Results tagged ‘ Justin Miller ’
It has been a good month for the RoughRiders yet again in July. Frisco is 14-8, which means the club is on pace for more wins in July than it has had in any month this season.
The offense has been solid as usual, posting a .282 batting average. That is one point higher than the ‘Riders’ team average in June (.281).
But the RoughRiders’ pitching staff has been the group that has improved the most in the first 22 games of July. The staff, which owned an ERA around 4.50 throughout the first three months of the season, boasts a season-best 3.60 ERA this month. Opponents are averaging only 4.2 runs per game against the ‘Riders, and 12 times the opposition has managed less than four runs in a game this month.
Today, we delve into the statistics and find five RoughRiders hurlers who have posted season-best ERAs for a month in July, along with three others who are at or close to their season low.
SEASON LOW ERAs:
Richard Bleier: Bleier has been bounced around all season long, from the disabled list into a few piggyback outing, to the rotation and then the bullpen and back into the rotation. Hopefully you kept up there. Bleier is back in the rotation and set to start tonight. The southpaw is 2-1 with a 3.80 ERA in July, a month during which Bleier has made three starts and three bullpen appearances. He will start for the ‘Riders tonight as they aim for their fifth sweep of the season and their second at Dr Pepper Ballpark.
Jake Brigham: Like Bleier, Brigham began the season as a starter but is now in the bullpen. After a rough start in the ‘pen, Brigham has settled in nicely. The right-hander currently owns a 2.13 ERA in July, which is more than two runs better than his previous best. He has struck out 16 batters in 12 and two-thirds innings of work. Brigham has not pitched since Thursday, so fans can expect to see him again soon.
Robbie Erlin: The Rangers’ number four prospect has been pretty steady during his first two months at the Double-A level, and Erlin has been at his best in July. The left-hander has a 3.75 ERA in four July starts, but his record is only 1-2. In July, the strikeout-per-inning ratio has gone down a bit from June (1.2 in June to 0.8 in July), but Erlin has not walked a single batter in 24 innings this month. The next start for Erlin will be Tuesday against Midland.
Tanner Scheppers: Scheppers has been with the RoughRiders for more than a month, and he has shown flashes of dominance during his time in the Texas League. In July, Scheppers has an ERA of 3.38, but that includes a tough start to July when he allowed four earned runs in three appearances. Since then, the righty has posted six scoreless innings of work in his last five outings. Scheppers has some of the best stuff in the Rangers’ system, and he doesn’t figure to be in Frisco for much longer based on his recent performances. Triple-A Round Rock could be the next destination soon.
Joe Wieland: Wieland’s successes have been documented here on the Insider Blog, and he continued that good work last night with six scoreless innings against Corpus Christi. Wieland’s ERA is at 1.54 in Double-A, and it sits at just 1.50 in July. In all six of his starts, Wieland has worked at least five innings and allowed two earned runs or less.
Justin Miller: It was going to be tough for Miller to best his effort in June because, well, he didn’t allow any earned runs in 13 and two-thirds innings of work. Here in July, Miller has recorded 11 and a third frames, and he allowed his only run of the month at Springfield July 9. Throw out that single tally, and the midseason All-Star has not surrendered a run since May 23 in a game at San Antonio that he went on to earn the victory.
Yohan Yan: Yan has been great with both Myrtle Beach and Frisco. So far with the ‘Riders in three appearances, the side-winding right-hander has crafted five and a third scoreless innings of relief. He has held the opposition to just two base hits. Thus, his ERA with the ‘Riders is at its lowest in July because this is his first month here, but he deserved inclusion on this list. So far, so good for the ‘Riders’ newest arm.
Corey Young: Young is almost in the same category as Miller. He gave up just one run in June for an ERA of 0.87. Here in July, Young has only given up one run in three fewer innings, so he could still go on to post a season-low for a month with a few more appearances. When Young went on the disabled list with a back injury in late April, he had an ERA at 9.00. That mark has since dropped to a very healthy 3.51.
Over the last few days, we have talked about the Rangers’ prospects from Round Rock to Surprise, and we have focused on ten ‘Riders who have improved their prospect stock in the last 12 months.
Today, let’s take a look at five new RoughRiders. These five men got off to slow starts, but they have turned things around and become factors on the second-best team in the Texas League.
Engel Beltre: Beltre’s struggles are well-documented this season, but the guy did enter 2011 as the Rangers’ fifth-best prospect according to Baseball America. The glove has been there all season long, and the bat is starting to come around.
Offensively, Beltre bottomed out in May when he hit .162 in 12 games after returning from a suspension. The outfielder began his upswing in June by hitting .252 and scoring 17 times in 26 games. So far in July, Beltre is thriving–.306 average, 12 runs, four stolen bases (he did not steal any in May or June), and a .729 OPS.
Beltre’s numbers overall don’t scream “top level prospect,” but he has gone through a great deal during the 2011 season. The fact that he has a chance, with a strong finish to the year, to get his stats close to his averages in the minors is impressive.
Jake Brigham: Brigham had his baseball world turned upside down late last month. The right-hander, who had made 14 starts with the ‘Riders, was sent to the bullpen. Prior to this year, Brigham had only acted as a reliever 13 times.
During his first four outings, Brigham allowed ten runs while adjusting to his new role. Since then, Brigham has been dominant. The righty has tossed eight and a third innings of scoreless baseball. He has allowed three hits, walked three hits, and struck out nine batters.
Brigham’s ERA as a bullpen arm is 6.08, but it is dropping quickly. If he continues this recent surge, he will add to an already-talented bullpen.
Justin Miller: Speaking of talented bullpen arms, how about the run of success Miller has had? The key for Miller was finding a role. He struggled a bit as the club’s closer in the first handful of weeks, but he has settled into a job that involves setting up around 75% of the time and closing about 25% of the time.
After a 3.76 ERA through May 31, Miller boasted an ERA of 0.00 in 13 and two-thirds innings in June. So far in July, Miller has surrendered one run in seven and two-thirds. And Miller is able to retire both lefties (.190) and righties (.217), which is a huge asset for an eighth/ninth-inning guy.
A few interesting splits for Miller: he loves night games (1.02 ERA) v. day games (5.84 ERA), and he loves home games (0.68 ERA) v. road games (4.22 ERA).
Elio Sarmiento: We’ve heard about Sarmiento’s excellent cooking abilities, but his performance on the field deserves some praise, too. Sarmiento had to bounce between the team’s second and third catcher during the first few weeks, but now he has a strong case for being Frisco’s best backstop.
Sarmiento’s batting average has gone up in every month this year (.091, .214, .326, .355). In his 21 appearances since June 3, Sarmiento has three home runs and 17 RBIs. Before this year, Sarmiento’s career high in home runs was two. The Venezuela native’s career high in RBIs (25 in ’09) is very much in danger, too.
Since the beginning of June, Sarmiento has played in 21 games, and Jose Felix has played in 19. As you can see, Sarmiento’s efforts have earned him more playing time.
Corey Young: April was not a kind month for the left-handed reliever. He went 0-2 with a 9.00 ERA in eight appearances, and he found himself on the disabled list with a back injury on April 28.
Once Young rejoined the RoughRiders’ active roster five weeks later, he became a force. The southpaw owns a 1.10 ERA in 16 and a third innings. In early June, Young appeared in a few mop-up situations. Since then, he has worked his way into many key situations. In the ninth inning and beyond, Young has allowed only one earned run in seven innings.
Young still needs to work on his efforts against lefties (.353 average), but that is pretty remarkable to see for a lefty who owns a 3.70 ERA. Thus, there is some room for improvement for a man who is already seeing plenty.
Frisco starter Martin Perez earned the victory in the South Division’s 3-2 victory over the North All-Stars Wednesday night in the 75th Texas League All-Star Game.
Perez tossed a 1-2-3 second inning. He retired the first two men he faced on ground outs to second. The Rangers’ top prospect finished the frame with a six-pitch strikeout of Anthony Seratelli.
Both Adalberto Flores and Justin Miller earned holds. Flores allowed a solo shot to Matt Adams in an otherwise solid sixth inning, and Miller set down a pair of North All-Stars in the top of the ninth.
Offensively, Mike Bianucci went 1-for-4 with a fourth-inning single. Leonys Martin finished 0-for-3 as the South’s leadoff hitter. Tommy Mendonca walked and struck out.
Jose Felix, Renny Osuna and Jose Ruiz also appeared in the game.
The South scored once in the second and two more times in the third. The North tallied a run in both the sixth and seventh.
It’s a quick turnaround for the nine Frisco All-Stars, as the RoughRiders open a three-game series with the Springfield Cardinals Thursday night at Dr Pepper Ballpark. First pitch is set for 7:05.
Frisco outfielder Leonys Martin, who has not played with the RoughRiders since June 8, is the leadoff hitter for the South Division in tonight’s 2011 Texas League All-Star Game.
Joining Martin in the starting lineup are Mike Bianucci and Renny Osuna. Bianucci is the designated hitter, and he is hitting third. Osuna rounds out the South squad’s lineup and is playing at second base.
Catcher Jose Felix, third baseman Tommy Mendonca and first baseman Jose Ruiz are available on the South Division’s bench. Also, pitchers Adalberto Flores, Justin Miller and Martin Perez are in the South’s bullpen.
First pitch is set for 7:05. You can follow the game here.
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.
- 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!
If you go to a basketball game, you will most likely hear the final buzzer less than three hours after the opening tip. In football, setting aside three-and-a-half hours is almost always sufficient. As for baseball, uh, who knows.
Last night, the Los Angeles Angels defeated the Boston Red Sox 5-3 in 13 innings. There was a rain delay of more than two-and-a-half hours. Not only that, but the game featured a two-run ninth from the Red Sox and an out at the plate in the 12th. In other words, mother nature and the baseball gods didn’t want this one to end.
Finally it did, a little shy of 3 a.m. EST. And yep, you guessed it. They had an afternoon game scheduled for today.
Oh baseball. You did it again. Let’s get on with the Facts.
- First, the two rehabbing Rangers. Neftali Feliz pitched the first inning and struck out the side following a lead-off single. From this eye, he threw 16 fastballs and six off-speed pitches. According to the radar gun at Dr Pepper Ballpark, which is known to be fairly accurate, Feliz averaged around 97 miles per hour on his fastballs. He hit 100 on the gun twice.
- 14 of Feliz’s 22 pitches were strikes. Two of the three strikeouts were of the swinging variety, and the right-hander induced five swinging strikes altogether. The one single came on a fastball at 95 miles per hour.
- Now, Tommy Hunter’s specifics. The righty threw 71 pitches (41 strikes and 30 balls). He threw at least 16 pitches in all four of his innings of work. He threw 21 pitches in his third inning of work, which was the highest number of tosses. Hunter went four innings and gave up two runs, one on a sacrifice fly and the other on a solo home run. He scattered three hits and struck out five, four of which were swinging.
- Hunter sat around 93-94 miles per hour and peaked at 96 on the stadium gun. He did miss very badly on a pitch that hit Cody Decker in the helmet. Fortunately, he would stay in the game.
- Enough about the former RoughRiders. Let’s get to the newest ‘Rider, the man who followed the Feliz-Hunter show. Richard Bleier, who pitched in a game that “counts” for the first time this season, went three and two thirds scoreless. After giving up a lead-off double to the first man he faced, Bleier sat down nine of the next ten he faced. He will be used as a starter now, and his next outing is scheduled for Monday at Midland.
- Continuing the theme of pitching, Frisco reliever Justin Miller continued his good work last night. He went retired four of the five men he faced to earn his second victory. It was Miller’s fifth-straight scoreless outing. Over that span, Miller has allowed one hit over seven and a third.
- Now, to the offense. Three RoughRiders had multi-hit games last night, and all three of those efforts are noteworthy. Renny Osuna went 3-for-4 to increase his batting average to .319. Since returning from the disabled list, Osuna is hitting .345 (10-for-29) with five RBIs.
- Jonathan Greene had two hits last night, which matched his total from the previous four games combined. Greene was due to slow down at some point, seeing as he was hitting above .400 late last week. Still, that two-hit effort puts him at .333 for the campaign.
- Also notching two knocks was Travis Adair. Adair, who debuted at the Double-A level a week ago today, has raised his average to .269. He began the season 0-for-11, but Adair has gone 7-for-15 since.
- Two hitters saw streaks come to an end last night. Mike Bianucci’s 12-game hitting streak is no more, but I’m sure he will take the game-winning sacrifice fly instead. Also, Jose Ruiz had reached base in 12 straight games before going 0-for-4 last night.
- Frisco manager Steve Buechele is giving Tommy Mendonca the night off. It is just his second day off of the season. Only Bianucci has played in every game so far this year for the ‘Riders. Ruiz takes over the clean-up duties, and Osuna will play at third base.
- Programming note: Since the Texas League season is almost exactly five months, I’m planning on doing monthly Power Rankings. So, this weekend, I’ll delve into all eight teams within the TL. It’ll be a separate blog post.
Martin Perez, the Rangers’ number one prospect, will start tonight for Frisco. The ‘Riders and Missions meet at 7:05. Pre-game at 6:35 along the RBN. Enjoy!
Before arriving in Frisco, I had the great pleasure of covering the Ohio University football team. When you are involved in sports, whether as a fan, media member, or broadcaster, you feel like you get to know the members of the team.
Sometimes, those people seem slightly above human. They are all parts of a game that people love. Unfortunately, those players are human, and the Ohio football family found out the hard way Wednesday.
Former defensive lineman Marcellis Williamson passed away just months after finishing his senior season. I talked with him a few times, and he couldn’t have been nicer. Really sad stuff.
Just goes to show that fans should cherish all players, even the ones at less-than-glamorous positions.
Anyways, let’s get happy with a Frisco victory and today’s Facts.
- A losing-streak snapper never seems to come easily, now does it? Frisco is the best defensive club in the Texas League with a .982 fielding percentage, but Tommy Mendonca, who has probably been this club’s most complete player so far this year, allowed a pair of runs to score on a throwing error.
- Mendonca has an extremely strong arm at the hot corner, but sometimes he can be inaccurate on the throws. He has three errors thus far on the young season, which is tied for the most among third baseman in the Texas League.
- Credit Mendonca for being patient enough to draw a tenth-inning walk. It is easy for a guy who committed an error and had been 0-for-4 to try to swing as hard as he can and make up for all of it. However, his walk, drawn on a 3-2 count, was the key battle in that tenth inning, if you ask me. Jonathan Greene followed suit with another walk on a 3-2 count that chased home the go-ahead run.
- The first and last pitchers who toed the rubber for the RoughRiders were extremely impressive. After a pair of rough starts, righty Carlos Pimentel has had a couple of solid outings. Yesterday, Pimentel allowed only a Blake Tekotte solo homer in six innings of work. He scattered four hits and struck out six, a season high. Over his last two starts, Pimentel has a 2.31 ERA over 11.2 innings.
- Overall, Frisco’s starting rotation has improved greatly since the start of the year. Over the last two turns in the rotation, the RoughRiders’ starter has pitched at least five innings eight times.
- And how about the effort of Justin Miller. Miller, who had struggled in a few late-game situations earlier this season, was dominant in his two innings of work. With all the momentum in the San Antonio dugout, Miller wiped through the 2-3-4 men in the Missions’ order in the ninth to send the game to extras. After Frisco took the lead in the tenth, Miller did the same.
- Miller, like many ‘Riders on the hill, had struggled a bit with his command earlier in the year. Yesterday, he only needed 25 pitches to go through the heart of the best order in the Texas League and retire six straight. 16 of those pitches were over for strikes.
- Renny Osuna had a great effort in his return from the disabled list. He drove in a run in the seventh on a double. Three innings later, his leadoff single turned into the eventual game-winning run. On the year, Osuna is hitting .304.
- On the flip side, Travis Adair’s Double-A debut wasn’t spectacular. He went 0-for-4 and stranded four men on the bases. However, he did put the ball in play in a scoring chance and earned an RBI on a groundout in the second.
- Pretty impressive that the ‘Riders won a game when their 3-4-5 men (Mike Bianucci, Mendonca, Greene) went a combined 0-for-10. Baseball is strange, but the ‘Riders will take it.
Our pre-game coverage begins at 6:35 for the opener of Frisco’s four-game series in Corpus Christi. First pitch is set for 7:05. Enjoy!
How exactly does a person become an “impact player.” I don’t know exactly, and I don’t want to try to form specific criteria.
But, I do know this: impact players pique your interest when you see them at the plate or due up in a game-deciding situation.
When the RoughRiders took a 3-2 lead in the top of the 13th yesterday, I couldn’t help but notice that Mike Trout was due up in the bottom half. He hit a game-tying home run.
In the 15th, with a man at second and nobody out, the 19-year-old put down a bunt to get the runner to third. That run came around to score.
Trout will be in the big leagues sooner rather than later. Plenty of writers and analysts know it, including FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal. He wrote a lengthy nugget on Trout, which includes the outfielder’s grand slam off Rider Vision at Dr Pepper Ballpark one week ago today.
He is as much of an “impact player” as I’ve seen this year, and Frisco found out the hard way, yet again, in that tough loss.
We’ll get to that loss, and much more, in today’s edition of the Facts.
- The RoughRiders made another move today, activating right-handed reliever Mark Hamburger from the temporary inactive list. Fellow reliever Ben Snyder has been placed on the seven-day disabled list with a hamstring injury.
- Getting Hamburger back should move around the roles within the Frisco bullpen. Justin Miller appeared in a pair of games as the “de-facto” closer while Hamburger was away tending to a personal issue, and it was adventurous. Miller earned the save in Frisco’s only victory away from home, a 6-4 triumph over Springfield in the opener of the double dip Saturday. Miller gave up a run in that frame and loaded the bases with one out, but he was able to get out of the jam. The right-hander also appeared yesterday and earned the loss. He gave up both Arkansas runs in extra innings.
- Throw out Miller’s two runs allowed, and the RoughRiders’ ‘pen was incredible. After a very good bounce-back start from Wilfredo Boscan, the ‘Riders shut down the Travelers until the 13th. After Darwin Perez’s two-run double in the third, the Travs did not earn another hit until a one-out double from Orlando Mercado. Those two at-bats were separated by 31 plate appearances. Boscan, Beau Jones, Ramon Aguero, Adalberto Flores and Corey Young were all a part of that hit-less period. That’s pretty special.
- Unfortunately, that collective effort did not bring about a victory. Over the last few days, Frisco has not been able to take advantage of opportunities with men aboard. The ‘Riders have stranded 27 men on the base paths and have hit just .207 (6-for-29) with men in scoring position in their last two games, both close losses. Before those two games, the RoughRiders were hitting .290 in runners at second and/or third.
- There have been some bright spots offensively. I mentioned Jonathan Greene yesterday, and he just kept raking during the 15-inning marathon. He went 2-for-5 yesterday and has gone 6-for-13 with four runs scored against Arkansas this year.
- It hasn’t been an overwhelming change for outfielder David Paisano, but he has started to be a consistent threat at the plate after a sluggish start. Paisano has hit safely in five straight games. And after a 1-for-12 start, Paisano is hitting .269 (7-for-26). He has also been the most frequent mover within the lineup. The RoughRiders need him to produce with Joey Butler up in Round Rock.
- The Texas League schedule makers allow everyone to settle into the season. Tomorrow is the second off-day of the young season, and all teams will be 12 games into the campaign. After tomorrow’s respite, though, things pick up. The RoughRiders will play 20 straight and 32 of the next 33 days beginning Thursday. During that month-long stretch, the ‘Riders will play only three teams–division opponents Corpus Christi, Midland and San Antonio. Tonight’s game will be the last against the North until May 25th against Northwest Arkansas.
- We wish former RoughRider pitcher Eric Hurley the best. Four pitches into just his second start since 2008, he was hit in the head with a comebacker and had to leave the game. According to the Round Rock release, Hurley suffered a contusion and was taken to a local hospital for tests. He did leave the field under his own power. For a man who has had to deal with many injuries, we hope that this is not a significant setback in his drive to return to the big leagues.
- Details on two upcoming events at Dr Pepper Ballpark are now available on the site: The Legends of Baseball Vintage Showdown and the 2011 RoughRiders Baseball Academy.
It’s getaway day in North Little Rock. Join us along the RoughRiders Baseball Network at 6:40 for Frisco and Arkansas. Enjoy!