‘Riders on the Record: a catcher pitching and playing like a girl

071413 blog shot team riders on the record
‘Riders on the Record is a weekly rundown of the pre-game interviews record by broadcasters Alex Vispoli and Nathan Barnett with RoughRiders players and coaches and occasionally a special guest. You can find all previous editions by clicking here.

Without a doubt one of my favorite editions of ‘Riders on the Record this season. Steve Buechele gives some extremely high praise to Carlos Pimentel’s slide piece, Guilder Rodriguez gives his sage wisdom to the youngsters on the roster, catcher Zach Zaneski smiles over the microphone about pitching in a ballgame and Casey Candaele explains why he occasionally took batting practice naked in the big leagues. Radio gold this week.

Happy Sunday and enjoy!

Sunday, July 7, 2013 – Manager Steve Buechele


Steve Buechele sits down in his weekly conversation to talk about the bounce back effort from Carlos Pimentel. Coming off his eight strikeout performance, he talks about the right-hander’s slider that has put him into the ‘Riders record books. (w/ Alex Vispoli)

Monday, July 8, 2013 – IF Guilder Rodriguez


Guilder Rodriguez joins us to talk about his first ever All-Star game experience, coming two weeks prior in Springdale, Arkansas. The 13-year veteran explains how special the honor is but is quick to divert the attention to the younger players who got the honor as well. Rodriguez sheds light on how he tries to help the younger players like Herrera, Alberto and Telis improve and carry themselves professionally. (w/ Nathan Barnett)

Wednesday, July 10, 2013 - IF Alex Buchholz


Alex Buchholz talks about his current hot streak, which was highlighted by a blast of a home run to finish the home stand. He talks about his mental and physical adjustments this season and the importance of staying healthy. He weighs in on the swing of Chih-Hsien Chiang and the fan environment in Frisco. (w/ Alex)

Thursday, July 11, 2013 - C/”RHP” Zach Zaneski


During the longest game in RoughRiders history, catcher Zach Zaneski made his professional appearance on the mound. Impressively, Zach tossed three scoreless innings with two strikeouts. He talks about his unforgettable experience and what he learned from former big leaguer Kyle McClellan in the bullpen to get ready for his outing. (w/ Alex)

Friday, July 12, 2013 – Rangers Infield Coordinator Casey Candaele


Casey Candaele is the Rangers infielder coordinator, and for the series in Corpus Christi served as the acting manager. He talks about the whirlwind of a first game played in the series that took 16 innings. He weighs in on what the young infielders Hanser Alberto and Odubel Herrera need to do to keep getting better and reminisces on his impressive, long, and occasionally amusing big league career. (w/ Alex)

Saturday, July 13, 2013 – IF Greg Miclat


One of the newer RoughRider Greg Miclat has played two positions in his first five professional seasons–shortstop and second base. In Corpus Christi, he twice played third base. He talks about the adjustment to that spot and the last time he has played there. Not known for his power, Greg tells us that he remembers each one of his home runs and he recalls his pro homer. (w/ Alex)

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We will post our “Home Sweet Home” preview of the whole home stand tomorrow, but the ‘Riders begin a four-game series today. Pitching matchup has RHP Nick McBride (1-5, 5.84) vs. RHP Keyvius Sampson (6-4, 2.90)

Sunday, July 14   |  6:05 p.m.   | RoughRiders vs. San Antonio Missions (SDP)
TV:  KTXD    Radio: RidersBaseball.com    Webstream: MiLB.tv 

- Nathan

Baseball term of the day: pool table - a smooth infield

Metroplex Mysteries: a 10-Hour Tie Game?

So we are now over 24 hours beyond the longest game in RoughRiders history. MiLB does a great job compiling minor league baseball statistics, but their records only go back to 2005, when they began tracking and storing minor league data. Therefore when we claimed the game on Wednesday as the “Longest Game in RoughRiders History,” it comes with an implied “in known history”–even explicitly stated so by us, like in the game notes from Thursday.

We do have some records from 2003 and 2004, the first two years in RoughRiders history, but they are not official and sometimes incomplete. The first broadcaster for the ‘Riders, Scott Garner left his scorebooks for the archives here, and those help a ton.

In perusing the data I could find there were a pair of 13-inning contests–nothing longer that I could find. One in particular was intriguing and just might be the true longest game in team history. For starters, here is the old box score still available in MiLB’s archive (although the box score was not produced by Minor League Baseball Advanced Media (MILBAM), so they can not verify it’s correctness–good thing too, as you will see):

Click for larger view

Click for larger view

So a couple of things jump out.

  1. There is no official game time.
  2. The game was tied at 4-4 but the Travelers never had their half of the 13th.
  3. At the top the the winner is listed “TIE GAME”.
  4. Steve Andrade is listed as a pitcher in line to pitch the 14th for the Travelers but never threw a pitch.

Now, games can get called and never “count” in a league, but it typically happens late in either half of  the season when the game won’t be able to be made up because the two teams will not play in the same site again. Trouble is, the two teams played in Arkansas the following day. They should have been able to play the game after suspending it. The ‘Riders did play another tie game earlier that year on April 23, 2004 in Wichita despite traveling to Wichita again later in the season, so it seems the Texas League rules have changed some since then.

Still, the game appears to be an enigma.

Neither team was given a win or loss for the game, but it’s not that the game was scrapped from the records all-together, which is what happens when games are postponed before they become official (Rangers fans might remember when Mitch Moreland hit the grand slam that never happened). The stats still counted from the game.

Confounded by this game, I went to Scott’s old scorebook:

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Finding the game in this book confirms that it was a tie. Paging forward to the following game shows that each team’s record did not change following the July 16 contest. The ‘Riders were 48-44 when they began on July 16 and 48-44 when they started their contest on July 17. Arkansas was 40-51 for both. So how did this game end? Well, the ‘Riders were retired in the top of the 13th:

Frisco Top 13th

The ‘Riders were retired in order: strikeout, line out, and 1-3 ground out from the 5-6-7 batters in the order (Tydus Meadows, Edgar Gonzalez, and Jason Bourgeois).

How about the supposed never-finished bottom of the 13th? Remember the box score above showed an “x” in the bottom of the 13th, a symbol usually reserved for the bottom of the ninth when the home team wins without the benefit of batting in the bottom of the ninth.

ARK BOT 13thSo the inning began with Nick Gorneault striking out. Derrick Gibson then reached and was erased on the fielder’s choice by Jeff Mathis, going 5-4 for the second out of the inning. Then comes Mike Eylward. The box score at the top claims that Eylward went 0-for-6 with two strikeouts. To this point on the scorecard, Eylward was 0-for-5 with a strikeout, two fly outs, a ground out, and a line out. Deduction would assume that he struck out.

Taking a look at the card though, the last marks of his plate appearance in the 13th shows he had a 2-1 count. Maybe he struck out and it was never indicated (I have been known to not put the last play sometimes, having to go back later, as I can get busy totaling up line scores and such when the game concludes). There are also some instances in which a broadcaster would go on to another page; perhaps Scott did this at this point with how cramped the space was, and we have lost that extra card.

What seems likely is that the game was either called due to weather during that plate appearance or immediately after it. Perhaps Steve Andrade came into the ballgame and warmed up in the top of the 14th and then they called the game before the inning officially began, which is why he was entered into the scoring system but never threw a pitch.

Weather data from July 16 and July 17 indicates that it was indeed raining and didn’t stop until 1:00 a.m.

On the right side of the page, Scott typically noted the attendance and the time of game. And here is the kicker…and really the reason for the whole post. Remember, the box score lists no game time. photo4

10 hours and 56 minutes! That must have included multiple rain delays as well. Or at least you would think so, but it didn’t begin raining in Little Rock (which at the time was the home of the Travelers at Ray Winder Field), until around 11:00 p.m. Maybe this is when they called the game, which would make the game just under four hours (assuming a 7 o’clock start). That also seems unlikely since, according to the above weather data, the rain would have been starting up at that time.

With the 17th’s game played under no threat of rain, and on a Saturday, it seems strange that they didn’t finish this suspended game.

So…the mystery continues. If you have any idea what happened on this day, let us know in the comments or tweet us at @RidersBaseball ! We will try and update the post if we hear any additional info. For now, be baffled and amused.

- Nathan

Baseball term of the day: wilted lilly - a batter who lets his bat droop as he awaits for the pitch

Another wild night in Corpus Christi

Earlier this season, on April 18, the Hooks and the RoughRiders played the longest-inning game in ‘Riders history with 17 innings.  Frisco won that game 4-2 as Guilder Rodriguez picked up his first career win in his third career mound appearance.

Last night, the ‘Riders rallied from down seven runs against the Corpus Christi Hooks at the end of the fourth and then began a comeback in the sixth, and tying the up in the ninth to take the game to extra innings.  Frisco wound up falling 8-7 in the 16th, but not before two ‘Riders position players took the mound.

The Game:

-Last night was the longest in recorded RoughRiders history.  Game time last night was 5 hours and 16 minutes, the longest of the season.  The last 5-hour game recorded for the RoughRiders was in 2006 with a 5:05 time (records aren’t available for the 2003 and 2004 seasons)

-Corpus Christi scored in the first with a solo home run by Erik Castro.  Castro also scored the winning run off a wild pitch by right-fielder Chih-Hsien Chiang in the 16th.

-’Riders starter Kevin Pucetas faced eight men in the fourth and only retired two and Phil Klein walked all four batters he faced.  Alex Claudio got Frisco out of the 12-batter bottom of the fourth trailing 7-0.

-Hooks starter Ross Seaton took a no-hitter through five before Hanser Alberto broke it up with a two-out double.

-In his final inning in the sixth, Seaton allowed an RBI double off the bat of Brett Nicholas, which put Frisco on the board at 7-1.  Off the Hooks bullpen, the RoughRiders scored a run in the seventh, two in the eighth and trailed by three runs to begin the ninth.

-Hanser Alberto singled to lead off the ninth. Odubel Herrera then doubled him home, and Ryan Strausborger launched his eighth home run of the season, a two-run blast to tie the game at 7-7.  The comeback tied the longest by the team this season.

-It took nearly an entire game for another score.  The Hooks’ bullpen combined to limit the ‘Riders to no runs on five hits and one walk over the final eight innings.  After the six-run fourth inning, Alex Claudio, Randy Henry, Lisalverto Bonilla, Jimmy Reyes, and then catcher Zach Zaneski put together 11 scoreless innings.

Position players on the mound

Frisco has only played two other games this season in which a position player has taken over on the mound, both times utility infielder Guilder Rodriguez was the go-to. Rodriguez  is 1-0 in his appearances this season.

Zach Zaneski

‘Riders catcher Zach Zaneski made his his first professional pitching appearance in last night’s battle.  He went three scoreless innings with two strikeouts and allowed just two hits and a walk.

Zach threw an impressive three frames which included the fastball and slider,  and the stadium radar gun topped at 91 mph.

Watch here as Zaneski records one of his first career strikeouts

Zaneski_1

Zaneski_2

Chih-Hsien Chiang

Right fielder Chih-Hsien Chiang came on for the 16th in his pitching debut as well. Chiang allowed one hit, two walks and gave up the winning run off a wild pitch with two outs, suffering the loss.

Chiang

-Ryan

Baseball term of the day: Leave the bench swinging - A batter who comes to the plate ready to swing at whatever pitch is delivered.

Meet the new ‘Rider: Greg Miclat

Best wishes Justin Miller. As of Wednesday, Justin is a member of the Triple-A Round Rock Express, making his first career trip to Triple-A. Finding his form over the last six outings, Miller seemed ready for the next step, and now he will get the chance. From the ‘Riders press release:

Miller, 26, has played exclusively for the RoughRiders since 2011. The right-hander was recovering from “Tommy John” surgery at the start of the season, and began a MLB rehab assignment with the RoughRiders on May 17. On June 12, Miller was taken off his rehab assignment and was optioned to Frisco. In 16 appearances with the ‘Riders this season, Miller was 1-0 with a 6.19 ERA. He allowed 11 earned runs on 16 hits in 16 innings of work, striking out 21 and walking seven. Over his last six outings, the Bakersfield, California native allowed one unearned run in six innings of work. He did not walk a batter and surrendered just three hits over that stretch. Miller pitched for the ‘Riders in 2011 and missed all of 2012 after undergoing “Tommy John” surgery in April 2012.

In return, the RoughRiders are getting Greg Miclat from the Express, a middle infielder that has spent his first two years in the Rangers organization as a member of the Triple-A squad.

Miclat, 25, is in his second season with the Round Rock Express. Drafted by the Baltimore Orioles in the fifth round of the 2008 MLB June Amateur Draft, Miclat was traded to Texas by the Orioles in December 2011 as a player to be named later, along with Randy Henry, in exchange for former RoughRiders and Rangers catcher Taylor Teagarden. In 68 games this season, the Salisbury, North Carolina native is hitting .252 with no home runs and 24 RBI to go along with ten stolen bases, playing 30 games at shortstop and 39 at second base. The middle infielder stole a career-high 50 bases in 2011 with the Bowie Baysox in his final season as Orioles’ property. This will be his first stint with the RoughRiders.

RRSP0179

(Jamie Harms / American-Statesman)

Splitting his time between 2B and SS makes you think that he probably plays there for the ‘Riders as well. In fact, he has played only 2B and SS in his career.

Could that mean we see G-Rod in the outfield like 2012? Before Monday night, the ‘Riders had played the Teodoro Martinez / Ryan Strausborger / Chih-Hsien Chiang outfield trio for 20 straight games until Alejandro Selen spelled Chiang a couple days ago in right field. The addition of Miclat could allow Rodriguez to give that trio a bit more rest. In his career, Rodriguez has played three games in right field, 16 in center, and 23 in left field.

Bringing in Miclat also brings the ‘Riders back into a more conventional roster construction. Since Benson’s placement on the disabled list on May 19, the RoughRiders have functioned with just two bench players. Now they have three.

Miclat (25 years old) doesn’t hit for much power but provides an experienced middle infielder to bolster the youngsters Hanser Alberto (20) and Odubel Herrera (21). The 50 stolen base season for Miclat in 2011 provides some intrigue as well. The Express have been a pretty conservative baserunning team in his time in the Rangers system, ranking second to last in the PCL in 2012 in stolen bases with 70 in 104 attempts. This season they have been slightly below middle of the pack in both. Maybe this is why Miclat’s stolen base totals are down so significantly.

Perhaps with Steve Buechele‘s “green light” system, we could see Miclat return to his running ways. Scouted as having speed that grades as less than elite, Miclat clearly knows how to run the bases; his 50 steals in 2011 came on just 53 attempts.

File this away in the slightly interesting category: this is the first time that Henry and Miclat will be on the same team in their careers. They have been in the same major league organization since Henry was drafted in 2009, but Miclat has always been a level or two above the Oklahoman.

Miclat will be in uniform for the RoughRiders tonight when they begin a four-game series with the Corpus Christi Hooks. You can read more about the matchup in today’s game notes and be sure to tune in to the broadcast, which begins at 6:40 p.m. for the 7:05 scheduled first pitch.

- Nathan

Baseball term of the day: sodfather - the groundskeeper

#TakeTanner to the 2013 All-Star Game

Yu DarvishNelson Cruz and Joe Nathan were selected to represent the Rangers at the 2013 All-Star Game.

Now, Rangers relief pitcher and Frisco RoughRiders’ alumni  Tanner Scheppers is one of five pitchers in contention for the 34th and final spot on the American League team based on fan vote for the 2013 All-Star Game Tuesday, July 16 at New York’s Citi Field.

Scheppers is 5-1 with a 1.88 ERA in 42 appearances for the Rangers in 2013. He is tied for the A.L. lead in relief wins, is tied for fourth with 17 holds, and is tied for the ninth lowest relief ERA. He is seeking his first All-Star appearance.

Cast your vote here to take Tanner to the All-Star Game!  Voting is unlimited and you can also vote by texting A4 to 89269. Voting ends Thursday, July 11 at 3 p.m. CT.

For the second consecutive year, the All-Star Game MLB.com Final Vote will include a social balloting element as Twitter support from the 10 candidates’ fans over the last six hours of balloting will count toward their final vote totals. From 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. (CDT) on Thursday, July 11, any tweet that includes #TakeTanner will be tabulated as part of the official vote total used to determine the American League and National League winners.

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 The ways you can vote for Tanner:

 - Cast your vote at mlb.com

 - Text A4 to 89269

- On Thursday, July 11, tweet
  #TakeTanner anytime from
9 a.m. to 3 p.m. CT

Voting ends July 11 at 3 p.m. CT

Scheppers was a member of the ‘Riders squad in the 2010 and 2011 seasons, and posted a 2-1 record with a 2.38 ERA in 23 games.  Scheppers split the 2012 season between Triple-A Round Rock and the Rangers,making his major league debut on June 7, 2012.

2011_Scheppers

Year Tm W L ERA G SV IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
2010 Frisco 0 0 0.82 6 2 11.0 3 1 1 1 0 19 0.273
2011 Frisco 2 1 3.13 17 0 23.0 18 10 8 1 9 24 1.174
AA (2 seasons) 2 1 2.38 23 2 34.0 21 11 9 2 9 43 0.882
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 7/8/2013.

To encourage fans to help pitcher Tanner Scheppers be elected to the 2013 American League All-Star Team, the Texas Rangers are offering a special sweepstakes.

By voting and selecting Tanner Scheppers as your 2013 Final Vote choice, all fans will be entered into the Texas Rangers Vote #TakeTanner All-Star Game Final Vote Sweepstakes for the chance to win one of five fantastic prizes. Fans will be automatically registered for the sweepstakes each of the first 25 times they vote for Scheppers in the 2013 All-Star Game MLB.com Final Vote sponsored by freecreditscore.com at texasrangers.com.

There is no limit to the number of times that fans may vote in the All-Star Game Final Vote.  However, fans will be registered to win for the sweepstakes just the first 25 times they vote for Scheppers. All rules for the sweepstakes can be found on texasrangers.com.

The Rangers All-Star Sweepstakes prizes are:

-Two Innings with Nolan Ryan – Winner and a guest have the opportunity to sit with Nolan Ryan in his home plate seats, during a mutually agreeable game, for 2 innings.  Prize includes two tickets to the game.

-Boomstick Ride Around – Winner and one guest will have the opportunity to ride in the Boomstick around the warning track prior to a mutually agreeable game, plus two tickets to the game.

-Photo Opportunity In Washington’s Seat + Batting Practice – Winner and one guest will receive game tickets and will have the opportunity to visit the Rangers dugout before the game and take a photo from Manager Ron Washington’s bench.  After the photo, you’ll watch the visiting team take  BP from the area behind home plate.

-Sit with the Voice of Rangers Ballpark, Chuck Morgan, for an inning – One winner will visit the in-park PA room, run the ribbon panels for half an inning, & visit with Chuck Morgan, voice of Rangers Ballpark, for half an inning for a mutually agreeable game.  Prize includes tickets for winner and three (3) guests.

-Ozarka Race Finish Line Holder – Get the chance to hold the finish line on the field during the Ozarka Texas Legends Race or Dot Race (one (1) winner.)  Opportunity will include tickets for winner and one (1) guest, and winner’s name to be announced and shown on the main video board.

For the second consecutive year, the All-Star Game MLB.com Final Vote will include a social balloting element as Twitter support from the 10 candidates’ fans over the last six hours of balloting will count toward their final vote totals. From 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. (CDT) on Thursday, July 11, any tweet that includes #TakeTanner will be tabulated as part of the official vote total used to determine the American League and National League winners.

Vote now to support the #TakeTanner campaign and help send another Ranger to the All-Star Game in NYC!

AllStarGame

-Ryan

Baseball Term of the Day: Lallapalooza -  A spectacular play.

‘Riders on the Record: Three pitchers, two managers and a broadcaster

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‘Riders on the Record is a weekly rundown of the pre-game interviews record by broadcasters Alex Vispoli and Nathan Barnett with RoughRiders players and coaches and occasionally a special guest. You can find all previous editions by clicking here.

A pitching-heavy week on ‘Riders on the record provided some gems from our guests. Kevin Pucetas spoke with R.A. Dickey about his knuckleball apprenticeship–good stuff. Other highlights include Tyler Tufts channeling his old college routine to starting pitching, Nick McBride’s July 4th tradition, Travelers’ manager Tim Bogar comparing Terry Francona and Joe Maddon and Naturals broadcaster Steven Davis’ impressions of flamethrower Yordano Ventura.

Enjoy and Happy Sunday! (and belated Happy Independence Day!)

Sunday, June 30, 2013 – Manager Steve Buechele


In their weekly chat, Alex spoke with ‘Riders manager Steve Buechele about the week that was after the All-Star break. He touches on the resiliency of the offense in their big come-from-behind win. He also talks about the promotion of 2012 ‘Riders outfielder Engel Beltre to the big leagues. (w/ Alex Vispoli)

Monday, July 1, 2013 – Voice of the Naturals Steven Davis


Steven Davis, the voice of the Naturals, talks about the success of the All-Star Game at Arvest Ballpark. He discusses the improved offense and the no-hitter from Brooks Pounders and reminisces on the most impressive Royals pitching prospects he has seen in his time in Springdale. (w/ Alex)

Wednesday, July 3, 2013 – RHP Tyler Tufts


Tyler Tufts made just one start in his pro career before 2013. This year, he has made 12. He has been great as a starter as well. He talks about his routine adjustment and explains what his timeline is like on the day his spot in the rotation is due up. He explains his current health situation and tosses aside the notion 100% in favor of day-to-day assessment. (w/ Nathan Barnett)

Thursday, July 4, 2013 – RHP Nick McBride


On Independence Day, RoughRiders starting pitcher Nick McBride talks about his family’s July 4th tradition on what is now his property. A fixture in the ‘Riders rotation for over a month, McBride began the season in the bullpen at Advanced-A Myrtle Beach; he discusses the change in routine and adjustment as a starter as well as the development of a new pitch. (w/ Nathan)

Friday, July 5, 2013 – Arkansas Travelers Manager Tim Bogar


Arkansas Travelers Manager Tim Bogar joined the pregame show for the final meeting of the regular season between the RoughRiders and the Travelers. He talks about his coaching tree and breaks down the play of some of the key Angels prospects on his roster. (w/ Nathan)

Saturday, July 6, 2013 – RHP Kevin Pucetas


Starting pitcher Kevin Pucetas has begun throwing a knuckleball in addition to his more conventional pitch mix. He talks about the development of that pitch and the advice given to him by R.A. Dickey. (w/ Nathan)

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The RoughRiders meet up with the Naturals tonight at 6:00 p.m. from Dr Pepper Ballpark. As always, you can find the game over at RidersBaseball.com! Here Alex’s interview with the manager live tonight at around 5:50 as part of the pre-game show.

- Nathan

Baseball term of the day: raw-raw - a knuckleball 

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary)

What’s inside your PlayBall! program?

At every RoughRiders home game,  fans can pick up a free PlayBall! game day program as they enter the gates of Dr Pepper Ballpark.

Inside, fans can read about the day’s game in the “Leading Off” section and read fun facts about the individual ‘Riders players in “Outside the Lines.”  Toward the back of PlayBall!, in the section “7th Inning Stretch,” you can find a feature story on a certain player, coach or other special individual within the RoughRiders family.  Below are the two most recent feature stories from the last few home stands.

Playball

An Inspirational Sign

Former RoughRider Jake Brigham opened up about how his father has been his inspiration throughout his life.  Every day, Jake gets a call from his father, Earl Brigham-on an iPad. Earl Brigham is not a young or even a particularly hip parent. He loves technology, sure, but Earl doesn’t call his son on the iPad every day to be cool.  He calls Jake on his iPad because it’s the only way he can.    This story ran from May 13-20 and May 28 – June 2, shortly after Brigham’s promotion to Triple-A Round Rock on May 1, 2013.

Brigham

Best in the League

Strength and Conditioning Coach Eric McMahon and Athletic Trainer Carlos Olivas were honored as the 2012 Texas League Strength & Conditioning and Athletic Trainer of the year, voted on by their Texas League peers.  Read about the reactions from the two coaches, and what they say is different about working in the Rangers system.  This story ran from June 12-23.

BestintheLeague

If you missed previous stories from the PlayBall!, they will be posted at the bottom of the team website  under the “Frisco RoughRiders Features.”

-Ryan

Baseball Term of the Day: “Play ball!” - The command issued by the home plate umpire to start a game or to resume play.

‘Riders in Review: June 2013

Early first half struggles for Tulsa and Northwest Arkansas flipped upside down as the two teams became the two most dominant Texas League squads in the month of June. Led by retired-no-more Roy Oswalt and indy-ball right-hander Sean Gallagher, the Drillers posted an absurd 2.12 ERA in June and made up enough ground to capture the first-half title in the North Division. The Naturals played spoiler to their in-state rivals, beating the Arkansas Travelers in five of six meetings to close the first half and send the Travs tumbling out of the top spot in the North. Now the Naturals are tied for first place in the whole Texas League in the second half (8-5 entering Thursday).

The RoughRiders, on the other hand, experienced a tough month of June. Losing Roman Mendez in May didn’t help, neither did the promotions of Wilmer Font, Jared Hoying, Ryan Rodebaugh, and Ben Rowen, not to mention the continued injury issue for outfielder Joe Benson. Still, the RoughRiders completed the first half in second place and are competing in the early part of the second half.

Texas League Rankings for the Month of June

Record: 44-37 overall, 12-15 in May (T-5th in Texas League), home: 5-9, road: 7-6, vs. division: 10-10

Runs: 96 (7th)

Average: .259 (3rd)

On-base percentage: .299 (8th)

Stolen bases: 23 (T-3rd)

Home runs: 18 (5th)

ERA: 4.10 (7th)

Strikeouts for: 210 (1st)

Walks allowed: 99 (8th)

Avg attendance for the year: 7310 (1st)*

RIDERS REVIEW Record Runs AVG OBP SB HR ERA K BB Avg. Att. TD*
April 14-11 107 .250 .297 19 17 2.87 208 84 7060
May 18-11 125 .247 .306 38 32 4.12 255 114 7315
June 12-15 96 .259 .299 23 18 4.10 210 99 7310
Season 44-37 328 .252 .301 80 67 3.73 463 297 7310

TL IN MAY Record Runs AVG OBP SB HR ERA K BB Avg. Att. TD*
Tulsa 17-9 82 .230 .307 26 12 2.12 158 65 5,950
NW Ark. 17-12 137 .283 .330 25 29 4.01 209 95 4,794
Corpus 14-13 132 .252 .324 19 33 4.16 160 72 5,388
San Anto. 14-13 102 .257 .314 22 12 3.44 207 71 4,221
FRISCO 12-15 96 .259 .299 23 18 4.10 210 99 7,363
Springfield 12-15 104 .260 .323 13 24 3.97 200 72 4,611
Arkansas 12-16 111 .254 .320 23 22 3.66 195 80 4,499
Midland 11-16 132 .256 .347 16 17 3.97 193 72 4,641

*Attendance calculated through July 3 games, so June numbers include one game of July for each team

Awards

‘Riders Slugger of the Month

C Tomas Telis (.338/.365/.563, 9 R, 4 2B, 4 HR, 13 RBI, 2 BB, 1 SB)

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What a month for Tomas. The Texas League All-Star hit all four of his home runs in the month and lifted his average from .234 after June 1st’s 0-for-4 to .277 when the month completed. Telis was not only the best ‘Riders hitter in June but can make a case that he was the best hitter in the whole league. His .338 mark was the best in the league among qualifying hitters. He was tied for seventh in home runs. He accomplished what he did in just 18 games, splitting time with Brett Nicholas and Zach Zaneski at the catcher spot. He posted nine multi hit games in June (and has done so in all three July games already). He stole a base to boot and he won a fan a car. Not bad. Bravo Tomas!

Past winners: Nicholas (May), Hoying (April)

‘Riders Hurler of the Month

RHP Tyler Tufts (0-1, 1.82 ERA, 5 GS, 24.2 IP, 18 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 0 HRA, 9 K, 4 BB, 3 HB, 0.89 WHIP, .207 BAA)

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Like Telis, Tufts really had a breakout month in June. The career reliever made one spot start in 2012, his first in five seasons as a pro.  This year, he has made 12 starts with a 3.20 ERA as a starter. In five June starts, he allowed one or fewer earned runs in four of his five outings. On two occassions, Tufts fired five innings of shutout ball with two or fewer hits allowed, and in 24.2 innings over the month, he walked just four batters. Only Jimmy Reyes had a lower ERA during the month among pitchers with more than eight innings pitched (1.80 ERA).

Past winners: Rowen (May), Henry (April)

Official Texas League Players of the Week:

May 27 – June 2: P – Murphy Smith (Midland); B – George Springer (Corpus Christi)

June 3-9: P – Carlos Pimentel (Frisco) ; B – Brian Fletcher (NW Arkansas) 

June 10-16: P -Roy Oswalt (Tulsa); B – Alex Buchholz (Frisco)

June 17 – 23: P – Neil Ramirez (Frisco); B – Ruben Gotay (Springfield)

June 24 – 30: P – Brooks Pounders (NW Arkansas); B – Whit Merrifield (NW Arkansas)

Punching Bag of the Month

Corpus Christi Hooks SP Jake Buchanan

The award given out to the player most likely to be glad he isn’t facing Frisco anytime soon goes out of respect this month to Jake Buchanan. It’s not that Buchanan was the hardest-hit pitcher the RoughRiders faced, but considering his accomplishments before his meeting with the RoughRiders on June 12, his slip-ups to end June (and coincidentally his Texas League season, for now), made him a contender and the ultimate selection of the notorious honor.

In his final three Texas League starts, before promotion to Triple-A Oklahoma City, Buchanan allowed 13 runs, all earned. Before that three-start stint he had allowed six earned runs in 15 appearances, 10 starts. He faced the ‘Riders in two of those three starts, allowing nine runs over nine innings. Coming in to that stretch a perfect 7-0, Buchanan left the Texas League at 7-2, taking losses against the ‘Riders and San Antonio.

Best Moment of the Month

Frisco rallies from three down with seven-run ninth – June 29, 2013 - Again the ‘Riders waited until the end of the month to come up with the most memorable moment of the month. Last month it was the back-to-back-to-back home runs on May 31. This month was an easy selection. In the midst of a brutal offensive stretch, the RoughRiders plated seven runs to take a 10-6 lead in the top of the ninth in Springdale, Arkansas against the Northwest Arkansas.

Frisco fell behind 3-0 in the second, 4-0 after the third, and trailed 5-1 after seven innings. In the first seven innings, the ‘Riders offense managed six baserunners on two singles, three walks, and a hit batter. But the ‘Riders plated two in the eighth and trailed 6-3 going into the ninth.

In the wild top half of the ninth inning, the RoughRiders collected eight hits and a walk against relievers Scott Alexander and J.C. Sulbaran. They plated seven runs. Every RoughRiders hitter other than Odubel Herrera reached base in the inning, and nine consecutive ‘Riders reached safely. The big hit came ten batters into the inning when Ryan Strausborger hit a bases-clearing triple to put Frisco ahead 10-6.

The Naturals got the tying run to the plate in the ninth, but Frisco hung on for the 10-7 win.

The seven runs and eight hits put together in the ninth were the most by the team in any single frame this season.  The last time the ’Riders scored at least seven in an inning was in the seventh inning on July 22, 2011 in a 19-4 win versus Corpus Christi. The most ninth inning runs in known team history occurred on May 19, 2006, when the RoughRiders used an eight-run ninth inning to defeat Midland 10-5 at Citibank Ballpark.

How did the prospects do?

Frisco’s Opening Day Roster contained six prospects in the Baseball America Rangers Organization top 30:  RHP Cody Buckel (8), RHP Roman Mendez (13), IF Hanser Alberto (15), RHP Wilmer Font (22), RHP Neil Ramirez (23) and RHP Randy Henry (29). Joe Benson, ranked 19th in the Minnesota Twins organization by Baseball America to open the season, joined the RoughRiders in late May.

Cody Buckel - Buckel last pitched for the ‘Riders in May. He has been in Arizona at extended Spring Training trying to sort out control issues ever since. Rangers Rehab Pitching Coordinator Keith Comstock updated us on Buckel last home stand. You can hear my interview with him from ‘Riders on the Record.

Roman Mendez - Mendez is out for the season after undergoing surgery in May to repair a stress fracture in his elbow.

Wilmer Font - No longer with the RoughRiders, Font was promoted to the Round Rock Express on June 29.  The Venezuelan right-hander has a team-high ten saves and sported a career best 1.41 ERA with the RoughRiders in 26 appearances this season. Over his last four RoughRiders appearances he allowed just two hits and issued three walks in 4.1 innings with no runs scored against him and fanned eight. In ten June innings, he allowed one run on four hits and six walks, striking out seventeen. He went three-for-three in save chances and posted a 1-1 record over the month.

Hanser Alberto - After a .162 hitting May, Hanser improved only slightly in June, hitting .213. He also committed another six errors. He walked only once in 83 plate appearances. He did club four of his ten extra-base hits on the season during the month with two doubles, a triple and a home run. 

Neil Ramirez - Neil was rocky in May but bounced back with a fantastic June. In five starts, he went 4-0 with a 2.25 ERA. In 28 innings, he fanned 35 and walked only eight. He is 7th in the Texas League in ERA, 2nd in wins (9), first in strikeouts (106), fourth in WHIP (1.08) and first in batting average against (.190). He also was the winning pitcher in the All-Star game, throwing a perfect first inning. He doesn’t have much more to prove in the Texas League. Ramirez pitches tonight, and if you are dead-set on seeing him here in Frisco, you should come out sooner than later; it seems hard to imagine him staying in Double-A much longer if he keeps pitching like he did in June.

Randy Henry - Henry was activated off the disabled list on June 13 from an ulnar nerve injury in his right elbow that caused him to miss over a month. This blog’s selection for ‘Riders Hurler of the Month in April was not quite as dominant when he first returned but the numbers are still excellent. In six outings, Henry tossed 5.1 innings, allowing five hits and one walk. He surrendered no runs, earned or otherwise, and struck out four. He also collected his first Texas League save of the season.

Joe BensonNot officially on the top 30 list of Rangers prospects by Baseball America, he probably would be if he was Rangers property to begin the season. After a torrid start to his RoughRiders career, Benson was hampered by a groin injury in June and is still on the disabled list. He played in just three games during the month. On June 9, he pinch hit for Chih-Hsien Chiang in the ninth inning, knocking a triple in what was then a tie game against the Midland RockHounds. He later scored in the inning and served as the difference in a 4-3 win. Benson went 0-for-3 before a fifth inning ejection the following night and 0-for-2 the next evening before leaving with injury. He hasn’t seen the field since then (June 11).

Happy July and go RoughRiders!

- Nathan

Baseball term of the day: bill in addition to meaning the visor of a ballcap, “bill” refers to a game on the schedule (and why a “twin bill” is another term for a doubleheader)

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary)

Happy 4th of July

Happy Independence Day, America!

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The 4th of July, America’s birthday, is a day full of family time, fun and fireworks.  It is also a time when we remember our past and recognize the freedoms and liberties we have in this country.

If you are searching for something to do on this holiday, the RoughRiders have you covered!  The next three nights (July 4,5 & 6) fireworks will light up the Frisco sky at Dr Pepper Ballpark following each game.

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The RoughRiders will also be sporting their camouflage uniforms with their black hats.  *The ‘Riders are 9-1 all-time on July 4 and have won their last eight Independence Day games (including a 4-0 record against Arkansas, tonight’s opponent).*

So come on out to the ballpark and enjoy the holiday weekend with great baseball, delicious food and awesome fireworks displays.

CamoUni

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-Ryan

Baseball Term of the Day: America’s pastime - The game of baseball.

Home Sweet Home: Fireworks, fireworks!

070313 Blog Fireworks

Twelve games deep into the second half of the Texas League season, and the Frisco RoughRiders sit tied atop the South Division standings. The upcoming six-game home stand, which begins tonight, will complete a stretch of 12 straight games against North Division opponents.

This is an important home stand for Frisco, as they are eight games over .500 against the North Division this season and need to capitalize on these meetings against North Division foes. The games line up the same as they did the last six games: three against the Travelers and then three against the Naturals. Frisco went 3-3 in that stretch, taking one from the Travs and two from the Naturals; both teams are 7-5, the best mark in the second half in the Texas League.

These are the matchups we expect to see on the mound for the upcoming two series:

Wednesday: RHP Nick McBride (1-3, 5.14 ERA) vs RHP Matt Oye (5-5, 5.29 ERA)

Thursday: RHP Kevin Pucetas (8-7, 4.80 ERA) vs RHP Brandon Hynick (6-3, 2.88 ERA)

Friday: RHP Neil Ramirez (9-2, 3.14 ERA) vs RHP Mike Piazza (4-2, 3.24 ERA)

Saturday: RHP Carlos Pimentel (7-6, 4.55 ERA) vs TBA

Sunday: RHP Tyler Tufts (2-2, 3.24 ERA) vs TBA

Monday: RHP Nick McBride vs TBA

Wednesday, July 3   |   7:05 p.m.   | RoughRiders vs. Arkansas Travelers (LAA)
Radio: RidersBaseball.com    Webstream: MiLB.tv 

Promotions (click here and also here for more details):

  • Dollar Dog Night
  • RoughRiders Horse Race presented by Whataburger

Thursday, July 4   |   7:05 p.m.   | RoughRiders vs. Arkansas Travelers (LAA)
Radio: RidersBaseball.com    Webstream: MiLB.tv 

Promotions (click here and also here for more details)

  • July 4th Post-game fireworks
  • Free ‘Riders sunshade

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  • Dairy Queen Triple Play
  • RoughRiders Horse Race presented by Whataburger

Friday, July 5   |   7:05 p.m.   | RoughRiders vs. Arkansas Travelers (LAA)
TV: KTXD    Radio: RidersBaseball.com    Webstream: MiLB.tv 

Promotions (click here and also here for more details):

  • Friday Night Post-game fireworks
  • Free Elvis Andrus Replica ‘Riders T-Shirt compliments of Nationwide

5thInningNationwideElvisJersyShirt_for_blog

  • Dairy Queen Triple Play
  • Smashburger SMASH inning

Saturday, July 6   |   7:05 p.m.   | RoughRiders vs. Northwest Arkansas Naturals (KC)
TV: KTXD    Radio: RidersBaseball.com    Webstream: MiLB.tv 

Promotions (click here and also here for more details):

  • Post-game fireworks
  • Dairy Queen Triple Play
  • RoughRiders Horse Race presented by Whataburger

Sunday, July 7   |   6:05 p.m.   | RoughRiders vs. Northwest Arkansas Naturals (KC)
Radio: RidersBaseball.com    Webstream: MiLB.tv 

Promotions (click here and also here for more details):

  • Kids Run the Bases
  • Raising Cane’s Grand Slam Sunday
  • RoughRiders Horse Race presented by Whataburger

Monday, July 8   |   7:05 p.m.   | RoughRiders vs. Northwest Arkansas Naturals (KC)
Radio: RidersBaseball.com    Webstream: MiLB.tv 

Promotions (click here and also here for more details) 

- Nathan

Baseball term of the day: seat-boomerslang term for a home run

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary)

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