Results tagged ‘ Kyle Blanks ’

Solving San Antonio

The RoughRiders have been on the outside of first place in the Texas League South because of one team: the San Antonio Missions. They are tied with the San Jose Giants of the California League for the best record in full-season minor league baseball (69-34).

Frisco has been in second place for around 70% of the season, and the ‘Riders have been in first place for only two days because of the Missions’ dominance. So far this year, the RoughRiders have gone 7-13 against San Antonio, and many games have gone down to the wire. Let’s go through these 20 matchups briefly and see why the ‘Riders have played San Antonio better than any other Texas League team.

We will categorize these 20 games into four terms: could have won, should have won, did win, or needed a break. Then we will show you how close the season series is by compiling these totals at the end.

April 25–San Antonio 7, Frisco 3: San Antonio scored four times in the eighth inning to pull away from the RoughRiders in the two clubs’ first meeting. (could have won)

April 26–San Antonio 6, Frisco 5: This was the wackiest game of the season series. With two on and two out in the eighth, Cody Decker crushed his seventh home run of the season to give San Antonio a 6-4 lead. The RoughRiders appeared to have regained the lead with two down in the top of the ninth, but the umpires overturned what was originally a three-run home run by Mike Bianucci. It was ruled an RBI double, which put men at second and third. Tommy Mendonca followed with a swinging strikeout to end the game. (should have won)

April 27–San Antonio 2, Frisco 1: Miguel De Los Santos worked seven innings and struck out ten, but Cody Decker’s two-run homer in the fifth was the difference. (could have won)

April 28–Frisco 5, San Antonio 4: The ‘Riders blew a three-run lead in the seventh but rallied in the tenth for their first win over the Missions this year. (did win)

May 3–Frisco 5, San Antonio 3: Trailing 3-0, the RoughRiders tied the game in the sixth and scored two more in the seventh to earn the victory. (did win)

May 4–Frisco 3, San Antonio 2: During Neftali Feliz and Tommy Hunter’s rehab outings in Frisco, the ‘Riders won on Mike Bianucci’s walk-off sacrifice fly in the tenth. (did win)

May 5–Frisco 5, San Antonio 3: Frisco took the lead in the second and never looked back in the ‘Riders’ first three-game winning streak of the 2011 season. (did win)

May 6–San Antonio 3, Frisco 0: Jake Brigham took a perfect game into the seventh inning, but the ‘Riders did not get any offense. The Missions scored three in the seventh and controlled from there. (needed a break)

May 20–San Antonio 8, Frisco 7: This game was lopsided for much of the night. Credit the ‘Riders for getting back within one, but the score is misleading. (needed a break)

May 21–San Antonio 9, Frisco 5: Kyle Blanks’ walk-off grand slam won it for the Missions in the 11th, but it shouldn’t have gotten to that point. Frisco surrendered a four-run lead in the eighth. This was one of the toughest losses of the year for the ‘Riders. (should have won)

May 22–San Antonio 6, Frisco 2: A five-run second allowed San Antonio to cruise to their third straight win over the ‘Riders. (needed a break)

May 23–Frisco 6, San Antonio 4: The Missions scored four in the ninth to tie the game, but the ‘Riders plated two in the tenth to win it and avoid what would have been a crippling loss. (did win).

June 8–San Antonio 11, Frisco 1: Uh, let’s just move on. (needed a BIG break)

June 9–San Antonio 5, Frisco 2: In this 15-inning marathon, all but two of the runs were scored in extras. Another tough, hard-fought loss against the Missions for Frisco. (could have won)

June 10–Frisco 5, San Antonio 4: Travis Adair’s RBI single in the ninth won it for the ‘Riders, which was a big bounce back victory after two very different losses. (did win)

June 11–San Antonio 9, Frisco 8: Fabio Castillo blew a save because of a Dean Anna home run and a Jose Ruiz error. The ‘Riders had a great chance to win this game, but I can’t make it a “should” because it was a seesaw battle. (could have won)

July 18–San Antonio 7, Frisco 6: Even though the ‘Riders tied the game in the ninth, San Antonio won it in the 12th to earn another narrow win against Frisco. (could have won)

July 19–Frisco 6, San Antonio 1: Joe Wieland. Enough said. Seven innings, one run, two hits, and an impressive win against the best club in the minors. (did win)

July 20–San Antonio 1, Frisco 0: Casey Kelly and the Missions’ bullpen held the ‘Riders off the board. The ‘Riders’ offense never got anything going, so I can’t give this a “could” or a “should.” (needed a break)

July 21–San Antonio 6, Frisco 4: The Missions’ three-run second set the tone for another series win for the Missions against the ‘Riders. (needed a break)

When you count things up, the ‘Riders have seven wins against the Missions. In the 13 losses, the RoughRiders COULD have won five and, in my opinion, SHOULD have won two more. Say the ‘Riders win half of those seven games, and I’ll even round down, and the season series in tied at 10. Tonight begins another showdown. Join us on the RoughRiders Baseball Network at 6:35. Enjoy!

- Brian

The Best Names in the Draft

Teams hope they find the best players in the MLB Draft, but we won’t know who were the “right” choices for years.

But we can look at some awesome names. Here is my top 10, in order of selection:

- Jeremy Gabryszwski (Round 2, Pick 78, Toronto)
– Kevin Quackenbush (Round 8, Pick 263, San Diego)
– Jo-El Bennett Lowe (Round 11, Pick 332, Pittsburgh)
– Ben Klafczynski (Round 20, Pick 609, Chicago Cubs)
– Chance Sossamon (Round 21, Pick 654, Texas)
– Michael Miedzianowski (Round 22, Pick 665, Baltimore)
– Jesse Wierzbicki (Round 24, Pick 730, Houston)
– Steven Snodgrass (Round 27, Pick 837, San Francisco)
– Yhoxian Medina (Round 38, Pick 1148, Cleveland)
– Chadwick Kaalekahi (Round 46, Pick 1400, St. Louis)

I don’t know if these guys will be good baseball players, but they will give broadcasters and uniform designers nightmares.

Anyways, on to today’s Facts in advance of a HUGE four-game series.

FRISCO FACTS:

  • With 14 games left in the first half of the season, the RoughRiders trail their opponent over the next four days by six games in the Texas League South. In baseball, anything can happen; however, considering that a split would mean that San Antonio’s magic number would fall to five, the ‘Riders really need to win the series, if not sweep it.
  • The Missions have the best batting average (.290) by a long shot in the league, but San Antonio has struggled against Frisco. The Missions have hit only .243 and averaged 4.75 runs per game against the ‘Riders.
  • Not only that, but the RoughRiders have minimized the damage from some of San Antonio’s big hitters. James Darnell (.227, 2 HRs, 7 RBIs), Cody Decker (.212, 2, 7) and Jaff Decker (.189, 1, 5) have been limited to say the least. The big threat has been Kyle Blanks (.286, 1, 13), who had that walk-off grand slam against the ‘Riders in San Antonio late last month.
  • San Antonio certainly has dominated the TL this year, but the ‘Riders have held their own. The Missions have outscored Frisco by less than one run per game, and the RoughRiders own the most wins (5) and the second best winning percentage (.417) against San Antonio.
  • But, as talked about yesterday, the RoughRiders are playing some of their best ball of the season. Winning six in a row and 24 of 34 is pretty impressive, but it still will take a very strong finish to get another first half title.
  • Not to jinx anything, but the RoughRiders have not had a roster move since Thursday. It is the second longest such streak this season, with the first coming right at the beginning of the year. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it seems to be a fitting cliché. So, I’ll use it.
  • Thanks to our great fans for helping us reach 4,000 Facebook “likes.” You can join the fun here.
  • Finally, DIRK FEVER.

The RoughRiders and Missions kick off this huge series tonight at 7:05. Join us along the RoughRiders Baseball Network at 6:35. Enjoy!

- Brian

More Power to the RoughRiders

The RoughRiders are making a jump in our second edition of the Texas League Power Rankings. Exactly how far they jump is available below. But first, here are a few Facts on Frisco’s great month of June.

FRISCO FACTS:

  • The RoughRiders have a six-game winning streak, which is the club’s longest since it won seven straight from June 22-28. All seven of those games, believe it or not, were also away from home.
  • Frisco swept a road trip for the first time since April 29-May 2, 2008 when the ‘Riders took all four at the Wolff against San Antonio.
  • Since May 1, the ‘Riders are 24-10. Unfortunately, during that span, the team has only gained ONE game on San Antonio for first place in the Texas League South. The deficit is six games with 14 to go, which sets up a huge four-game series against the Missions tomorrow through Saturday. We’ll preview that set tomorrow.
  • By the way, check out our new feature on the main site. It’s called the Dr Pepper Ballpark Planner, which previews the upcoming home stand on and off the field. If you are planning on coming out to a game this week/weekend, that is a must read.

The season is two-fifths of the way over. Time for our second installment of the Texas League Power Rankings. Like last month, we will include a high point and low point of the month plus a key stat.

1. San Antonio (38-18; April Ranking: 1): Despite a strong charge by Frisco, the Missions have basically held their ground since the last rankings. The offense is still strong (.290 batting average as a team) despite a ridiculously strong start. And the pitching is second in the league with a 3.81 earned run average.
HIGH POINT (June 5): The Missions defeated Springfield 4-3 with a two-run ninth. It was San Antonio’s fourth walk-off win in the previous five games. Because of that, the Missions are 5-1 in June.
LOW POINT (May 16): San Antonio dropped its third in four games at Corpus Christi on this night. But, the Missions responded with a six-game winning streak. The reality is that this club has had few “low points.” Their lead has never been truly threatened.
KEY STAT (9): San Antonio’s magic number with 14 games left. A split or better at Frisco in the next four games would pretty much clinch the first half for the Missions.

2. Frisco (32-24; April Ranking: 6): The RoughRiders were the biggest climbers from April to May. Without a late surge at the beginning of May before I compiled the rankings, the ‘Riders may have been in last in those rankings. Now, Steve Buechele’s squad is hanging around a race it had not business being in a month ago. With Robbie Erlin arriving in Double-A and other starters like Richard Bleier and Carlos Pimentel settling in, the ‘Riders may have the best rotation in the league. That is, unless Martin Perez gets that call up to Triple-A.
HIGH POINT (June 6): This one is easy. Frisco completed a sweep of a six-game, North Division road trip with a 9-4 win at Tulsa. The ‘Riders outscored the Naturals and Drillers on that trip by a combined 27 runs. Really, that run is the reason the North is so competitive now.
LOW POINT (May 21): San Antonio’s Kyle Blanks crushed a walk-off grand slam in the 11th inning. It was the second of three straight losses at San Antonio for the ‘Riders, who did manage to salvage the finale of that set. They will need more wins this week to stay alive.
KEY STAT (2.60): Martin Perez’s earned run average, which is second in the Texas League. He has won his last three starts.

3. Northwest Arkansas (26-25; April Ranking: 4): The next four teams are North Division teams, and they are all pretty even. I’ll bank on the Naturals because they just came off a six-game losing streak, and I expect them to take the North. But, I could just as easily see the Naturals in second, third, and fourth when all is set and done.
HIGH POINT (May 16): The Naturals rallied from a one-run deficit in the ninth at Tulsa to win 5-4 and claim their sixth straight win. Since then, it has been a jostling for first between Northwest Arkansas and Tulsa. Right now, the Naturals’ have a percentage-point lead on the Drillers.
LOW POINT (June 4): What a strange game. Christian Colon hit a solo shot on the first pitch of the bottom of the ninth to tie the game. Then, Midland scored seven times in the top of the 10th to win 16-9. That was the Naturals’ sixth loss in a row.
KEY STAT (12-18 months): The recovery time for Natural and highly-touted hurler John Lamb, who found out in late May that he needs Tommy John surgery. Tough break for a tremendous prospect.

4. Springfield (26-29; April Ranking: 5): Last month, I put the Cardinals above their standings because they were playing above their talent level, in my opinion. Now, I’m putting them here because they are my sleeper pick to take the North. The Cardinals have never had a share of first place, but they have some more talent now. St. Louis’ top two prospects–Shelby Miller and Zack Cox–are on the roster now. Watch out for these guys.
HIGH POINT (May 27): A 12-4 blowout of Corpus Christi completed a sweep and extended the Cardinals’ winning streak to a season-high five games.
LOW POINT (June 5): This loss snapped a three-game winning streak, which may seem a little harsh to name this as the “low point.” But, the Cardinals had a chance to clinch a series win at San Antonio, and they allowed two in the ninth to lose 4-3. The next day, Springfield lost 11-1.
KEY STAT (4): Games back of first-place Northwest Arkansas in the loss column. The Cardinals play four at Northwest June 16-19.

5. Tulsa (28-27; April Ranking: 2): The Drillers may be the most inconsistent club in the league. They got off to a great start, but the team has begun to struggle again. Once again, I would not be surprised if the Drillers won this division in the first half. But I don’t know if they have enough offense or enough in the bullpen.
HIGH POINT (May 9): It is tough to find a high point when a team hasn’t won more than two games in a row during a month. On this day, the Drillers clinched a two-out-of-three series take at Northwest Arkansas with a 6-4 win. The Drillers’ record at that point was 18-11.
LOW POINT (June 6): Jose Ruiz’s three-run homer in the ninth was the exclamation point on Frisco’s 9-4, sweep-clinching win over Tulsa.
KEY STAT (6-11): The Drillers’ record in the last 17 games. That’s why the North is so close.

6. Arkansas (25-26; April Ranking: 7): No disrespect to the Travelers, who enter play today just one game back of first place in the North. The Travs have been hanging around, and they have the pitching to compete down the stretch. Arkansas leads the Texas League with a 3.80 team earned run average. The offense just isn’t that strong.
HIGH POINT (May 28): A 5-4, ten-inning win against Corpus Christi pushed the Travelers back above .500 for the first time since April 27. It also capped off a 7-2 run over nine games.
LOW POINT (June 3): The Travelers outplayed the Missions through eight innings in all three games in San Antonio. However, the Missions walked off with three wins to earn the sweep. June 3 was the finale, a 6-5 San Antonio win.
KEY STAT (10): Ten games over the next eight days beginning tomorrow for the Travs, all at home. Arkansas and Northwest Arkansas will play two doubleheaders–Wednesday and Friday. These games will go a long way to deciding who wins the first half.

7. Midland (23-33; April Ranking: 3): The RockHounds fell further than anyone in the Texas League, and it is understandable why. Since our last rankings in early May, the club is 9-19. Midland has been eliminated in the first half chase, and they are nine games back of the ‘Riders for second.
HIGH POINT (May 8): On that day, the ‘Hounds defeated Frisco 2-1 to improve to 15-15. Midland hasn’t sniffed .500 since.
LOW POINT (May 22): The RockHounds lost their eighth straight game 3-2 at Corpus Christi. Since then, the team has not recovered.
KEY STAT (11-23): The RockHounds’ record since May 1, which is tied for the worst mark in the Texas League.

8. Corpus Christi (20-36; April Ranking: 8): No change for a Hooks team that, like Midland, is 11-23 since the start of May. During the month, the Hooks had to cope with the absence of stud outfielder J.D. Martinez for a significant time period.
HIGH POINT (May 22): The Hooks took their first three games against Midland, capped by a 3-2 win on that day. That matched a season-high in consecutive wins this year.
LOW POINT (May 14): An 11-2 loss at Frisco sent the Hooks to a Texas League-high ninth straight loss.
KEY STAT (3): The Hooks had three losing streaks in the month of May: a nine-game streak May 5-14, a three-game skid May 17-19 and a five-game streak May 23-28.

Agree? Disagree? Share your rankings!

That Was Ugly

It was an ugly, frustrating loss for the RoughRiders last night in San Antonio. But hey, at least they didn’t look like the Red Sox and Cubs did at Fenway Park last night. The Cubs are playing in Boston for the first time since the 1918 World Series, and both clubs decided to sport a retro look for the game.

Honestly, I don’t think they are AS bad as people are saying. I still think they are pretty atrocious, though. Take a look at 45 “traditional-looking” pictures for yourself. I bet new San Diego top prospect Casey Kelly, who was shipped from the Red Sox in the Adrian Gonzalez trade, is thrilled he won’t have to wear those uniforms.

Unfortunately, we need to get into the ugly loss last night in today’s Facts.

FRISCO FACTS:

  • Kyle Blanks’ game-winning, 11th-inning grand slam was the third bases loaded home run allowed by the RoughRiders this season. The other two–Mike Trout, the Angels’ number one prospect, hit one at Dr Pepper Ballpark, and J.D. Martinez hit one into the pool at Whataburger Field–have been notable. But this one was a game-winning blast on a 2-0 pitch with two down.
  • The game seemed destined for a 12th inning, as Ramon Aguero retired the first two men he faced in the 11th. Credit the Missions offense. Both walks in the inning came after the count ran full, and Daniel Robertson’s single followed a battle back from 1-2 to 3-2.
  • Here’s a stat that shocked me. The RoughRiders’ staff had been doing a tremendous job when faced with a bases loaded situation. Even with that grand slam, Frisco’s pitching staff has held its opponents to just a .175 (10-for-57) average with no bases open. To put it into perspective, the ‘Riders’ offense is hitting .273 (6-for-22). It is also important to note that the ‘Riders have been in that many bases loaded situations (i.e., 35 more than the offense).
  • You have to feel for Martin Perez. It’s amazing that he still has only one win (and one decision overall) this year, when he very well could be something like 5-2. He has exited with a lead four times this season, and the ‘Riders’ bullpen has allowed 21 runs in those games. Frisco is 2-2 in those contests.
  • Still, wins and losses are negligible in Perez’s case as long as the development is there. And it certainly is. He has had four  outings of 0 earned runs this season, which already surpasses his total from last season (three) in 24 outings. In the other five starts, Perez has never allowed more than three runs. He surrendered four or more tallies TEN times last season.
  • It was good to see Mike Bianucci back in the order after getting a pair of days off Thursday and Friday. He went 1-for-4 with a run scored.
  • How about Davis Stoneburner? He has been in and out of the lineup for the last week, but he extended his hitting streak to eight games with that three-run double in Engel Beltre’s absence. This hitting streak spans 16 games. Stoneburner has raised his batting average from .185 to .239 during the span.
  • Speaking of Engel Beltre, he left the game yesterday with a hand injury after being hit by a pitch yesterday. No word on his condition, but we should know more by air time this afternoon.
  • Both Nelson Cruz and Josh Hamilton went yard for Triple-A Round Rock yesterday in the Express’ win over Colorado Springs. Reports are saying that the duo could return to the big leagues in a day or two. If that were to happen, I would imagine that there would be a significant trickle-down effect within the outfield ranks in the Rangers’ system.

We take the air at 3:35 p.m. for the pre-game show. First pitch is set for 4:05. Enjoy!

- Brian

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