Results tagged ‘ Drillers ’

Riders aim to end North Division nightmare

The Riders open a six-game homestand tonight with three games against Springfield and three more with Tulsa over the weekend.

Since Frisco won the first three series and nine of the first 10 games against North Division opponents this year, the North squads have had a large amount of success against the Riders.

Joe Jackson has a .400 average (6-for-15) with two home runs and three RBI against Springfield

Joe Jackson has a .400 average (6-for-15) with two home runs and three RBI against Springfield

Frisco has gone a dismal 7-24 in the last 31 cross-divisional matchups, and the RoughRiders have won just two of the last 11 series (June 3-5 vs. Springfield and July 9-11 vs. Northwest Arkansas). The Riders have not won a road series against a North Division opponent since opening the season with five straight wins in Springdale and North Little Rock (April 7-9 at Northwest Arkansas, April 10-12 at Arkansas).

However, Frisco has won three of their five home series against North Division opponents this year. The Riders won both series against Northwest Arkansas and took two of three games from Springfield in June.

This week, the Riders begin a six-game homestand against Springfield and Tulsa. It marks the final meetings between Frisco and opponents from the North Division in the regular season. The Riders went 1-5 in games at Hammons Field, with a 2-1 record at home. However, Frisco has yet to beat Tulsa in eight tries this year.

If the Riders hope to stay in contention for a final playoff spot, they will need to survive through this week. Frisco still has six games remaining against Midland over the final two weeks of the season. Whether the Riders still have playoff hopes when they square off with Midland has yet to be determined. But Frisco definitely has an opportunity to make an impact on the postseason race.

– Steve

Baseball term of the day: cement mixer – A mediocre pitch. Roger Clemens used the term for a backup slider that spins badly (The Sporting News, March 25, 2005).

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary

Wind of change: Texas League roster turnover

During a Minor League baseball season, there is a whirlwind of player movement in every farm system. Players are shuffled around to different levels nearly every day.

Matt Bush, who began the 2016 season with Frisco, is currently on the Texas Rangers roster.

However, this season, the RoughRiders have maintained a majority of core players from the Opening Day roster. 17 players, to be exact. Matt Bush and Jose Leclerc reached the Majors, with Bush currently remaining on the Rangers 25-man roster. Several others have played for the Triple-A squad this year, with four still remaining in Round Rock. One player is currently with High Desert, and two are no longer in the Rangers organization.

The curiosity bug stung me, and I was interested to find out how Frisco’s totals compared to the other seven teams in the Texas League. After going back into the archives and digging up every team’s Opening Day roster (including players on the disabled list, temporary inactive list, and suspended list), it was much easier to see the breakdown.

Screen Shot 2016-07-24 at 9.33.09 AM

To fully understand this color-coded mess, note the key at the bottom left of the spreadsheet. Players highlighted in red are currently in the Majors, orange for Triple-A, clear for Double-A, and green for a lower level (Class-A or Class A-Advanced). A yellow highlight indicates a player who is no longer with the Texas League team’s parent club (either released or currently in a different organization). Blue font is a special marker for Evan Gattis, who opened the season on a Major League rehabilitation assignment with Corpus Christi.


With the data collected, it turned out the RoughRiders do indeed have the largest number of players from Opening Day (17 of 25) still on their active Texas League roster as of yesterday.

San Antonio had the biggest turnover, with just 12 players remaining from their 25-man Opening Day roster. Seven of those original 25 are no longer in the San Diego Padres organization, which is also a league-high.

In addition to Bush, three other players who opened the campaign in the Texas League are on a Major League roster at the moment. Pitcher Daniel Mengden and infielder Ryon Healy went from Midland to Oakland. Pitcher Cesar Vargas, who started the year in San Antonio, is now with the Padres (although currently on the disabled list).

Northwest Arkansas’ Opening Day roster was quite unique. The Naturals top the other seven clubs with a whopping 10 players currently at Triple-A Omaha. In addition, all 27 players from their April 7 roster are still in the Royals organization. They are the only team in the league who has not had an Opening Day player released or traded yet.

In addition to the Riders holding on to 17 of their initial 25 players, Frisco is tied with Tulsa for the fewest players (four) on an active Triple-A roster. The Drillers had the largest Opening Day roster with 28 total (25 + three on the disabled list).

However, five of them are now playing in a lower level of the Dodgers’ farm system. Comparatively, there are only three other players who started the year in the Texas League, stayed in the farm system, but are playing below the Double-A level (Frisco, Corpus Christi, and Northwest Arkansas each have one).

There is still a month and a half remaining in the season, so I am sure we will continue to see plenty more roster turnover as the weeks move along.

– Steve

Baseball term of the day: get-small-quick ball – A home run, so named because of the way the ball appears to get smaller and smaller as it travels into the stands or out of the ballpark.

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary

Double trouble: Riders struggles in twinbills this year

The RoughRiders are set to play their sixth doubleheader of the season this evening. Overall, Frisco is just 4-6 when playing multiple games in a single day.

The struggles have been especially magnified in game two, where the Riders are 1-4 (0-3 at home). Some of the worst offensive performances of the season have come in doubleheader. Let’s take a closer look:

Game One Game Two
Record: 3-2 1-4
Runs scored: 18 7
Runs allowed: 17 22
Hits: 23 18
Hits allowed: 34 32
Home runs: 1 1
Home runs allowed: 5 6
Highest run total: 7 (5/19 at Midland) 4 (5/19 at Midland)
Lowest run total: 0 (6/1 vs. Tulsa) 0 (2x, 4/18 vs. Arkansas, 5/13 at Corpus Christi)
Highest hit total: 7 (5/19 at Midland) 9 (5/19 at Midland)
Lowest hit total: 1 (6/1 vs. Tulsa) 1 (2x, 4/18 vs. Arkansas, 5/13 at Corpus Christi)
Largest margin of victory: 3 (2x, 4/18 vs. Arkansas, 5/19 at Midland) 2 (5/19 at Midland)
Largest margin of defeat: 4 (6/1 vs. Tulsa) 6 (2x, 5/13 at Corpus Christi, 6/13 vs. Midland)

In total, the RoughRiders are being outscored 39-25, outhit 66-41, and outhomered 11-2. In game one, however, Frisco has actually tallied more runs (18) than opponents (17), despite still being outhit 34-23.

Frisco has run into three dominant starting pitchers who allowed just one hit in their outings. Kyle McGowin (Arkansas) and Evan Grills (Corpus Christi) both tossed complete-game, one-hit shutouts. Brock Stewart (Tulsa) pitched six scoreless, one-hit innings, and then Scott Griggs recorded the final three outs.

The Riders have a chance to put the past behind them, with another doubleheader coming up tonight at home against Corpus Christi. It represents a chance for the past troubles to be buried. After all, Frisco trails the Hooks by 5.5 games with seven remaining, so every game is a must-win from this point forward.

– Steve

Baseball term of the day: lobby sitter – A player who hangs out in hotel lobbies between games on road trips.

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary)

Texas League Scrabble

In the Texas League, logos with letters are a common theme among all eight teams. During the Riders’ recent road trip to San Antonio, I couldn’t help but think of a Scrabble board when viewing the Missions’ “SA” logo.

So I began to devise a list of words that could be created from Texas League teams’ logos. Some of the best: catamarans, tsars, maracas, cataracts, transacts, and mascara.

The most difficult thing about finding words is only having the power to use one vowel, thanks to the Arkansas Travelers’ logo. The other seven teams use consonants.

The following is an attempt to compile as many words as possible made up of all the Texas League logos, arranged accordingly on a Scrabble board. Enjoy!

– Steve

Baseball term of the day: first and fifteenth player – A player who thinks only of paydays, such as the first and fifteenth days of the month.

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary

2016 Texas League All-Star Game, featuring the best player names


With the Texas League All-Star Game coming up on June 28 in Springfield, it is time to start considering who will be representing the North and South Division squads this year.

Surely, many players have put up All-Star Game-worthy numbers. However, we are completely disregarding statistics in this blog post and focusing solely on awesome names alone.

Here is a list of what I consider to be the best names by position in the Texas League from the North and South Divisions. (* = not on team’s active roster as of June 1)

From the North Division…

Catcher: *Anthony Bemboom (Arkansas)

First Baseman: Frank Schwindel (Northwest Arkansas)

Second baseman: Breyvic Valera (Springfield)

Third baseman: Brandon Trinkwon (Tulsa)

Shortstop: *Erisbel Arruebarrena (Tulsa)

Outfielder: Bo Way (Arkansas)

Outfielder: *Orlando Calixte (Northwest Arkansas)

Outfielder: Kyle Garlick (Tulsa)

Designated Hitter: Jacob Scavuzzo (Tulsa)

Pitcher: *Alan Busenitz (Arkansas)

Pitcher: Daniel Poncedeleon (Springfield)

Pitcher: Ralston Cash (Tulsa)

Pitcher: Tim Shibuya (Tulsa)

Pitcher: Ronnie Shaban (Springfield)

Pitcher: *Estarlin Cordero (Northwest Arkansas)

From the South Division…

Catcher: *Rocky Gale (San Antonio)

First Baseman: Conrad Gregor (Corpus Christi)

Second baseman: Evan Van Hoosier (Frisco)

Third baseman: *Isiah Kiner-Falefa (Frisco)

Shortstop: *River Stevens (San Antonio)

Outfielder: Teoscar Hernandez (Corpus Christi)

Outfielder: Danny Oh (Midland)

Outfielder: Brett Vertigan (Midland)

Designated Hitter: Chan-Jong Moon (Corpus Christi)

Pitcher: Keegan Yuhl (Corpus Christi)

Pitcher: Cy Sneed (Corpus Christi)

Pitcher: *Reymin Guduan (Corpus Christi)

Pitcher: Ryne Slack (Frisco)

Pitcher: Trey Cochran-Gill (Midland)

Pitcher: Jose Valdespina (Frisco)

– Steve

Baseball term of the day: jam sandwich – Throwing a pitch near the batter’s fists with a fastball.

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary

Meaning behind the mascots



Arkansas Travelers  Name derived from an old folk song, The Arkansas Traveler, which was the state song of Arkansas from 1949 to 1963. The music was composed in the 19th century by Colonel Sanford C. ‘Sandy’ Faulkner, and the lyrics were written in 1947.



Northwest Arkansas Naturals – Named partially after the state’s nickname as the “Natural State” and also after the Robert Redford film, The NaturalBob Rich, Jr. of Rich Products Corporation, the Naturals ownership group, bought the Double-A Buffalo Bisons in 1983. That year, Hollywood producers approached Rich about filming scenes of The Natural at Buffalo’s War Memorial Stadium. Following the release of the film, attendance at Bisons’ games nearly tripled and the team moved to the Triple-A American Association. In a fan vote, the “Naturals” name was chosen, receiving 33% of the vote. The second-place choice “Thunder Chickens” received 27%.

Springfield Cardinals – The only team in the Texas League who currently shares the same name as their Major League affiliate. In 1931, the St. Louis Cardinals purchased a Minor League team, renamed it the Cardinals, and moved it to Springfield. Following the 1946 season, St. Louis moved the team to St. Joseph, Mo. The new Springfield Cardinals began play in the Texas League in 2005, but the dugouts at Hammons Field still include championship banners from the 1930s and 1940s.

Tulsa Drillers – Name was carried over from the Lafayette Drillers who moved to Tulsa in 1977. Tulsa’s original Minor League team was named the Oilers and played Triple-A baseball, but the team moved to New Orleans. The new team opted to keep the Drillers name, due to the importance of oil to the city’s economy, and the ballpark changed its name from Oiler Park to Driller Park.



CC Primary

Corpus Christi Hooks – Named for the city’s association with fishing, which is very popular on the Gulf Coast of Texas. Team’s colors are navy blue and light blue, representing the sea water and the sky.



Midland RockHounds – Nickname originated in 1999 when Midland’s team became an Oakland Athletic affiliate. They were originally known as the Midland Cubs and the Midland Angels, but the team wanted to have a name that would honor local tradition and be unique. A RockHound is simply a nickname for a geologist and it acknowledges the oil and gas industry in west Texas. The RockHounds became one of the early adopters in the current wave of fun, kid-friendly, location-specific Minor League nicknames.



San Antonio Missions – Named after a chain of five missions that were established along the San Antonio River in the 18th century. It became the largest concentration of Catholic missions in North America. The most famous mission is The Alamo, which is featured on the Missions’ logo.


– Steve

Baseball term of the day: light tower power piece – A towering home run; a truly awesome blast.

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary

Active and Passive

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.

It took the RoughRiders two pitches to turn a 1-1 tie into a two-run lead in the seventh inning at Hammons Field on Tuesday. Nomar Mazara and Hanser Alberto each went deep on the first pitch of their respective at-bats as the ‘Riders took a pro-active approach to take the lead in the later stages of the game. In the ninth, the ‘Riders patiently kept the bats on their shoulders and drew five walks and a hit-by-pitch in a nine-batter inning to put the game out of reach for Springfield. Three runs on zero hits with three men left on base in the ninth inning for the RoughRiders. It doesn’t get more passive than that. Click here to read the game recap.

Star of the Game: RHP Alec Asher – 6.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 4 K

The staff takes home “Star of the Game” honors once again. The Big Cat snapped a two-start losing streak on the hill as he went six innings and allowed one unearned run on three hits with two walks and four strikeouts. Alec is now 9-11 on the season and the nine dubs ties a career mark for the Floridian. As a unit, ‘Riders pitching has not allowed an earned run in 20 innings and has coughed up just one earned run in the last three games.

In case you missed it:

-The homers for Mazara and Alberto were Double-A firsts for both hitters. Mazara’s blast to right field was the first of his career with Frisco and 20th of the season. Alberto went deep to left for his first jack as a RoughRider in 2014 and sixth on the year. The shortstop also hit four long balls with the ‘Riders in 2013.

-Teodoro Martinez extended his hitting streak to seven games with a single in the second. Teo is one game shy of tying his season-high of eight straight with a base knock.

-Patrick Cantwell was hit by a pitch for the 18th time this season, the most in the Texas League. He also drew a walk in the third and now has 17 base on balls in 2014.

-The ‘Riders snapped a streak of six straight games with an error and did not have a miscue defensively, although Jorge Alfaro did have a passed ball that scored Springfield’s only run of the ballgame.

-Gallo watch: 0-for-5, 2 SO

After a day off on Sunday, Joey reached base on a fielder’s choice in the second, but the offense did not need his power on Tuesday. Hammons Field in Springfield is known as a hitter-friendly park, so it will be interesting to see if the slugger can knock any out of the yard in the Show Me State.

-A look at the RoughRiders home run leader board (active players only):

1. Joey Gallo (17)

2. Trever Adams (12)

3. Drew Robinson (11)

4. J.T. Wise (6)

5. Jake Skole (5)

6. Teodoro Martinez (3)

6. Jorge Alfaro (3)

8. Chris Grayson (2)

8. Odubel Herrera (2)

10. Patrick Cantwell (1)

10. Nomar Mazara (1)

10. Hanser Alberto (1)


In case you missed it (again), be sure to catch out interview with the Rangers Derek Holland, who enjoyed a brief, yet very successful run with the RoughRiders at the end of the 2008 season:


Thanks for tuning in,

-Chris V.

Mirror Image

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.

Sunday brought an end to a mirror image of a homestand. The ‘Riders opened a six-game stay at Dr Pepper Ballpark with a win against Springfield, but dropped the final two games of the set. Tulsa arrived in town and stole game one, but the RoughRiders rallied and won the final two to finish the homestand at 3-3. Click here to read the game recap.

Star of the Game: RHP Alex “Chi Chi” Gonzalez – 5.0 IP, 0 H, 2 R, 0 ER, BB, 2 K

There could realistically be three stars of the game, given the monster offensive nights for J.T. Wise and Teodoro Martinez, respectively. But Chi Chi did not allowed a hit in five frames against the Drillers and has allowed only one earned run in his last two outings. His outing likely would have lasted longer than five innings had the defense not committed two errors in the field, which led to the only two runs of the game for Tulsa. The righty is now 6-3 with a 2.11 ERA at the Double-A level and has won his last five decisions with the RoughRiders.

In case you missed it:

-The bottom five hitters in the order carried the load offensively for the ‘Riders:

J.T. Wise batted fifth and finished 3-for-3 with three runs, a double, a home run, an RBI and a walk. The righty has hits in 18 of his 24 games with the RoughRiders.

Teodoro Martinez batted seventh and turned in a career night with a 4-for-4 showing to tie career mark in hits. The Venezuelan scored twice, belted two doubles and drove in three runs. The second half has been a struggle for Teo, but he now carries a six-game hitting streak.

Drew Robinson batted eighth and socked his 11th homer of the season with an eighth inning blast to put the game away. It was a monster shot down the right-field line for Drew, who finished 2-for-4 with a run, a double, a home run and two RBI.

-The ‘Riders committed an error on every game of the homestand for a total of 11 over the six-game stretch.

-Gallo watch: DNP

-A look at the RoughRiders home run leader board (active players only):

1. Joey Gallo (17)

2. Trever Adams (12)

3. Drew Robinson (11)

4. J.T. Wise (6)

5. Jake Skole (5)

6. Teodoro Martinez (3)

6. Jorge Alfaro (3)

8. Chris Grayson (2)

8. Odubel Herrera (2)

10. Patrick Cantwell (1)


The ‘Riders weekly chat with field manager Jason Wood on “Sunday with the Skipper:”


Thanks for tuning in,

-Chris V.

Back On Track

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

The ‘Riders entered Saturday’s game with Tulsa on a three-game slide at home for just the second time in 2014. They made sure it didn’t reach four thanks to 8-3 win against the Drillers. Click here to read the game recap.

Star of the Game: C Jorge Alfaro – 4/5, 2 R, HR, 4 RBI

In the first inning, Jorge scorched a line drive to first where fill-in defender Jose Gonzalez made a great play off the bag to record an out. The Drillers never put the Colombian catcher away the rest of the night. Jorge flashed power cool on a solo home run to the opposite field in the fourth inning. He also displayed an ability to hit for average and went to the opposite field for two of his three singles on the night.

In case you missed it:

-In his second rehab start of the season for Frisco, Derek Holland lasted three innings and threw 49 pitches (30 for strikes). The southpaw allowed one single in each inning, but the Drillers never placed a runner in scoring position against Holland, who surrendered no runs and no walks alongside four strikeouts. The Rangers starter has eight whiffs in five innings of rehab work for Frisco.

-In addition to Alfaro, two new RoughRiders shone bright on Saturday:

Jake Thompson was bounced from his scheduled starting role by Holland, but like Chi Chi Gonzalez, showed no negative effects of pitching from the pen in the fifth. Thompson allowed one run and one walk on three hits over four innings and struck out eight with a jaw-dropping slider. He threw 67 pitches and 40 for strikes.

Nomar Mazara snapped out of an 0-for-12 slump (he had been hitless after his Double-A debut on August 5) for the eighth three-hit night of his season. The lanky Dominican knocked three singles into right field (one was hit to the wall), scored a run and drove in three more.

-Local product Trevor Story drew a walk and scored the only run of the game for the Drillers. Trevor’s free base came from Jake Thompson and the two played summer ball together in high school for the Dallas Patriots.

-Frisco drew eight walks from Tulsa pitching.

-The ‘Riders have committed an error on every game of the homestand.

-Gallo watch: 0-for-2, 2 R, 3 BB, SO, SB

Joey showed good patience at the dish and drew his most walks in a game as a RoughRider. He also stole his first Double-A base after swiping five in Myrtle Beach. Joey now has 25 walks and 89 strikeouts with Frisco.

-A look at the RoughRiders home run leader board (active players only):

1. Joey Gallo (17)

2. Trever Adams (12)

3. Drew Robinson (10)

4. J.T. Wise (5)

4. Jake Skole (5)

6. Teodoro Martinez (3)

7. Chris Grayson (2)

7. Odubel Herrera (2)

7. Jorge Alfaro (2)

10. Patrick Cantwell (1)


Tulsa shortstop Trevor Story joined the Pregame Show to chat about his loud cheering section at Dr Pepper Ballpark. A native of Irving, Texas, Trevor grew up a Rangers fan and attended several games at Dr Pepper Ballpark as a youth. The opener against Frisco served as an unofficial homecoming of sorts for Trevor, and he did not disappoint as he launched a solo home run on Friday night:


Thanks for tuning in,

-Chris V.

‘Riders Rewind – May 29

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.

Finally, some baseball! After two unexpected days off, the ‘Riders swept the Drillers in a Thursday doubleheader. Click here to read the full game recap.

The ‘Riders arrived in the Oil City late Monday night, but it took until Thursday afternoon before the teams finally played a game. Rain postponed the series opener on Tuesday, which resulted in a doubleheader scheduled for Wednesday.

However, by 4:05 in the afternoon on Wednesday, a large patch of dirt between second and third remained soggy and unsafe for baseball conditions. The grounds crew labored for three hours before officials finally annulled the game.

The lack of action on Wednesday pushed the twin bill back to Thursday, the final day in the three-game series and a getaway day for the RoughRiders. The ‘Riders and the Drillers will not play again in the first half of the season, and as such, the lost third game will not be compensated. Frisco will now play 69 games in the first half of the season and 139 overall.

Either way, the ‘Riders looked far from sluggish in Tulsa. Jon Gray did, however, and the bats took the Rockies’ top prospect to task as part of a 13-4 romp in game one. Gray allowed eight runs and eight hits over 5 1/3 innings.

Game two was a closer affair, but the RoughRiders again prevailed in a one-run contest. Frisco is now 13-3 in one-run games and its winning pitcher, Luke Jackson, now leads the Texas League in wins (6).

In case you missed it: Odubel Herrera and Chris Grayson each hit their first home runs of the season. Odubel blasted an inside fastball out of the park off Gray in game one’s first inning. He appeared on the Pregame Show before the game and related his improved performance on the field to an improved attitude off it. A hitter with good bat speed, but not known for his power, it was the 12th home run of Odubel’s career.

Chris’s shot left the yard in the sixth inning of game one. Remember, Chris began the season on Frisco’s Opening Day roster (wearing #11), but departed for Advanced-A Myrtle Beach on May 12. In his first game back with the RoughRiders (now wearing #36), Chris drilled his first home run of 2014 and 20th of his career.

Star of the Doubleheader: 3B Ryan Rua – 4/7, HR, 3 2B, 3R, 5RBI

Ryan ate the Drillers alive over 14 innings of baseball on Thursday. The third baseman struck out and grounded out to start game one, and then doubled, homered and doubled twice more in his next four at-bats. He finished game one 2-for-4 with a double, a home run, three runs scored and four RBI, and went 2-for-3 with two doubles, an RBI and a run scored in game two.

The 24-year-old ranks fifth in the Texas League in batting average (.305), fourth in home runs (9), third in extra-base hits (21) and fourth in hits (55). Ryan also has 30 RBI and 11 doubles this season.




Enjoy the highlights and thanks for tuning in.

-Chris V.