Results tagged ‘ Brandon Webb ’

PlayBall! Preview

We have been working on a special version of the PlayBall! game program for the playoffs, and you can get a sneak peak at the feature story here. It is a summary of the 2011 season, and it brings back some memories from a tremendous five-month.
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The RoughRiders’ Run to the Playoffs

For the sixth time in franchise history, the RoughRiders are in the Texas League playoffs. Find out how the ‘Riders reached this point in our season rewind.

A Texas League season is a grind, with long trips, steamy temperatures, and few breaks. It is a long journey with peaks and valleys. Here in the RoughRiders’ ninth season, there were enough peaks for Frisco to enjoy playoff baseball for the sixth time.

April was a struggle for second-year skipper Steve Buechele’s club. The ‘Riders finished the month in the South Division’s basement at 8-14. The signature moment of the rough April was quite a notable one, though. Martin Perez, the Rangers’ top prospect, tossed a rain-shortened perfect game at Arkansas April 19.

By May 13, the ‘Riders worked their way back to the .500 mark. Later in the month, Frisco staked its claim to second place with a four-game sweep of Midland at Dr Pepper Ballpark. From this point on, the ‘Riders spent more time in second place than any other team in the Texas League.

The RoughRiders received some temporary help in May. Last year’s American League Most Valuable Player Josh Hamilton hit a home run during his two-day rehab stint in Frisco. Nelson Cruz also graced the middle of the ‘Riders’ order for three games while battling back from an injury. Big name pitchers like Neftali Feliz, Tommy Hunter and Brandon Webb rehabbed in Frisco, too.

Leonys Martin's stateside career began in Frisco, and he is now in Arlington. (James Garner)

Also, outfielder Leonys Martin made his stateside debut with the RoughRiders after the Rangers inked Martin to a $15.5 million dollar contract. Martin hit .348 in 29 games with the ‘Riders before heading to Triple-A Round Rock.

Frisco finished the first half strongly, but a 40-30 mark was not good enough to notch a division championship after San Antonio’s 49-win showing. Individually, Tommy Mendonca was the star of the show in June. Mendonca was the Texas League’s Player of the Month after boasting a .375 batting average and driving in 30 runs.

July was a month for the record books in Frisco. The ‘Riders matched a franchise-high in runs in their 19-4 thumping of Corpus Christi July 22. Mendonca hit three of the RoughRiders’ record-setting eight home runs.

One week later, Joe Wieland became the first RoughRider to single-handedly throw a nine-inning no-hitter at San Antonio. Less than 48 hours after the no-no, the Rangers dealt Wieland and Robbie Erlin to San Diego for big league reliever Mike Adams. As a result, the former Frisco duo joined San Antonio’s loaded rotation.

The 'Riders begin their 2011 playoff journey Wednesday in San Antonio (Alex Yocum-Beeman).

The RoughRiders spent the month of August holding off Midland for a playoff berth. They officially clinched a spot in the season’s final week, a few days after the ‘Riders took three of four from their first round opponent—San Antonio.

Over the course of 140 games, the ‘Riders played well enough to earn a chance to vie for the Texas League’s richest prize. The club has been among the best in the league in most categories this season, and Frisco is well positioned to have a September to remember for the first time since 2004—the franchise’s first and only championship season.

The RoughRiders have won regularly here in 2011, and now only six playoff wins separate the ‘Riders from a title.

- Brian

RoughRiders Potpourri

Yesterday, the ‘Riders Insider Blog took a rare day off. We’re back at it today with a few odds and ends, spanning everywhere from Martin Perez to whiffle ball. Here are a few wide-ranging Frisco Facts for this Thursday, the beginning of a six-game road trip to Springfield and Arkansas.

FRISCO FACTS:

  • We’ve been asked a few times, so I figured I would touch on it first here. Frisco starter Martin Perez is not scheduled to pitch again for the RoughRiders before the XM Futures Game this Sunday. His turn in the rotation would be Saturday, but Perez will skip that start in order to perform for the World Team in the event at Chase Field, the home of the Arizona Diamondbacks.
  • As for who that starter will be, we don’t know yet. It is the very familiar talent, “TBA.” However, two good guesses would be former members of the rotation–Richard Bleier and Jake Brigham. Both have excelled at certain points as starters here in 2011.
  • Tough news out of Arlington over the last day or so. Brandon Webb is likely done for the season, that according to multiple outlets. Webb made four starts for the ‘Riders and went 0-2 with a 9.75 earned run average in 12 innings.
  • I don’t know about all of you, but I really feel for the former Cy Young Award winner. He clearly didn’t have the stuff he did when he was consistently posting 200-inning seasons with the Diamondbacks. However, he worked very hard to return to the big leagues, and he couldn’t have been a nicer person during his time with Frisco. Whether it is with the Rangers or someone else, I sincerely hope we see Webb pitch again somewhere.
  • Be sure to check out the Reebok 2011 Heroes Celebrity Baseball Game this Saturday at Dr Pepper Ballpark. The Larry O’Brien trophy will be there, as will many celebrities. David Archuleta, Aaron’s favorite singer, will be on hand to sing “God Bless America” during the seventh-inning stretch. Here are the details for the event, which begins at 3 p.m. and will run until well after the sun goes down.
  • I had a chance to go to the Rangers-Orioles game last night. It was my first full game in Arlington, and I really enjoyed the park. Everyone was very friendly, except for one fan screaming “Good Job Pie” at poor O’s left fielder Felix Pie (although it was all in good fun–I enjoyed it at least). I loved the area in center field where kids can play some whiffle ball and hit home runs off a tee. It took me back to my little league “glory” days, and I wanted to join in the fun (I didn’t, by the way).
  • The second version of the “RoughRiders Roundtable” podcast will be out in the next 24 hours or so. We had great results and feedback from the first one, so check it out. You can access that podcast here when it is available. Joining me will be Aaron and Jason Cole of LoneStarDugout.com. The topics include Topps Texas League Player of the Month Tommy Mendonca, Mike Bianucci, Renny Osuna, all-you-can-eat buffets and so much more.

The ‘Riders and Cardinals open up a three-game series tonight at Hammons Field. Join us on the pre-game coverage along the RBN at 6:37. Enjoy!

- Brian

Another Rehab Outing For Webb

Right-hander Brandon Webb allowed four runs on six hits in five innings of work Friday night at Whataburger Field against the Corpus Christi Hooks.

In the longest of his four rehab starts with the ‘Riders, Webb surrendered a first-inning run but stranded runners at every base. Jon Gaston’s RBI single in the third brought home the Hooks’ second run. One inning later, Jimmy Van Ostrand clubbed a two-run homer off Webb.

After that home run, Webb settled down and retired the final five he faced. The righty finished with 77 pitches, 53 of which were strikes. He struck out four and walked two. Webb left the game with the ‘Riders trailing 4-2.

The former Cy Young Award winner entered Friday’s game with an 11.57 earned run average in seven innings of work with Frisco. His best rehab effort came June 14 at Midland, when Webb tossed three scoreless innings.

This outing marked back-to-back appearances against the Hooks in Corpus Christi. In the first one Sunday, Webb surrendered four runs on six hits in just two-thirds of an inning.

The ‘Riders will not send a starter out there in relief of Webb as they did in his first three rehab starts. Frisco’s bullpen will pitch the rest of the game. Richard Bleier follows Webb in the game. You can listen live to the broadcast here.

Scheppers, Webb Results from Sunday

Tanner Scheppers struck out four over two perfect innings of relief in his first minor league appearance in more than two months.

Scheppers needed 14 pitches to record two strikeouts and a groundout in the seventh inning. The right-hander whiffed a pair looking in the eighth. In that frame, he tossed 16 pitches.

Scheppers had not pitched since April 16, when he was a member of Triple-A Round Rock.

The former 44th-overall pick made six appearances for the ‘Riders last season. He allowed just one run on three hits in 11 innings of work with Frisco.

Brandon Webb, on the flip side, did not make it out of the first inning in his rehab start. Webb allowed four runs on six hits in two-thirds of an inning. All six hits were singles.

The former Cy Young Award winner threw 36 pitches, 22 of which were strikes. Webb’s fastball hovered around 85 miles per hour according to the radar gun at Whataburger Field.

The organization has not yet scheduled the next outing for both Scheppers and Webb.

Webb, Scheppers to Pitch Tonight

Both Brandon Webb and Tanner Scheppers are scheduled to pitch for the RoughRiders tonight in the finale of a four-game series at Corpus Christi.

Webb will pitch four innings or about 65 pitches. This will be his third rehab start with the RoughRiders. Webb has tossed six and a third innings for the ‘Riders this year. In that action, the former Cy Young Award winner has given up five runs on nine hits. All of those runs and eight of those nine hits came in his first start against Tulsa May 30.

Carlos Pimentel will follow Webb. Then, Scheppers is set to pitch two innings for Frisco. Scheppers last pitched in a competitive game April 16 for Triple-A Round Rock. It was his only outing of the 2011 season.

You can listen to the contest here. Pre-game coverage begins at 5:35.

Realignment Upon Us?

Baseball will get the sports stage largely to itself for a few months once the Canucks and Bruins finish up the Stanley Cup Finals tonight. Right now, the popular story is the possibility of realignment in Major League Baseball. There is talk about division-less American and National Leagues with Houston moving to the A.L. Even the popular site Deadspin facetiously talked about a second professional sports team going from Seattle to Oklahoma City.

This could also bring about an expanded postseason. I’m a fan of the current eight-team format because making the playoffs in this structure is truly special; however, more postseason chances would open up the doors for some smaller markets.

But think about it—last year, all eight teams had a special storyline going into the postseason: Texas (aiming for first playoff series win), New York (defending ’09 title), Tampa Bay (second ever playoff appearance), Minnesota (trying to finally beat the Yankees in the playoffs), Atlanta (last go-around for skipper Bobby Cox), Philadelphia (striving for third straight World Series appearance), Cincinnati (first playoff appearance since 1995), and San Francisco (looking for first title since 1954).

For now, I hope baseball stays the same. An eight-team playoff is fine with me.

Onto today’s Facts, with plenty of numbers on the RoughRiders’ recent offensive surge.

FRISCO FACTS:

  • Before we get into the offense, Brandon Webb tossed three scoreless innings for the RoughRiders in a rehab start yesterday. Here is the write-up from yesterday on the blog detailing a very positive showing from the former Cy Young Award winner.
  • The RoughRiders have scored 23 runs in the last two games, which is the second-highest number in consecutive days for the club this season. In those two games, Frisco has banged out 36 hits, including a season-high 20 Monday night in the 13-6 win.
  • As a club, the ‘Riders are hitting .290 in the month of June. In those 13 games, the RoughRiders are averaging 6.7 runs per game. The big performer during the month has been Tommy Mendonca, who is hitting .411 (23-for-56). In this series at Midland, Mendonca is 10-for-14 with five RBIs and five runs scored.
  • Against Midland, Frisco is 9-2, which is the best showing against a certain squad in 2011. The team’s batting average is .310, and eight “regulars” boast individual averages at .286 or better.
  • The RoughRiders have scored more runs in the last two games (23) than they have in an entire series against Midland since June 21-24, 2010. That period spans seven different series, including last year’s postseason set between the ‘Riders and ‘Hounds.
  • San Antonio’s season has been incredible. Today, the Missions can earn their fifth sweep of the season with a win at home over reeling Corpus Christi. Also, a win would push the Missions above the .700 mark in winning percentage, a plateau that is only surpassed by the San Jose Giants (high-A, San Francisco) in the California League and the Daytona Cubs (high-A, Chicago Cubs) in the Florida State League. San Jose enters play today with a minor league-high 47-17 mark (.734).
  • Time is running out for you to get your chance to watch world-class boxing at Dr Pepper Ballpark. Fight Night is this Friday, and you can get more information here.

Pre-game coverage begins at 6 p.m., with the ‘Riders hoping to notch another series win. Tune in along the RoughRiders Baseball Network. Enjoy!

- Brian

Brandon Webb’s Rehab Start

Right-hander Brandon Webb tossed three scoreless innings in a rehab start Tuesday night for the RoughRiders against the Midland RockHounds at Citibank Ballpark.

Webb set down the first seven he faced before giving up a single and a walk. He left those two runners on second and third.

In the outing, Webb induced six ground-ball outs, two fly-ball outs and a strikeout. He threw 42 pitches, and 27 of them were strikes. He left the game with the ‘Riders leading 6-0.

It was the second rehab start of the season for Webb, who suffered a loss May 30 against Tulsa. In that outing, Webb allowed five runs on eight hits in three and a third innings of work. He struck out two, walked two, and hit a batter.

Before these two outings, the former National League Cy Young Award winner had not made a competitive start since an Opening Day effort for Arizona in 2009.

Happy Memorial Day

Have a great Memorial Day today, everyone. I hope you all have a chance to take a breather from your everyday life. Here are a few Facts for you to chew on before today’s series finale.

FRISCO FACTS:

  • Brandon Webb will indeed be the RoughRiders’ starting pitcher today, with Richard Bleier slated to enter the game after Webb is finished. Webb will wear number 39 today in his first minor league effort since three appearances with Triple-A Tacoma in 2003.
  • Julio Borbon will lead off and be Frisco’s designated hitter. Borbon’s presence in the lead-off spot forces Mike Bianucci to left field and pushes Leonys Martin to the three hole in the order, which will be the first time all season that Martin will hit outside of the top spot. Borbon will wear number 10.
  • Borbon played in 60 games with the RoughRiders in 2008. He hit .337 with five homers and 22 runs batted in while here in Frisco. His last appearance in the minors came in 2009 with the Rangers’ former Triple-A affiliate, Oklahoma City.
  • When Webb and Borbon suit up for the ‘Riders today, they will not be wearing the typical red unis. The RoughRiders will don camouflage uniforms today in honor of Memorial Day. Frisco will also wear those uniforms on the Fourth of July.
  • Jonathan Greene continued his recent surge by going 2-for-3 with a pair of runs and RBIs. In his last two games, he has driven in five runs. Greene really loves Dr Pepper Ballpark, as he owns a .412 average in 19 home games. Four of his five home runs and 15 of his 23 RBIs have come in North Texas. Compare that to Greene’s .205 average away from home.
  • Justin Miller was able to notch a save for the first time since May 7 with an inning and two-thirds of scoreless relief. Miller is now just 3-of-7 in save opportunities this year even though he has a respectable 3.76 ERA.
  • We are planning a few new features for you. First off, look for Aaron Goldsmith to be posting on here a few times each road trip with his take on life on the road in the Texas League. He and I will be splitting the blog coverage up during those trips.
  • Also, Aaron and I will both begin to weigh in during the Extra Bases Blog at home games. Reid Copeland will continue to give you his great coverage, and Aaron and I will drop in here and there to give the radio booth’s perspective on things. We encourage you to join the conversation for all games–home and road!

Pre-game coverage for some Memorial Day baseball begins at 3:35. First pitch is set for 4:05. Enjoy!

- Brian

Representing the Texas League

Jumping from Double-A to the big leagues is not common practice, but it has happened a few times this season. Today has been a big one for the Triple-A leapfrog.

Not only is Juan Nicasio–a former Tulsa Driller who just threw seven innings against Springfield Sunday–starting for the Colorado Rockies today against St. Louis, but two San Antonio Missions–Kyle Phillips and Blake Tekotte–drove in the only two runs for the Padres in their 2-1 win over Washington this afternoon.

There are no RoughRiders from yesterday’s roster in the Rangers’ lineup today, but we still have plenty of Facts to discuss on this Saturday.

FRISCO FACTS:

  • The big news yesterday was Brandon Webb’s successful bullpen session yesterday in Arlington. Webb is now scheduled to start for the RoughRiders in a rehab effort Monday afternoon. It will be the first time that Webb has started in a real game since April of 2009 for the Diamondbacks, the team he had spent his entire career with prior to signing with the Rangers during the offseason.
  • It is easy to forget how successful Webb was during his run with Arizona. Webb is 87-62 with a 3.27 earned run average in his career, and he won the 2006 Cy Young Award. The next two years, Webb finished second in the voting.
  • In his career, Webb has logged five seasons with at least 200 innings and six years with an ERA below 3.60. Obviously, this is a much different Webb because of the shoulder issues, but he has shown incredible ability in the past. Webb was a low-risk, high-reward signing. The reward part of the equation will begin to be revealed very soon.
  • Leonys Martin is back in the lineup today after leaving yesterday’s game in the ninth inning with a stomach cramp. Frisco trainer Carlos Olivas came out to check on Martin during his at bat in the ninth inning, but he did stay in the game long enough to single. A few pitches into the next at bat, Martin once again felt pain and jogged off the field. He is in center field and hitting first like usual.
  • Speaking of today’s lineup, a few everyday players–Tommy Mendonca and Guilder Rodriguez–are getting the day off. At short, Renny Osuna switches over there from second base and Davis Stoneburner takes that spot. On the flip side, the third base replacement is a little more unique. Jonathan Greene will make his first start at third this season. He is hitting fifth.
  • Even though this is Greene’s first start at third this year, he is still a veteran of the hot corner in his minor league career. Of his 387 games in affiliated baseball, Greene has started at third base 226 times. His career fielding percentage (.913) isn’t very good at third, though.
  • Here’s a fun fact: Greene has played five different positions (first, third, catcher, left and right). He has played at all of those spots at least 15 times. A way to make yourself more valuable in the minors is to be versatile, and Greene has done that.
  • After tonight, the ‘Riders will have played every team in the Texas League at least once. Like last year, the final team is Tulsa. Last year, the RoughRiders went 6-5 against the Drillers. So far this year, the Drillers own a 25-21 record, which is only percentage points behind Northwest Arkansas (23-19) for first place in the North.
  • Tulsa’s best player to this point has been leadoff man Tim Wheeler. Wheeler leads the league in RBIs (45), is tied for the lead in homers (14) and sits eighth in batting average (.324).
  • Tonight’s game is once again on TXA 21 in the DFW area. Aaron Goldsmith will handle the play-by-play duties, and Jason Cole of LoneStarDugout.com will provide color commentary. Coverage begins at 7 p.m.
  • Finally, there are a couple of events coming up at Dr Pepper Ballpark that may interest you. Acute Kids Movie Night is set for June 4, and Whataburger Food Bank Night is slated for July 23.

Our coverage on the radio tonight begins at 6:35. First pitch is set for 7:05. Enjoy!

- Brian

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