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Riding Through the Farm: August 14

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 (69-49 – 1st, AL West)

It’s been a good week for the Rangers, who have won six of their last eight, including five straight earlier this week. After waiting out a loooooooong rain delay (2:42) Friday night, Jonathan Lucroy smashed two of Texas’ four home runs in a 8-5 win over the Tigers.

In 11 games with Texas, Lucroy is hitting .286 with six homers and 11 RBI. Fellow newcomer Carlos Beltran is swinging at a .333 clip with two homers and five RBI.

Today: vs. Detroit, 2:05 p.m. (SP: RHP A.J. Griffin)

TRIPLE-A ROUND ROCK EXPRESS (59-62 – 2nd, PCL American Southern Division)

It’s been an up-and-down week for the Express. Tuesday, they came one out away from being perfect-gamed by Nashville’s Jharel Cotton. However, they’ve bounced back with wins of 8-3, 14-3, and 17-3. On Wednesday, a trio of 2016 Riders got in on the action, with Victor Payano earning his first Triple-A win, Preston Beck driving in two with a triple, and Ronald Guzman finishing 3-for-4.

Jared Hoying has three homers in his last two games and has hits in nine of his last 10 games.

Next: Tonight at Salt Lake, 8:35 p.m. (SP: RHP Chi Chi Gonzalez)

CLASS-A ADVANCED HIGH DESERT MAVERICKS (70-48 overall, 27-21 second half – 3rd in the second half, California League South Division)

The Mavs are in the midst of a low-scoring road trip, a rarity in the hitter-friendly California League. High Desert has put up just 10 (1 Sat.) runs in the five games at San Jose and Stockton.

Former Rider reliever Cody Palmquist made another start with High Desert – his second of the year – last night in a loss at Stockton. He allowed four earned runs (five total) on five hits in 3 1/3 innings.

Fresh off his promotion from Hickory, Dylan Moore is fitting in well with his new club. He had hits in each of his first eight games with High Desert, including three straight games with a homer last week, before going 0-for-4 last night.

Today: at Stockton, 8:10 p.m. (SP: LHP Tyler Davis)

CLASS-A HICKORY CRAWDADS (62-56 overall, 24-24 second half – 6th in the second half, South Atlantic League Northern Division)

The Crawdads are in the midst of a log jam in the second half standings of the South Atlantic League’s Northern Division, sitting in sixth place, but just three games back. For that reason, their current six-game losing streak is coming at a bad time.

Xavier Turner joined the squad last week and proceeded to hit two homers in his first game up from Spokane. However, he’s just 1-for-10 since.

In case you haven’t seen it yet, LeDarious Clark stole home (albeit, in delayed fashion) last Saturday.

Lastly, here’s a good read on Eric Jenkins, who rides an eight-game hitting streak into today’s game.

Today: vs. Rome, 4:00 p.m. (SP: LHP Wes Benjamin)

CLASS A-SHORT SEASON SPOKANE INDIANS (27-27 overall, 8-8 second half – 2nd in the second half, Northwest League North)

Spokane is 5-6 since the All-Star Break, most recently dropping a pair of games to the Eugene Emeralds, one of the NWL’s hottest teams right now.

Though the Indians have lost a few key contributors, such as Xavier Turner and Tyler Ferguson, highly touted newcomers Leody Taveras and Anderson Tejeda are helping to fill the void in Spokane. Tejeda, especially, is off to a nice start, hitting .286 with two homers and four RBI in his first six games with the Indians.

The one and only Benjamin Hill of the Bens Biz Blog was in Spokane on Friday as part of his west coast road trip. I’m sure he’s got more of a writeup coming from his time at Avista Stadium, but in the meantime, here’s his nightly “groundbreaking and subversive ballpark joke of the day.”

Tonight: vs. Eugene, 5:30 p.m. (SP: RHP Kyle Cody)

– Ryan

Baseball term of the day: Gazoonie – A rookie.

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary

Saddle Up: Riders at Tulsa (8/13)

GAME #118 (2nd HALF GAME #49)

Frisco RoughRiders (56-61 overall, 18-30 2nd half) at Tulsa Drillers (58-59 overall, 21-27 2nd half)
Saturday, August 13 – 7:05 p.m.
ONEOK Field – Tulsa, OK
—————————————–

Watch: MiLB.TV (Tulsa feed)
Listen: Streaming online and on the TuneIn Radio app (Nathan Barnett and Steve Goldberg)
Live stats: Click here
—————————————–
This series: Game 2 of 3 (Drillers lead 1-0)
This season: Game 7 of 11 (Drillers lead 6-0)

FRISCO LINEUP

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

RHP Scott Carroll (0-0, 2.70 ERA)

RIDERS RECAP: Friday at Tulsa (L, 7-0)

Box Score
Recap
Postgame Notes

PREGAME INTERVIEW: IF Luis Marte

SETTING THE STAGE (full game notes here)

LAST TIME OUT:
Despite having baserunners in eight of nine innings, the RoughRiders were shut out 7-0 by the Drillers Friday night…A night after managing just two hits in Springfield, the Riders tallied nine but went 2-for-15 with runners in scoring position and left 11 men on base…Tulsa starter Chase De Jong worked six scoreless innings to earn his league-leading 12th win…Meanwhile, Riders starter ARIEL JURADO gave up five runs on a career-high 11 hits in five innings of work, including a pair of home runs…ANDY IBANEZ and ALEXEIS BELL each recorded three hits.

TROUBLE WITH TULSA:
The Riders have lost all six games against the Drillers this season. In addition to last night’s loss, Frisco was swept in a three-game series at ONEOK Field in May, and then Tulsa won both games of a doubleheader on June 1 at Dr Pepper Ballpark. The Riders’ last victory over Tulsa came last year on August 20 at ONEOK Field. Current Riders pitcher CONNOR SADZECK tossed six no-hit innings and earned the win.

NO GAS AGAINST THE DRILLERS:
Out of the seven Texas League opponents, the Riders’ offense has had the lowest numbers against Tulsa this year. In six meetings between the teams, Frisco hitters are batting just .212 (39-for-184). The Riders have not hit a home run and have been held to just six runs, five earned, by Tulsa’s pitching staff. Tulsa pitchers have a collective 0.90 ERA against the Riders across 50 innings of work, with seven walks and 45 strikeouts.

SILENT NIGHTS:
The Riders have been held scoreless for the past 17 innings since Andy Ibanez hit a first-inning solo home run Thursday night at Springfield. Frisco was held to just two hits by the Cardinals in that game, a season-low for a nine-inning game, and did not have any after the second inning. The Riders are hitting .232 (84-for-362) through the first 11 games this month, and the team’s on-base percentage is just .304. June was the worst offensive month for Frisco this season, when the Riders hit just .208 with a .262 on-base percentage.

NOTHING BUT GOOSE EGGS:
Yesterday’s shutout loss to Tulsa was the 15th time that Frisco has been shut out this season (most in the Texas League) and already the fourth time this month. The 15 shutout defeats is the most in Double-A and tied for the most in team history (2009). Brevard County (Brewers Class A-Advanced affiliate, Florida State League), has the most shutout losses in the minors with 19.

THE NORTH REMEMBERS:
Since winning the first three series and nine of the first 10 games against North Division opponents this year, the North squads have had success against the Riders. Frisco has gone a dismal 7-22 in the last 29 cross-divisional matchups, and the RoughRiders have won just two of the last 10 series (June 3-5 vs. Springfield and July 9-11 vs. Northwest Arkansas). The Riders have not won a road series against a North Division opponent since opening the season with five straight wins in Springdale and North Little Rock (April 7-9 at Northwest Arkansas, April 10-12 at Arkansas).

MASTROIANNI IN THE MIX:
Outfielder DARIN MASTROIANNI was recently acquired by the Texas Rangers, and he joined the RoughRiders yesterday. The 30-year-old was released by the Minnesota Twins Monday and signed with the Rangers Wednesday. Mastroianni is in his 10th year as a professional and has spent time in the big leagues during five different seasons (2011-2014, 2016), most recently appearaing with the Twins in May. Mastroianni becomes the fourth player on the Riders active roster with Major League service time, joining catcher CARSON BLAIR and pitchers SCOTT CARROLL and LUKE JACKSON.

BACKS AGAINST THE WALL:
With 22 games left in the regular season, the Riders face a tremendous uphill battle for a postseason spot. Midland currently leads the South Division by eight games over San Antonio, 10 over Corpus Christi, and 15 over Frisco. The Riders’ elimination number for a second-half division title is now down to eight. However, Frisco still plays six more games against the RockHounds this season (August 27-29 at Security Bank Ballpark, September 3-5 at Dr Pepper Ballpark).

THE POWER OF PINTO:
EDUARD PINTO has only played eight games with the RoughRiders, but he has already become a force to reckon with in the lineup. Pinto has 11 hits in his last 23 at-bats, including two four-hit outputs in the Riders last five games. By comparison, Pinto had just one four-hit performance in 51 games with Class-A Hickory this year.

MAPLE LEAF MASHER: 
Over the last 12 games, the Riders have hit six home runs as a team. However, three of these homers have come off the bat of KELLIN DEGLAN. Last Wednesday against Midland, he had his first two-homer game since June 24, 2014 with Class-A Hickory. Deglan has hit seven long balls this year, but they have come in surges. The 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 three over the first two weeks of August.

OPPOSING STARTER:
Right-handed pitcher Isaac Anderson will make his second Double-A start tonight for the Drillers…In his first outing Sunday at Northwest Arkansas, Anderson allowed one run on four hits with six strikeouts in a five-inning no-decision…The 22-year-old spent the majority of the season with Class-A Great Lakes, going 5-5 with a 4.22 ERA in 16 starts…He pitched in just three games with Class A-Advanced Rancho Cucamonga before making the jump to the Texas League…Anderson was selected by the Dodgers in the 40th round of last year’s MLB Draft out of Wichita State University…The Boise, Idaho native began his college career at the College of Southern Idaho in Twin Falls…REPERTOIRE: Fastball (88-91), curveball (low 70s), changeup (high 70s to low 80s).

A night to remember in the Texas League

Crazy Night in TL

While the Riders-Drillers game last night wasn’t full of that much drama, it was quite the night elsewhere around the Texas League last night. All I can say is that it was a bonkers night in the circuit.

CORPUS CHRISTI vs. ARKANSAS

Typically, when you are one out away from a perfect game, you expect to win. Unfortunately for the Arkansas Travelers, that wasn’t the case last night. After six perfect innings from starter Alex Blackford and 1-2-3 frames from Edward Paredes and Victor Alcantara, Eduardo Paredes got the first two men he faced and went to a full count with Ramon Laureano.

He walked Laureano, so the perfect game was gone, but the no-hitter was still intact. That is, until Bobby Boyd singled in the next at-bat to end the no-no, but the 1-0 lead was still there. That is, until Nick Tanielu singled in the tying run and Paredes threw a walk-off wild pitch to give Corpus Christi the win, despite getting outhit 8-2 and coming a strike away from having a perfect game thrown against them.

MIDLAND at SPRINGFIELD

This wasn’t a perfect game bid, but Springfield’s Johnny Walter had a no-hitter through eight against the RockHounds. As he went back out for the ninth, he had a chance to finish a ninth inning of no-hit ball, but the game wouldn’t be over then because Springfield also hadn’t scored yet.

Walter’s no-hitter was broken up by leadoff man Danny Oh in the ninth, but that was only the beginning of the damage. Midland went on to score three runs in the top of the ninth and moved past a solo homer in the bottom of the ninth to win 3-1. Walter, despite taking a no-hitter into the ninth, took the loss.

SAN ANTONIO vs. NORTHWEST ARKANSAS

San Antonio came one hit away from a no-hitter last night, although the drama was gone much earlier. The Missions allowed their only hit in the third inning. However, they too couldn’t get anything across until the bottom of the ninth when Franchy Cordero led off with a walk-off home run, just the fourth hit of the game for San Antonio. For those counting at home, that’s 10 walk-off wins for San Antonio (out of 47 total wins).

_____________________________________________________________________

To recap:

  • Both teams that took a no-hitter into the ninth inning last night ended up losing.
  • The winning teams in these three games last night had hit totals of four (SA), three (MID), and two (CC).
  • There were 23 total hits between the six teams. By comparison, Tulsa (13) and Frisco (9) combined for 22.
  • Seven of the eight runs scored in those three games came in the ninth inning.

– Ryan

Baseball term of the day: Mask work – The catcher’s duties

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary

Saddle Up: Riders at Tulsa (8/12)

GAME #117 (2nd HALF GAME #48)

Frisco RoughRiders (56-60 overall, 18-29 2nd half) at Tulsa Drillers (57-59 overall, 20-27 2nd half)
Friday, August 12 – 7:05 p.m.
ONEOK Field – Tulsa, OK
—————————————–

Watch: MiLB.TV (Tulsa feed)
Listen: Streaming online and on the TuneIn Radio app (Nathan Barnett and Steve Goldberg)
Live stats: Click here
—————————————–
This series: Game 1 of 3
This season: Game 6 of 11 (Drillers lead 5-0)

FRISCO LINEUP

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

RHP Ariel Jurado (1-1, 1.59 ERA)

RIDERS RECAP: Thursday at Springfield (L, 5-1)

Box Score
Recap
Postgame Notes

PREGAME INTERVIEW: IF Edwin Garcia

SETTING THE STAGE (full game notes here)

LAST TIME OUT:
Despite a first-inning home run from ANDY IBANEZ, the RoughRiders were kept quiet the rest of the way in a 5-1 loss to Springfield Thursday night…Ibanez clubbed his fifth home run of the season with two outs in the bottom of the first, but the Riders did not get a hit against Cardinals pitching after the second inning…The only runner to reach after that was ISIAH KINER-FALEFA on a throwing error in the fourth…The Cardinals got on the board with three runs in the third inning to take the lead, and they added two unearned runs of insurance in the eighth.

TROUBLE WITH TULSA:
The Riders have lost all five games against the Drillers this season. Frisco was swept in a three-game series at ONEOK Field in May, and then Tulsa won both games of a doubleheader on June 1 at Dr Pepper Ballpark. The Riders’ last victory over Tulsa came last year on August 20 at ONEOK Field. Current Riders pitcher CONNOR SADZECK tossed six no-hit innings and earned the win.

PANAMANIAN PHENOM:
Today’s starter ARIEL JURADO is off to an impressive start with the RoughRiders. Since he was received from Class A-Advanced High Desert on July 23, Jurado has given up just three runs in his first three starts (17.0 IP), good for a 1.59 ERA. Opponents are hitting just .155 against the righty with 13 strikeouts, including six in each of his last two starts. Jurado is currently ranked the No. 8 prospect and No. 3 pitching prospect in the Rangers farm system, according to MLBPipeline.com.

SILENT NIGHT:
The Riders were held to just two hits by Springfield last night, a season-low for a nine-inning game, and did not have any after the second inning. The Riders are hitting .230 (75-for-326) through the first 10 games this month, and the team’s on-base percentage is just .305. June was the worst offensive month for Frisco this season, when the Riders hit just .208 with a .262 on-base percentage.

THE POWER OF PINTO:
EDUARD PINTO has only played seven games with the RoughRiders, but he has already become a force to reckon with in the lineup. Pinto has nine hits in his last 18 at-bats, including two four-hit outputs in the Riders last four games. By comparison, Pinto had just one four-hit performance in 51 games with Class-A Hickory this year.

BACKS AGAINST THE WALL:
With 23 games left in the regular season, the Riders face a tremendous uphill battle for a postseason spot. Midland currently leads the South Division by eight games over San Antonio, 10 over Corpus Christi, and 14 over Frisco. The Riders’ elimination number for a second-half division title is now down to 10. However, Frisco still plays six more games against the RockHounds this season (August 27-29, September 3-5).

THE NORTH REMEMBERS:
Since winning the first three series and nine of the first 10 games against North Division opponents this year, the North squads have had success against the Riders. Frisco has gone a dismal 7-21 in the last 28 cross-divisional matchups, and the Riders have won just two of the last 10 series.

GETTING STARTED RIGHT: 
Through 10 games this month, Riders starters have excelled. They have combined to allow just 20 earned runs in 52 1/3 innings of work, good for a 3.44 ERA, and have given up just two home runs. DAVID PEREZ and ARIEL JURADO both pitched five scoreless frames in their starts, and only one starter this month has allowed more than three runs. Riders starters had a tough time in July, posting a 4.51 ERA and allowed 21 homers in 149 2/3 innings. The best month for the starting pitchers this year was the month of April, when Frisco went an outstanding 17-4. Frisco’s starters had a 3.10 ERA and allowed 0.56 HR/9.0 innings pitched.

MAPLE LEAF MASHER: 
Over the last 11 games, the Riders have hit six home runs as a team. However, three of these homers have come off the bat of KELLIN DEGLAN. Last Wednesday against Midland, he had his first two-homer game since June 24, 2014 with Class-A Hickory. Deglan has hit seven long balls this year, but they have come in surges. The 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 three over the first two weeks of August.

OPPOSING STARTER:
Right-handed pitcher Chase De Jong takes the ball for Tulsa tonight in the series opener…After taking the loss in four of his first seven outings this year, De Jong is currently on a nine-game win streak over his last 14 starts and has not lost since May 10 against Springfield…He is tied with Jordan Kipper (Arkansas) for the most wins (11) in the Texas League this year…The 22-year-old is in his fifth professional season but just his first full season in the Dodgers farm system…De Jong came over from the Toronto organization last July in a trade for international slot value…He spent the remainder of last season with Class A-Advanced Rancho Cucamonga and joined the Drillers to start this year…De Jong made a start against Frisco on May 24, the series opener the last time the Riders visited ONEOK Field…The Long Beach, California native pitched seven scoreless innings, allowed just two hits, struck out six, and did not issue a walk…De Jong is currently ranked as the No. 17 prospect in the Dodgers organization by MLBPipeline.com…REPERTOIRE: Fastball (88-92, T94), curveball, changeup.

Three things to know about new Riders OF Darin Mastroianni

Mastroianni

Darin Mastroianni brings a wealth of experience to the Riders. (Jeffrey Irizarry)

The Texas Rangers assigned newly acquired outfielder Darin Mastroianni to the RoughRiders today. He is leading off and playing centerfield in tonight’s game at Tulsa.

Here are three things to know about the newest member of the Riders:

HE’S EXPERIENCED: Between 854 minor league games and 136 games in the big leagues, Mastroianni brings 10 years and a wealth of experience to the RoughRiders. This is the fifth organization he’s been a part of (Toronto, Minnesota, Philadelphia, Washington, and Texas) so he’s learned a variety of philosophies and worked with a medley of people in his career.

HE’S FAST: One of the things that stands out about the New York-native is his skill on the base paths. He’s 300-for-365 in stolen base attempts during his career (MiLB and MLB). He stole 70 bases (85 attempts) across two levels in 2009. The numbers have declined a bit this year (9-for-12), but he’s still a threat whenever he gets on.

HE’S GOOD WITH THE GLOVE: It’s been 87 games since Mastroianni last made an error. He has a .987 career fielding percentage in centerfield, which is where he’s played most of his career (and where he’s playing tonight).

He’s the latest in a string of veteran guys that have joined the RoughRiders. The first few (Matt Bush, Scott Carroll, Jack Snodgrass, and Alexeis Bell) have worked out rather well for the Riders. We’ll see if the same holds true with Mastroianni.

– Ryan

Baseball term of the day: Masker – The catcher.

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary

Saddle Up: Riders at Springfield (8/11)

GAME #116 (2nd HALF GAME #47)

Frisco RoughRiders (56-59 overall, 18-28 2nd half) at San Antonio Missions (63-52 overall, 22-23 2nd half)
Thursday, August 11 – 7:10 p.m.
Hammons Field – Springfield, MO
—————————————–

Watch: MiLB.TV (Springfield feed)
Listen: Streaming online and on the TuneIn Radio app (Nathan Barnett and Steve Goldberg)
Live stats: Click here
—————————————–
This series: Game 3 of 3 (Series tied 1-1)
This season: Game 9 of 12 (Cardinals lead 5-3)

FRISCO LINEUP

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

RHP Reed Garrett (2-4, 5.06 ERA)

RIDERS RECAP: Wednesday at Springfield (W, 8-1)

Box Score
Recap
Postgame Notes

PREGAME INTERVIEW: OF Eduard Pinto

SETTING THE STAGE (full game notes here)

LAST TIME OUT:
A night after suffering the worst loss of the year, the Riders bounced back in a big way, knocking off Springfield 8-1 Wednesday night…The RoughRiders scored a run in the second and third innings to take a 2-1 lead before breaking the game open with a six-run fifth…JOE JACKSON led off with a solo home run, and KELLIN DEGLAN joined the home run parade with a three-run homer later in the frame…The scoring onslaught provided plenty of support for JACK SNODGRASS, who turned in his second quality start since joining the RoughRiders last week…EDUARD PINTO and LUIS MARTE both had four-hit performances.

FIFTH-INNING FUN:
After giving up eight runs in the fifth inning the previous game, the largest single-inning total allowed by the RoughRiders this season, Frisco responded in a big way when the fifth frame came around yesterday. The Riders exploded for six runs on four hits, including home runs by JOE JACKSON and KELLIN DEGLAN. The inning extended a slim 2-1 lead to an insurmountable 8-1 advantage.

THE POWER OF PINTO:
EDUARD PINTO has only played six games with the RoughRiders, but he has already become a force to reckon with in the lineup. Pinto has nine hits in his last 14 at-bats, including two four-hit outputs in the Riders last three games. By comparison, Pinto had just one four-hit performance in 51 games with Class-A Hickory this year.

BACKS AGAINST THE WALL:
With 24 games left, the Riders face a tremendous uphill battle for a postseason spot. Midland currently leads the South Division by seven games over San Antonio, nine over Corpus Christi, and 13 over Frisco. The Riders’ elimination number for a second-half division title is now down to 12. However, Frisco still plays six more games against the RockHounds this season (August 27-29, September 3-5).

SHOW ME THE WIN COLUMN:
Last night, the Riders finally got their first win in five games at Hammons Field this year. Frisco was swept in a three-game series in Springfield to wrap up the month of May. The Riders dropped two one-run contests, which included being shut out 1-0 in the series opener and blowing a four-run lead in the final two innings of the second game. Frisco dropped all six games on the road trip to Tulsa and Springfield, which knocked the Riders out of first place in the South Division standings. Frisco did not return to the top spot after June 1, and Corpus Christi won the first half division title.

GETTING STARTED RIGHT: 
Through nine games this month, Riders starters have excelled. They have combined to allow just 17 earned runs in 47 1/3 innings of work, good for a 3.23 ERA, and have given up just two home runs. DAVID PEREZ and ARIEL JURADO both pitched five scoreless frames, and only one of the starters this month has allowed more than three runs. Riders starters had a tough time in July, posting a 4.51 ERA and allowed 21 homers in 149 2/3 innings. The best month for the starting pitchers this year was the month of April, when Frisco went an outstanding 17-4. Frisco’s starters had a 3.10 ERA and allowed 0.56 HR/9.0 innings pitched.

POWER OUTAGE: 
The last 10 games have seen a return to the dead-ball era, with very few home runs for the RoughRiders. During the 10-game stretch, the Riders have only hit five homers, and three have come off the bat of KELLIN DEGLAN. In five of those 10 games, there have been no homers hit by either side. This comes on the heels of a month of July in which the Riders hit a season-high 27 homers and allowed a league-high 36.

NOTHING BUT GOOSE EGGS:
Saturday’s shutout loss to San Antonio was the 14th time that Frisco has been shut out this season (most in the Texas League). The 14 shutout defeats is the most in Double-A. Brevard County (Brewers, Florida State League) has the most shutout losses in the minors with 19. Frisco also has the fewest shutout wins (four) in the eight-team circuit. The fewest in full-season ball is Wilmington (Royals Class A-Advanced affiliate, Carolina League) with only have three. The Blue Rocks, who play in pitcher-friendly Frawley Stadium, have also been blanked 14 times.

OPPOSING STARTER:
Right-handed pitcher J.C. Sulbaran is making his 12th start and 13th appearance of the year with Springfield in the series finale tonight…It will be Sulbaran’s first outing against the Riders this year, but he has faced Frisco seven times over his five years in the Texas League…Sulbaran was originally drafted by the Cincinnati Reds in the 30th round of the 2008 MLB Draft out of American Heritage High School in Plantation, Florida…He was traded to the Kansas City Royals along with left-handed pitcher Donnie Joseph on July 31, 2012 in exchange for Jonathan Broxton…Sulbaran spent parts of the next four seasons with Northwest Arkansas in the Texas League and finally reached the Triple-A level last year, making eight appearances for Omaha…This past offseason, Sulbaran elected free agency and signed with St. Louis on December 4…He began the 2016 campaign in Memphis but was assigned to Springfield on June 3 after starting the year with a 7.69 ERA in 11 starts…Sulbaran’s best outing of the season came against his former team on July 16, when he held Northwest Arkansas to just two hits in 6 2/3 scoreless innings…REPERTOIRE: Fastball (low 90s), curveball, changeup.

Fasola named Minor League Reliever of the Month

810 Fasola

Yesterday, the Rangers announced their monthly minor league awards and John Fasola earned the organization’s Reliever of the Month for July.

Fasola has since been promoted to Triple-A Round Rock, where he’s faring well, but while he was with the Riders, he posted an impressive body of work in July. He was tied for the team lead in appearances (10) and went 1-0 with a 1.20 ERA, all while converting each of the five save chances he had. He walked just three batters in 15 innings and struck out 16. His WHIP for July was a paltry 0.53. To top it all off, he finished the month on a 12-inning scoreless streak.

The righty’s overall stat line is impressive (3-1, 3.73 ERA in 22 appearances), but it’s even better if you look at just June and July. In those two months, he went 3-0 with a 1.61 ERA. He also continues to lead Rangers farmhands in total saves (11).

He has continued his success at the Triple-A level, posting a 2.84 ERA in five overall appearances, including a mark of 2.45 since going back up on August 3.

If you haven’t already heard his interview with Nathan Barnett a few weeks ago, I recommend you listen. There are some interesting insights in here, including how to keep a closer’s mentality in a non-save situation.

– Ryan

Baseball term of the day: Fan the atmosphere – To strike out.

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary

Saddle Up: Riders at Springfield (8/10)

GAME #115 (2nd HALF GAME #46)

Frisco RoughRiders (55-59 overall, 17-28 2nd half) at San Antonio Missions (63-51 overall, 22-22 2nd half)
Wednesday, August 9 – 6:30 p.m.
Hammons Field – Springfield, MO
—————————————–

Watch: MiLB.TV (Springfield feed)
Listen: Streaming online and on the TuneIn Radio app (Nathan Barnett and Steve Goldberg)
Live stats: Click here
—————————————–
This series: Game 2 of 3 (Cardinals lead 1-0)
This season: Game 8 of 12 (Cardinals lead 5-2)

FRISCO LINEUP

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

LHP Jack Snodgrass (1-0, 3.00 ERA)

RIDERS RECAP: Tuesday at Springfield (L, 16-4)

Box Score
Recap
Postgame Notes

PREGAME INTERVIEW: RHP Scott Carroll

SETTING THE STAGE (full game notes here)

LAST TIME OUT:
The RoughRiders surrendered a season-high in runs, falling 16-4 to the Springfield Cardinals Tuesday night at Hammons Field…After falling behind 5-0 through two innings, the RoughRiders scored four unanswered runs in the third and fourth innings to close within a run at 5-4…CARSON BLAIR got the Riders on the board with an RBI single in the third…ALEXEIS BELL doubled in a pair of runs in the fourth, followed by an RBI groundout off the bat of ISIAH KINER-FALEFA…However, the Cardinals broke the game open with an eight-run fifth inning, as the first 10 men reached against the combination of three Riders pitchers…Blake Drake blasted a grand slam in the inning, the fourth allowed by Riders pitching this year, to give Springfield a comfortable cushion.

A FIFTH TO FORGET:
In last night’s game, the Riders scored four straight runs to cut a 5-0 Springfield advantage down to just 5-4. However, the Cardinals left Frisco in the dust with a total of eight runs in the fifth inning. It was the largest single-inning total allowed by the RoughRiders this season. Springfield also sent 12 men to the plate in the fifth (with the first 10 reaching), which was the most batters by an opponent in an inning against Frisco in 2016.

BACKS AGAINST THE WALL:
With 25 games left, the Riders face a tremendous uphill battle for a postseason spot. Midland currently leads the South Division by seven games over San Antonio, nine over Corpus Christi, and 13 over Frisco. The Riders’ elimination number for a second-half division title is now down to 13. However, Frisco still plays six more games against the RockHounds this season (August 27-29, September 3-5).

SHOW ME THE WIN COLUMN:
The Riders are making their second trip to Hammons Field this season and have not fared well here so far. Frisco was swept in a three-game series in Springfield to wrap up the month of May. The Riders dropped two one-run contests, which included being shut out 1-0 in the series opener and blowing a four-run lead in the final two innings of the second game. Frisco dropped all six games on the road trip to Tulsa and Springfield, which knocked the Riders out of first place in the South Division standings. Frisco did not return to the top spot after June 1, and Corpus Christi won the first half division title.

POWER OUTAGE: 
The last nine games have seen a return to the dead-ball era, with very few home runs for the RoughRiders. During the nine-game stretch, the Riders have only hit three homers, two from KELLIN DEGLAN on Wednesday and one from CARSON BLAIR on Sunday. In five of those nine games, there have been no homers hit by either side. This comes on the heels of a month of July in which the Riders hit a season-high 27 homers and allowed a league-high 36.

FIRST WEEK WOES:
The Riders offense was held relatively quiet in a three-game series against Midland and a four-game set at San Antonio to open August. Frisco was shut out in three of the seven contests. The Riders scored just one run in the first two games against Midland before exploding for 10 in the series finale. After scoring three runs in the first three innings of Thursday’s game against the Missions, Frisco failed to put up another tally for the next 25 innings, the longest scoreless drought of the season. In August so far, the Riders are hitting just .226 (second-lowest in the league behind San Antonio) with an average of 2.9 runs per game.

NOTHING BUT GOOSE EGGS:
Saturday’s shutout loss to San Antonio was the 14th time that Frisco has been shut out this season (most in the Texas League). The 14 shutout defeats is the most in Double-A. Brevard County (Brewers, Florida State League) has the most shutout losses in the minors with 19. Frisco also has the fewest shutout wins (four) in the eight-team circuit. The fewest in full-season ball is Wilmington (Royals Class A-Advanced affiliate, Carolina League) with only have three. The Blue Rocks, who play in pitcher-friendly Frawley Stadium, have also been blanked 14 times.

GETTING STARTED RIGHT: 
Through eight games this month, Riders starters have excelled. The eight starting pitchers have combined to allow just 16 earned runs in 41 1/3 innings of work, good for a 3.48 ERA, and have given up just two home runs. DAVID PEREZ andARIEL JURADO both pitched five scoreless frames, and none of the seven starters this month have allowed more than three runs. Riders starters had a tough time in July, posting a 4.51 ERA and allowed 21 homers in 149 2/3 innings. The best month for the starting pitchers this year was the month of April, when Frisco went an outstanding 17-4. Frisco’s starters had a 3.10 ERA and allowed 0.56 HR/9.0 innings pitched.

OPPOSING STARTER:
Matt Pearce is currently in his third professional season and second full-season, making his Double-A debut with the Cardinals tonight…In 2014 with Class A Peoria, he led the Midwest League with a 2.43 ERA and set a circuit record for consecutive innings without allowing a walk (46 2/3 innings)…In his career, he has issued just 46 walks while striking out 210 batters…With Class A-Advanced Palm Beach this season, Pearce logged 136 2/3 innings and allowed just 36 runs, good for an ERA of 2.37…He was recently named Florida State League Player of the Month in July…Pearce, a native of Bonita Springs, Florida, was selected in the 13th round of the 2014 MLB Draft out of Polk State College in Lakeland, Florida…REPERTOIRE: Fastball (high 80s), changeup, curveball, slider.

 

Switching it up: Mendez describes his journey to switch-hitting

Mendez swith

The art of switch-hitting has always fascinated me. Imagine all the times you’ve tried doing something with your non-dominant hand/arm and how hard it was (at least, if your experience is anything like mine). When it comes to switch hitters, not only have they figured out to hit from both sides, but they do it well enough to hit respectably in professional baseball. I’m a righty, but I probably wouldn’t fare very well on either side of the plate against professional arms, let alone both sides.

All that said, I talked to Luis Mendez, one of the two switch hitters on the roster (Shaq Matta is the other) to get a sense of how he got to where he is today.

Mendez, a natural righty, says he first started switch hitting at age 15 in an effort to make himself more marketable to teams looking to sign him.

My agent at that time said, ‘hey, you’re gonna be a switch hitter,’” said Mendez. “He was telling me you have one year to learn. If it doesn’t work, it’s fine. You’ll go back to the right. But it worked. I swung at the first pitch I saw and he said, ‘woah. You’re gonna hit switch.’”

To get to the point of being comfortable switch hitting, the Venezuelan infielder says he spent about an hour a day hitting left-handed. In fact, he’s gotten so comfortable on the left side that it’s now his preferred side.

“I love left now,” said Mendez. “I just love hitting left-handed, especially when he throws hard. I like hitting fastballs…It feels natural now.”

The numbers prove it too. Mendez is a .232 hitter (43-for-185) hitting on the left side, compared to just a .130 mark (6-for-46) when swinging on his natural side.

I’ve always been in awe of the art of switch hitting. And don’t even get me started on switch pitching. That’s just crazy.

– Ryan

Baseball term of the day: Switch-pitch – A changeup.

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary

Saddle Up: Riders at Springfield (8/9)

GAME #114 (2nd HALF GAME #45)

Frisco RoughRiders (55-58 overall, 17-27 2nd half) at San Antonio Missions (62-51 overall, 21-22 2nd half)
Tuesday, August 8 – 6:30 p.m.
Hammons Field – Springfield, MO
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Watch: MiLB.TV (Springfield feed)
Listen: Streaming online and on the TuneIn Radio app (Nathan Barnett and Steve Goldberg)
Live stats: Click here
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This series: Game 1 of 3
This season: Game 7 of 12 (Cardinals lead 4-2)

FRISCO LINEUP

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

RHP Connor Sadzeck (9-4, 3.45 ERA)

RIDERS RECAP: Sunday at San Antonio (L, 7-6 – 11 innings)

Box Score
Recap
Postgame Notes

PREGAME INTERVIEW: C Carson Blair

SETTING THE STAGE (full game notes here)

LAST TIME OUT:
The RoughRiders let a five-run lead over San Antonio slip away in a 7-6 extra-inning loss Sunday at Wolff Stadium…The Missions broke a 6-6 tie in the bottom of the 11th with River Stevens’ walk-off RBI single to right field…The Riders jumped out to a 5-0 lead, highlighted by CARSON BLAIR’s solo home run in the third and a pair of RBI from CARLOS ARROYOSCOTT CARROLL pitched four scoreless innings before giving up a pair of RBI single in the fifth…San Antonio plated four runs in the sixth to take a 6-5 lead, but the Riders quickly answered back on EDWIN GARCIA’s game-tying RBI single in the seventh…Garcia tallied a season-high three hits, while EDUARD PINTO finished the game 4-for-5 with scored three runs.

FIRST WEEK WOES:
The Riders offense was held relatively quiet in a three-game series against Midland and a four-game set at San Antonio to open August. Frisco was shut out in three of the seven contests. The Riders scored just one run in the first two games against Midland before exploding for 10 in the series finale. After scoring three runs in the first three innings of Thursday’s game against the Missions, Frisco failed to put up another tally for the next 25 innings, the longest scoreless drought of the season. In August so far, the Riders are hitting just .226 (second-lowest in the league behind San Antonio) with an average of 2.9 runs per game.

BACKS AGAINST THE WALL:
With 27 games left, the Riders face a tremendous uphill battle for a postseason spot. If Midland goes 13-14 the rest of the way, the Riders would need to go 25-2 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 6.5 game deficit in the overall season standings back of Midland. However, Frisco still plays six more games against the RockHounds this season (August 27-29, September 3-5).

SHOW ME THE WIN COLUMN:
The Riders are making their second trip to Hammons Field this season and are hoping for better results. Frisco was swept in a three-game series in Springfield to wrap up the month of May. The Riders dropped two one-run contests, which included being shut out 1-0 in the series opener and blowing a four-run lead in the final two innings of the second game. Frisco dropped all six games on the road trip to Tulsa and Springfield, which knocked the Riders out of first place in the South Division standings. Frisco did not return to the top spot after June 1, and Corpus Christi won the first half division title.

SHUT DOWN BY SAN ANTONIO:
Saturday’s shutout loss to San Antonio, the second in the series, was the 14th time that Frisco has been shut out this season (most in the Texas League). The 14 shutout defeats is the most in Double-A. Brevard County (Brewers, Florida State League) has the most shutout losses in the minors with 19. Frisco also has the fewest shutout wins (four) in the eight-team circuit. The fewest in full-season ball is Wilmington (Royals Class A-Advanced affiliate, Carolina League) with only three. The Blue Rocks, who play in pitcher-friendly Frawley Stadium, have also been blanked 14 times.

POWER OUTAGE: 
The last eight games have seen a return to the dead-ball era, with very few home runs in RoughRiders games. During the eight-game stretch, the Riders have only hit three homers, two from KELLIN DEGLAN on Wednesday and one fromCARSON BLAIR on Sunday, and allowed just one (Trae Santos on Friday). In five of those eight games, there have been no homers hit by either side. The four home runs over eight games is the lowest total (for both teams combined) in an eight-game stretch this season in Frisco’s games. This comes on the heels of a month of July in which the Riders hit a season-high 27 homers and allowed a league-high 36.

GETTING STARTED RIGHT: 
Through seven games this month, Riders starters have excelled. The seven starting pitchers have combined to allow just 10 earned runs in 37 1/3 innings of work, good for a 2.41 ERA, and have given up just one home run. DAVID PEREZ andARIEL JURADO both pitched five scoreless frames, and none of the seven starters this month have allowed more than three runs. Riders starters had a tough time in July, posting a 4.51 ERA and allowed 21 homers in 149 2/3 innings. The best full-month for the starting pitchers this year was the month of April, when Frisco went an outstanding 17-4. Frisco’s starters had a 3.10 ERA and allowed 0.56 HR/9.0 innings pitched.

THOMPSON FINISHES ROAD TO THE SHOW:
Former RoughRiders starter Jake Thompson made his big league debut Saturday night for the Philadelphia Phillies. Taking the loss, he allowed six runs, all earned,  on seven hits in 4 1/3 innings of work. He walked two and struck out just one. Thompson, who was acquired from the Tigers by Texas in the Joakim Soria trade in 2014, pitched for Frisco in 2014 an 2015 before being dealt to the Phillies in the eight player trade for Cole Hamels and Jake Diekman. Thompson is the 146th 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), and JOSE LECLERC (2015-2016 with Frisco, Rangers).

OPPOSING STARTER:
Taken just two years ago, Daniel Poncedeleon is moving quickly through the Cardinals ranks and dominating along the way…Entering the year, the California native was 14-5 with a 2.20 ERA across two minor league seasons of Class A-Short Season, Class A, and Class A-Advanced competition…He has already set career-highs in wins (8), starts (22), innings pitched (123.0), walks allowed (45), and strikeouts (98)…Poncedeleon has made one start against the Riders this season on May 27, the first game Frisco played against Springfield this season…The righty pitched 7 2/3 scoreless innings, gave up five hits, and struck out six in a no-decision…Drafted in the ninth round out of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (the same school as Rangers infielder coordinator Kenny Holmberg), Poncedeleon features a four seam fastball (low to mid 90s), sinker, slider, and a curveball…Drafted four times, Poncedeleon attended four different schools (Arizona, Cypress College, and Houston before Embry-Riddle)…He failed a physical with the Cubs after being drafted in 2013 that required surgery.