Results tagged ‘ Jonathan Greene ’

Playoff Perspective – Game 3

San Antonio squeaked past the RoughRiders 5-3 in Game 3 of the Texas League South Division Series to take a 2-1 advantage. Here are some thoughts after a tremendous game, but an unfortunate loss, from Dr Pepper Ballpark.

PLAYOFF PERSPECTIVE:

- Credit the Missions–they never gave up the lead and scored in five different innings. The ‘Riders battled back three different times, but the Missions kept firing away. It is tough to continue to rally back from deficits, even if a team only trails by one in all of those instances.

- Cody Decker entered Game 3 with an average of .200 (10-for-50) against the ‘Riders this season, but he was the difference in the game. Decker barely cleared the boards with a solo homer in the fourth. Four innings later, his opposite-field blast proved to be the game-winning swing.

- The heroes of the game for Frisco were Renny Osuna and Mitch Hilligoss. Osuna went 2-for-3 with a run and an RBI. He also drew a walk and put down a sacrifice bunt which led to a seventh-inning tally. Hilligoss went 3-for-5 and drove in a pair of runs. Hilligoss is hitting .385 (5-for-13) in this series, which is the best mark on the squad.

Carlos Pimentel gave up two runs in four innings Friday (Alex Yocum-Beeman).

- San Antonio will make pitchers work, and that’s exactly what happened to Carlos Pimentel. Like Robbie Ross and Ben Snyder did, Pimentel kept the ‘Riders in the game and avoided any big innings. However, he needed 80 pitches to get through four innings.

- The Missions’ bullpen is ridiculously good. Nick Vincent was machine-like during the eighth when he whiffed all three men he faced. Then, Miles Mikolas calmly worked around a leadoff single to post his second save in this series. We still have not seen solid arms like Pedro Hernandez, Craig Italiano and Eddie Kunz this week, so the Missions are loaded with talent for the final game or two.

- If the RoughRiders want to win this series, the bullpen will need to be awesome. Adalberto Flores, a reliever for much of the season, will start for Frisco tomorrow. This will be his third start in 2011. Game 5′s starter has yet to be announced. The bullpen has been solid this year, but this is probably the unit’s toughest assignment yet.

- Another key for the ‘Riders tomorrow night–the production of the heart of the order. As discussed yesterday, Tommy Mendonca, Mike Bianucci and Jonathan Greene need to produce for Frisco’s offense to really click. In Game 1 and 3, both losses for the ‘Riders, they went a combined 0-for-9. In Game 2, Frisco’s lone win in this series so far, they had five hits.

- It was another rough night for the Rangers’ farm system. Low-A Hickory’s season is done after a 2-0 loss at home to Greensboro. The Grasshoppers swept the ‘Dads 2-0. High-A Myrtle Beach will face elimination Saturday after losing at Kinston 7-0. Triple-A Round Rock barely avoided a sweep in a 9-8, 11-inning win over Omaha. The Storm Chasers still lead the set 2-1.

- No doubt, this was a tough loss for the ‘Riders. However, you know the saying–anything can happen in baseball. Frisco is still alive, but the RoughRiders must win. Tomorrow should be a nerve-racking but fun evening at Dr Pepper Ballpark. We hope you enjoy.

- Brian

Game 3 Preview – San Antonio at Frisco

Texas League South Division Series
San Antonio Missions at Frisco RoughRiders
Friday, September 9 – 7:05 p.m.
Game 3 – Series tied 1-1

GAME 3 BACKGROUND:

The RoughRiders return home to Dr Pepper Ballpark for a crucial Game 3 after nipping the San Antonio Missions 2-1 Thursday night in Game 2 of this best-of-five series. The ‘Riders scored twice in the top of the fourth and upheld that lead behind the pitching of starter Ben Snyder and relievers Richard Bleier, Johan Yan and Justin Miller. This will be the RoughRiders’ 17th meeting at home against the Missions this year, and each team has won eight of the previous 16 contests.

STARTING PITCHERS:

Frisco – RHP Carlos Pimentel (7-9, 4.74 ERA): Pimentel was the only RoughRiders pitcher to remain in the starting rotation throughout the regular season. Pimentel led the ‘Riders in innings pitched (142 1/3) and quality starts (12), and he finished second in strikeouts (110). Since August 7, Pimentel is 2-1 with an earned run average at 1.60. The righty is 2-0 with a 2.97 ERA in seven starts against the Missions this year.

San Antonio – RHP Casey Kelly (11-6, 3.98 ERA): After a sluggish first half, Kelly boasts a 5-3 mark and a 3.21 earned run average since starting the Texas League All-Star Game June 29. One of the key prospects in the Padres’ deal with the Boston Red Sox for Adrian Gonzalez, Kelly went 1-1 with a 3.10 earned run average against Frisco this season. Over his last 13 innings of work, Kelly has allowed just one earned run and six hits.

FRISCO FACTS:

  • The RoughRiders are 1-3 all-time in Game 3 with the series tied at one game apiece. The lone victory came in the Texas League Championship Series against Round Rock in 2004, when the ‘Riders won their first and only league title.
  • Frisco’s starting pitchers have worked 12 innings and given up just one run in this series. During those 12 frames, the Missions have stranded 13 base runners.
  • Tommy Mendonca, Mike Bianucci and Jonathan Greene went a combined 0-for-9 in Frisco’s Game 1 loss. Last night, the trio went 5-for-12 and scored both of the ‘Riders’ runs. Each notched a hit in the RoughRiders’ two-run fourth.
  • Want proof that this series has been pitching-heavy? The two teams have hit a combined .157 (19-for-121). Only five hitters have mustered two hits in the series.
  • The RoughRiders’ Game 4 starter has not been officially announced yet, but whoever it is will square off with a former Frisco hurler. Robbie Erlin will take to the mound for the Missions in Game 4, either trying to keep San Antonio alive or hoping to eliminate his former team from the postseason.
  • There have been only ten runs scored through two days of the Texas League playoffs. This series has featured six runs, while Arkansas’ battle with Northwest Arkansas has only brought with it four runs. The Travs lead the series 2-0 thanks to a pair of walk-off wins.
  • Triple-A Round Rock faces elimination tonight at Omaha, trailing 2-0 in that best-of-five set. Low-A Hickory is also one loss away from elimination. The Crawdads host Greensboro in Game 2 of that three-game series. High-A Myrtle Beach spoiled a five-run lead in an 8-6, 11-inning loss to Kinston. That series is even at 1-1.

BROADCAST INFORMATION:

You can catch tonight’s game, along with every 2011 playoff game, on 1630 KKGM or online here. You will hear from Frisco skipper Steve Buechele in addition to a player or two on the pre-game show, which begins at 6:35.

Playoff Perspective – Game 2

Tonight’s game embodied everything that is exciting, fascinating, frustrating, and gratifying about playoff baseball. The ‘Riders edged San Antonio 2-1 to even this best-of-five South Division Series at one game apiece. Here are some thoughts.

PLAYOFF PERSPECTIVE:

- Knowing what we know now, San Antonio lost this game in the first three innings. The Missions stranded seven runners in those frames against Ben Snyder (I’ll get to him in a moment). After that, they only mustered five more runners. With Simon Castro on the bump and their awesome bullpen, the Missions could have made this series 2-0 with a few key hits in the early innings.

- Snyder did not have his best stuff, but he battled to post six scoreless innings. This outing was just as impressive as Robbie Ross’ effort last night in Game 1. Snyder has now posted six straight quality starts, and he has been one of the biggest reasons the ‘Riders succeeded in the regular season. His moxie in tough situations tonight kept the RoughRiders in the game and the series.

- Snyder’s escapes in the first three innings were impressive, but the biggest pitch of the game came in the seventh. Richard Bleier allowed a double and an RBI single to begin his relief appearance. Then, Bleier induced a double play to erase the possible tying run from the bases. The Missions did not get another hit the rest of the game.

Johan Yan has a 0.31 ERA with the 'Riders this season (James Garner).

- I know two runs may not seem like much, but getting a pair off Castro is tough. Frisco’s offense rolls when the heart of the order–Tommy Mendonca, Mike Bianucci and Jonathan Greene–is swinging well. In Game 1, the trio went 0-for-9. Tonight, they went 5-for-12 with both runs scored. Each notched a hit in the RoughRiders’ two-run fourth.

- Johan Yan has been incredible for the RoughRiders. If you include his work in Games 1 and 2, Yan has a 0.31 earned run average. That’s one earned run in 29 innings. Tonight, Yan zoomed through the heart of San Antonio’s order and retired all four he battled, two of those outs coming on strikes.

- He has been the ‘Riders’ best arm in the bullpen since his promotion in mid-July. However, this was the first time this year that Yan has worked in back-to-back games. The righty threw 20 pitches in Game 1 and another 15 this evening. I would be surprised to see him available for Game 3.

Justin Miller earned the save in Game 2 Thursday (Alex Yocum-Beeman).

- Justin Miller’s efforts in the ninth inning always seem to get a bit interesting, but the right-hander always seems to get the job done. Miller has recorded 14 saves this year, and he has not blown a save since May 23. Tonight, the mid-season All-Star recorded another great showing out of the ‘pen.

- The theme of the Texas League playoffs through two days has been pitching. This series has featured six runs, while Arkansas’ battle with Northwest Arkansas has only brought with it four runs. The Travs lead the series 2-0 thanks to a pair of walk-off wins.

- Friday night’s Game 3 is the biggest contest at Dr Pepper Ballpark since September 15, 2008, which was Game 5 of the TL Championship Series. Hope you can come out to the yard for what should be a tremendous game. Tickets are still available, so join us for a pivotal Game 3.

- Brian

RoughRiders’ All-Gridiron Team

With the NFL lockout over and August underway, football is in the air.  The ‘Riders have some solid athletes this season which prompted the question “who would play where if the RoughRiders were a football team”? Seems logical.  After consulting with Frisco strength and conditioning coach Eric McMahon, here is the ‘Riders All-Gridiron Team. Feel free to leave comments with your opinions.  -AG

Offense

Quarterback: Ben Snyder
Although he was a two-time All-State wide receiver in high school, Snyder like the logical fit as QB. He has good athleticism, is a veteran, and has the intelligence the position demands.

Wide Receiver/Flanker: Justin Miller
At 6’4″, Miller is the prototypical deep threat. He has nice leaping abilities and is will force matchup problems for opposing defensive backs. “Snyder to Miller” is something we’ll be saying a lot.

Wide Receiver: Carlos Pimentel
He might be the most athletic pitcher of the ‘Riders staff. Pimentel has a quick burst off the line and is the perfect over-the-middle compliment to Miller going deep.

Running Back: Davis Stoneburner
Although he’s not the prototypical pounding back some might desire, Stoneburner possesses the quickness and elusiveness to to run effectively. What he lacks in size he makes up for in determination and confidence. Stoney is a nice open field runner who also contributes in the passing game.

Wide Receiver/Running Back (Flex): Corey Young
His quick hips and burst make Young a versatile offensive weapon both in the backfield and in the slot. He can lineup in a split-back set with Stoneburner, or can run complimentary routes over the middle with Pimentel in-between the first and second layers of the defense. His run after the catch abilities can turn a five yard dump pass into a 15 yard pick up.

Tight End: Tanner Scheppers
This is a natural fit. At 6’4″ with a long wingspan, Scheppers is the perfect red zone target for Snyder. He’s great over the middle of the field and, as a former short stop in college, has more athleticism than anyone on the line.

Right Tackle: Adalberto Flores
Big, tall, and physical, Flores shoulders the responsibility of protecting Snyder’s blindside. He has the quick feet and powerful arms to move quickly and keep a clean pocket.

Right Guard: Robbie Ross
With a low center of gravity, Ross wards off the blitz well. He also has enough quickness to pull on running plays and open up holes for Stoneburner.

Center: Jose Felix
Another natural fit. “Chief” is the anchor of the offensive line.

Left Guard: Richard Bleier
Bleier has the intelligence to read the defense and the athleticism to pull.

Left Tackle: Fabio Castillo
Pound-for-pound the biggest guy on the line.  Fabio is aggressive with string hands and a wide upper-half.

Defense

Defensive End: Mike Bianucci
Has the size to stay in on running downs, but the athleticism and burst to rush the passers. His low center of gravity helps keep him on his feet, and his motor will wear down offensive tackles by the fourth quarter.

Defensive Tackle: Jose Ruiz
As one RoughRider told me, if Jose joined a Division I football program today, in four years he’d be an All-American. Ruiz has elite lateral movement and a sharp burst. He’s a beast clogging up the middle and has the speed to rush the passer.

Defensive Tackle: Jake Brigham
Fear the beard.  Brigham has the strength and aggressiveness to compliment Ruiz next to him. He also has the long arms to knock down passes when rushing.  He brings the intensity and heart his position demands.

Defensive End: Johan Yan
Love this choice. His height and weight profiles as a rush defensive end. He runs well, has a long wingspan, and is big and strong enough to play the run.

Outside Linebacker: Elio Sarmiento
Thick and strong, Sarmiento can stuff the run but also has the quickness to cover a tight end who releases from the line. He can cover the flat and is disciplined enough to be trusted take down a running back in the open field.

Middle Linebacker: Jonathan Greene
His physical build and tools make Greene a nice choice here. He stuffs the run well and isn’t afraid of contact.

Middle Linebacker: Tommy Mendonca
Like Greene, Mendonca has the build to stuff the run. His strong forearms help him wrap up well and he has the quickness to move in a confined space well.

Outside Linebacker: Mitch Hilligoss
Aside from having a linebackers neck, Hilligoss can drop back like a safety, rush like a defensive end, and stop the run. Like Sarmiento, Hilli is a good fit here.

Cornerback: Engel Beltre
Beltre has big play, pick-six potential. His elite speed matches up with any wide receiver. He has all the makings up a shut-down corner.

Cornerback: Renny Osuna
While Renny may not have the speed of Beltre, he is ultra reliable and can cover the run as well. Has the athleticism to cover all types of receivers and has a nose for the ball.

Free Safety: Tyler Tufts
Perfect combination of size and speed to cover the entire third layer of the defense. Tufts has nice range and is a sound safety blanket for Renny and Osuna on the outer thirds. His big hits make receivers think twice before coming over the middle.

The RoughRiders One Year Ago

A few days ago, Stephen Harmon detailed the current seasons of many prospects in the Rangers’ system. Today, I’m here to show you how much difference a season can make. Let’s look back at how much improvement many of the key members of this year’s RoughRiders have seen over the last 12 months.

The differences between July 18, 2010, and July 18, 2011, are pretty incredible. And most RoughRiders have improved greatly. Here are ten prime examples:

Mike Bianucci: While with High-A Bakersfield, the slugger was hitting just .247 with just 11 home runs, which was good for a tie for 15th in the California League. Right now, he is in a tie for second in that category. Bianucci’s RBI total is up by 16 runs, and his OPS has improved by almost 100 points. This season, Bianucci is on pace for a career-high 30 homers.

Robbie Erlin: Erlin’s numbers were great at this point last year (4-2, 1.66 ERA), but they were in Low-A Hickory. Erlin has rolled through the Rangers’ system, and he is only two wins away from the RoughRiders’ team lead despite joining the team in late May. Erlin is only 20 years old, which should bring a smile to ‘Riders and Rangers fans alike.

Adalberto Flores: The ‘Riders’ bullpen has been solid all season long. While Flores may not be the poster man for the ‘pen, he has improved upon an average year with Frisco last season. At this point, Flores owned a 2-4 record and a 4.03 ERA in 38 innings of work. Flores has dropped the ERA almost a run and a half (2.68), and he has been counted on more (47 innings of work). The righty also has 17 more strikeouts at this point (51) than he had last year.

Jonathan Greene: The likeable North Carolina native had only played in 16 games by this point last season. He was hitting .218 with two home runs and six RBIs. What a difference a year makes. Greene is in the top 20 in the Texas League in average (.297), home runs (11), and RBIs (52). Greene has also only committed two errors despite being bounced around between two main positions–first base and right field.

Tommy Mendonca: Mendonca has arguably seen the biggest improvement from last year to this year. A year ago on this day, Mendonca was hitting .238 with three homers and 27 RBIs. To put it into perspective, Mendonca’s month of June this year featured four home runs and 30 RBIs. Mendonca dots the top 10 in most offensive categories this year in the Texas League.

Renny Osuna: Osuna’s average has only seen a minimal improvement from this point a year ago (.286 v. .307). It’s the power numbers that put Osuna on this list in a prominent way. Last season, Osuna had just two home runs and 28 RBIs through mid-July. This year, Osuna already has a career-high eight homers, which is fifth on a powerful RoughRiders squad. He also has 43 RBIs, which also places him fifth in the clubhouse. Not bad for a leadoff hitter who has missed 17 games this year.

Martin Perez: Perez is the lone former RoughRider on this list, but his renaissance has been well documented and much needed. Perez was 3-5 with a 5.23 ERA at this point of the year in 2010. In fact, he did not even have enough innings pitched to qualify for the ERA category. He just won his Triple-A debut at Memphis Saturday for the Round Rock Express after dominating in Frisco for the season’s first three months.

Jose Ruiz: Ruiz has come the furthest in terms of an organization’s pecking order. The first baseman was about the join the Dominican Summer League at this point last season, and he was within the Tampa Bay system. He joined Double-A Montgomery in mid-August. The Rays let him go, and the Rangers picked up a guy who has hovered around .300 all year long.

Ben Snyder: Snyder’s ERA is slightly worse this year than it was last year (3.82 v. 3.13), but he has been Mr. Versatile for the pitching staff this season. His next start will be his sixth, which will be the highest for the southpaw since 2008. Snyder has been an unsung hero for the ‘Riders.

Joe Wieland: Remember what we said about Erlin? The same can be said for this talented righty. Wieland’s numbers weren’t as eye-popping with the Crawdads (7-4, 3.34), but he was having some success. Still, 2011 has been Wieland’s breakout season. In four Double-A starts, the Reno, Nev., native is 1-0 with a 2.05 ERA. If you combine his numbers with High-A Myrtle Beach, Wieland is 7-3 with an ERA of 2.09 with more than one strikeout per inning.

There have been many more contributors to the RoughRiders’ fantastic 2011 season. It has been fun to watch these men grow on the field, and there are still almost 50 games left in the regular season.

- Brian

VIDEO: Pre-Game Ladder Drills

The ‘Riders have today off but we wanted to give you a sneak peak inside one of the pre-game routines designed by Frisco Strength and Conditioning Coach, Eric McMahon.  Hope you enjoy!  -AG

 

The RoughRiders players, lead by Strength and Conditioning Coach Eric McMahon, warm up using the ladders before a game in Springfield, MO.

Breaking Buckeye Hearts

No, this is not a rip on Ohio State coach Jim Tressel, who still insists on staying in the news. It is praise for Derek Holland, who tossed a complete game, five-hit shutout in his home state in front of some friends and family. Holland, who grew up in Newark, Ohio, dominated, and a pair of former rehabbing RoughRiders this year–Josh Hamilton and Nelson Cruz–went deep again.

Look out for the Rangers, folks. They are clicking for the first time since the season’s first week.

But the RoughRiders are impressing some folks, too. Does Frisco have one surge in it for a chance at a first half title? We break that down, plus more, in today’s Facts.

FRISCO FACTS:

  • The ‘Riders are the only team still without a loss during the month of June, which is impressive considering the fact that Frisco has been on the road facing the third and fourth best teams in the Texas League: Northwest Arkansas and Tulsa.
  • Overall, since May 1, Frisco is 22-10, which is the best record in the Texas League. The ‘Riders’ Pressbox did the research, and they say that the RoughRiders have the second best Double-A record during that span. The Trenton Thunder (24-9) are in the top spot. Overall in the minors, the club is tied for fifth in record since the beginning of May.
  • However, despite all of this, the ‘Riders have only gained one game on San Antonio since May 1. That’s why the Missions have a six-game lead with 16 games to go in the first half.
  • One of the two season-long road on-base streaks came to an end last night. Mike Bianucci went 0-for-4, which snaps his 24 game streak on the road. Bianucci had been tied with his buddy Tommy Mendonca, and Mendonca did extend his streak to 25 games right away with a first-inning double.
  • These two streaks are impressive for anyone in the order, but think about where these two players hit. The asset of getting on base is a focal point for men at the top of the order, but Bianucci and Mendonca are middle-of-the-order mashers. However, they have been steadily finding a way to make an impact, whatever that may be, all season long.
  • With their recent surge, the RoughRiders have started to climb the team rankings. Not only is Frisco the second best club in the league now, but it is also second in hitting (.270) and third in earned run average (4.45).
  • Individually, Bianucci and Mendonca each have 12 homers, which is tied for fourth in the league. Both Bianucci (40) and Mendonca (38) are also in the top 10 in runs batted in, and Renny Osuna (.321) and Jonathan Greene (.309) are in the top 11 in batting average.
  • Speaking of Greene, he has been huge for the RoughRiders in his last eight games. He is hitting an absurd .446 (13-for-29) with two homers and 11 RBIs. He has posted multi-hit efforts in six of his last eight contests.
  • Leonys Martin has missed the last two games with lower back tightness. He was a late scratch from Friday’s game because of that injury. Martin is currently day-to-day.
  • Good for Jose Ruiz, who fell into his first slump of the season this week. His leadoff double in the seventh inning not only sparked Frisco’s game-winning three-run seventh, but it snapped an 0-for-20 skid. Ruiz is still hitting .295 for the season, which shows you how strong he was swinging the bat before this brief rough patch.
  • Finally, kudos to my man Aaron Goldsmith for a great blog post from Tulsa yesterday. He will post on the blog a couple of times each road trip.

Today’s pre-game begins at 1:35, with first pitch at 2:05. Enjoy!

- Brian

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

10,000+ Yet Again

Today’s intro goes out to all of you RoughRiders fans who continue to pour into Dr Pepper Ballpark. Yesterday, 10,812 fans watched Frisco’s 9-8 win over Tulsa, which was more than enough to push the season attendance over the 200,000 mark.

More than 10,000 fans have been at Dr Pepper Ballpark for 13 of the 26 home games thus far this season. The ‘Riders average almost 8,000 fans per game.

It is always fun to play in front of a big crowd, and I’m sure the RoughRiders appreciate it. So far, the club has rewarded the fans in the stands, as Frisco owns a 16-10 home record–second in the Texas League.

Without further ado, here are a few Facts before today’s 2:05 game.

FRISCO FACTS:

  • Robbie Erlin is with the RoughRiders and here for today’s start. To this point in his minor league career, Erlin has mustered some eye-popping numbers. Last year in low-A Hickory, Erlin went 6-3 with a 2.12 earned run average. This year while in high-A Myrtle Beach, the southpaw went 3-2 with an ERA of 2.14.
  • Drafted out of high school in the third round of the 2009 Draft, Erlin began his first full year with the Rangers in low-A Hickory last season, which is quite a jump for a young prospect. He impressed so much that Baseball America listed him as the Rangers’ number four prospect.
  • “I was very excited when they told me,” Erlin said about his Double-A promotion. “It has been sort of a grind…but I enjoy every day of it. Not a day goes by where I’m not thankful to be here.
  • Erlin will throw a fastball, curve and change. “I try to be aggressive,” Erlin said. “I really depend on commanding the baseball and not trying to do too much, and just kind of getting after hitters.”
  • He certainly has gotten after hitters during his first few years in the Rangers’ system. In 173.1 innings, Erlin has struck out 196 batters. That translates to 10.2 whiffs per nine innings. Compare that to just 23 walks against the 663 batters he has faced. That means that Erlin has walked one every 28.8 plate appearances.
  • By the way, Jason Cole of LoneStarDugout.com has a feature and an interview with Robbie Erlin on his site, and it is available free to the public. Cole does a great job on the television broadcasts for the RoughRiders on TXA 21, so I suggest you check it out here.
  • In the bullpen, 40-man right-hander Fabio Castillo has begun to settle into the closer role. He has converted three saves in his last four outings, and he has surrendered only one hit in four innings during those chances. Since May 13, Castillo has allowed just three runs (all of which came in one outing) over nine innings.
  • The back-to-back homers from Mike Bianucci and Jonathan Greene snapped some long homer skids for both. Bianucci, who still leads the team and is third in the league with 12 homers, had not gone yard since May 10, a period that spanned 13 games. Greene had not homered since May 5, which was a 15-game drought.
  • Frisco’s nine-run output was the highest since May 14, when the ‘Riders clubbed Corpus Christi 11-2. However, the RoughRiders have steadily climbed the league’s hitting ladder and now sit in second place in batting average at .272. Only San Antonio (.289) leads Frisco.

Pre-game coverage begins at 1:35, with the first pitch at 2:05. Catch it on the RoughRiders Baseball Network. 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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