Results tagged ‘ Jake Brigham ’
The career of center Shaquille O’Neal has come to an end, and he went out in style. Shaq invited the media to his house, and he treated them to lunch and a laugh-filled press conference.
O’Neal played for six franchises, and he was a winner everywhere he went. However, his lasting legacy will be the incredible personality that he had. It was awesome to watch him joke his way through a “goodbye” press conference.
Oh, and one more basketball note: Dirk Nowitzki is really, really good at basketball. And Miami is spinning with that reality right now.
Now, some baseball in today’s Facts.
- We talked about Renny Osuna in yesterday’s blog, and he came through yet again. But, Osuna would not have been the hero without Tommy Mendonca’s big blast in the ninth. Mendonca has been great in the late innings this year. He has hit five of his 12 homers in the eighth inning or later, and he has a .302 batting average in the “late innings.”
- It looked very bleak for the ‘Riders going into that final inning. Frisco had mustered only a walk in four innings against the Northwest Arkansas bullpen. Both Mendonca and Mike Bianucci, who led off the ninth with a single, had been 0-for-3 prior to the frame. The single and homer extended both men’s road on-base streak to 23 games, which spans the entire season.
- For what it is worth, Osuna was also hitless in three at bats when he gave the RoughRiders their first lead of the game in the tenth inning. His long ball was the catalyst to the club’s sixth extra-inning win and 11th comeback victory.
- Jake Brigham had to labor through his outing yesterday, but the righty found a way to gut through five innings. Over his last three starts, Brigham has not had his best stuff (9.26 ERA), but he still has worked through five innings in ten of his 11 starts this season.
- Jose Felix’s shoulder injury, which put him on the disabled list yesterday, will give Robbie Diaz and, likely to a slightly lesser extent, Elio Sarmiento a chance to shine. Diaz figures to get a few more starts that Sarmiento during the process, but that’s just my educated guess. Diaz has hit well while in Frisco, boasting a .308 average. During his month-plus in Triple-A Round Rock, Diaz hit .346 in 13 games.
- The RoughRiders just cannot catch a break in the standings. Despite a pair of narrow victories in the first two games of this series, the ‘Riders have not gained any ground on San Antonio. The Missions have won back-to-back games in walk-off fashion at home against Arkansas. Frisco remains seven games back of San Antonio with 18 left in the first half. The Missions’ magic number is 12.
- On the flip side, Tulsa leads the North by one game on Northwest, two on Arkansas and three on Springfield. If the ‘Riders were in the North, they would be in first place.
- Programming note: Aaron Goldsmith will blog from Tulsa tomorrow here in the Insider Blog. He will chat about life on the road in the Texas League along with some news and notes.
- Aaron has also begun to load some videos to our Twitter account, and I will do my best to link those to the blog. Here is his chat with strength and conditioning coach Eric McMahon from yesterday, and here is his talk with newly activated lefty Corey Young.
Pre-game coverage begins at 6:30 tonight. Enjoy!
When you live far from home, it is tough to live life in the way that you are used to living it. I’m originally from Cleveland, Ohio, so it is tough for me to keep track of my childhood club–the Indians.
Things sometimes work out, though. Tonight, the Indians play Boston (by the way, Aaron is a closet member of Red Sox nation), and it happens to be on national television. Somewhere, the Texas League gods were shining on me by making today’s RoughRiders game an 11:05 a.m. game.
Hopefully, the ‘Riders can carry some momentum into an off day (and a half). Here’s today’s version of the Facts.
- It was a rough start for Jake Brigham yesterday. He allowed more runs (5) in the second inning than he had in an entire game all season long. He also walked a season-high-tying four men, all in that frame. His earned run average rose to 4.53, which is still pretty solid. Brigham just ran into a red hot Missions offense, and he stumbled. No shame in that every once in a while, especially after he retired the first 19 San Antonio swingers he faced May 6 at Dr Pepper Ballpark.
- Jose Ruiz continues to hack it for the ‘Riders since returning from the Temporary Inactive List. Ruiz, who went 2-for-3 yesterday to extend his hitting streak to seven games, is hitting .438 (14-32) since his return to Frisco. During that span, he has three homers and seven runs batted in.
- Speaking of the Missions, here are some ridiculous numbers regarding their start to the season. San Antonio’s 18-3 record is the best in the minor leagues. They have won 11 straight at Nelson Wolff Municipal Stadium, which is the longest winning streak in the facility’s existence.
- Offensively, the Missions reached home run number 60 as a team Saturday, which was the club’s 42nd game. Last season, San Antonio did not reach that plateau until July 26, which was game number 98. Also, the team has scored 294 runs, which was not reached until late June of last year by San Antonio.
- I was asked this on the Extra Bases Blog yesterday: does San Diego’s Triple-A club need any players? Well, the Tucson Padres are 19-25 this year, and their offense is sixth in the Pacific Coast League in average and third in runs scored. The T-Padres need pitching help, as the club ranks 14th in the 16-team league with a 5.66 ERA.
- This morning/afternoon’s game marks the 32nd straight game for the RoughRiders against South Division foes. Frisco has tomorrow off before meeting Northwest Arkansas for the first time this season. It’s the opening of a six-game home stand that features a pair of squads new to the ‘Riders–the Naturals and the Tulsa Drillers. Like at the beginning of the season, Frisco will head to those two teams’ homes after the six-game home stand before reentering South play to end the first half.
- The rehab assignments were successful for Josh Hamilton and Nelson Cruz. The duo played three games at Triple-A Round Rock this weekend, and both are expected to be in uniform for the Rangers tonight when Texas opens a series with the White Sox in Arlington. During his five-game assignment, Hamilton went 4-for-18 (.222) with two homers and six RBIs. Cruz went 9-for-23 (.391) with three homers and five RBIs in six games.
Catch the pre-game show today at 10:35 a.m. For those listening on 1630 KKGM, please note that today’s game will be broadcast on tape delay. Coverage is slated to kick off at 6:35 p.m. Enjoy!
It’s been almost a week since our last blog because of the MLBlogs renovation, but we are back in action. Kudos to MLBlogs for redesigning this format. It looks much improved.
Let’s get right into what is a very busy day with the long-awaited revival of the Facts.
- It is official: Josh Hamilton will begin a rehab assignment with the RoughRiders tonight. How long Hamilton will be with the ‘Riders, however, is unknown. Thus, enjoy him while he is here.
- Hamilton will wear number 32 and hit third for Frisco tonight. He will be the designated hitter.
- This will be Hamilton’s second rehab game with the RoughRiders in his career. Back in 2009, he went 1-for-4 with a run and an RBI in Frisco’s 5-4 victory over Corpus Christi June 29. Just to pique your interest a little bit, Mitch Moreland and Justin Smoak also drove in a run apiece for the ‘Riders in that game.
- Hitting behind Hamilton is Nelson Cruz, who will play his third straight game at Dr Pepper Ballpark. So far, Cruz is 2-for-7 with an RBI. He was in the designated hitter spot the last two games, but he will shift out to right field this evening.
- I did not think I would say this less than a week into Leonys Martin’s stint in Frisco: he is the third most compelling outfielder on the RoughRiders’ outfield roster. That will obviously change once Cruz and Hamilton depart, so let’s discuss the new member of the 40-man roster.
- Martin is hitting .318 (7-for-22) with a homer and six RBIs. He has hit safely in four of his first five starts. Here’s an interesting split, though. Martin is hitting .500 (5-for-10) against right-handers but just .167 (2-for-12) against lefties.
- Frisco starting pitchers have continued to thrive. The RoughRiders’ starter has gone five or more innings in 11 straight games dating back to May 5. That includes three starts from Jake Brigham, who has worked through the fifth inning in all eight of his starts. Over Brigham’s last four outings, he has tossed at least six innings. His ERA sits at 2.45 during that span.
- Not sure if this is a one-start deal or if he is the new member of the rotation, but Chris Mobley will be Frisco’s starter tomorrow night. It will be Mobley’s seventh affiliated start and his first since his time in the New-York Penn League in 2004 with Jamestown.
- During the blog’s hiatus, Frisco won five of its six games and pulled within five games of San Antonio for first place in the South. Maybe we should stop this thing, but I won’t.
Be sure to tune in tonight along the RoughRiders Baseball Network beginning at 6:35. Enjoy!
As I mentioned earlier this week, the Texas League lasts almost exactly
five months. Since the season began on April 7th, I’ll go through my
unofficial rankings after a few Facts after last night’s game.
- The story of the game was Frisco starter Jake Brigham. Perfect
through six and a third innings, Brigham allowed a one-out single to
Jaff Decker that immediately preceded an RBI double from Kyle Blanks.
After throwing only 69 pitches in the first six innings, Brigham
couldn’t get through the seventh after 23 pitches, three runs and four
- Still, Brigham’s efforts should be applauded. For six innings,
Brigham pitched as good, if not better, than any pitcher in the Texas
League. Here’s a feature from the TL on Brigham’s outing.
- Offensively, the RoughRiders never got it going last night. The
‘Riders set a season low with only three base hits, and San Antonio’s
pitching staff only faced three more than the minimum.
- The bullpen continued its good work, working two and a third
scoreless innings. The most notable effort was Fabio Castillo’s, who got
out of a bases loaded situation in the eighth and tossed a scoreless
ninth. Castillo’s ERA still sits at 12.79, but he has only worked six
and a third frames. Believe it or not, Castillo has only given up runs
in two of his five outings.
OK. Without further ado, here are the rankings.
1. San Antonio (18-10): The Missions almost lost their top spot
by dropping three of four to Frisco earlier this week, but San Antonio
was the class of the league through the first month. After starting the
season 1-3, the Missions ripped off 12 of 15 to seize first place in the
HIGH POINT (April 23): The Missions crushed Midland 21-8 for their third
offensive output of 20 or more runs. It was the second of seven
victories over Midland in the season’s first month.
LOW POINT (May 5): San Antonio dropped its third straight to the
RoughRiders in Frisco. Coming into the series, the Missions had only
KEY STAT (.300): San Antonio’s batting average through 28 games, a Texas League high.
2. Tulsa (16-10): Before losing last night, the Drillers had
actually caught San Antonio for the TL’s best record. Tulsa limped
through the season’s first two weeks (6-7) before winning 10 of 13 to
seize a strong hold on the top spot in the North.
HIGH POINT (May 5): The Drillers won their fifth straight, 4-2 at
Springfield. After play that day, the Drillers had the best record in
the TL (16-9).
LOW POINT (April 11): At the time, no one knew about the vaunted San Antonio offense. Then, the Missions spanked Tulsa 23-10.
KEY STAT (1.88): Juan Nicasio’s earned run average over five starts. The
defending Texas League Pitcher of the Week, Nicasio is 4-1 with 40
strikeouts and only four walks.
3. Midland (14-14): Beyond the top two, the Texas League is a
mess. You could rank teams three through eight in any order, and no one
could accuse you of being totally wrong. I give this spot to the
RockHounds, though, because they are 13-7 against teams not named San
Antonio. Midland was the best team in the league during the first few
HIGH POINT (April 26): Down by three to Corpus Christi in the ninth, the
RockHounds tied it with a pair of homers. In the tenth, Matt Sulentic’s
walk-off home run pushed Midland’s record to 12-7.
LOW POINT (May 2): The Missions swept Midland, capping it off with a
17-6 win. The RockHounds are 1-7 against San Antonio this year.
KEY STAT (77): The number of runs the RockHounds have allowed against
San Antonio. Against everyone else, Midland has surrendered only 101 in
4. Northwest Arkansas (12-12): Even though I have the Naturals in
the top half of the league, they may be the coldest team right now.
However, the talent level remains high and Northwest got off to a great
start to earn this spot.
HIGH POINT (April 12): After four straight one-run wins, the Naturals
clubbed Corpus Christi 14-4 to start 5-1, which was best in the TL.
LOW POINT (April 15): San Antonio crushed Northwest Arkansas 26-5, which
started a rough run for the Naturals. Since April 14, Northwest is just
KEY STAT (.282): That’s Jamie Romak’s batting average, which happens to
be the highest personal batting average of any Natural regular.
5. Springfield (12-15): Give the Cardinals some credit. In a
league that features four organizational number one prospects,
Springfield is hanging around without anyone from St. Louis’ top 20.
They certainly closed this period strongly, taking three of four from
HIGH POINT (May 5): A 5-2 victory over the Naturals gave Springfield its first three-game winning streak this season.
LOW POINT (April 8): After dropping the opener, Springfield had a 6-2
lead over Frisco in the seventh. However, the ‘Riders sent the game to
extra innings and won on a throwing error in the tenth.
KEY STAT (.248): The team’s batting average, which is last in the league.
6. Frisco (12-16): Four days ago, the RoughRiders were a shoe-in
to finish last in these rankings. But, the ‘Riders took three of four
over San Antonio to jump back into the race for second place in the
South. Despite the poor record, the RoughRiders are third in the league
in hitting and fifth in ERA.
HIGH POINT (May 4): In game two of that series with the Missions, Frisco
walked off with a 3-2 victory after a Mike Bianucci sacrifice fly in
the tenth. So far this year, the ‘Riders are 4-4 against the Missions.
LOW POINT (April 26): Bianucci’s home run was overturned to a double,
Frisco went from up one to down one, and a post-game altercation cost
the RoughRiders their center fielder for ten days. It was a rough day in
San Antonio, that’s for sure.
KEY STAT (30): The number of runs the Missions have scored against the
‘Riders in eight games. In its other 20 games, San Antonio has scored
7. Arkansas (10-13): The Travelers have been plagued by terrible
weather and spotty play. However, a positive sign is that the club is
10-9 after an 0-4 start. And hey, they get to watch Mike Trout,
baseball’s best prospect according to many experts.
HIGH POINT (April 18): The Travelers defeated Frisco 4-3 for their
fourth straight victory. The Travelers had recovered from that 0-4 start
to sit at 6-5.
LOW POINT (April 26): It was the Travs’ fourth straight postponement.
Arkansas has only played 23 games, which is five fewer than most teams
in the league.
KEY STAT (.310): Trout’s batting average through 23 games, which is second to Orlando Mercado on the club.
8. Corpus Christi (12-16): Houston’s farm system is down, and the
Hooks are currently tied with the RoughRiders for the league’s worst
record. Plus, Houston’s minor leaguer of the year, J.D. Martinez,
injured himself two nights ago. No word on his condition, but that’s
HIGH POINT (May 4): Corpus’ only three-game winning streak happened on this night, a 4-2 victory over the RockHounds.
LOW POINT (April 12): Believe it or not, the Hooks have only had one
three-game losing streak. The final loss came on this night at Northwest
Arkansas. At the time, the Hooks were 1-5.
KEY STAT (30): Martinez’s RBI total, which is second in the Texas League.
Thoughts? Comments? Feel free to shoot them our way. We kick off coverage tonight at 6:30 from Midland on the RBN. Enjoy!
Yesterday was not a good one for the Frisco RoughRiders. However, the great thing about baseball is that chances at redemption come quickly.
Frisco has lost four straight and 11 of 14. However, I know of another team that lost 11 of 14 last year. The San Francisco Giants.
From June 18-July 2, the defending World Series champion fell to only one game above .500 at the halfway mark of the season. Look what happened after that.
Every team in baseball has a lull or two. The best teams bounce back from them well. We’ll see how the ‘Riders bounce back from this two-week valley.
We’re still peaking on the Facts. Let’s get a Wednesday edition underway.
- The RoughRiders have placed outfielder Engel Beltre on the temporary inactive list. He must sit out at least three days. Mark Hamburger was on this list a few weeks ago. (UPDATE: He is still active. There may be a move at some point soon, though.)
- Apparently, the official ruling on the overturned home run off the bat of Mike Bianucci in the ninth inning yesterday was a ground-rule double. Aaron Goldsmith tells me that the rationale was that the ball hit Sawyer Carroll’s glove, then the wall, then his glove again, and then went over the fence. I wasn’t there, so I didn’t see it. Strange stuff.
- Obviously, Bianucci and the ‘Riders were frustrated about that call. However, Frisco’s primary designated hitter is starting to heat up again. After a 3-for-19 slump without an RBI, Bianucci has four RBIs and a .400 (8-for-20) average over his last five games.
- Another player who is heating up is outfielder David Paisano. The outfielder, one of only three listed on the Frisco roster currently, is hitting .444 (8-for-18) with three runs scored over the last five games. His average is up to .262, which is the highest he has been so far this season.
- Getting off to quick starts is not something the RoughRiders have been known for so far this year. Frisco has led after five innings only six times this year, which is last in the Texas League. The RoughRiders are also seventh in this eight-team league with a 1-11 mark when either trailing or even after five frames. There have been 16 victories in those situations thus far this year throughout the TL, so the ‘Riders are well below average.
- In these situations, one must look for the positives. One thing the RoughRiders can look at is their improved starting pitching. Six of the last eight starters have pitched through the fifth inning after only four starters reached that plateau in the rotation’s first two turns.
- It appears that Jake Brigham is a specialist, in that he specializes in going five innings and giving up three earned runs. After all, he has done exactly that in all four of his starts this year–his first four outings at the Double-A level. Pretty crazy stuff for the Rangers’ 30th ranked prospect.
- The ‘Riders have held the best hitter in the Texas League, James Darnell, relatively in check. Darnell is just 2-for-8 in the series, lowering his batting average from .482 to a still-healthy .453. Darnell remains the batting leader right now, and he is one of two (Corpus Christi’s Wladimir Sutil the other) who is hitting above .400. Frisco’s Jonathan Greene is on the outside looking in with a .396 mark, which is third.
- It’s safe to say that Frisco manager Steve Buechele has settled on much of his lineup at this point. The 1-6 spots–Engel Beltre, Davis Stoneburner, Bianucci, Tommy Mendonca, Greene, and Jose Ruiz–in the order have remained the same for the last seven games. However, that will have to change with Beltre being on the Temporary Inactive List.
- Former Frisco catcher Robbie Diaz has begun his stint with Triple-A Round Rock on a tear. Diaz is hitting .600 (6-for-10) in his first three games, including a 3-for-4 effort yesterday against Oklahoma City.
- Texas’ number two prospect, shortstop Jurickson Profar, has returned from the disabled list with three hits in his first two games. Profar has reached base in five of his eight plate appearances for low-A Hickory.
Game three of this four-game series begins at 7:05. Pre-game coverage begins at 6:35 along the RoughRiders Baseball Network. Enjoy!
Thanks to “Chatter from the Pressbox” for this tidbit: the RoughRiders are one of two minor league baseball teams that have yet to allow an unearned run. Frisco has given up 51 runs in the first nine games of the season, and all have been earned.
The only other team to replicate this feat is the Jacksonville Suns, the Double-A Southern League affiliate for the Florida Marlins. The Suns have allowed 35 runs through nine contests.
Not only are the Suns tremendous at this, but they have the coolest man doing some video work for them. It’s tough not to like the Suns after watching this video from last year. Who wouldn’t want to ring that bell with him?
By the way, be sure to check out chatterfromthepressbox.blogspot.com for some more ‘Riders information. The guys do a great job with it!
Without further ado, let’s wrap up another series with a Sunday edition of the Facts.
- Fans got a chance to see how manager Steve Buechele would juggle his lineup without Renny Osuna available. The most noticeable change came in Osuna’s normal spot in the lineup–the leadoff spot. Buechele placed the Rangers’ number 5 prospect Engel Beltre in that slot, and he hit well. He went a combined 2-for-6 with a pair of walks and runs scored. He did get picked off in game one after a leadoff walk, but other than that, he was solid.
- By the way, Osuna went back to Frisco for tests on his broken nose. His nose broke in two places, but there was not any other structural damage. There is still no timetable set for his return.
- We also saw how the ‘Riders would deal with one fewer outfield option after Joey Butler’s promotion to Triple-A. David Paisano was in right field for both games yesterday. Mike Bianucci and Jonathan Greene started in left field. With Greene sliding into that “fourth outfielder” role, Jose Ruiz will likely play more than he would if Butler (and even if Osuna) were in North Texas.
- Frisco starter Miguel De Los Santos is an interesting prospect to discuss. Through two starts, De Los Santos has gone 1-2-3 in some way in six of the ten innings he has begun. In those frames, here’s De Los Santos’ line: 6.0 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 1 BB, 9 K.
- However, in the other four innings, here’s his line: 2.2 IP, 10 R, 7 H, 5 BB, 4 K. He finished two of those innings. In the other two, he left with a man at first and two away and he left with the bases loaded and nobody out.
- On the flip side, Jake Brigham is extremely consistent. In both starts, he allowed three runs on five hits in five innings of work. Through those two starts, he has whiffed 11 batters.
- The impact offensive guy for the RoughRiders has been Mike Bianucci, but Tommy Mendonca is not far behind. With his two home runs yesterday, Mendonca is now tied for third in the Texas League with four dingers, one off Bianucci and San Antonio’s Cody Decker’s pace. But Bianucci and Mendonca are one and two in HR/AB ratio (1/6.6 for Bianucci and 1/7.5 for Mendonca).
- The only downside for Mendonca’s early start has been the strikeout numbers. Mendonca is tied for first in the TL with 11 Ks. In fact, Mendonca either reached base or struck out yesterday in the double dip at Springfield.
- The RoughRiders’ bullpen was much better yesterday than it was Thursday night. However, the ‘pen is still letting a lot of men get on for free. In four innings of work yesterday, the bullpen gave up one run on two hits, but the relievers walked six and hit a batter.
- Two guys who the ‘Riders are glad they won’t see again until June 30th: Matt Adams and Niko Vasquez. That duo went a combined 8-for-20 (.400) with a home run and 10 RBIs.
- Another thing fans won’t see for a long time: bowling. The PBA Tour season is over, which makes me very sad. Dick Allen defeated Chris Barnes in the PBA Playoffs Final earlier today. NOW it is officially baseball season! For all of your off-season bowling news, be sure to check out PBA.com. I’m a huge fan of bowling, and you should be too.
I’m also a big fan of today’s broadcast of the RoughRiders and the Travelers. Check it out along the RRBN or online at 3:30. I will also be along for the Extra Bases Blog, so join me there beginning at 3:45! Enjoy!
For press box staffers during doubleheaders, the 30 minutes between the final pitch of game one and the first pitch of game two is indeed very hectic. Is today’s title entirely true? Maybe not, but to me it is.
Fortunately, it is much easier for the road crew (aka Aaron and I) during these double dips. So I guess we’ve avoided some of the intensity.
Anyways, here are a few Facts to lead you up to today’s two-for-one.
- Doubleheaders in the minor leagues consist of a pair of seven-inning games. There are no other differences to the games, unless you include the seventh-inning stretch as a part of the game. If so, please note that many stadiums do the “fifth-inning stretch.” No word on Hammons Field’s tendency.
- Last year, the RoughRiders had three games postponed which brought about three doubleheaders. In those games, Frisco went 4-2. Two other interesting notes: two of the three twin bills came against Springfield, and all three took place between July 3-13.
- No changes to the starting pitchers for today for the ‘Riders. Jake Brigham is slated to go in game one, while Miguel De Los Santos will be the hurler in the nightcap. Both men impressed at times in their first outings of the season. Brigham whiffed seven against these Cardinals one week ago, while De Los Santos rung up eight Travelers Sunday afternoon.
- There is a tweak to the Springfield rotation. Deryk Hooker is still slated to go against Brigham in the opener. However, it will be Richard Castillo starting game two instead of Michael Blazek. If you have a great memory, you’ll recall that Castillo was the man who committed the throwing error April 8 that allowed Frisco’s winning run to score in the 10th inning. Castillo has had one other outing this year, and that was Tuesday at Midland. He worked three scoreless frames, scattering three hits.
- The San Antonio offense was at it again last night. Three nights after clubbing Tulsa 23-10, the Missions pummeled Northwest Arkansas 26-5. Seriously. Through eight games, San Antonio is hitting .366 as a team (116-for-317), which is at least 89 points better than everyone in the Texas League. Plus, the team already has 20 home runs this year. That’s two and a half per game!
Our pre-game coverage begins at 1:37 from Springfield. Game one’s first pitch is set for 2:07. We will be along for the ride from 1:37 until the end of the game, so be sure to stay tuned for a pre-game/post-game combination to bridge both games this afternoon.
Also, be sure to check out http://ridersbaseball.com/extrabases during the game today. Today will be the debut of the “Extra Bases Question” to be answered during the post-game show. I’ll answer one question from that day’s blog live during our post-game show, so be sure to take part in our interactive gameday blog. Enjoy!
It’s a baseball Sunday at Dr Pepper Ballpark, with Arkansas invading Frisco for game one of a three-game set. However, today is also the final day of the Masters, my personal favorite golf tournament of the season.
Rory McIlroy leads by four strokes going into today’s final round. But I have to give it up for the man who started in “last” place. Kyung-tae Kim entered the final round at 7-over. Think about that. He is barely two strokes above even par per round, and he is LAST.
Tough crowd. Tough tournament.
Today, the ‘Riders entertain the “last” place team in the Texas League. But they have a prospect who is first in all of minor league baseball according to many.
We talk Mike Trout and many other things in today’s Facts.
- The offensive story last night for the RoughRiders was the continued production from the heart of the order. Mike Bianucci doubled in a run in the fifth inning. The Frisco DH went 5-for-11 (.455) with three homers and five RBIs in the season-opening three-game series.
- The big bop, however, came off the bat of third baseman Tommy Mendonca. One night after going to the opposite field for a two-run blast, Mendonca crushed one to the deepest part of the park–dead center. It hit off the batters eye beyond the wall. Aaron mentioned off the air yesterday that it was the furthest home run to center field he has seen. And he is in the top 8 in vision of all Texas League broadcasters.
- The left-handed Mendonca has now hit three home runs in a Frisco uniform. The one that didn’t count came in Tuesday night’s exhibition, when he pulled one down the right field line. His two in the regular season have gone to left and to center.
- In all, ten home runs were hit in the series, with six coming off Frisco bats. Nine of the 16 ‘Riders’ run came from the long ball. You think that’s a lot? Wait until I mention the Round Rock Express in a little bit. Wow.
- Friday night, the RoughRiders bullpen retired 14 straight to give the bats a chance to rally. Yesterday, it was Springfield’s ‘pen that stole the show. The Cardinals’ threesome of Cory Rauschenberger, Brett Zawacki and Casey Mulligan set down the final 10 ‘Riders. In fact, the bullpen didn’t allow a hit.
- Frisco starter Jake Brigham rebounded pretty nicely from a rough exhibition showing to toss five innings yesterday. The righty threw 84 pitches, a season-high for ‘Riders pitchers (Wilfredo Boscan and Martin Perez were both in the 70s). Brigham whiffed seven Cardinals, and he consistently hit in the mid-90s on a traditionally pretty accurate Dr Pepper Ballpark radar gun. He peaked at 97 mph on a few occasions.
- Today, it’s Miguel De Los Santos’ turn in the rotation. The 10th best prospect in the Rangers farm system per Baseball America, De Los Santos skipped the high-A level to begin this season in Frisco. Against the best competition he had ever faced, the southpaw gave up just one run in three innings at Round Rock in Tuesday’s exhibition. He had to work in that outing (3 H, 2 BB, 5 LOB), but he minimized damage well.
- Statistically, what makes De Los Santos so impressive is his strikeout rate. Last year in short-season Spokane and low-A Hickory, he rung up 112 batters in 70.1 innings. That’s 1.60 Ks per inning and 14.38 Ks per nine innings.
- It is impossible to preview this game and this series without mentioning Arkansas outfielder Mike Trout. Trout is the top-ranked prospect by MLB.com and ESPN.com in all of minor league baseball. Baseball America has the 19-year-old at number two, behind only Washington’s Bryce Harper. After an 0-for-6 start to his Double-A career, Trout broke out in last night’s loss to Midland. He went 2-for-4 with a pair of runs and a homer. But that home run was of the inside-the-park variety.
- Trout is a career .340 hitter in his 178-game minor league career. He has 12 home runs (two inside-the-parkers), 85 RBIs and 70 stolen bases. And get this–he has scored 138 times! In other words, he scores in 77.5% of his games.
- Finally, how about the Round Rock Express. The Express has hit 11 home runs in the first three games of the season, including six last night in the club’s 13-9 triumph over Iowa. Former RoughRider Chris Davis has four of those bombs, including three last night. Between the Cubs and the Express, 53 runs have been scored in the set. The series finale begins at 1 p.m.
Here in Frisco, the ‘Riders and the Travs get underway at 4:05. Pre-game is at 3:35 along the RoughRiders Baseball Network. Enjoy!
First off, happy Opening Day! The streak of 208 straight days without RoughRiders baseball is over. This is Brian Boesch, the number two broadcaster this season with the ‘Riders. Aaron Goldsmith and I are pumped to bring you all of the play-by-play action of the 2011 lid-lifter tonight.
We also want to bring you news and notes in the online forum, and that’s what this blog is slated to do. When I post, I will always try to kick off the post with a funny story or an outlandish statistic. In other words, I’ll provide something unique before getting into the news and notes, which I will call “Frisco Facts.”
The first blog preface is a great story from Monday’s media day. Among other things, the ‘Riders’ players had to pose for “motion head shots.” When you come out to Dr Pepper Ballpark, you will see these “motion pictures” at times on ‘Rider Vision (the video board in left field). It’s really a neat feature that has been around for a few years.
While getting players in order for the photographers, I went up to Chris Mobley. It was his turn, but he wasn’t with the team anymore.
He had just been promoted to Triple-A Round Rock.
“I can still do one for you, if you really want,” Mobley said.
That may have been the plausible thing to do because of the dynamic nature of the minors. But hey, I didn’t want to say, “Yea, sure. You may get called back down.” That wouldn’t be a good omen for the personable hurler.
There are still plenty of ‘Riders here. Let’s get our first edition of the “Frisco Facts” going:
- The RoughRiders have announced their rotation for the start of the season. Wilfredo Boscan will start this evening in the season opener. Boscan pitched one scoreless inning in the exhibition against Round Rock Sunday afternoon. Behind Boscan, Martin Perez and Jake Brigham will pitch against Springfield Friday and Saturday, respectively. Perez dealt three scoreless frames in that Sunday exhibition, while Brigham picked up the loss (2.2 IP, 6 R, 5 ER).
- The number four and five starters are Miguel De Los Santos and Carlos Pimentel. De Los Santos allowed a run and three hits in three innings Tuesday night at Round Rock. Despite walking five, Pimentel was the winning pitcher in the ‘Riders’ 4-3 triumph at Round Rock Tuesday. He did not allow a tally and stranded three in scoring position.
- The 24-man roster is set, and the ‘Riders have six of the top 30 Rangers prospects according to Baseball America. Perez (1), OF Engel Beltre (5), De Los Santos (10), RHP Fabio Castillo (23), C Jose Felix (26), and Brigham (30) all start the season here in North Texas. Castillo will start the season on the disabled list. The reliever is still not 100 percent after breaking his foot. He did pitch in both exhibitions (2.0 IP, 4 R, 3 ER).
- Also starting on the DL for the RoughRiders are catcher Elio Sarmiento and infielder Erik Morrison.
- At the Triple-A level, former RoughRider Tanner Scheppers was placed on the DL with a lower back injury. That move prompted Mobley’s promotion that I mentioned above. Scheppers went 1-3 with a 4.84 ERA between Frisco and Oklahoma City a year ago.
- The Cardinals’ rotation for this season-opening set has been announced, too. Scott Schneider will toe the rubber tonight, with Nick Additon and Kevin Thomas to follow.
- It was great meeting and chatting with Jason Cole of LoneStarDugout.com down at Round Rock Tuesday night. Cole will be alongside Aaron Goldsmith for all 10 of our television broadcasts this season on TXA 21. You can see the full TV schedule here. Cole’s web site is one of the premier Rangers sites online, so check it out.
- Two of the Rangers’ other three full-season affiliates start their seasons tonight as well. Triple-A Round Rock entertains the Iowa Cubs at 7:05, and Hickory hosts the Asheville Tourists at 6:00. Myrtle Beach will kick off its campaign tomorrow night against the Wilmington Blue Rocks.
- One note from the big leagues. Texas just wrapped up a perfect homestand, sweeping the Red Sox and Mariners. The Rangers became the first team since the 1998 Indians to win their first six games following a trip to the World Series. That Cleveland team never fell out of first place in its division and made it all the way to the ALCS.
Aaron and I take the air at 6:35 for the RoughRiders Pre-Game Show presented by Tye Williams Financial Services. First pitch is set for shortly after 7 from Dr Pepper Ballpark. Catch all of our games on 1630 KKGM or online here. Enjoy the broadcast, the game and the season!