Matt West is now the 118th RoughRider to make the bigs

Matt West during Opening Day pre-game festivities.

Matt West during Opening Day pre-game festivities.

Fans of the Texas Rangers have become quite accustomed to the term “Double-A Frisco” in 2014 as there have been 11 RoughRiders promoted to the big league level this season alone. Matt West is the 118th ‘Riders in franchise history to reach that level and he did so with impressive numbers at both the Double and Triple-A levels.

West served a short stint with Frisco in 2014, but it was sweet. He was 2-0 with three saves and compiled a 0.68 ERA in eight games. The power-throwing righty allowed one run on seven hits and opponents only managed to hit .156 off of him. Those numbers earned him a promotion to Triple-A Round Rock and his success followed with him.

With the Express West was 2-2 with a 4.50 ERA in 24 innings pitched, but he was still able to find shutdown innings by walking eight and striking out 28 batters. The reliever was named Rangers Reliever of the Month for April and his contract would later be purchased by the Texas Rangers.

The Houston, Texas native made his major league debut for Texas on July 10, 2014 against the Angels. He pitched two perfect innings and struck out one during his debut.

Keep a close eye on the ‘Riders Insider Blog for all of the latest news from the corner of Hicks and Diamond Drive.

-Cameron

Why They Play 140 Games…

Miss the last RoughRiders game? Catch up on the action or relive the highlights with ‘Riders Rewind, a daily capsule of yesterday’s big moments. Listen to previous editions of ‘Riders Rewind here.

Welp, you can’t win or lose a 140-game season in just one night. And when you play virtually every night for five months, there’s never a lot of time to dwell on the highs or the lows. Hopefully, the ‘Riders deep-sixed the memory of last night’s 12-4 thrashing at the hands of the Hooks. Click here to read the full game recap.

Star of the Game: RHP Randy Henry – 3.0IP, H, 0R, 0BB, K

After an adverse start to his season in Frisco, Randy has settled in atop his perch and allowed no runs in his last four outings. He faced one batter above the minimum on Friday in his longest performance with the ‘Riders this season in terms of innings pitched. Henry, a native of tiny Arnett, Oklahoma, has tossed 10 1/3 innings over eight games at Double-A and dropped his ERA to 4.35 last night.

In case you missed it:

-Corpus Christi outhit the ‘Riders 16-5 and sent eight batters to the plate in each of the first three innings (24 in total). At one point, the Hooks were on pace for 72 plate appearances on the night. The 12 runs allowed are a season-high for Frisco.

-The Midland RockHounds defeated the San Antonio Missions on Friday for their eighth straight win. In the process, the ‘Hounds leapfrogged the RoughRiders into first place with the best overall record in the Texas League. It’s the first time Frisco has been outside the top spot since May 5, a stretch of 66 straight days. The ‘Riders have had a share of first place in 83 of the first 100 days of the season.

-Gallo watch: DNP

The RoughRiders gave Joey his first night off in his 27 Double-A games this year.

-Rehabber Geovany Soto went 0-for-1 with a walk, a stolen base and a run scored in the second game of his rehab assignment with the ‘Riders. Patrick Cantwell replaced him in the lineup in the fifth inning.

-Rehabber Engel Beltre finished his 2014 ‘Riders debut 2-for-4 at the plate with an RBI and a run scored. It was Beltre’s first appearance at Dr Pepper Ballpark since 2012 when he lead the Texas League in triples (17) and at-bats (564).

-Alec Asher’s two inning performance was the shortest effort by a regular starter for Frisco this season (excluding rehab appearances by, for instance, Tanner Scheppers). It’s a testament to the strength of the RoughRiders’ rotation this season to have gone until mid-July without a clunker like last night.

-After Asher hit the shower, newcomer Brodie Downs made his Frisco debut on the mound. The Rangers signed Downs, who turns 35 on July 19, out of the Mexican League as free agent on July 11. Downs has not played affiliated baseball since 2009 and threw two innings with three runs and four hits allowed along with two walks and two strikeouts. Downs has a side-arm release and throws a fastball in the mid-upper 80s and a high 70s slider. After a turbulent third inning, the righty faced the minimum in the fourth, thanks to a double play ground ball from Tyler Heineman.

-Guilder Rodriguez made his season debut on the hill as well for the RoughRiders. G-Rod pitched the ninth inning and allowed a run on two hits and a walk. It was his fifth career appearance as a pitcher with Frisco. Guilder, who throws right-handed, last tossed on June 16, 2013 in a 16-inning marathon against the Hooks. He took home the win in that decision. On Friday, Guilder played second base for the first eight innings and Odubel Herrera filled in for the final frame while G-Rod pitched.

-Delino DeShields, Jr. was the only hitter for Corpus Christi without a base knock on Friday. He still reached base in the first inning on a sacrifice bunt because Drew Robinson committed an error on the play. DeShields later scored a run to move him into a tie with San Antonio’s Dusty Coleman for fifth in the Texas League with 47 home-plate touches this season.

-The Rangers Senior Director of Minor League Operations, Mike Daly, was in attendance at Dr Pepper Ballpark last night. He didn’t exactly see a classic.

-Drew Robinson’s two-run home run in the second inning was the RoughRiders’ 69th long ball of the season.

Home Run List (current players):

1. Joey Gallo – 10

2. Trever Adams – 9

2. Drew Robinson – 9

4. Teodoro Martinez – 3

5. Jake Skole – 2

5. Tomás Telis – 2

7. Patrick Cantwell – 1

7. Chris Grayson – 1

7. Odubel Herrera – 1

 

With pitching coach Jeff Andrews on vacation for the series, minor league rehab coordinator Keith Comstock takes over the reins of the staff. Our interview with Keith aired in two parts over the course of the last two broadcasts. Hear about the unique elements of his job in Arizona, his analysis of Derek Holland and the day he was traded for $100 and a box of baseballs:

Thanks for tuning in,

-Chris V.

Hooks strike back

Miss the last RoughRiders game? Catch up on the action or relive the highlights with ‘Riders Rewind, a daily capsule of yesterday’s big moments. Listen to previous editions of ‘Riders Rewind here.

Small ball is the Hooks’ specialty, but an RBI double and a solo home run turned the tide in Thursday’s contest. Click here to read the full game recap.

Star of the Game: RHP Keone Kela – 1.0IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 3K

Kela struck out the side in succession in the ninth inning to give the ‘Riders a fighting chance in the bottom half. He struck out two batters on a breaking ball and breezed a heater by Telvin Nash to end the inning. Kela has not allowed a run in his last ten outings and through 20 1/3 innings has a 1.33 ERA.

In case you missed it:

-The team with the most hits has lost both games in this series.

-The Hooks have beaten the RoughRiders 4-1 on three separate occasions this season.

-Gallo watch: 0-for-4, 2SO

Joey put the ball in play twice to right field, and in both instances, Leo Heras made an athletic play to deprive him of a base knock.

-In his RoughRiders’ debut, rehabber Geovany Soto went 1-for-3 with a single to left and a strikeout. He played seven innings and was replaced by Tomás Telis.

-Hooks starter Jordan Jankowski threw 50 of his 64 pitches for strikes.

-Delino DeShields, Jr. made his first appearance of the season in left field for the Hooks after playing 60 games in center.

 

 

With pitching coach Jeff Andrews on vacation for the series, minor league rehab coordinator Keith Comstock takes over the reins of the staff. Hear about the unique elements of his job in Arizona, his analysis of Derek Holland and the day he was traded for $100 and a box of baseballs:

Thanks for tuning in,

-Chris V.

Meat Grinder

Miss the last RoughRiders game? Catch up on the action or relive the highlights with ‘Riders Rewind, a daily capsule of yesterday’s big moments. Listen to previous editions of ‘Riders Rewind here.

If Wednesday’s series opener was any indication, this four-game set with the Hooks is going to be a knock-down, drag-out slug fest. Corpus Christi erased a 3-1 hole in the seventh only to have the ‘Riders regain the lead 4-3 on Odubel Herrera’s sacrifice fly. The Hooks put a runner on third in each of the final three innings, but the ‘Riders eeked out the win. Click here to read the full game recap.

Star of the Game: LF Teodoro Martinez – 2/3, R, 2B, RBI

After a 1-for-18 road trip, Teo looked happy to be home at the Doc on Wednesday night. His RBI single in the second inning gave Frisco its first lead of the ballgame and brought the Venezuelan level with a couple statistical plateaus: it was both his 50th hit and his 30th RBI as a RoughRider this season.

Also of note, the knock came against a right-handed pitcher; the Venezuelan bats just .234 against righties. Off southpaws, however, Teo crushes at a .340 average, and true to form, his leadoff double in the seventh came versus a lefty. “Cafe” scored the winning run later in the inning.

In case you missed it:

-After 44 games without an error, Odubel Herrera committed his first fielding miscue as a RoughRider last night. Actually, his first two. With two outs in the top of the ninth and a runner on first, Ruben Sosa bounced a ball towards second. Herrera bobbled the handle (first error) and then threw an errant ball to first that missed the glove of Trever Adams (second error). It nearly cost the ‘Riders in a one-run game. The tying runner on first advanced all the way to third. A fly out in the ensuing at-bat ended the contest, so no harm came of the botched play. Here’s hoping for another 44-game error-less streak, Odubel!

-The ‘Riders scored a pair of unearned runs in the second thanks to a throwing error on catcher Rene Garcia, just his second of the season. The throw allowed Hanser Alberto to reach safely on a sacrifice and advance all the way to second base. Tomás Telis, meanwhile, moved down to third base. Both runners scored in the frame.

-Gallo watch: 0-for-3, R, BB, SO

Joey now has 14 walks, 47 strikeouts and 20 runs scored at the Double-A level (26 games). He made good contact on a hard ground ball to second baseman Tony Kemp in the third inning. The Hooks had a monster shift implemented and Kemp fielded the play at medium depth in right field.

-Corpus Christi outhit Frisco 10-6.

-Drew Robinson and Jake Skole both went hitless (although Robinson did have an RBI on a sac fly) and snapped their respective six-game hitting streaks.

-Delino DeShields, Jr. drew two walks and stole two bases.

 

 

Right-handed pitcher Alex “Chi Chi” Gonzalez makes his debut on the RoughRiders Pregame Show. Find out what the 2013 first-round draft choice did on his day off and discover the origins of his awesome nickname. Don’t worry, for the hard-core baseball fans, Chi Chi also delves into his arsenal and the start to his Double-A career:

Thanks for tuning in,

-Chris V.

Power Surge

Miss the last RoughRiders game? Catch up on the action or relive the highlights with ‘Riders Rewind, a daily capsule of yesterday’s big moments. Listen to previous editions of ‘Riders Rewind here.

With their backs to the elimination wall in the series with Northwest Arkansas, the RoughRiders turned in a total team effort (good pitching + timely hitting) to knock off the Nats 6-1 on Monday. Click here to read the full game recap.

Thankfully, ‘Riders Wrecker Lane Adams was not in the starting lineup to challenge Frisco’s control of the game, which began immediately in the first inning thanks to two solo home runs.

Star of the Game: RHP Alex Gonzalez – 5 1/3IP, 2H, R, 2BB, 5K

Chi Chi found the form from his Double-A debut against Midland on June 10 with the best outing of his last five starts. The righty retired the first ten batters he faced and did not allow an extra-base hit. After he left with one out and one on in the sixth inning, a platoon force of Kyle Lotzkar (1 1/3IP), Wilmer Font (1/3IP), Ryan Rodebaugh (1IP) and Keone Kela (1IP) surrendered one hit and three walks the rest of the way.

In case you missed it:

-The RoughRiders hit three home runs in a single game for the first time since May 29 in a 13-4 win over the Tulsa Drillers when Odubel Herrera, Chris Grayson and Ryan Rua each went yard.

-On Monday, Drew Robinson (8), Trever Adams (9) and Joey Gallo (10) hit their eighth, ninth and tenth home runs of the season with the RoughRiders, respectively.

-Gallo watch: 2-for-4, R, 2B, HR, RBI, 2SO

Joey iced the game with a titanic blast to center field. The Northwest Arkansas grounds crew planned to measure the distance the ball traveled. Through 25 games at the Double-A level, Joey bats .298 (28-for-94) with 19 runs, seven doubles, ten home runs, 23 RBI, 13 walks and 46 strikeouts. His slash line reads .298/.389/.691/1.080. Nice.

-Robinson’s solo home run in the first inning gave the ‘Riders their first lead of the series.

-Robinson and Jake Skole each played in five of the six games on the road trip and registered at least one base hit every time in the lineup.

Home Run List (current players):

1. Joey Gallo – 10

2. Trever Adams – 9

3. Drew Robinson – 8

4. Teodoro Martinez – 3

5. Jake Skole – 2

5. Tomás Telis – 2

7. Patrick Cantwell – 1

7. Chris Grayson – 1

7. Odubel Herrera – 1

 

 

Hanser Alberto is back for a second run with the ‘Riders after 100 games played in 2013. The shortstop put in a solid first half with Myrtle Beach and hopes to build on that momentum the second time ’round the Texas League circuit:

Thanks for tuning in,

-Chris V.

When ‘The Show’ Calls: Part Two

Even though 2014 has been a sore spot in the eyes of many who follow the Rangers’ organization, there are still plenty of things to highlight. An injury-ridden parent club has the team looking up in the standings but this is giving us the opportunity to examine and analyze the pieces that the Rangers have invested value in. So far, the 2014 campaign has seen seven former RoughRiders wear a major-league uniform:

-RHP Nick Martinez (TEX)

-RHP Ben Rowen (TEX)

-RHP Neil Ramirez (CHC)

-RHP Justin Miller (DET)

-RHP Jumbo Diaz (CIN)

-INF Luis Sardinas (TEX)

-INF Rougned Odor (TEX)

On July 7 that number increased to eight with the debut of OF Jake Smolinski as a pinch-hitter for Leonys Martin in the seventh inning, and it increased to nine the next day when RHP Roman Mendez pitched the final two innings of an 8-3 home loss to Houston. RHP Kyle Hendricks, another former ‘Riders player, is also projected to make his major-league debut soon for the Chicago Cubs. Let’s take a quick look at how these RoughRiders earned their shot at the big league level.

OF Jake Smolinski

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Jake proved to be a key player in the middle of Jason Wood’s lineup by being a reliable hitter, outstanding defender and a versatile guy that could do just about anything that the skipper asked of him. He posted a .267 average in 72 games while scoring 43 runs with 71 hits, 15 doubles, 3 triples and 10 homers. He also notched 35 RBI, walked 32 times and swiped six bags on the base paths before being promoted to Triple-A RoundRock. The Rangers, playing with an all-hands-on-deck attitude, will look forward to seeing what Smolinski can do at the major-league level. In his debut with the club on July 7, Smolinski appeared as a pinch-hitter for Leonys Martin in the seventh inning and went 0-for-2 with one strikeout. The next day he earned his first major league hit and RBI on an RBI double ripped to left and finished his first full game 2-for-4.

RHP Roman Mendez

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Roman appeared in 21 games for the ‘Riders over 2012 and 2013 and notched four wins and three saves for Frisco. He pitched 37 Double-A innings and began the 2014 season with Triple-A RoundRock before being called up to the Rangers on July 7, along with Smolinski. Mendez recorded 31.1 IP in 25 games for the Express and left with a 0-1 record (3 saves) and a 4.02 ERA. He gave up 39 hits and allowed 16 runs (14 earned) with four homers, while walking 12 and striking out 30. The addition of Mendez will boost a taxed bullpen in Arlington and will give Ron Washington the depth he deserves. In his major league debut he walked one and struck out one over the final two frames.

RHP Kyle Hendricks (CHC)

Kyle only made one start with the ‘Riders in 2011 after being drafted in the eighth round of the June draft. He pitched three innings and gave up one run on four hits with two walks and two strikeouts. He was then sent to Myrtle Beach and was later packaged in the Ryan Dempster trade during the summer of 2012. As a pitcher for the Iowa Cubs in the Pacific Coast League, Hendricks has a 10-5 record with a 3.59 ERA in 102.2 IP over 17 starts. He’s allowed 46 runs (41 earned) on 98 hits, given up 5 homers, and has walked 23 while striking out 97. Hendricks is expected to make his major-league debut with the Chicago Cubs at some point this season.

If there’s one thing that Ranger fans should remember it’s that there is always something to play for. Playoff hopes are dwindling quickly, but there are young guys who are ready to earn their keep, veterans willing to pass on their knowledge and coaches who are still there to do what they love. So, when ‘The Show’ calls again, let’s look forward to the guys who are willing to answer.

The Apple of Lane Adams’ Eye

Miss the last RoughRiders game? Catch up on the action or relive the highlights with ‘Riders Rewind, a daily capsule of yesterday’s big moments. Listen to previous editions of ‘Riders Rewind here.

Northwest Arkansas blanked the RoughRiders 3-0 on Sunday. It marked the fourth time this season the ‘Riders have been shut out in a game. Click here to read the full game recap.

Once again, Lane Adams chowed down on the RoughRiders. The center fielder went 3-for-4 with two doubles and a solo home run on Sunday. Against Frisco this season, Adams bats .395 (17-for-43) with an .814 slugging percentage and a 1.251OPS. He has five doubles, two triples, three home runs and ten RBI against the Horsemen this season. Brutal.

Star of the Game: RF Drew Robinson – 2/4, 2K

Robinson was the only hitter with multiple base knocks for the ‘Riders and extended his hitting streak to five straight games.

In case you missed it:

-Gallo watch: 0-for-4, 3K

Joey struck out to end the first, third and eighth innings, and the ‘Riders left runners in scoring position each time.

-The ‘Riders are batting 0-for-17 with runners in scoring position in the series.

-Local product Hunter Dozier lifted a home run in the second inning. He hit his first two Double-A home runs in as many at-bats (eighth inning on Saturday and the second on Sunday).

 

 

Tune in to Jason Wood’s weekly appearance on the Pregame Show. It’s “Sunday with the Skipper:”

Thanks for tuning in,

-Chris V.

Hot Herrera

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By: Jay Wallis

Odubel Herrera has been working his way up the Rangers farm system year by year since 2009 when he competed in the Dominican Summer League. He has played overseas and in Spokane, Hickory, Myrtle Beach and now Frisco. Always known as a freak athlete with plenty of energy, Herrera seems to be finding his footing this season.

Herrera, 22, is currently one of the RoughRiders most versatile players, both at the plate and on the field. Since being called up from Advanced-A Myrtle Beach in mid-May, very few have hit the ball better than Herrera. He might not have the type of star-power or literal power as Joey Gallo, for example, but Herrera knows how to make contact and get on base.

The native of Zulia, Venezuela is batting .410 (34-for-83) with five doubles, a triple, 11 RBI, nine runs scored, five walks and six steals in only his last 21 games. Since June 11, the second baseman leads the Texas League in batting average and is third in on-base percentage.

This quick ascension into productivity is a major reason the infielder earned his second straight All-Star appearance with the ‘Riders despite the fact that he played the first part of the season with the Pelicans. But it’s more than that. Even though he plays a position that often times causes mistakes to be made from time to time, the second baseman still has not committed an error in 43 consecutive games—which is every single game he’s played in Frisco. He rarely forces his throws and consistently makes the difficult play look effortless.

Since former ‘Riders second baseman Rougned Odor is blossoming with the Rangers and the Triple-A Round Rock Express have three second baseman already on the roster, Herrera might find himself in Frisco the rest of the year, despite his continued improvement. With many of the ‘Riders most reliable players being moved up recently, causing the team to struggle finding consistency, the 5-11, 200-pound infielder provides a source of dependability any successful sports team needs.

All Good Things Must Come to an End

Miss the last RoughRiders game? Catch up on the action or relive the highlights with ‘Riders Rewind, a daily capsule of yesterday’s big moments. Listen to previous editions of ‘Riders Rewind here.

At long last, the RoughRiders succumbed to an opponent in the state of Arkansas. The Northwest Arkansas Naturals felled Frisco in the Diamond State for the first time in 370 days, thanks in large part to a pivotal three-run home run from Orlando Calixte. Pardon the somewhat epic tone; the Lord of the Rings is on TNT right now. Click here to read the full game recap.

Star of the Game: CF Jake Skole – 2/4, R, 2B, RBI

Jake is once again seeing more consistent playing time with fellow center fielder Ryan Strausborger back at Triple-A. The lefty is on a mini four-game hit streak and his double to right in the seventh inning tied the game at three. It marked the second straight game in which the ‘Riders erased a multiple run deficit in the seventh.

In case you missed it:

-The Naturals snapped the RoughRiders’ four-game win streak.

-Gallo watch: 1-for-3, R, BB

Joey dropped his second successful bunt single this season, and of his professional career. The native of Henderson, Nevada drew a walk in the ninth inning to put two men on with nobody out, but the ‘Riders could not build on the momentum. He avoided a strikeout for the third time in 23 games with the RoughRiders.

-Chris Grayson made his first appearance with the ‘Riders since June 6. In each of his three stints with the RoughRiders, Grayson has worn a different number. He began the season wearing number 11 (now Alex Claudio’s number) and wore number 36 from May 27-June 8 (Randy Henry carries it now). Now, the outfielder displays number 26 on his back and went 0-for-3 with an RBI sacrifice fly in his first game with the ‘Riders in nearly a month.

-Hanser Alberto made his 2014 Double-A premier, batted 0-for-4 and played shortstop.

-Local product Hunter Dozier, from Denton, clocked his first Double-A home run off Francisco Mendoza in the eighth inning to give his teams its largest lead of the night.

 

 

The affable Jimmy Reyes joins the Pregame Show on the heels of a five strikeout performance in two innings of relief:

Thanks for tuning in,

-Chris V.

Happy Fourth of July!

Miss the last RoughRiders game? Catch up on the action or relive the highlights with ‘Riders Rewind, a daily capsule of yesterday’s big moments. Listen to previous editions of ‘Riders Rewind here.

Frisco fell behind 5-1 after a rough third inning, but chipped away at the deficit and stormed ahead with a monster five-run seventh. Click here to read the full game recap.

Star of the Game: 2B Odubel Herrera – 2/4, 2R, 3RBI, BB, SB

Odubel continues to knock the cover off the cowhide and extended his hit streak to ten games on Friday. On U.S. Independence Day, the Venezuelan drove in the first run of the game and later tied the game at 5-5 to cap a four-run rally. ‘Dubel is clobbering at a .352 clip in the Texas League this season (43 games) and at an astronomical .421 rate over his last ten games. With the ‘Riders, the southpaw has 18 runs, eight doubles, two triples, one home run and 25 RBI.

In case you missed it:

-The RoughRiders are undefeated in the state of Arkansas this season with a perfect 9-0 record.

-The ‘Riders also won their fourth straight game for the first time since May 29.

-Friday’s four-run rally marked the second time this season the ‘Riders overcame such a deficit and went on to win the ballgame. The first instance occurred way back on April 10 in an 11-7 win over the Northwest Arkansas Naturals. Frisco fell behind 4-0 in the first inning, tied the game at four in the top of the third and then fell behind 7-4 in the fourth. It was all RoughRiders the rest of the way, however, as they scored seven unanswered to win their second straight in what would become a ten-game winning streak. The ‘Riders smashed four home runs in the game (Jordan Brown, Drew Robinson, Trever Adams, Ryan Rua) and Rougned Odor finished 2-for-5 with a run scored.

-Gallo watch: 2-for-4, R, IBB, 2K

Joey drew his first intentional walk in the Texas League in a move that backfired on the Travelers. He rebounded nicely after striking out in his first two at-bats of the night.

-Patrick Cantwell was hit by a pitch for the tenth time this season (most on the team) when Drew Rucinski plunked him on the left wrist in the fifth inning.

-Tomás Telis’ entered the game with his batting average below .300 for the first time since May 4, a streak of 46 games.

-Wilmer Font earned his first win on the mound since April 17 against Corpus Christi.

 

 

One day after Edwar Cabrera tossed eight innings of shutout baseball, the southpaw regales his longest outing of the season with Alex on the Pregame Show. Interestingly enough, the last time Cabrera threw that many frames also came against the Travelers but in 2012 when he belonged to the Colorado Rockies organization (Tulsa Drillers). Edwar admits lobbying Jason Wood to pitch the ninth, but respects his skipper’s decision:

Thanks for tuning in,

-Chris V.

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