‘Riders Rewind – June 21

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.

The ‘Riders roll into the final game before the All-Star break on the strength of a 3-0 win over the Corpus Christi Hooks. Click here to read the full game recap.

Star of the Game: 3B Joey Gallo – 1/4, R, HR, 3RBI, 2K

Gallo homered for the second straight night and in seven career games against the Hooks, the mammoth slugger has gone deep four times. Corpus Christi starting pitcher Mike Hauschild carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning when the RoughRiders opened the inning with a pair of singles from Patrick Cantwell and Trever Adams, respectively. That brought Gallo to the plate, and on the first pitch from Hauschild, he deposited the offering on the right-center field berm for the only three runs of the game for either side.

Through 12 games with Frisco, Gallo posts a .279 batting average  (12-for-43) with ten runs, one double, six home runs and 14 runs driven in. He has drawn nine walks and has struck out 20 times.

In case you missed it:

-Frisco recorded all of their runs and hits in a single inning (the seventh). Corpus Christi outhit the ‘Riders 7-3 and Frisco left just one man on base in the game.

-The Hooks’ best chance to score came in the fifth inning with runners on the corners and one out. A poor bunt by Ruben Sosa enabled Alec Asher to field an throw home where Tomás Telis tagged out Tyler Heineman for a crucial second out.

-Corpus Christi relief pitcher Alex Sogard tossed one shutout inning against the RoughRiders in the ninth. Sogard’s older brother, Eric, is an infielder for the Oakland A’s.

-Cantwell spoiled Hauschild’s no-no in the seventh inning. The backstop also tarnished the perfect game when he drew a walk in the fourth. Through the first six frames, Cantwell was Frisco’s only baserunner.

-Phil Klein moved into sole possession of fourth place in the Texas League with his tenth save of the season.

-The 3-0 final score marked the eighth time Frisco has shut out an opponent. The ‘Riders are 8-3 in shutouts this season.

Be sure to catch this interview with Corpus Christi interim pitching coach Doug Brocail. Rangers fans may remember Brocail during his time in Arlington from 2004-2005. He shares some lighter moments of his career on the Pregame Show:

Thanks for tuning in,

-Chris V.

 

‘Riders Rewind – June 20

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.

Highlights from Frisco’s 4-1 loss to Corpus Christi on Friday. The RoughRiders have now lost four of their last five games. Click here to read the full game recap.

Star of the Game: 2B Odubel Herrera – 3/4, 2B

Odubel’s focus remains razor sharp at the plate as he and teammate Trever Adams were the only ‘Riders with multiple hits on Friday (and no strikeouts, either). The Venezuelan is hitting .319 this season, but . 339 with the Frisco through 32 games. He also has 9 doubles and 29 RBI on the season. Equally impressive is Odubel’s strikeout-to-walk rate: the southpaw has 28 free trips and just 41 whiffs in 2014.

In case you missed it:

-The Hooks registered 12 singles and no extra-base hits in the game.

-Trever Adams went 2-for-3 with a ground-rule double and a walk for his third straight multi-hit game.

-Gallo watch: 1-for-4, R, HR, RBI, 3K – Gallo launched his first home run since June 13 when he took a hanging breaking ball to left-center field in the second inning.

Newcomer Will Lamb makes his debut on the RoughRiders Pregame Show. The lefty aspires to own the best (worst?) mustache in the Texas League and has an equally filthy fastball:

Thanks for tuning in,

-Chris V.

 

Finding Home

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By: Jay Wallis

Double-A baseball teams play 140 regular season games over a span of five months. The commitment goes far beyond this as players have spring training beforehand and possible postseason play afterward. To add to this, while it is too cold to play in America during the winter months, many players will travel and compete in offseason leagues overseas.

Professional baseball at any level requires dedication, sacrifice and effort to achieve sustained success. Challenges and changes inevitably emerge at any stage of a player’s career, whether in rookie ball or on the doorstep of a major league call-up.

Many players have to face these obstacles with their families scattered across the country or even the globe. However, in spite of distance and other obstacles, many RoughRiders make a diligent effort to keep their families as close as possible.

Frisco pitcher Kyle Lotzkar decided to forgo college and enter the amateur draft. The reliever was selected 53rd overall and took his talents to the Cincinnati Reds.

When Lotzkar was 17, he left his Canadian hometown of Tsawwassen to play pro ball in the United States. He traveled south to Sarasota, Florida to play for a Reds affiliate in a rookie league. Living out of a hotel with some teammates, Lotzkar wasn’t completely ready for his new life.

“During the first couple of months, I got homesick quick,” Lotzkar said. “Most guys were like three or four years older than me. Luckily, since I signed in the summer, I only had to play about four months and then I got back home. I’ve worked to stay in touch with my family ever since.”

As if the rigorous training a pitcher goes through wasn’t enough, the young Lotzkar had to push himself to work every day, literally.

“I didn’t have a car and didn’t have any money to start,” Lotzkar said, “We actually managed to find a really greasy, used car dealership and we rented a car for literally five bucks a day,” Lotzkar said. “It was something like an old 1996 Ford Explorer we’re driving around, and it’d barely even make it to the field. We ended up pushing it almost every other day just to get it started. So that’s kind of how we survived—we were paying five bucks a day for a rental car.”

Shortstop Guilder Rodriguez also came from a foreign country to play professional baseball in the U.S. Like Lotzkar, the Venezuelan veteran understands the value of an American dollar.

“During my first three or four years, I didn’t have a cell phone,” Rodriguez said. “Not too many players in rookie ball had cell phones. So I paid to use a phone card in a station for five dollars and it gave me five minutes for a call to Venezuela. I then had a fast conversation with my family and checked on my father, mother, brother and sisters. I tried to talk to everybody in my family for five dollars. It was crazy.”

Now in his 14th season, G-Rod has his own cell phone and is often seen talking to his family at the ballpark before games. The knowledge his family is back home rooting him on is the perfect drive to push through the long season.

“My father and my whole family are just happy because not too many players have the opportunity to play here for a long time,” Rodriguez said. “My father always told me, ‘I want to see you one day in the big leagues.’ He saw me and now sees me. It’s the dream.”

Even though Rodriguez has been able to fly his parents in from Venezuela a few times to see him play, not all his teammates are as fortunate.

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Edwar Cabrera isn’t here to just play baseball; the 26-year-old lefty is here to support his family back in the Dominican Republic. Cabrera has a dream of one day seeing his family in America, sitting in seats, watching him on the mound. This process, though, can be complicated.

“I really want to try and bring my family here so they can see me pitch,” Cabrera said. “It’s a little bit hard because in the Dominican, some people don’t have visas. I want them to all get visas one day, and I want to bring them all over here to watch.”

Cabrera doesn’t let this complication get in the way of hearing his mom’s advice. If you happen to be in the ballpark a few hours before a ‘Riders game, there is a good chance you’ll find Cabrera, headphones in, sitting near the batting cages attentively listening to his mom.

“I am always talking to my mom,” Cabrera said. “Every day, she says, ‘You have to think God first.’ He will take care of you. She reminds me to remember that no matter where you are or what level you are playing, tell yourself every single day that God comes first and then everything else second. That talk helps me get through everything.”

Whatever route they took along the way, these three have paved individual paths in order to reach their destination. Sometimes it has taken a little push to get an old car to the ballpark or a nudge from a family member thousands of miles away, but no matter the means, these RoughRiders have worked to maintain in Frisco what they left behind—home.

‘Riders Rewind – June 19

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.

A savvy veteran and a fortuitous bounce gave the RoughRiders their first win in extra innings this season. Click here to read the full game recap.

The victory Thursday night bore significance in several respects:

  1. The ‘Riders snapped a three-game losing streak. A fourth consecutive loss would have been the longest of the season for Frisco. They are now the only team without a skid of more than three games in 2014, needless to say, an instrumental factor in their standing atop the Texas League.
  2. Frisco won a series opener, not only for the first time on this marathon road swing, but also for the first time in the month of June. Prior to last night’s win, the ‘Riders dropped the opening game in the last five series. The last time the RoughRiders had started a series with a victory occurred on May 29 against the Tulsa Drillers.
  3. The RoughRiders are now 1-3 in extra innings. All four of the team’s extended affairs have played out on the road. Frisco has gone to overtime with all three teams in the South Division and twice with Corpus Christi. The Hooks own the Texas League’s best mark in extra innings at 8-2.

The ‘Riders are now 1-1 in the second half and 41-30 overall. Remember, the series finale on June 18 against the Midland RockHounds was postponed due to rain and will be played out as part of a doubleheader on July 22. Click here for details.

Star of the Game: RHP Jon Edwards – 2 1/3IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 4K

For all the offensive accolades in the game for the RoughRiders, Edwards’ performance on the mound bore a crucial impact in the win. Edwards entered with game in the balance and the momentum already shifted in Corpus Christi’s favor. In a disastrous seventh inning, the ‘Riders blew a 5-1 lead and allowed four runs to score on one hit, two hit batsmen and three walks. With no outs in the frame and runners on first and third, Edwards cooly retired three straight Hooks and preserved the tie. His slider was unhittable as he guided the RoughRiders through the eighth inning as well and recorded the first out of the ninth before Jason Wood brought lefty Will Lamb out of the pen. Edwards’ resurgence on the mound continues; according to Michael Tepid, Edwards has allowed one earned run with four walks and 16 strikeouts in his last eight appearances (12 1/3 innings).

In case you missed it:

-Frisco scored first for the first time on its current 12-game road swing. Thursday was the eighth game of the trip.

-Ryan Rua started in left field for the first time in 2014. He did not record a putout. Jason Wood lifted Rua from the game in the tenth and inserted Teodoro Martinez. With the game on the line, Wood did not want to charge Rua with making a key play at a new position.

-Gallo watch: 1-for-5, R, 2K – Gallo appeared frustrated with his timing at the plate, but looks comfortable in the field at the hot corner. He made three putouts on the night.

-Trever Adams has taken strides towards snapping his slump at the plate. Adams has consecutive multi-hit games and on Thursday went 3-for-4 with two runs, a double and a walk.

-Rua tallied three hits in a game for the fourth time this season and his three RBI gives him 38 on the season.

Alex Vispoli sits down with Corpus Christi broadcaster Michael Coffin and gets an inside scoop on the Hooks’ outlook for the second half as well as a look at the Astros prospects in the pipeline:

Thanks for tuning in,

-Chris V.

 

Remembering Richard Durrett

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“A measure of a life is it’s service.”- General Sam Houston

This is the motto at Sam Houston State University, which is the first college I attended after graduating from Plano Senior High School in 2010 and staying home for a year of basic courses at Collin College. I was a typical kid just trying to figure out his place in the world. The Texas Rangers were nearly atop the baseball world, the SuperBowl made it’s way to Arlington, the Dallas Mavericks were preparing for what would be the biggest ride in the history of the franchise. The times were pleasant ones in DFW.

This story, however, begins in 2008. It begins far away from the depths of the American Airlines Center or the press box at Globe Life Park in Arlington. First, I’d like to get something straight, and that’s that this story is not about me, or my life, or about the local teams that have propelled me to thousands of cheers and plenty of tears. It’s about Richard Durrett.

My father passed away in January of 2008 and my world was rocked. A sophomore in high school at the time, I had no idea of what to turn to. Faith was one of those things and sports was the other. I focussed nearly all of my time and attention to what was going on with the Rangers and the Stars. Josh Hamilton busted onto the scene, Mike Modano and Marty Turco were fueling a deep run into the Western Conference Finals, and the Cowboys were just coming off of a thrilling 13-3 season so there was plenty to talk about.

Richard was one of the guys that I listened to. Richard was one of the voices that I needed to hear. Richard was a guy that helped me day-to-day, and he didn’t even know it.

I developed a passion for the games that I spent hours and hours watching rather than doing my homework. Richard’s insight and love for his career made a lasting impact on me. I’ve told countless people, “I want to be just like Richard Durrett one day.”

Let me just say that it takes an outstanding person to be close to the man the Richard was, and in the wake of his death I find myself coming back to this quote.

“A measure of a life is it’s service.”

The first time I met Richard was at a Dallas Stars practice. I played the role of ‘rookie reporter’ as I was a one-man-band trying to get solid content for a news package, and Richard played the same role that he always had, which was the all-around good guy. I always found joy in reading his articles, but getting a chance to meet him was a whole new ballgame for this young kid. I can’t remember exactly what I said to get the conversation started, but nonetheless, we spoke for around five minutes and he encouraged me to email him with any questions I had for him in regards to getting a career started in the business. I emailed him a few weeks later asking if he had some time to meet up over lunch and no reply came. About two weeks passed and I figured he was too busy to meet up, which I completely understood. After all, I’m just a college kid. He probably doesn’t have time for me anyways, right?

Wrong.

I remember getting an email back from him during one of my shifts at the Academy Sports and Outdoors in Lewisville, Texas. After quickly checking my phone, and knowing I could be fired for being on it while at work, I pretended to organize the baseball gloves, but instead read his email and replied back promptly. Happiest moment I ever had during my time at Academy.

He agreed to meet up before one of his radio shows, ‘Turf Talk with Morris Claiborne’, which was recorded at a local restaurant in Frisco, Texas. We planned to meet around 5:00 p.m. because I wanted to make sure he had enough time to get his stuff ready for the show, but I was too excited and showed up at 4:15. I guess I needed enough time to get myself ready to meet with one of my heroes.

5:00 p.m. finally came and the anticipation began to grow. 5:15? No Richard. 5:30? Nope. 5:45? Nada.

I was bummed, man. His show started in fifteen minutes and I had a feeling I wasn’t going to get to meet with him. Surely enough, however, Richard arrived in time for his show. Fully-prepared to go on the air with Morris for a full hour, he assured me that he had time after the show to hang around and chat as long as I still could. Hmmm.

“You got it, dude. See you later and have a good show,” I said.

I never had the pleasure to work with Richard day-to-day so I can’t say that I’m as familiar with him as the other writers in the DFW area are, but the 45 minute talk we had after that show told me all that I needed to know about the man that he was.

He was dedicated to his craft and he was one of the best at it. He was a caring father and a loving husband. He lit up the rooms he entered just by walking through the door, as opposed to providing light by simply exiting.

The last time I saw Richard was at the ballpark in Frisco. He was pleased to see that my hard work led to a Media Relations Internship with the Frisco RoughRiders. I guess his advice really did pay off for me, and words can’t describe how thankful I am for that.

“I want to be just like Richard Durrett one day.”

I’ll leave you with this. Every single day we are given the opportunity to make a difference. Should I hold the door for this person? They’re pretty far away. I guess I’ll pass. That person looks like they really need help, but man, I’m in a hurry. These are small things that don’t seem like they make a huge difference but they were so easy for Richard to do. What happens when you put them all together? The way I look at it eight small cracks in a wall add up to one big crack.

The passing of Richard Durrett will leave a very large crack in the hearts of many. I’d like to extend my thoughts and prayers to Richard’s family, his wife Kelly, and his two children, Owen and Alice. The same goes for all of his co-workers and to anyone that he made an impact on. Richard was a gift to everyone that knew him and he will be dearly missed.

What happened to Richard and his family is not fair. I encourage all of us to remember Richard and the things he did for us, the things he taught us, and for us to be thankful and happy for the times we had with him.  Even though at times we see Angels in the outfield at the ballpark, we now have our own angel in the press box.

-Cameron Varnau

RoughRiders Awards: First-Half

The Frisco RoughRiders played fantastic baseball over the course of the first half of the 2014 Texas League campaign, and their efforts earned them their eighth post-season berth in club history. The club’s 40-29 record was propelled by a combination of superb pitching, timely hitting and a cast of unlikely heroes. Let’s take a look at some of the individuals who propelled Frisco in the opening half.

Phil Klein pitching during one of his 22 first-half games.

Phil Klein pitching during one of his 22 first-half games.

Best Pitcher: RHP Phil Klein

Phil Klein proved to be a necessary function out of Jason Wood’s bullpen during the first-half and his pitching earned himself a trip to the 2014 Texas League All-star game. Klein posted a 3-0 record with a dominant 0.86 ERA in his 22 appearances. The tall right-hander was 8-for-8 in save opportunities and in 31.1 total innings pitched Klein allowed three earned runs on 15 base hits. The Columbus, Ohio, native struck out 44 hitters and walked 18, while opponents only managed to bat .147. His WHIP was a shade under one at 0.93.

Tomas Telis quickly became a threat in the middle of the Frisco order.

Tomas Telis quickly became a threat in the middle of the Frisco order.

Best Hitter: C Tomas Telis

The switch-hitting catcher utilized his ability to make contact frequently and smashed 63 hits with a .321 batting average in 51 games. He scratched across 22 runs for Frisco and popped 13 doubles with two triples and two homers, while assisting the team with 28 RBI. He gets the award for best hitter because it seemed like he was the guy to come up with timely hits game-to-game, and his efforts awarded him a trip to the 2014 Texas League All-Star game.

Odubel gets ready to fire over to first during warmups.

Odubel gets ready to fire over to first during warmups.

Best Defender: INF Odubel Herrera

Odubel began the season with Advanced-A Myrtle Beach and was called up May 12.  Since that time, Herrera has become a reliable infielder for the RoughRiders. He has not been charged with an error since returning to the Texas League in 2014, and his total statistics earned him a trip to the league’s All-Star game as a replacement for Rougned Odor. Herrera began to swing a hot bat towards the second portion of the first-half as he finished to hit .324 with 36 hits in 111 at bats with 17 RBI.

Guilder Rodriguez always shows up ready to play.

Guilder Rodriguez always shows up ready to play.

Team Leader: INF Guilder Rodriguez

Guilder Rodriguez was a critical factor in the team’s success during the first-half of the campaign due to his outstanding teamwork and work ethic. Rodriguez has spent time between Frisco and Round Rock during parts of his six-year stint in the Texas Rangers organization, including this season where he was promoted to Triple-A for a total of nine games. ‘G-Rod’ returned to the ‘Riders on May 15 and since then he’s continued to be a classy veteran that young guys can learn from. He’s done it with both his voice and his tools as Rodriguez batted .341 with 44 hits and 18 runs scored over the course of 34 games. Rodriguez’s work earned him his first Texas League All-Star game appearance.

Jake gets ahold of a pitch during a contest against the Springfield Cardinals.

Jake gets ahold of a pitch during a contest against the Springfield Cardinals.

MVP: OF Jake Smolinski 

It was difficult to encounter a game during the first-half in which Jake Smolinski’s name was not mentioned, whether it was for offensive or defensive efforts. ‘Smo’ crushed the competition by hitting .275 with 69 hits and 42 runs scored in 68 games for the RoughRiders. He put on an excellent display of power by pounding 14 doubles, three triples and ten home runs with 35 RBI. Jake also made incredible defensive plays in left field to keep his team either in the game or out in front when it mattered most.

We can’t go without giving respect to the other outstanding members of this club such as INF Ryan Rua, RHP Luke Jackson or OF Jake Skole. Baseball is a team sport and all 25 men in the Frisco RoughRiders’ clubhouse were needed to secure the franchises eighth post-season berth. Here’s to more terrific performances and to an awesome second-half!

-Cameron Varnau

‘Riders Rewind – June 17

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.

The second half began in the same way the first half ended for the RoughRiders. Click here to read the full game recap.

The RoughRiders have lost three in a row for the third time this season. They dropped a trio April 5-7 and lost three consecutive to the Missions at Wolff Stadium May 17-19.  Frisco has not been swept in a series this year, an instrumental factor in its standing atop the Texas League. The ‘Riders thus far have been able to avoid the long losing skid.

Of course, last night’s results and indeed, baseball as a whole, seem shallow in the face of Richard Durrett’s passing yesterday afternoon. His presence is already missed. Be sure to read Alex’s eulogy to Richard on the ‘Riders Insider Blog.

Star of the Game: 2B Odubel Herrera – 2/4, RBI

Odubel’s run-scoring single in the sixth inning broke an stretch of 18 scoreless frames for the ‘Riders. He also reached on an infield base knock in the eighth inning to load the bases as Frisco attempted to piece together a rally. Through 59 games played in 2014 (29 with Myrtle Beach and 30 with Frisco), the Venezuelan is batting .314 with 40 runs scored and 29 driven in.

In case you missed it:

-The opponent has scored first in all seven games of the road trip thus far.

-Midland’s Anthony Aliotti continued his romp against the RoughRiders with a double, a home run and two RBI. For the series, Aliotti is 7-for-11 with four runs, three doubles, two home runs, four RBI, a walk and three strikeouts.

-Gallo watch: 1-for-3, 2BB, K; Gallo has drawn six walks in the series (two per game) and now has nine free trips with the RoughRiders alongside 13 strikeouts.

-LHP Will Lamb made his RoughRiders debut and pitched one scoreless inning. The 6-foot-6 180 pound hurler allowed one hit, one walk and tossed (surprise!) one strikeout.

-The RoughRiders outhit Midland 9-8, but left 13 men on base.

Our pregame interview with outfielder Teodoro Martinez details Teo’s approach at the plate (as evidenced by his .310 batting average) and his rooting interests in the World Cup. His answer may surprise you:

Thanks for tuning in,

-Chris V.

 

Remembering Richard Durrett

Last night I received a text message in the last segment of our postgame show out here in Midland.  We were playing a highlight at that particular moment so I had time to look at the preview of the text before going back on the air.  In the limited space given to a partial message, it read, “Richard Durrett collapsed and died…”  I didn’t have time to really take that in until I went off the air a couple minutes later.  I’m not sure if I can still synthesize that news 16 hours later.

Yesterday we lost a friend.  I say that as an individual and for the Frisco RoughRiders organization.  Yes, Richard came to our games to cover Rangers rehabbers and interview big prospects that passed through Dr Pepper Ballpark.  He was out at the park just last week to interview Joey Gallo. He was one of the television color partners for me and my predecessor Aaron Goldsmith over the past few years.

But he also was a regular as a fan.  I helped him with tickets for his wife and kids regularly, and also when he had extended family in town and was looking for something to do with him.  Whenever he was at our games as a fan, he’d come up to the booth and do an inning with me to talk about the Rangers.  He never had to do that and I never asked, as I respected the time he wanted to spend with his family.  But that helps sum up what knowing Richard was all about.  He was selfless and committed, and he is already sorely missed.

When he joined me the on the television broadcasts, he did his homework, which was impressive for someone who covers a team of much greater importance in the grand scheme of things.  He made sure to talk to our manager and whichever roving instructor was in town to learn the latest about the better-known players and prospects on the team.  But he also took the time to learn more about journeyman players like Kevin Pucetas and got the inside scoop that he was going to debut his knuckleball in a game we did on TV last summer.  Wouldn’t you know, in the fourth inning we saw the knuckler for the first time all season and because of Richard’s diligence, we were prepared to talk about it.  I would imagine that is just a small example of his tenacity as a reporter.

I really enjoyed calling games with him.  He truly got into the game situations and would do an outstanding job breaking down the action we watched unfold.  I think this was because, in addition to his baseball expertise, he was just a sports fan who loved the on-field competition.  That’s something Richard and I have in common.

We were going over our TV schedule just a few weeks ago and trying to map out which games he would join me in the booth over the remainder of the season.  We scheduled him more for two more games in July, but he was disappointed he couldn’t do more because of conflicts with his Rangers schedule.  Selfless and committed.

In addition to his devotion to his family, I will remember the small moments among our many interactions over the last two and a half years.  Having lunch with him at Rudy’s in Frisco and randomly spotting Craig James at a table across the room.  Him asking about my family and girlfriend and my plans for the future.  Introducing him to my interns and assistants over the years, with whom he would freely dispense career advice or simply talk sports.

Maybe we shared a connection as current and former minor league baseball play-by-play broadcasters (Richard did a stint in short-season ball after graduating from college).  Maybe it’s because he was just a good and decent person and that’s the way his relationships were with everyone he interacted with in life.  Regardless, I’m going to miss him terribly and already do.  I am sick that he is no longer with us in this world, playing catch with his young son or spending time with the rest of his family.

This is not an easy day for any of us that knew Richard or even took in his work online, in print, on the radio or on television.  If there is anything to be taken from his sudden and shocking passing it may be for all of us to try our best to be like more him; to try to be as devoted to our family, and to try to be selfless and committed, like Richard was.

For now, we offer our prayers, thoughts and condolences to the Durrett family.  We miss you, Richard.

************************************************

Today the Texas Rangers announced the establishment of the “Richard Durrett Family Fund.”  From the Rangers’ press release:

Donations can be made at texasrangers.com/foundation or through the mail at Richard Durrett Family Fund, Texas Rangers Baseball Foundation, 1000 Ballpark Way, Suite 400, Arlington, TX 76011.  Donations made through the Rangers Foundation in his memory will be directed to the Richard Durrett Family Fund.

Donations can also be made to the Richard Durrett Family Fund, c/o Liberty Bank, 3880 Hulen Street, suite 100, Fort Worth, TX 76107 or at any of their five metroplex locations.

 

-          Alex

‘Riders Rewind – June 16

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 ends the first half on a two-game losing streak and with its second shutout in past six days courtesy of a 3-0 defeat at the paws of the Midland RockHounds. Click here to read the full game recap.

The RoughRiders’ offense is officially in a slump. Its two hits on Monday set a season low, and they have just seven hits through the first two games of the series. With the exception of two big innings in the Corpus Christi series, the ‘Riders have scored in six of the past 54 innings.

Slumps are far from uncommon, as any baseball fan knows, especially at this juncture in the season. Fans have been spoiled by a RoughRiders unit that has generated hits and runs at a consistent clip since a sleepy first week of the season.

At this point, it’s important not to mistake the downturn in run production with “coasting.” Jason Wood and his staff are too competitive and care too much about winning to allow this team to mentally check itself out of the second half, postseason berth already in hand. On the other hand, Wood & co. also understand the season is a marathon, not a sprint, and the ability to maintain over the long haul is more important than implementing anything radical to jolt the offense in the short term. They will get back on track.

Star of the Game: RF Teodoro Martinez – 1/3, 2B

The baseball flu has yet to inflict Teo, who doubled in his third straight game last night. He tallied the only extra-base hit and was one of only two runners to reach scoring position for the RoughRiders. Over his last ten games, “Cafe” bats .361, which isn’t too far removed from his season average of .314 through 39 games.

In case you missed it:

-The opponent has scored first in all six games of the road trip thus far.

-Midland’s Anthony Aliotti has given the ‘Riders fits through the first two games of the series. The left-handed hitter posted a .179 through the ten games prior to Frisco’s arrival, but has since gone 5-for-7 with three runs, a home run, two doubles, two RBI, one walk and two strikeouts.

-Gallo watch: 0-for-1, 2BB, K; Gallo has drawn four walks in the series.

-RHP Kyle Lotzkar landed on the disabled list with a strained left quad. The ‘Riders currently have a season-high four players on the DL, three of whom are pitchers (Rodebaugh, Kela).

-Lotzkar to the DL opens up room for lefty reliever Will Lamb, a 2011 second round draft choice out of Clemson. Lamb is the rare southpaw who can touch the mid-90s with his fastball. Tall and willowy at 6-foot-6 180 pounds, Lamb arrived in Midland late yesterday afternoon and joined the team in the dugout with the game already in progress. He becomes the eighth player sent up from Advanced-A Myrtle Beach this season.

Also, new this week, we will begin to incorporate the previous day’s pregame interview into “‘Riders Rewind.” These interviews are typically posted every Sunday in “‘Riders on the Record,” but for the sake of immediacy, we want to present them to you a bit sooner in the week. Enjoy a two-for-one special today:

Jason Wood and Alex Vispoli look back on the season’s first half in this Father’s Day edition of “Sunday with the Skipper:”

 

RHP Jon Edwards overcame a rocky start to the season and has not allowed a run in his last seven outings. He discusses how he navigated through the rough patch and emerged a better player and person. Jon also pitched at nearby Keller High School, which has produced multiple professional baseball athletes in recent years:

 

Thanks for tuning in,

-Chris V.

 

‘Riders Rewind – Father’s Day

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.

The ‘Riders won on Mother’s Day (May 11) but lost on Father’s Day by an 8-3 decision to the Midland RockHounds. Click here to read the full game recap.

It was a tough night for Kyle Lotzkar, who entered the game with a handlebar mustache and two down in the third inning after an abbreviated outing from Alex Gonzalez. Lotzkar could not get the out he needed before an inherited runner and two of his own scored to put Midland up 4-0. After Frisco trimmed the lead to one, Lotzkar gave all three runs back on an RBI double to Dusty Coleman, the Texas League leader in strikeouts.

The RoughRiders will try and even the series tonight with Alec Asher on the mound. Asher pitched well in his last outing (season-high eight strikeouts) but received no run support and took the loss. Big Cat is 6-5 with a 3.14 ERA.

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

Odubel was the only man in the order with multiple hits on Sunday. His third hit rang in the ninth inning off left-handed pitcher Frank Gailey, which is significant because Odubel has struggled against southpaws this season. After one hit in his first 24 at-bats against lefty pitching, the Venezuelan now has two in his last three games.

Through 28 games with the RoughRiders, Odubel is batting .333 with seven extra-base hits, 14 runs, 17 RBI and three stolen bases.

In case you missed it:

-The opponent has scored first in all five games of the road trip thus far.

-Teodoro Martinez has been feast or famine as of late. The righty has hit into a double play in each of his last four games, but has driven in six runs over the last two.

-Randy Henry made his 2014 RoughRiders debut and gave up one run on three hits with no walks and two strikeouts over 2 1/3 innings.

-Gallo watch: 0-for-2, 2BB, K…Gallo now has five walks and 11 strikeouts with the RoughRiders.

-With Patrick Cantwell on the DL with a wrist contusion, Carlos Garay made his first start of the season behind home plate. Garay’s previous Double-A experience could be encompassed in one at-bat in the ninth inning on May 17 against San Antonio. The 19-year-old from Venezuela was not on the active roster for much of his time with team and served as the bullpen catcher. He finished the game 0-for-3 with three strikeouts.

Enjoy the highlights, and thanks for tuning in,

-Chris V.

 

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