberto Triunfel – 2B
  9. Kellin Deglan – C

LHP Victor Payano (2-0, 4.15 ERA)

RIDERS RECAP: Monday vs. Corpus Christi (L, 8-2)

Box Score
Recap
Postgame Notes

SETTING THE STAGE (full game notes here)

LAST TIME OUT:
The RoughRiders suffered their largest defeat of the season, falling 8-2 to the Corpus Christi Hooks on Monday night at Dr Pepper Ballpark…The Hooks scored four runs in the first, including two on a single from Chase McDonald, who drove in 11 runs in the series…The Riders were shutout until LUIS MENDEZ homered in the eighth inning, but Frisco was down 7-1 at that point…Both teams traded runs in the ninth inning…SAM WOLFF lasted a season-low four innings and walked a season-high five batters.

RIDING INTO THE HISTORY BOOKS:
At 17-6, the RoughRiders have the best 23-game start in team history, besting the 2008 squad. The 2008 RoughRiders finished with an 84-56 record and lost to Arkansas in the Texas League championship series.

‘DELL-IGHTFUL START:
RYAN CORDELL has been on a roll early in the season, currently ranking second in the Texas League in doubles (9), RBI (23), and slugging percentage (.678), In addition, Cordell has more extra-base hits (16) than singles (14). He’s already tied or surpassed many of his stats with Frisco from last year, when he hit .217 with five doubles, five home runs, and 18 RBI in 56 games. Cordell was rewarded with Texas League Player of the Month honors yesterday, after winning Player of the Week last Monday. The 24-year-old hit .363 in April with five home runs (two grand slams) and 22 RBI.

GOING STREAKING:
Cordell has not only been off to a great start, but he’s been producing consistently for Frisco early in 2016. Although his 17-game hitting streak came to an end after going 0-for-3 yesterday, he drew a walk to increase his league-high on-base streak to 23 games. Dating back to the final three games of 2015, he has reached base in 26 straight contests.

YU BETTER BELIEVE IT:
Right-handed pitcher YU DARVISH threw two scoreless innings for the RoughRiders Sunday afternoon, allowing just one walk. It was the right-hander’s first rehabilitation start, as he continues to recover from Tommy John surgery last year.

GIMENEZ JIVING IN REHAB STINT:
In a weekend highlighted by Darvish and JOSH HAMILTON, catcher CHRIS GIMENEZ has been rehabbing with Frisco since Monday, and has performed very well. He has reached base in six of the seven games and has driven in a run in four. Gimenez has split his time between catcher and designated hitter so far.

BURG BUSTING BACK ON TO THE SCENE:
Since returning from a short stay with Triple-A Round Rock, ALEX BURG has been on a tear for Frisco. In his first seven games back, Burg is hitting .440 (11-for-25), with three home runs and seven RBI. Burg has hits in all seven games since his return.

“ONE”-DERFUL IN CLOSE GAMES:
Despite leading the Texas League in run differential (+35), Frisco’s last nine games have been decided by a total of 16 runs, including seven one-run contests (5-2). The Riders are 6-3 in one-run games this year.

STARTING SERIES STRONG:
With Friday night’s win, the RoughRiders improved to 7-0 in series openers this season. The Riders have won five of their first seven series, including a series sweep against San Antonio at home last week.

FIRST FRAME FUN:
After scoring just one first-inning run in the first 11 games, the Riders have outscored opponents, 18-6, in the last 11 first innings. Frisco scored runs in the first inning of the first two games against San Antonio last week.

THE ‘PEN IS MIGHTIER:
Part of the key for the Riders historic start to the season has been the strong bullpen, protecting leads late in games. The bullpen holds an ERA of just 2.68 through the first 23 games, and has wiggled out of numerous late-game jams. MATT BUSH and ADAM PARKS each have three saves so far for Frisco, and the team is 7-for-7 in save chances.

CRANKING UP CROOKED NUMBERS:
Early in the season, the RoughRiders have shown an ability to not only score in bunches but keep opponents from doing the same. The RoughRiders have tallied 10 innings of four or more runs (five four-run innings, four five-run frames and a six-spot). Meanwhile, the Riders have only allowed five innings of more than two runs.

SEPARATION IN THE SIXTH:
The RoughRiders have found immense success, both at the plate and on the mound, in the sixth inning this season. Frisco has outscored opponents, 25-9, in the sixth frame through 23 games. The Riders struck for their biggest inning of the year with a six-run sixth on April 14 vs. Northwest Arkansas.

RANGER DANGER:
The RoughRiders aren’t the only Rangers affiliate off to a hot start. Overall, the Rangers farm system is 66-30 (.688), which is the best winning percentage among all minor-league systems. Class A-Advanced High Desert enters the day at 19-6, while Class-A Hickory is 17-8, and Triple-A Round Rock is 13-10. Round Rock was recently ranked the fifth-best Minor League team (any level) by MLB.com’s Jim Callis.

OPPOSING STARTER:
Former RoughRider Fabio Castillo gets the start for the Missions today…The right-handed hurler is off to a good start, allowing three or fewer runs in his first four starts before Frisco hit him hard last time out…the 27-year-old spent seven seasons in the Rangers organization and three years with Frisco (2010-2012)…This is his first year with the Padres after spending time in the Giants, Reds, and Orioles systems and pitched last year in the Mexican League…REPERTOIRE: fastball (93-98), 86-88 mph slider, that replaced his curve with quick, lateral action a lot like a cutter. He also has a 78-80 mph changeup.

Weber providing boost from the bottom of the order

The RoughRiders dropped their second straight contest last night, falling 8-2 to Corpus Christi. One of the bright spots in Monday’s game, though, was the bottom of the order,

26752855676_e55b3b0148_zwhich combined to go 6-12 with both RBI (the top six spots in the order finished 4-23). Preston Beck was 2-4 with an RBI and Luis Mendez hit his first home run of the season for the RoughRiders.

“I think it was just beginning of the season for me,” said Weber about the slow start. “I just knew that I had to get the hang of it and get in the groove of Double-A pitching again.”

And then there’s Garett Weber, who continued his impressive stretch as of late with a 3-4 night at the plate. After going hitless in his first nine at-bats, the 27-year-old infielder is 8-for his last-16 at the plate, including three straight multi-hit games. And all the while, he’s also drawn four walks and scored six times.

Weber joined the Riders from Extended Spring Training on Monday to help fill some of the void left by the injured Luis Marte. It’s his first season in the Rangers organization after spending the first five years of his career as a member of the Diamondbacks farm system. The Rangers acquired him this December in the minor league phase of the Rule 5 Draft. The Fresno State product was a career .299 hitter in his five seasons with the Arizona organization, and reached Triple-A Reno in 2014 and 2015.

26622997062_544f6acb8f_zWeber, who played his 500th career game on Sunday, is an intriguing addition the roster, and seems like someone that can provide some veteran leadership later in the season as he gets his feet more firmly under him in the Rangers organization.

“I feel like as the year goes on, [I’ll] maybe try to take on a little bit of a leadership role,” said Weber. “I’ve been there, I’ve been to the playoffs in Double-A, I’ve been in the playoffs in Triple-A. So, to kind of get there, maybe share some of my experience along the way.”

Once Marte comes off the DL, we’ll find out what’s next for Weber. However, if he keeps playing at this level, it’ll be hard to put him anywhere below Double-A.

For more on his transition to the Rangers organization and his thoughts on his first week with Frisco, listen to my interview with him that aired yesterday on the Dr Pepper Pregame Show.

– Ryan

Baseball term of the day: Weed eater – A ground ball that hugs the ground

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary

Saddle Up: Riders vs. Corpus Christi (5/2/16)

GAME #23
Frisco RoughRiders (17-5) vs Corpus Christi Hooks (10-12)
Monday, May 2 – 7:05 p.m.
Dr Pepper Ballpark (Frisco, TX)
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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 4 of 4 (Riders lead, 2-1)
This season: Game 7 of 32 (Riders lead, 4-2)

FRISCO LINEUP

  1. Isiah Kiner-Falefa – SS
  2. Chris Gimenez – C
  3. Lewis Brinson – RF
  4. Ryan Cordell – CF
  5. Alex Burg – DH
  6. Joe Jackson – LF
  7. Garrett Weber – 2B
  8. Preston Beck – 1B
  9. Luis Mendez – 3B

RHP Sam Wolff (4-0, 2.57 ERA)

RIDERS RECAP: Sunday vs. Corpus Christi (L, 4-3)

Box Score
Recap
Postgame Notes

SETTING THE STAGE (full game notes here)

LAST TIME OUT: Rangers All-Star pitcher YU DARVISH made the start for Frisco in front of the fourth-largest crowd in Dr Pepper Ballpark history. Darvish pitched well in his two innings, but the Riders still fell to the Hooks by a score of 4-3. LEWIS BRINSON and RYAN CORDELL clubbed back-to-back home runs in the first inning for the Riders, who saw their six-game winning streak snapped.

RIDING INTO THE HISTORY BOOKS: At 17-5, the RoughRiders have the best 22-game start in team history, besting the 2008 squad. The 2008 RoughRiders finished with an 84-56 record and lost to Arkansas in the Texas League championship series.

‘DELL-IGHTFUL START: RYAN CORDELL has been on a roll early in the season, currently ranking second in the Texas League in average (.357), doubles (9), home runs (6), RBI (23), and slugging percentage (.702), In addition, Cordell has more extra-base hits (16) than singles (14). He’s already tied or surpassed many of his stats with Frisco from last year, when he hit .217 with five doubles, five home runs and 18 RBI in 56 games. Cordell was rewarded with Texas League Player of the Month honors today, after winning Player of the Week last Monday. The 24-year-old hit .363 in April with five home runs and 22 RBI.

GOING STREAKING: Cordell has not only been off to a great start, but he’s been producing consistently for Frisco early in 2016. He rides a 17-game hit streak into today’s game and has been on base in all 22 contests this year, both of which are the Texas League’s longest streaks. Dating back to the final three games of 2015, he has reached base in 25 straight contests.

YU BETTER BELIEVE IT: Right-handed pitcher YU DARVISH threw two scoreless innings for the RoughRiders Sunday afternoon, allowing just one walk. It was the righthander’s first rehabilitation start, as he continues to recover from Tommy John surgery last year.

GIMENEZ JIVING IN REHAB STINT: In a weekend highlighted by Darvish and JOSH HAMILTON, catcher CHRIS GIMENEZ has been rehabbing with Frisco since Monday, and has performed very well. He has reached base in all six games, and has driven in a run in four. Gimenez has split his time between catcher and designated hitter so far.

BURG BUSTING BACK ON TO THE SCENE: Since returning from a short stay with Triple-A Round Rock, ALEX BURG has been on a tear for Frisco. In his first six games back, Burg is hitting .476 (10-for-21), with three home runs and seven RBI. Burg has hits in all six games since his return.

“ONE”-DERFUL IN CLOSE GAMES: Despite leading the Texas League in run differential (+41), Frisco’s last eight games have been decided by a total of 10 runs, including seven one-run contests (5-2). The Riders are 6-3 in one-run games this year.

SEEKING THE SERIES: With a win tonight, the Riders will win their sixth series out of seven total. It would also mark a second series win against Corpus Christi in as many tries, after only winning two of eight series against the Hooks in 2015.

FIRST FRAME FUN: After scoring just one first-inning run in the first 11 games, the Riders have outscored opponents, 18-2, in the last 11 first innings. The Riders have scored first-inning runs in five of six games against the Hooks this year, outscoring them, 12-2.

THE ‘PEN IS MIGHTIER: Part of the key for the Riders historic start to the season has been the strong bullpen, protecting leads late in games. The bullpen holds an ERA of just 2.62 through the first 22 games, and has wiggled out of numerous late-game jams. MATT BUSH and ADAM PARKS each have three saves so far for Frisco, and the team is 7-for-7 in save chances.

CRANKING UP CROOKED NUMBERS: Early in the season, the RoughRiders have shown an ability to not only score in bunches but keep opponents from doing the same. The RoughRiders have tallied 10 innings of four or more runs (five four-run innings, four five-run frames and a six-spot). Meanwhile, the Riders have only allowed four innings of more than two runs.

SEPARATION IN THE SIXTH: The RoughRiders have found immense success, both at the plate and on the mound, in the sixth inning this season. Frisco has outscored opponents, 25-8, in the sixth frame through 22 games. The Riders struck for their biggest inning of the year with a six-run sixth April 14 vs Northwest Arkansas.

STARTING SERIES STRONG: With Friday night’s win, the RoughRiders improved to 7-0 in series openers this season. The Riders have won five of their first six series, including a series victory at Corpus Christi last weekend.

RANGER DANGER: The RoughRiders aren’t the only Rangers affiliate off to a hot start. Overall, the Rangers farm system is 63-29 (.685), good for the second-best winning percentage among all minor-league systems. Class A-Advanced High Desert enters the day at 18-6, while Class-A Hickory is 16-8, and Triple-A Round Rock is 12-10. Round Rock was recently ranked the fifth-best Minor League team (any level) by MLB.com’s Jim Callis.

April by the Numbers

0 – Losses in series openers

1 – Place in Texas League South division standings

2 – Grand slams for Ryan Cordell

2.95 – Earned run average (lowest in league)

3 – Series sweeps

3.5 – Games ahead of second-place Midland

4 – Total losses

5 – Straight road wins to open the season

5.2 – Runs scored per game (most in league)

6 – Longest win streak (4/25-4/30)

– Wins in series openers

8 – Comeback wins

– Doubles for Cordell (leads league)

10 – Innings with four or more runs scored

11.1 – Consecutive scoreless innings pitched by Ryne Slack

12 – Longest game (innings), Riders came back to beat Arkansas 6-4

13 – Wins when leading after six innings (no losses)

14 – Singles for Cordell

15 – Extra-base hits for Cordell

16 – Cordell’s league-leading hit streak

17 – Total wins

18 – Home runs

19 – Consecutive batters retired by Richelson Pena (4/7-4/11)

20 – Runs scored by Cordell (leads league)

21 – Games played (best start in team history)

22 – RBI for Cordell (leads Rangers organization – MLB & MiLB)

24 – Sixth-inning runs

42 – Run differential (largest in league)

61 – Total wins by Rangers affiliates, more than any other farm system

6,682 – Average attendance (highest in league)

10,004 – Largest crowd at Dr Pepper Ballpark (4/30)

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– Steve

Baseball term of the day: automobile squint – The theory when automobiles first became popular that driving one adversely affected a ballplayer’s batting eye.

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary)

Saddle Up: Riders vs Corpus Christi (5/1/16)

GAME #22
Frisco RoughRiders (17-4) vs Corpus Christi Hooks (9-12)
Sunday, May 1 – 4:05 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
—————————————–

Darvish

Yu Darvish makes the start for the Riders today, as he begins a rehab assignment

This series: Game 3 of 4 (Riders lead, 2-0)
This season: Game 6 of 32 (Riders lead, 4-1)

FRISCO LINEUP

  1. Isiah Kiner-Falefa – SS
  2. Chris Gimenez – C
  3. Lewis Brinson – CF
  4. Ryan Cordell – LF
  5. Ronald Guzman – 1B
  6. Zach Cone – RF
  7. Joe Jackson – DH
  8. Garrett Weber – 3B
  9. Alberto Triunfel – 2B

RHP Yu Darvish (0-0, -.– ERA)

RIDERS RECAP: Saturday vs. Corpus Christi (W, 4-3)
Video highlights
Box Score
Recap
Postgame Notes

SETTING THE STAGE (full game notes here)

LAST TIME OUT:
For the second straight night, the Riders staged a dramatic comeback late in the game, putting up three runs in the ninth to walk off on the Hooks, 4-3. ZACH CONE delivered the walk-off single, giving Frisco its second walk-off win of the homestand.CHASE McDONALD homered for the second time in as many games to get the Hooks a 2-1 lead in the sixth, and Corpus Christi added an unearned run in the 9th, canceling out an unearned run for the Riders in the second inning.

RIDING INTO THE HISTORY BOOKS:
At 17-4, the RoughRiders have the best 21-game start in team history, besting the 2008 squad. The 2008 RoughRiders finished with an 84-56 record and lost to Arkansas in the Texas League championship series.

‘DELL-IGHTFUL START:
RYAN CORDELL has been on a roll early in the season, leading the Texas League in average doubles (9), runs (20), and slugging percentage (.688), while he ranks second in many other categories. In addition, Cordell has more extra-base hits (15) than singles (14). He’s already tied or surpassed many of his stats with Frisco from last year, when he hit .217 with five doubles, five home runs and 18 RBI in 56 games.
GOING STREAKING:
Cordell has not only been off to a great start, but he’s been producing consistently for Frisco early in 2016. He rides a 16-game hit streak into today’s game and has been on base in all 21 contests this year, both of which are the Texas League’s longest streaks. Dating back to the final three games of 2015, he has reached base in 24 straight contests.

HERE COMES HAMILTON:
Rangers outfielder JOSH HAMILTON began his rehabilitation assignment with the RoughRiders Saturday, going 0-for-2 (flyout, reach on error) in four innings as the starting left fielder.

YU READY FOR DARVISH?:
Right-handed pitcher YU DARVISH is scheduled to begin a Major League rehabilitation assignment with the Riders today. The three-time American League All-Star is slateed to throw two innings or 30 pitches.

GIMENEZ JIVING IN REHAB STINT:
While Hamilton and Darvish are just arriving, catcher CHRIS GIMENEZ has been rehabbing with Frisco since Monday, and has performed very well. He has recorded hits in all five games, and has driven in a run in four. Gimenez has split his time between catcher and designated hitter so far.

BURG BUSTING BACK ON TO THE SCENE:
Since returning from a short stay with Triple-A Round Rock, ALEX BURG has been on a tear for Frisco. In his first six games back, Burg is hitting .476 (10-for-21), with three home runs and seven RBI. Burg has hits in all six games since his return.

“ONE”-DERFUL IN CLOSE GAMES:
Despite leading the Texas League in run differential (+42), Frisco’s last seven games have been decided by a total of nine runs, including six one-run contests (5-1). The Riders are 6-2 in one-run games this year.

FIRST FRAME FUN:
After scoring just one first-inning run in the first 11 games, the Riders have outscored opponents, 16-2, in the last ten first innings. The Riders have scored first-inning runs in four of five games against the Hooks this year, outscoring them, 10-2.

THE ‘PEN IS MIGHTIER:
Part of the key for the Riders historic start to the season has been the strong bullpen, protecting leads late in games. The bullpen holds an ERA of just 2.39 through the first 21 games, and has wiggled out of numerous late-game jams. MATT BUSH and ADAM PARKS each have three saves so far for Frisco, and the team is 7-for-7 in save chances.

CRANKING UP CROOKED NUMBERS:
Early in the season, the RoughRiders have shown an ability to not only score in bunches but keep opponents from doing the same. The RoughRiders have tallied 10 innings of four or more runs (five four-run innings, four five-run frames and a six-spot). Meanwhile, the Riders have only allowed four innings of more than two runs.

SEPARATION IN THE SIXTH:
The RoughRiders have found immense success, both at the plate and on the mound, in the sixth inning this season. Frisco has outscored opponents, 24-7, in the sixth frame through 21 games. The Riders struck for their biggest inning of the year with a six-run sixth April 14 vs Northwest Arkansas.

STARTING SERIES STRONG:
With Friday night’s win, the RoughRiders improved to 7-0 in series openers this season. The Riders have won five of their first six series, including a series victory at Corpus Christi last weekend.

RANGER DANGER:
The RoughRiders aren’t the only Rangers affiliate off to a hot start. Overall, the Rangers farm system is 61-27 (.693), good for the best winning percentage among all minor-league systems. Class A-Advanced High Desert enters the day at 17-6, while Class-A Hickory is 15-8, and Triple-A Round Rock is 12-9. Round Rock was recently ranked the fifth-best Minor League team (any level) by MLB.com’s Jim Callis.

Saddle Up: Riders vs. Corpus Christi (4/30/16)

GAME #21
Frisco RoughRiders (16-4) vs Corpus Christi Hooks (9-11)
Saturday, April 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 2 of 4 (Riders lead, 1-0)
This season: Game 5 of 32 (Riders lead, 3-1)

FRISCO LINEUP

  1. Isiah Kiner-Falefa – C
  2. Chris Gimenez – DH
  3. Josh Hamilton – LF
  4. Lewis Brinson – CF
  5. Ryan Cordell – RF
  6. Ronald Guzman – 1B
  7. Garrett Weber – 2B
  8. Luis Mendez – 3B
  9. Alberto Triunfel – SS

LHP Frank Lopez (2-0, 3.32 ERA)

RIDERS RECAP: Friday vs. Corpus Christi (W, 8-7)

Box Score
Recap
Postgame Notes

SETTING THE STAGE (full game notes here)

LAST TIME OUT: The Riders and Hooks were locked in a backand-forth affair, culminated by a dramatic five-run eighth inning that helped Frisco to an 8-7 win. The Hooks broke a 3-3 tie in the seventh on a Chase McDonald grand slam to center field, but the Riders countered back with the big eighth inning. CODY PALMQUIST worked two innings in his Double-A debut, and escaped a bases-loaded jam in the ninth to preserve the victory.

RIDING INTO THE HISTORY BOOKS: At 16-4, the RoughRiders have the best 20- game start in team history, besting the 2008 squad. The 2008 RoughRiders finished with an 84-56 record and lost to Arkansas in the Texas League championship series.

‘DELL-IGHTFUL START: RYAN CORDELL has been on a roll early in the season, leading the Texas League in average (.351), doubles (9), extra-base hits (15), RBI (22), and slugging percentage (.688). In addition, Cordell has more extra-base hits (15) than singles (12). He’s already tied or surpassed many of his stats with Frisco from last year, when he hit .217 with five doubles, five home runs and 18 RBI in 56 games.

GOING STREAKING: Cordell has not only been off to a great start, but he’s been producing consistently for Frisco early in 2016. He rides a 15-game hit streak into today’s game and has been on base in all 20 contests this year, both of which are the Texas League’s longest streaks. Dating back to the final three games of 2015, he has reached base in 23 straight contests.

HERE COMES HAMILTON: Rangers outfielder JOSH HAMILTON is scheduled to begin a Major League rehabilitation assignment with the RoughRiders today, as he recovers from left knee inflammation. This will be Hamilton’s fifth time rehabbing with the RoughRiders.

YU READY FOR SUNDAY?: Wednesday, the Rangers announced that righthanded pitcher YU DARVISH will begin a Major League rehabilitation assignment with the Riders. The three-time American League All-Star will make a start on Sunday when the RoughRiders host the Corpus Christi Hooks at 4:05 p.m. Darvish is scheduled to throw 2.0 innings or 30 pitches.

BURG BUSTING BACK ON TO THE SCENE: Since returning from a short stay with Triple-A Round Rock, ALEX BURG has been on a tear for Frisco. In his first six games back, Burg is hitting .476 (10-for-21), with three home runs and seven RBI. Burg has hits in all six games since his return.

“ONE”-DERFUL IN CLOSE GAMES: Despite leading the Texas League in run differential (+41), Frisco’s last six games have been decided by a total of eight runs, including five one-run contests. The Riders are 5-2 in one-run games this year.

STARTING SERIES STRONG: With Friday night’s win, the RoughRiders improved to 7-0 in series openers this season. The Riders have won five of their first six series, including a series victory at Corpus Christi last weekend.

FIRST FRAME FUN: After scoring just one first-inning run in the first 11 games, the Riders have outscored opponents, 16-2, in the last nine first innings. The Riders have scored first-inning runs in all four game against the Hooks this year, outscoring them, 10-2.

THE ‘PEN IS MIGHTIER: Part of the key for the Riders historic start to the season has been the strong bullpen, protecting leads late in games. The bullpen holds an ERA of just 2.49 through the first 20 games, and has wiggled out of numerous late-game jams. MATT BUSH and ADAM PARKS each have three saves so far for Frisco, and the team is 7-for-7 in save chances.

CRANKING UP CROOKED NUMBERS: Early in the season, the RoughRiders have shown an ability to not only score in bunches but keep opponents from doing the same. The RoughRiders have tallied 10 innings of four or more runs (five four-run innings, four five-run frames and a six-spot). Meanwhile, the Riders have only allowed four innings of more than two runs.

SEPARATION IN THE SIXTH: The RoughRiders have found immense success, both at the plate and on the mound, in the sixth inning this season. Frisco has outscored opponents, 24-5, in the sixth frame through 20 games. The Riders struck for their biggest inning of the year with a six-run sixth April 14 vs Northwest Arkansas.

RANGER DANGER: The RoughRiders aren’t the only Rangers affiliate off to a hot start. Overall, the Rangers farm system is 59-25 (.702), good for the best winning percentage among all minor-league systems. Class A-Advanced High Desert enters the day with the one of the best records in all of Minor League Baseball at 17-5, while Class-A Hickory is 15-7, and Triple-A Round Rock is 11-9. Round Rock was recently ranked the fifth-best Minor League team (any level) by MLB.com’s Jim Callis.

Rehabbing with the Riders: Chris Gimenez

This week has been an eventful one for the RoughRiders, winning all five games at home. The Riders have also been joined by Rangers catcher Chris Gimenez, another highlight of the past few days in addition to the success on the field. Gimenez was added to the roster earlier this week on a rehab assignment.

During the Major League veteran’s time here in Frisco, Gimenez has been assisting the younger players and giving valuable advice to everyone in the clubhouse. Earlier this week, we caught up with him and chatted about the experience. Here is an excerpt from the interview.

Steve Goldberg: You had a chance to meet a bunch of these guys at Spring Training. What did you know about the Riders players coming in to your rehab assignment?

Chris Gimenez: It’s just a good group of goofballs. The one thing I’ve noticed is that they keep the clubhouse extremely light and it’s a lot of fun. There’s a lot of music and a lot of talking. I think that’s good. That’s something you don’t see a lot of these days, with the iPads and iPhones. Everyone is in their chair playing on their different device. But this group is a good, close-knit group. These guys are having fun.

Chris Gimenez rounds the bases after hitting a home run in his first at-bat with Frisco.

Chris Gimenez rounds the bases after hitting a home run in his first at-bat with Frisco.

SG: How does being back here now compare to your own experience as a Minor Leaguer?

CG: This is the nicest ballpark I’ve ever played in aside from the big leagues, so it doesn’t make you feel like you’re in the Minor Leagues. From the ballpark, to the crowd, to the scenery around here, everything is gorgeous. Like I said, they take such good care of us around here that it really doesn’t make you feel like you’re in the Minor Leagues at all.

SG: Did you have experience working with Major League players on rehab assignments when you were in the Minors coming up?

CG: Absolutely. And at every level too. I always remember it being a really cool experience, just to try to talk to some of the guys. I’ve had some conversations with a couple of the guys down here that I’ve known for a little while as well. It’s nice to offer any sort of advice or just be there as someone to listen. Sometimes, you just need a deaf ear to fall on and somebody that you can just go out and have a normal conversation with. Someone that’s not a coach, someone that’s not trying to give you four different things you can do to fix your swing or to throw a strike. It’s the same for me. When you’re struggling, you just want to get out of it as quick as you can. But a lot of times, we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to do that. I think the biggest part of it is just trying to be relaxed as possible. Try to keep it like you were playing in Little League. We never had slumps in Little League because we always had fun doing it. That’s the motto I try to portray when I talk about stuff like that.

SG: You’re fighting for a spot as a catcher on the Rangers [25-man] roster. Does that competition impact you at all during these rehab games?

CG: Not at all. It’s out of my control. The only I can control is just trying to get myself back, in the best game shape I can possibly be in, and put myself in a position for them to have to make a decision on it. As much as I would like to say it’s in my control, I know it’s not. They’re going to have a decision to make.

So far, Gimenez is 5-for-14 (.357) with a home run and three RBI in four games with the Riders. He will be joined by fellow Rangers rehabbers Josh Hamilton tonight and Yu Darvish tomorrow.

– Steve

Baseball term of the day: baby act – A play considered “ungentlemanly” in the late 19th century, such as a bunt or an intentional base on balls.

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary)

Saddle Up: Riders vs. Corpus Christi (4/29/16)

GAME #20
Frisco RoughRiders (15-4) vs Corpus Christi Hooks (9-10)
Friday, April 29 – 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 4 of 32 (Riders lead, 2-1)

FRISCO LINEUP

  1. Isiah Kiner-Falefa – 3B
  2. Chris Gimenez – C
  3. Lewis Brinson – CF
  4. Ryan Cordell – RF
  5. Ronald Guzman – 1B
  6. Alex Burg – DH
  7. Zach Cone – LF
  8. Garrett Weber – 2B
  9. Alberto Triunfel – SS

RHP Reed Garrett (0-0, 2.08 ERA)

RIDERS RECAP: Thursday vs San Antonio (W, 6-5)

Box Score
Recap
Postgame Notes

SETTING THE STAGE (full game notes here)

LAST TIME OUT: The RoughRiders finished a four-game sweep of San Antonio with a 6-5 win over the Missions Thursday night. ALEX BURG went 2-for-4 with three RBI, including a go-ahead, two-run homer in the sixth. RONALD GUZMAN also went deep for the Riders. San Antonio missed good scoring opportunities in the seventh and eight innings, as relievers JOSE VALDESPINA and ADAM PARKS worked out of trouble to seal off a fourth straight win.

RIDING HIGH: The RoughRiders won nine of their first 10 games this season, marking the best 10-game start in team history. At 15-4, the RoughRiders are still on pace with the 2008 squad for the best start in the 14-year history of the franchise. With a win tonight, they’ll have the best 20-game start in team history. The 2008 RoughRiders finished with an 84-56 record and lost to Arkansas in the Texas League championship series.

‘DELL-IGHTFUL START: RYAN CORDELL has been on a roll early in the season, leading the Texas League in batting doubles (9), extra-base hits (15), RBI (21), and runs (18). In addition, Cordell has more extra-base hits (15) than singles (11). He’s already tied or surpassed many of his stats with Frisco from last year, when he hit .217 with five doubles, five home runs and 18 RBI in 56 games.

GOING STREAKING: Cordell has not only been off to a great start, but he’s been producing consistently for Frisco early in 2016. He rides a 14-game hit streak into today’s game and has been on base in all 19 contests this year, both of which are the Texas League’s longest streaks. Dating back to the final three games of 2015, he has reached base in 22 straight contests.

YU READY FOR SUNDAY?: Wednesday, the Rangers announced that righthanded pitcher Yu Darvish will begin a Major League rehabilitation assignment with the Riders. The three-time American League All-Star will make a start on Sunday when the RoughRiders host the Corpus Christi Hooks at 4:05 p.m. Darvish is scheduled to throw 2.0 innings or 30 pitches.

BURG BUSTING BACK ON TO THE SCENE: Since returning from a short stay with Triple-A Round Rock, ALEX BURG has been on a tear for Frisco. In his first five games back, Burg is hitting .500 (9-for-18), with three home runs and seven RBI. He also has hits in all five games since his return.

DUSTING OFF OLD BROOMS: With Thursday’s win over San Antonio, the RoughRiders picked up their first four-game sweep since May 16-19, 2011 at Midland. The sweep was the third this year for the Riders, with the other two coming in three-game sets against Northwest Arkansas.

SQUEAKING OUT A SWEEP: In the four-game sweep of San Antonio, the RoughRiders outscored the Missions by just six runs, including three consecutive one-run wins to end the series. Frisco is now 4-2 in one-run games. Still, the Riders lead the league in overall run differential (+40) by a considerable margin, with Springfield next-best (+12).

STARTING SERIES STRONG: The RoughRiders look to stay unbeaten in series openers tonight, having won their first six . Overall, the Riders have won five of their first six series this season.

FIRST FRAME FUN: After scoring just one first-inning run in the first 11 games, the Riders put together a string of six straight games with first-inning runs (4/19- 4/26), outscoring opponents, 14-1, in that stretch. Over three games last week at Corpus Christi, the Riders outscored the Hooks, 8-1, in the first.

THE ‘PEN IS MIGHTIER: Part of the key for the Riders historic start to the season has been the strong bullpen, protecting leads late in games. The bullpen holds an ERA of just 2.04 through the first 19 games, and has wiggled out of numerous late-game jams. MATT BUSH and ADAM PARKS each have three saves so far for Frisco, and the team is 7-for-7 in save chances.

CRANKING UP CROOKED NUMBERS: Early in the season, the RoughRiders have shown an ability to not only score in bunches but keep opponents from doing the same. The RoughRiders have tallied five four-run innings, three five-run frames and a six-spot. Meanwhile, the Riders have only allowed three innings of more than two runs.

RANGER DANGER: The RoughRiders aren’t the only Rangers affiliate off to a hot start. Overall, the Rangers farm system is 57-23 (.714), good for the best winning percentage among all minor-league systems. Class A-Advanced High Desert enters the day with the best record in all of Minor League Baseball at 17-4, while Class-A Hickory is 14-7, and Triple-A Round Rock is 11-8. Round Rock was recently ranked the fifthbest Minor League team (any level) by MLB.com’s Jim Callis.

Riding Through the Farm: Rangers Organization Continues to Crush

The RoughRiders are off to a 15-4 start and lead the Texas League South division, and the other teams in the farm system have stayed hot as well. Every team affiliated with the Rangers, including the big league club, has a winning record and four of the five are in first place in their respective divisions.

Texas Rangers (MLB):

Elvis Andrus (Riders ’08) currently leads the Rangers with a .343 batting average. The mark is good for third in the American League behind Mark Trumbo (.354) and another former Rider Ian Kinsler (.345). Andrus also leads the league with three triples. The Rangers in first place, half a game ahead of the Seattle Mariners, in the AL West with a 12-10 record and begin a three-game home series against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim tonight.

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Former Rider Joey Gallo is tied for the PCL lead with seven home runs.

Round Rock Express (Triple-A):

Round Rock is currently in first place in the Pacific Coast League American Southern division with an 11-8 record. Joey Gallo (Riders ’14-15 – Rangers No. 1 prospect, MLB Pipeline) is tied for the league-lead with seven home runs, which is also the second highest total in Minor League Baseball.

High Desert Mavericks (High-A):

Travis Demeritte (Rangers No. 21 prospect) continues to pace the explosive offense for the 17-4 Mavericks. Demeritte leads all of Minor League Baseball with eight home runs. Meanwhile, Luke Tendler paces the circuit with a .377 batting average and is second in the league with 19 RBI. High Desert is in first place in the California League South division, leading Rancho Cucamonga by three games.

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Travis Demeritte leads all of Minor League Baseball with eight home runs for High Desert.

Hickory Crawdads (Single-A):

The 14-7 Crawdads have been putting up some impress totals as well, at the lowest full-season level. Andy Ibanez (Rangers No. 16 prospect) leads the entire farm system with his .397 batting average. Pedro Payano (Rangers No. 29 prospect) has a farm system and league-best 0.38 ERA (1 ER in 24 IP). Eric Jenkins (Rangers No. 7 prospect) and Dylan Moore lead Rangers Minor Leaguers with 10 stolen bases each. The Crawdads are tied for second place in the South Atlantic League Northern division, half a game behind Hagerstown.

Stay tuned for more updates from the farm system over the course of the season.

– Steve

Baseball term of the day: foul screecher – An untutored spectator who cheers foul balls not knowing that they are not hits

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary)

Saddle Up: Riders vs San Antonio (4/28/16)

GAME #18
Frisco RoughRiders (14-4) vs San Antonio Missions (8-11)
Thursday, April 28 – 7:05 p.m.
Dr Pepper Ballpark (Frisco, TX)
—————————————–

Watch: Fox Sports Southwest and MiLB.TV (Nathan Barnett and Mike Bacsik)
Listen: Streaming online and on the TuneIn Radio app (Steve Goldberg and Ryan Rouillard)
Live stats: Click here
—————————————–

This series: Game 4 of 4 (Riders lead, 3-0)
This season: Game 4 of 32 (Riders lead, 3-0)

Guzman, Kiner

Isiah Kiner-Falefa (left) and Ronald Guzman each had 2 RBI Wednesday in the Riders win over San Antonio

FRISCO LINEUP

  1. Isiah Kiner-Falefa – SS
  2. Chris Gimenez – C
  3. Lewis Brinson – CF
  4. Ryan Cordell – LF
  5. Ronald Guzman – 1B
  6. Zach Cone – RF
  7. Alex Burg – DH
  8. Garrett Weber – 2B
  9. Luis Mendez – 3B

LHP Victor Payano (1-0, 3.45 ERA)

RIDERS RECAP: Wednesday vs San Antonio (W, 6-5)

Box Score
Recap
Postgame Notes

Highlight of the Night: Ronald Guzman’s leaping catch ends the fifth

SETTING THE STAGE (full game notes here)

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