‘Riders Rewind – June 14

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 RoughRiders left Corpus Christi with the sweet taste of victory on their tongues, having licked the Hooks by a 10-2 margin. Anything left behind in the visiting team’s clubhouse or at the hotel can be collected in a mere four days’ time when the ‘Riders boomerang right back to south Texas for their second four-game series with the Hooks in 12 games. Only in the Texas League!  Click here to read the full game recap.

It’s the most lopsided win of the season series for Frisco, who now leads 10-6 over Corpus Christi in 2014. However, the Hooks own the most decisive victory this year by way of an 11-2 blowout on April 28.

Star of the Game: RHP Jon Edwards – 3.0IP, 0H, 0R, 1BB, 6K

Edwards ferried the ‘Riders from the sixth through the eighth innings on Saturday in perhaps his finest performance of the season. His efforts were part of a collectively splendid night by Frisco’s pitching, which held Corpus Christi to just one hit in the game. The right-hander allowed only one baserunner when he walked Nolan Fontana in the sixth. One batter later, Andrew Aplin grounded back to the mound and Edwards triggered the double play to end the inning. He faced just nine batters over his trio of innings and sat down the side in order on strikes in the eighth.

After a rocky start to the season, Edwards kept a cool head on his shoulders and has allowed one run in his last seven appearances (11 1/3 innings pitched). Now that his high-octane fastball is landing for strikes on a more consistent basis, Edwards’ slider has emerged as a pitch with which to be reckoned.  At least of his six strikeouts on Saturday came via the slider.

In case you missed it:

-The RoughRiders now have 40 wins with two games to play in the first half of the season. Frisco has attained 40 or more wins by the midway point in six of its 12 seasons as an organization.

-For the first time this season, field manager Jason Wood left Jake Smolinski off his lineup card. Smolinski was in a three-way tie with Rymer Liriano (San Antonio) and Alex Yarbrough (Arkansas) for most games played in the Texas League this season (66). He is now tied with Yeison Asencio (San Antonio) and Lane Adams (Northwest Arkansas) for second place.

-Luke Jackson won his eighth game on the mound last night, the most in the Texas League. Conversely, Brady Rodgers suffered his ninth loss, also tops in the league.

-Gallo watch: 1/5, 2K…he now has 87 singles and 87 home runs in his professional career (all in the Rangers organization).

-Trever Adams’ two-run home run in the fifth was his seventh of the season and broke an 0-for-12 slump at the plate.

-Drew Robinson’s two-run home run in the ninth was his sixth of the season and first since May 22.

-Ryan Rua’s on-base streak ended at 21 games as the designated hitter went 0-for-5 with a pair of strikeouts. Another impressive run for Rua, who now has multiple on-base streaks of 20 or more games.

-Rua was the only batter in the ‘Riders lineup without a hit on Saturday.

-The RoughRiders ripped off five straight base hits at one point in their active fifth inning. During that run, three hits deflected off either the glove or the person of starting pitcher Brady Rodgers.

-Jake Skole’s RBI single in the fifth broke a ten-game RBI drought.

Enjoy the highlights, and thanks for tuning in,

-Chris V.

 

One Shining [May] Moment

March Madness 2015 is nine months away. Regardless of how your team fared in the tourney this year, it’s never out of season to relive the highlights with the “One Shining Moment” montage produced by CBS every year since 1987. For 11 of the past 12 years, the video has featured the dulcet tones of Luther Vandross (the lone exception being 2010 when Jennifer Hudson voiced the lyrics). Vandross would have plenty of shining moments to sing about if he voiced the soundtrack to the RoughRiders season thus far (alas, Vandross passed away all too soon in 2005 at the age of 54).

The many acmes of the past month, both on an individual and team level, manifest themselves this past week when the Texas Rangers announced their Minor League Player of the Month awards for May. Every month, the Rangers scan the farm and anoint the top player, pitcher, reliever and defender. All four recipients in May play for the ‘Riders, although to be fair, Joey Gallo and Alex “Chi Chi” Gonzalez earned recognition for their performance with Advanced-A Myrtle Beach. Still, that doesn’t stop us from throwing out our collective chests a little bit here in Frisco, especially given the initial returns from Gallo and Gonzalez in Double-A.

In a salutary gesture to these top performers, we spotlight their one (of many) shining moments in the month of May:


  • RHP Phil Klein – Minor League Reliever of the Month

Shining Moment: Sunday, May 25 vs. Springfield – 2.0IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 2K, 6BF, SV

Klein shined throughout the month of May and in nine appearances, recorded six saves in as many chances (he had zero saves in the first month of the season). The 25-year-old allowed one run on five hits and three walks over 12 2/3 innings pitched (0.71 ERA) and produced. Several performances stand out, such as Klein’s four strikeouts in two innings against the San Antonio Missions on May 2. In another game against the Missions on May 16, the native of Gahanna, Ohio posted a nearly identical line as the highlighted game above with two strikeouts over two innings of shutout baseball.

Although his four strikeout performance tied a season high, it occurred late in an 8-3 loss to San Antonio with the game already out of reach. While Klein earned the save for his work on the 16th, the ‘Riders won by three runs.

Against Springfield, however, Jason Wood asked the 6-foot-7, 260-pounder to protect a one-run lead with the playoff race in full swing. Klein threw 17 of his 26 pitches for strikes en route to the six-out save and retired the final batter in both innings on strikes.

The 30th round draft choice has continued his roll into June and he has not allowed a run in 13 2/3 innings. Klein’s ERA stands at 0.89 and his eight saves rank fourth in the Texas League.


 

Shining Moment: Thursday, May 8 vs. Corpus Christi – 2/4, R, HR, 3RBI, 2CS, PO

Let’s be honest: defense isn’t the only component that goes into the Defender of the Month Award. Let’s be honest about something else: the Rangers could not give Player of the Month honors to anyone other than Joey Gallo. That being said, Telis posted some of the best offensive numbers on the farm by someone not named Gallo, and also showed flashes of defensive merit.

As May closed, Telis paced the Texas League in batting average with a .347 mark. The switch-hitter’s high water mark came on May 18 when his average hit .356 after a 3-for-4 performance at the plate with a double and a stolen base.

The shining moment of the month for the 23-year-old (as of June 18) showcases Telis’s versatility on both offense and defense. His three-run home run in the third inning helped propel the RoughRiders to a 5-3 win and his three RBI tied a season single-game high.

Scouts love Telis for his lightning quick jump time from the crouch behind home plate to the throwing position. This helps give Telis a faster jump on would-be basestealers. His pop behind the dish cost the Hooks on the 8th when the Venezuelan threw out two runners at second base. In addition, he caught Matt Duffy napping with a lead off second and doubled him off to end the fifth.


 

  • 3B Joey Gallo – Minor League Player of the Month

Shining Moment: Friday, May 30 vs. Carolina – 2/4, 3R, 2HR (GS), 7RBI, BB

Boy, this was tough. Gallo, now the three-time defending Player of the Month (dating back to last season) posted video game numbers on more than one occasion in May. Against the Potomac Nationals on May 16, the 20-year-old went a perfect 4-for-4 with four runs, three home runs and five RBI. It was Gallo’s second three-home run game of the season (April 23)

Special thanks to Pelicans’ broadcaster Nathan Barnett for helping us break the tie on this one. True, Gallo hit fewer home runs on the 30th (amazing we are even using multiple home runs as a metric here), but his seven RBI against the Carolina Mudcats tied a Pelicans franchise record.

Also, consider the timeliness of Gallo’s two homers against Carolina. His three-run home run left the park in the fifth inning and brought Myrtle Beach back from a 6-3 deficit. Two innings with the later, with the score tied at six, Gallo ripped a grand slam to put the Birds in front 10-6.


 

Shining Moment: Tuesday, May 20 at Frederick – 7.0IP, H, R, 3BB, 4K, W

Gonzalez did not lose a decision in five starts with the Pelicans in May. After losing his first two decisions of the season, the 22-year-old allowed six runs over his 34 innings pitched last month, good for a 1.59 ERA. He began the month strong with an eight-inning shutout performance on May 3 against Frederick, and keyed in against the Keys later on the 20th.

Frederick will not be sad to see Gonzalez in the Texas League as the first round draft choice in 2013 took a no-hit bid into the seventh inning. He did not allow a walk until the fifth and turned in the longest outing without a hit by a Pelicans’ starting pitcher this season.

 

Here’s to a second half (and a postseason) full of more shining moments. Thanks for reading!

-Chris V.

 

‘Riders Rewind – June 13

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.

Magic Number: 0

For the eighth time in franchise history, the Frisco RoughRiders are playoff bound. Click here to read the full game recap.

Yes, the ‘Riders lost to Corpus Christi 4-3 in extra innings and now sit 0-3 in long games this season. But thanks to San Antonio’s 9-1 victory over Midland on Friday, Frisco maintains its 3 1/2 game hold on first place with three to play. You do the math.

Frisco will send Luke Jackson to the hill in the series finale on Saturday to face Brady Rodgers, a native of Richmond, Texas with a 1-8 record and a 4.45 ERA. Jackson’s presence on the mound may spur the ‘Riders to victory and a series split, but it will be interesting to see if the squad stages the customarily flat performance associated with the game after a postseason berth.

Star of the Game: 3B Joey Gallo – 2/5, R, HR, 3RBI

Admittedly, Gallo’s fourth home run in five Double-A games received a boost from the 21-mph jet stream blowing out to left field. It was still an opposite field blast for Gallo and a ball that for most hitters, even with the wind, lands in the glove of the left fielder for a fly out.

However you slice it, the left-handed hitter continues to pace the minors with 25 home runs this season. Through 19 at-bats with the ‘Riders, Gallo has seven hits, six runs, one double, four home runs, ten RBI, three walks and eight strikeouts. The Rangers have named him their Minor League Player of the Month three straight times dating back to last season. Improbably, Gallo is on track to hit over 50 home runs this season (three games remain in the first half), which would shatter the Rangers’ farm system record and surpass the 40 he belted in a single season last year.

In case you missed it:

-The RoughRiders’ offense set a season-high with 18 strikeouts in the game. Let’s hope that mark stands for the rest of the season.

-Gallo has 86 career singles and 87 career home runs.

-The runs that scored on Gallo’s home runs were unearned. With two outs and nobody on, Jake Smolinski reached on a throwing error by Corpus Christi third baseman Jonathan Meyer. The inning should have been over at that point, so the subsequent runs did not count as earned on pitcher Tommy Shirley’s final line.

-In addition, Gallo’s glove has been mostly sturdy at third base. In the sixth inning, he hustled down a fly ball in foul territory and made a tough grab in the Corpus Christi on-deck circle.

-Ryan Rua extended his on-base streak to 21 straight games on Friday with a walk in the 11th inning. It’s unlikely the streak means much to Rua, but still, that was close.

-Odubel Herrera finished 3-for-4 with a stolen base and a sacrifice bunt. His third base hit of the game came in the ninth inning off Shirley, a lefty. It was just the second base hit for Herrera off a left-handed pitcher since his RoughRiders’ tenure began on May 13.

-The RoughRiders finished 1-or-10 with runners in scoring position and left nine men on base.

-Francisco Mendoza was charged with both a blown save and a loss.

Enjoy the highlights, and thanks for tuning in,

-Chris V.

 

‘Riders Rewind – June 12

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.

Magic Number: 1

Frisco rallied from a 2-0 deficit and held on to knock off Corpus Christi 5-3 in front of a nation-wide television audience on the CBS Sports Network. Click here to read the full game recap.

The formula is simplistic; if the ‘Riders win on Friday against the Hooks, they are in (the playoffs). Midland won its second straight game against San Antonio to keep the race alive for the moment. The RockHounds (36-30) remain 3 1/2 games behind the RoughRiders (39-26) with four games left in the first half.

To calculate the Magic Number, determine the number of games yet to be played in the first half (4), add one (4+1=5), and subtract the number of games ahead in the loss column of the standings from the closest opponent (5-4=1).

If the ‘Riders lose to the Hooks tonight, they can still make the playoffs if Midland loses in San Antonio.

Star of the Game: RHP Phil Klein – 2.0IP, H, 0R, 0BB, 4K, SV

The behemoth out of Youngstown State notched the difficult six-out save on Thursday. Other than a bunt single by Tyler Heineman in the eighth, Klein faced the minimum and did not allow a runner into scoring position. He returned to the hill in the ninth and struck out the nine, one and two hitters in order to put the game in the RoughRiders’ win column.

The righty earned his eighth save of the season, further validating his spot on the Texas League South Division All-Star Team. Klein’s ability to consistently repeat his mechanics has sunk his ERA to a paltry 0.89, and it’s almost an understatement to say he has allowed a paucity of runs this season–three runs in 30 1/3 innings is about as lock-down as it gets.

Among relievers, Klein ranks fourth in the Texas League in saves and second in opponent batting average (.152).

In case you missed it:

-Joey Gallo slung his third home run with the RoughRiders and 24th of the season (to match his jersey number) in the fourth inning. It was a line drive shot that rocketed out of the park at a very low altitude just to the left of the batter’s eye (approximately 35 feet). Texas League President Tom Kayser, who happened to be on the broadcast at the time, said he couldn’t recall seeing a home run ball hit to that part of Whataburger Field before.

-Gallo finished 2-for-3 with two runs scored, an RBI, a home run and a walk. He reached base in all four trips to the plate. Starting pitcher Jordan Jankowski struck out Gallo in the second, but the pitch alluded the catcher Heineman and Gallo landed safely on first. His single in the sixth was his first in 14 at-bats with the RoughRiders.

-Ryan Rua extended his on-base streak to 20 straight games on Thursday with a single to right in the second. He finished 2-for-3 with a walk and a run scored.

-Guilder Rodriguez tallied another three-hit game. G-Rod has 20 hits in his last ten games and, in the same span, has cracked multiple hits in five of those games.

-In a rare occurrence, both Trever Adams and Jake Smolinski combined to hit 0-for-10 and failed to reach base in a game. It was the second time this season when neither Adams nor Smolinski made it to first.

Enjoy the highlights, and thanks for tuning in,

-Chris V.

 

Congratulations, Ben Rowen!

Rowen showcasing his distinct delivery during a 'Riders game in 2013.

Rowen showcasing his distinct delivery during a ‘Riders game in 2013.

The Rangers announced yesterday their purchase of right-handed pitcher Ben Rowen from Triple-A Round Rock. The spindly 6-foot-4 190-pound hurler fills the vacated roster spot left by Tanner Scheppers, who once again lands on the diabled list with right elbow inflammation.

When Rowen makes his major league debut, he will become the 113th former RoughRider to appear on the big league stage. He joins Nick Martinez, Justin Miller, Luis Sardinas, Neil Ramirez and Rougned Odor as alumni to debut this season.

Rowen wore uniform number 39 yesterday during the Rangers 6-0 win over the Miami Marlins. He might as well have been wearing his old RoughRiders jersey (number 28) as the bullpen joined the 31,512 fans in attendance and watched Yu Darvish chuck a complete-game shutout.

It’s a shame to see Rowen called up at the expense of Scheppers (another former RoughRider in 2010-11), but what an opportunity for the righty, who played in Frisco just one year ago. Former RoughRiders teammate Jimmy Reyes took to Twitter to congratulate Rowen:

Ben Rowen tweet

Regardless of circumstance, the 25-year-old certainly deserves the promotion. He pitched in 19 2/3 innings for Triple-A Round Rock this season and allowed a skimpy six earned runs over 16 appearances (none in his last 12 1/3 innings), which computes to a 2.75 ERA. Rowen also notched a pair of saves in addition to 14 strikeouts and just two walks. Right-handed hitters have struggled to pick up Rowen’s offerings, in particular, and bat just .196 against him.

The Rangers drafted Rowen out of Virginia Tech in the 22nd round of the 2010 amateur draft. The native of Rancho Palos Verdes, California arrived in Frisco on the heels of a 2012 season in which Texas named Rowen its Minor League Reliever of the Year.

The former Hokie continued his upward trajectory with the RoughRiders in 2013. Rowen finished 24 of the 31 games in which he pitched for the RoughRiders and registered 10 saves in 33 2/3 innings. His ERA a blistering 0.53, he earned a spot on the Texas League All-Star team and a promotion to Triple-A Round Rock the same season. The submariner debuted on the Rangers 40-man roster after his impressive ’13 campaign.

Given the rash of injuries at the big league level, it comes as no surprise that Rowen has dealt with injury already in 2014. Keep your fingers crossed the bicep tendinitis that sidelined Rowen in spring training does not crop up in Arlington. It hasn’t thus far through his strong start to the season.

Congratulations, Ben, and good luck in Arlington!

-Your friends in Frisco

 

 

‘Riders Rewind – June 11

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.

Magic Number: 2

A 7-0 loss to Corpus Christi on Wednesday postponed the playoff toasts for at least one more night. Click here to read Tuesday’s full game recap.

If it’s any consolation, the ‘Riders (38-26) would not have wrapped up a first-half crown even with a win last night. Midland (35-30) stayed alive with a 7-6 win over San Antonio and sits 3 1/2 games back with five to play.

Frisco would much rather have the package signed, sealed and delivered before they arrive in west Texas to play out the final two games of the first half. They have three more tries against Corpus Christi to achieve some combination of two RoughRiders wins and/or two Midland losses.

To calculate the Magic Number, determine the number of games yet to be played in the first half (5), add one (5+1=6), and subtract the number of games ahead in the loss column of the standings from the closest opponent (6-4=2).

Star of the Game: RHP Alec Asher – 6.0IP, 2H, R, 0BB, 8K

Talk about a tough-luck loss. Asher rocked and rolled through the first six innings of a scoreless game. He allowed a double to Andrew Aplin with two outs in the first and proceeded to retire the next 16 batters faced. “Big Cat” began the seventh and allowed a leadoff infield single to Nolan Fontana before Jason Wood sent him to the showers. Fontana would later score as the only run charged to Asher in the game.

He set a new season-high with eight strikeouts in the game to move his season total to 63, tied with teammate Jerad Eickhoff for fourth-most in the Texas League. Through 13 starts in 2014, the 6-foot-4 225-pound Asher owns a 3.14 ERA, an average good for ninth in the league.

In case you missed it:

-The ‘Riders grounded into double plays in three straight innings from the fifth to the seventh. Twice, the twin killing ended the inning with runners in scoring position.

-Frisco left ten men stranded and abandoned a runner on third base in three frames.

-Ryan Rua extended his on-base streak to 19 straight games on Wednesday with a bunt single in the fifth. Corpus Christi center fielder Andrew Aplin made a thrilling catch one inning later to rob Rua of a run-scoring base hit.

-Trever Adams hit the only extra-base hit of the night for the RoughRiders on a double to left in the eighth inning.

-The Hooks committed four errors in the game, two of which came on failed pickoff attempts to first base.

Enjoy the highlights, and thanks for tuning in,

-Chris V.

 

Ten RoughRiders Chosen as Mid-Season All-Stars

14113697719_8d4923a6ee_bBy: Chris Vosters, Jay Wallis and Cameron Varnau

The Frisco RoughRiders have been a force in the Texas League so far and their record-number All-Star selections reflects this dominance. The league announced that ten of the team’s players will be 2014 Texas League Mid-Season All-Stars. The game will be played at Dickey-Stephens Park in North Little Rock, Arkansas on Tuesday, June 24 at 7:15 p.m.

The selection committee voted four ‘Riders pitchers and six position players to the South Division side. Starting pitchers Alec AsherEdwar Cabrera and Luke Jackson will travel to Arkansas as well as reliever Phil Klein. Infielders Rougned OdorGuilder Rodriguez and Ryan Rua each earned spots on the squad in addition to outfielder Jake Smolinski and catcher Tomás Telis. Infielder Odubel Herrera will replace Odor, who is currently with the Texas Rangers. Rua will serve as the starting third baseman for the South Division and Smolinski will start the contest in the outfield.

The RoughRiders boast more All-Stars than any team in the Texas League. This is the most mid-season all-stars for the ‘Riders since 2011 when Frisco also earned nine selections, including current Texas Ranger Leonys Martin.

Balloting for the Texas League All-Star Game was conducted by votes gathered from managers, coaches, broadcasters and beat writers representing all eight teams.

FRISCO ROUGHRIDERS MID-SEASON ALL-STARS

Ryan Rua – 3B: The RoughRiders’ everyday third baseman is batting .318 (67-for-211) through 59 games with the club this season. Of his 67 hits, good for second in the Texas League, 12 have been doubles, and his ten home runs are tied for fifth in the league with teammate Jake Smolinski. The native of Amherst, Ohio also ranks third in on-base and slugging percentage with totals of .395 and .526, respectively, and has 32 RBI. This will be Rua’s first all-star appearance in the Texas League; however, the utility infielder was named to the Mid-Season and Postseason All-Star teams in the South Atlantic League in 2013 for his efforts with the Hickory Crawdads.

Jake Smolinski – OF: In his eighth season and first in the Rangers organization, the 25-year-old native of Rockford, Illinois has shown patience at the plate and the power to go deep as his .516 slugging percentage reveals. Reaching base in 53 of 61 games, Smolinski finds a way to get on and work his way home. The left fielder leads Frisco in doubles (13) and walks (28), and paces the Texas League in runs scored (39). He is also second in the Texas League with 26 extra-base hits. He has been a dependable defender as well, going a team-high 27 consecutive games without an error. Smolinski also garnered Mid-Season All-Star honors with the Double-A Jacksonville Suns in 2012.

Alec Asher – RHP: The 22-year-old native of Lakeland, Florida has earned his way onto the 2014 Texas League All-Star team with his league-leading 71 1/3 innings pitched. He accumulated those innings across 12 starts with a 6-4 record and 3.28 ERA. The 6-foot-4 righty has issued 58 hits in 262 at-bats, which is good for an opponent average of .221, the fifth-lowest mark among qualified starters in the Texas League. This will be Asher’s first Texas League All-Star Game; he was named to the Carolina League Mid-Season All-Star team in 2013.

Edwar Cabrera – RHP: The native of Baní, Dominican Republic is no stranger to All-Star appearances as he was a South Atlantic Mid-Season All-Star with Asheville in 2011. He also represented the Tulsa Drillers as a Mid-Season and Post-Season All-Star in 2012. In his first season with the Rangers organization, the southpaw is 2-3 with a 3.40 ERA in nine games as a starter and has struck out 44 in 47 2/3 innings of work. As a reliever, Cabrera has a 2.61 ERA with one save in 10.1 innings pitched.

Odubel Herrera – INF: Herrera, 22, is in the second season with the ‘Riders and made the All-Star Game last year as well. The native of Zulia, Venezuela is batting .282 (24-for-85) with a home run, three doubles, a triple and 14 RBI in 22 games. He began the season with Advanced-A Myrtle Beach and was called up May 12. In his second game with the team, the 5-foot-11, 200-pounder matched a season-high with four hits against the Midland RockHounds. 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.

Luke Jackson – RHP: As the 2013 Nolan Ryan Minor League Pitcher of the Year, Jackson is making his first All-Star appearance in Double-A. He made the All-Star team last year with the Advanced-A Myrtle Beach Pelicans. The Floridian is fourth in the Texas League in ERA (2.55), first in wins (7), second in strikeouts (85), sixth in innings pitched (67) and third in WHIP (0.96). Jackson ranks fourth among starters in allowing just 9.29 baserunners per nine innings. During one of his best outings of the year on April 21, the 6-foot-2 righty took a perfect game into the sixth inning against the San Antonio Missions and allowed just three hits to go along with eight strikeouts and no walks in seven innings pitched.

Phil Klein – RHP: The 6-foot-7, 250-pound right-hander has been in the Rangers organization since 2011 and worked his way up to the ‘Riders in 2013. Being called up to Frisco for part of the 2013 season, Klein has improved in almost every statistical category compared to last year. Among Texas League pitchers, the reliever has the second-lowest batting average among relievers (.152) and strikes out 11.75 batters per nine innings, the third-lowest ratio in the league. He has become the RoughRiders’ closer and is a perfect 7-for-7 in save chances. The former Youngstown State Penguin has worked eight straight scoreless appearances and has not conceded more than one run in any single game this season. After walking ten in his first eight outings, Klein has only walked three in his last 12 appearances.

Rougned Odor - INF: The Rangers’ 2013 Tom Grieve Minor League Player of the Year earns his second straight All-Star selection after starting the 2013 Carolina League All-Star Game at second base. In 32 games with the RoughRiders in 2014, Odor batted .279 and slugged .450 with 36 hits (two doubles, one triple, six home runs) and 17 RBI. His work led to a promotion to the Texas Rangers on May 8. He has played in 24 big league games with Texas and is batting .290 with seven runs, 20 hits and two home runs in 69 at-bats.

Guilder Rodriguez – INF: The fourteen-year professional played his first 12 seasons without an All-Star selection, but is now set to appear in his second consecutive Texas League All-Star Game. The switch-hitter has played the most minor league games (1,040) among all current players who have no big league experience. With multiple hits in five of the last eight games, Rodriguez ranks first in the Texas League in batting average .380 (27 for 71) and second in on-base percentage (.457) since his return from Triple-A Round Rock on May 15. The utility infielder has settled into the shortstop position this year but is still diverse enough to play where his team needs him. Since joining Frisco in 2009, Rodriguez has played every position except catcher. 

Tomás Telis – C: The switch-hitting catcher returns to the Texas League All-Star roster for the second consecutive year after making his first appearance in 2013. Telis was also selected for two previous All-Star teams in the 2008 DSL All-Star Game, in which he was named MVP, and in the 2011 South Atlantic League All-Star Game. Telis is batting a league-leading .327 (56-for-171) in 45 games this season. He has scored 18 runs with 11 doubles, two triples, two homers and 26 RBI, and has posted an .807 OPS.

‘Riders Rewind – June 10

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.

Magic Number: 2

The RoughRiders can taste it now. A 7-2 win over the Midland RockHounds on Tuesday drove the Magic Number down to two. A win by the RoughRiders on Wednesday night against Corpus Christi, combined with a Midland loss to San Antonio, will seal the franchise’s eighth postseason berth. Click here to read Tuesday’s full game recap.

Once again, the new kids on the block for Frisco (38-25) stole the show. Joey Gallo and Chi Chi Gonzalez shone bright and lead the ‘Riders to a 2-2 series split with the ‘Hounds (34-30). The RoughRiders finished 5-3 on the homestand and now embark on a season-long 12-game road swing that straddles the season’s midway point.

The first half officially wraps up after Frisco’s June 17 showdown with Midland from west Texas. Hopefully, the ‘Riders will put an end to the drama well before then; they lead the RockHounds by 4 1/2 games with six to play.

To calculate the Magic Number, determine the number of games yet to be played in the first half (6), add one (6+1=7), and subtract the number of games ahead in the loss column of the standings from the closest opponent (7-5=2).

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

Everything Joey did on Tuesday came in a tandem. He now has two home runs and three extra-base hits in his first seven Double-A at-bats along with six RBI, three runs, three strikeouts and two walks. His home run on Tuesday went pull-side down the right-field line and snuck inside the foul pole before landing in the CoServ patio. It was little more than a 350-foot pop fly that floated over the fence after Joey sent it a mile high.

In spite of the fantastic start at the plate, the slugger has yet to truly connect on a pitch in Double-A, a sobering thought for opposing pitchers in the Texas League. Joey’s two homers thus far have essentially been misses in which supreme strength has guided the ball out of the park as opposed to square contact made on, say, a 95-mph heater. We aren’t going out of our way to perpetuate the Joey Gallo hysteria here on the ‘Riders Insider Blog, he’s earning the recognition with timely hits and disciplined at-bats in competitive games with a playoff berth on the line.

In case you missed it:

-Chi Chi Gonzalez was excellent in his RoughRiders debut. The 2013 first round draft choice pitched an abbreviated five innings and only threw 61 pitches (38 strikes), but it was more than enough to earn his first career win at the Double-A level. He allowed one hit over five innings with now walks and six strikeouts. His cut fastball is as advertised.

-To elaborate on the sole hit allowed by Gonzalez, it occurred with no outs in the fifth inning after the righty retired the first 12 batters he faced. On a line drive out to left field by Josh Whitaker, Trever Adams dove and appeared to make the play, but the umpiring crew ruled Adams trapped the ball. Gonzalez faced one over the minimum through his five innings of work.

-Jake Smolinski moved to the infield at made his second start of the season at first base. Adams took Smolinski’s customary spot in left field, and Ryan Rua took a turn as the DH.

-The RoughRiders played error-free baseball for the first time in the series.

-Rua extended his on-base streak to 18 straight games on Tuesday with a two-run double in the fifth. He now has 13 doubles and 35 RBI on the season.

-Jake Skole ripped three singles in his first three at-bats and finished 3-for-4 at the plate. Each base knock was sent to a different part of the field. It marked the second three-hit game of the season for Skole (May 31 at Springfield).

Enjoy the highlights, and thanks for tuning in,

-Chris V.

 

‘Riders Rewind – June 9

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.

Magic Number: 4

The RoughRiders took a hack at the Magic Number on Monday like Joey Gallo took a hack at a Seth Frankoff changeup. Click here to read the full game recap.

The ‘Riders were fortunate to have the top of the order due up in the ninth and a pair of pristine bunt singles put two men on with nobody out. Working against one of the top closers in the Texas League in Seth Frankoff (a 2014 midseason All-Star with 11 saves this season), Joey Gallo punched a 2-0 changeup to the opposite field and the rest, as they say, is history.

With seven games to play in the first half, Frisco (37-25) holds a 3 1/2 edge over Midland (34-29). The teams still have three more head-to-head matchups, including Tuesday at Dr Pepper Ballpark, before the midway marker.

To calculate the Magic Number, determine the number of games yet to be played in the first half (7), add one (7+1=8), and subtract the number of games ahead in the loss column of the standings from the closest opponent (8-4=4).

Frisco bookended its scoring with four runs in the first inning and three more in the ninth. Luke Jackson delivered a dichotomous outing with nine strikeouts over 5 1/3 innings, but allowed four runs, two walks and threw two wild pitches in his final 1 1/3 innings.

This game read like many others in the season series between Frisco and Midland: intense, competitive and zany. After the ‘Hounds rallied from another early deficit, the game was once again decided in the ninth inning or later for the fourth time in eleven meetings.

Props to the platoon bullpen effort of Keone Kela, Wilmer Font and Ryan Bores, who collectively preserved the 4-4 tie long enough to give Gallo & co. the chance to win it in the bottom of the ninth. Each reliever allowed at least one baserunner, but neutralized the Midland threats in every instance.

Star of the Game: 3B Joey Gallo – 1/5, HR, 4RBI

Hard to snub Gallo here given the timeliness of his first Double-A home run. The towering lefty appears to be as advertised at the plate (in addition to the homer, he struck out three times). His first RBI crossed in the first inning when he grounded out to first base with a runner on third. Gallo’s reputation preceded him in the Texas League; Midland’s pitchers rarely offered fastballs, and in typical Oakland A’s fashion, the RockHounds used an exaggerated shift against the slugger.

In case you missed it:

-With Gallo at third base on Monday, Ryan Rua shifted to first base and Trever Adams batted as the DH. Midland’s first batter of the game, Billy Burns, reached first on an error charged to shortstop Guilder Rodriguez, but the ball popped out of Rua’s glove at first. In the seventh inning, Gallo nearly flubbed a groundball at third from Jefry Marte, but kept the ball in front of him and flashed his impressive arm strength on the in-time rifle to first.

-Gallo becomes the second player to wear number 24 for the RoughRiders this season. Rougned Odor was the first.

-Midland employed a shift against Gallo on Monday as well and placed three infielders to the right of second base. Second baseman Connor Crumbliss essentially served as a second right fielder and stationed in the grass. The RockHounds employed a less exaggerated shift against Drew Robinson.

-Frisco won its first game via walk-off since May 5. On that night, Robinson’s RBI single sent the ‘Riders to a 7-6 victory over…Midland.

-In the season series between Frisco and Midland, four games have ended with a walk-off and the teams have scored in the ninth inning in 8-of-11 total meetings.

-Rua extended his on-base streak to 17 straight games on Monday with an RBI single in the first inning. He finished 1-for-3 with a walk and a stolen base.

-Guilder Rodriguez hit his second extra-base hit of the season with a scratch double to center in the sixth. G-Rod finished the night 4-for-5 with a double and two runs scored. He is batting .348 with 39 hits and 17 runs and 11 RBI in 30 games and has a .430 on-base percentage. Equally impressive is the veteran’s stretch of four multi-hit games this month and two four-hit outings in the last nine games.

-Adams also had a monster night at the plate and went 3-for-4 with a home run, two scores, two RBI and a walk. He dropped one of the beautiful bunts in the ninth inning and reached when Frankoff could not corral the ball on the first base line. Adams’ batting average is north of .300 for the first time this season (.301), good for eighth in the Texas League.

Enjoy the highlights, and thanks for tuning in,

-Chris V.

 

‘Riders Rewind – June 8

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.

Magic Number: 6

Midland continues to add intrigue to the south division playoff race with its second straight win over the RoughRiders. Click here to read the full game recap.

No, we aren’t neglecting to update the Magic Number (although ‘Riders fans may wish that the case). The total has held at six for three straight days now because Midland (34-28) has defeated Frisco (36-25) twice in head-to-head matchups. The Hounds are 2 1/2 back in the standings, a margin that has grown increasingly uncomfortable for the RoughRiders, who need to win two straight to salvage a series split.

To calculate the Magic Number, determine the number of games yet to be played in the first half (8), add one (8+1=9), and subtract the number of games ahead in the loss column of the standings from the closest opponent (9-3=6).

The ‘Riders can no longer clinch a playoff berth on their home field. They need a solid outing from Luke Jackson, Monday’s starting pitcher, to quiet the Midland bats and get Frisco on the board in this series.

In case you missed it:

-The ‘Riders will not win a series at home for the first time since April 7 when the Arkansas Travelers clinched a three-game set in the second series of the season.

-Ryan Rua extended his on-base streak to 16 straight games on Sunday with a single in the sixth inning.

-The ‘Riders again scored a run in the bottom of the ninth inning, an encouraging testament to the team’s pride. However, in both games, the ninth inning runs have been too little too late as Midland has scored in nine of the 18 frames in the series thus far.

Star of the Game: SS Guilder Rodriguez – 3/5, RBI

G-Rod continued his torrid stretch at the plate with his third multi-hit game of the month. The switch-hitter has 35 hits (34 of which are singles) in 29 games with the ‘Riders this season and posts a .327 batting average, tied with Tomás Telis for the highest on the team. Guilder is also the outright team leader in on-base percentage and reaches at a .415 rate, thanks in large part to a stellar walk-to-strikeout ratio (16:15). For the second straight season, G-Rod earned a spot on the Texas League mid-season All-Star squad.

Enjoy the highlights, and thanks for tuning in,

-Chris V.

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 56 other followers