Results tagged ‘ Mike Bianucci ’

Everyone Struggles Sometimes

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.

FRISCO FACTS:

  • 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!

- Brian

Happy, Happy, Happy

Happy Easter. Happy Passover. Happy Sunday.

Whatever you may be celebrating, enjoy it. Easter only comes once every 365 days. Passover only comes once every 52 weeks. And Sunday only comes around every seven days.

My present to you is a whole lot of the same–your Facts.

FRISCO FACTS:

  • As mentioned on the broadcast yesterday, the RoughRiders have not strung together back-to-back victories since games one and two of the year. But the ‘Riders have been close to doing so. In their last five losses following victories this year, Frisco has lost by a total of ten runs. In four of those five contests, the ‘Riders had a lead at some point. In other words, this club has been close to a “winning streak” but just hasn’t been able to seal the deal.
  • We mentioned the string of nine straight games with an RBI for Corpus Christi outfielder J.D. Martinez, a streak that came to an end two nights ago. Well, Frisco third baseman Tommy Mendonca is giving the RBI streak thing a try. Mendonca has posted at least one RBI in four straight games. Taking it back to April 14, Mendonca has driven in a run in seven of his last nine contests.
  • I asked Mendonca before yesterday’s game if this is the best string of baseball he has played while within the Rangers’ organization. “You can say, so far, it has been,” Mendonca said. “I’m back having fun. It’s like I’m a little kid again.”
  • Not only is Mendonca fifth in the Texas League with his 15 RBIs, but he is tied with Hickory’s Tomas Telis for the organizational lead. Telis has played in three more games than Mendonca so far this season.
  • Engel Beltre continued his solid swinging last night from the leadoff spot. Since assuming that role when Renny Osuna went on the disabled list, Beltre is 11-for-35 (.314) with seven runs scored in eight games. Last night, Beltre was the only ‘Rider with a multi-hit game.
  • Here’s an interesting note: the RoughRiders have only three men listed as outfielders, and one of those (Mike Bianucci) has only made three starts in the outfield. The rest of his 12 starts have been in the designated hitter slot. On the flip side, there are six active infielders and two infielders on the disabled list. One of those listed infielders–Jonathan Greene–has played some left to make up for this unbalance.
  • Former RoughRider Cody Eppley threw two scoreless innings out of the bullpen in his major league debut yesterday, a 3-1 Texas victory over the Royals. Eppley certainly has a chance to stick with the big league club considering its bullpen struggles so far this year.
  • The San Antonio offense is back at it. After outputs of 26 and 23 runs earlier this month, the Missions spanked Midland 21-8 last night. San Antonio’s team batting average now sits at .343, and the Missions are averaging 8.2 runs a game. Jaff Decker had two homers and seven runs batted in. Decker now has six homers (tied for first in the Texas League) and 23 RBIs (tops in the TL).
  • Finally, the two Arkansas teams have been washed out for the second straight day. Now, the Naturals and Travelers will play double dips May 21 and 23 in Springdale. The ‘Riders will play the Naturals immediately following that series May 25-27 at Dr Pepper Ballpark.

We kick off our coverage at 3:35 this afternoon, with first pitch set for 4:05. Enjoy!

- Brian

Have a Great Weekend

Don’t worry. We’re not going to abandon you for the weekend. Just need to get out my “Happy Easter” to all those who celebrate it.

I am one of those people. I’ve been lucky to be close to home (if not actually home) for many of the big holidays. Baseball prevents me from being home for this one, though. I hope all those who celebrate Easter are able to get home or at least get a little piece of home.

I fully expect a package filled with candy from my parents. We’ll see if they deliver.

We keep chugging along with the Facts on this Friday.

FRISCO FACTS:

  • The pitching staff has begun to turn things around. Over the last three games, the RoughRiders have surrendered only 10 runs. That doesn’t seem like a noteworthy number, but considering the fact that the ‘Riders had surrendered six runs or more in all but one of the previous seven games, that is a step forward.
  • Where has the biggest improvement come from? The bullpen. Since the ‘pen collapsed in a loss to Springfield April 14, here are the numbers for the relievers: 22.1 IP, 6 R, 6 ER, 18 H. That calculates to a 2.42 ERA. 
  • Yesterday, Mark Hamburger returned after a brief time away for a personal issue. The righty tossed a pair of scoreless innings. Same deal for fellow right-hander Mike Perconte, who has now thrown nine and a third frames and given up just one run on six hits. Opponents are hitting just .194 against the former Cubs farmhand. 
  • The other reliever to appear yesterday was Ramon Aguero, who had to leave after a pitch to Brian Esposito, the second batter he faced in the game. No word on his condition, but we’ll try to get an update sometime this weekend.
  • On the flip side, the offense has been limping lately. A popular way of examining a player or a team’s recent play is to look at the stats over the last five games. As a club, the ‘Riders are a .250 hitting unit in the last five contests, which isn’t totally out of the ordinary, but only two batters are hitting above the .261 mark–Tommy Mendonca and Jonathan Greene.
  • We’ve mentioned the hot stretches of Mendonca and Greene, a duo that is hitting a combined .447 with seven of the club’s 15 RBIs in the last five games. Yesterday, those two had four of the six Frisco hits. Everyone else in the lineup went a combined 2-for-25.
  • The most glaring stumble within the starting nine has been Mike Bianucci. It’s somewhat unfair that he is looked at like this because of his torrid start. Those types of numbers are flat out unsustainable over the course of a month, let alone a season. However, Bianucci has hit just .182 (6-for-33) over the last nine games, and he hasn’t driven in a run since Saturday.
  • Here’s what is amazing about Bianucci: the dude is still boasting a .949 OPS. Anything over .900 in this category is considered very good. Even with this lull, Bianucci’s numbers are still better than 90% of the players in this league so far.
  • Miguel De Los Santos gets the ball tonight for the RoughRiders. I’m pulling this directly from the blog post I had after his last start, but the numbers are too intriguing to mention only once: 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.
  • I mentioned J.D. Martinez’s hot stretch in yesterday’s blog, and what does he do? 2-for-5 with a pair of doubles and an RBI. He has now driven in a run in nine consecutive games.
  • For what it’s worth, the Major League record for most consecutive games with an RBI belongs to Ray Grimes of the Chicago Cubs. Grimes drove in at least one run in 18 straight games from June 27-July 23 of 1922. 
  • For what it’s worth, part two: Corpus Christi play-by-play voice Matt Hicks said the Hooks played their best game of 2011 last night.
  • The Rangers’ farm system continues to shine. Round Rock won its tenth in 11 tries over Oklahoma City to improve to a PCL-best 11-4, and Hickory swept a double dip from Bryce Harper and the Hagerstown Suns to seize the South Atlantic League’s best mark. Also, Myrtle Beach is a half-game behind Salem for the best mark in the Carolina League despite losing to Kinston yesterday.

It’s a Fireworks Friday at Dr Pepper Ballpark, and our coverage along the RoughRiders Baseball Network begins at 6:35. First pitch is set for 7:05. Enjoy!

- Brian

Longest Game Ever

No, not the one between Arkansas and Frisco yesterday, even though it felt like it at times. Today is the 30th anniversary of the start of the longest game in professional baseball history.

It all began as a seemingly ho-hum International League contest between the Rochester Red Wings and the Pawtucket Red Sox. The two teams would play until 4:09 a.m. on the 19th before stopping the game. They resumed the game June 23rd, and the outcome took only 18 minutes to decide. The Red Sox won 3-2.

There is a connection between that game and the RoughRiders. John Clemens, the public-address announcer at Dr Pepper Ballpark, was on the broadcast for Pawtucket as the studio host. I can’t even describe how strange of an experience that must have been.

It’s an incredible story. Check out more about this game here (by the way: both teams scored a run in the 21st!). And here’s a feature on John’s involvement with the game. Crazy stuff.

FRISCO FACTS:

  • Yesterday’s game was not the longest game ever, but it was the longest of this young season (3:26). After three innings, though, the game was already 1:30 old. Based on the score and the flow of the game, it probably felt even longer for Frisco fans.
  • One ‘Rider who is starting to heat up after a slow start is Davis Stoneburner. The infielder, who played for four different Rangers affiliates last season, began the season 2-for-17 with two RBIs. Over the last three games, though, Stoneburner has excelled when the RoughRiders have been without Renny Osuna. He is 4-for-12 with four runs scored and four RBIs. Actually, in the series, he has hit for the cycle, including a two-run homer in the first inning yesterday.
  • Here’s a stat that surprised me: Mike Bianucci notched his third multi-hit game of the year yesterday. It surprised me because the guy is hitting .324 through ten games. I thought he had more than that. Regardless, he has been steady.
  • Jonathan Greene also has three multi-hit efforts after a 3-for-4 day yesterday. Don’t look now, but Greene is making a pitch for more playing time. The Boone, N.C., native has hit safely in five of his six starts this year. He’s 9-for-21 (.429) for the young campaign. His OPS sits at a ridiculous 1.097. He is quietly putting together a very good start to 2011.
  • Yesterday’s game featured 25 men stranded, 14 of whom were in scoring position at the end of the inning. Frisco had 15 and eight in those two categories, respectively. And in six of the nine frames, the ‘Riders spoiled chances with at least two men aboard. It’s pretty easy to see why the RoughRiders lost when you gander at those numbers.
  • Pitch counts will always prevent minor league starters from going deep into games, but that’s not the only reason this club doesn’t have many innings pitched from the starters. The team has gotten 38.2 IP from them this year, which is just shy of 4 IP/start. The staff has an 8.15 ERA to go with that low ratio. Martin Perez (2.25) is the only starter who has an ERA under 5.40. 
  • With yesterday’s loss, the ‘Riders are now 4-6 after starting 2-0. But keep in mind, this is an up-and-down league. For example, Northwest Arkansas has dropped 3 of 4 after starting 5-1. San Antonio started the year 2-3, and the Missions now sit at 6-4. And Arkansas is 5-1 over the last 6 since beginning the year with four straight losses. Just some food for thought.
  • We’ve had a great response to our “Extra Bases Question” so far. If you haven’t heard of it yet, this is a chance for you to be a part of the post-game show. During our interactive game-day blog (The Extra Bases Blog), you can ask us questions. I will answer the best question from that day during the post-game coverage.
  • Finally, check out this year’s RoughRiders Baseball Academy for children ages 9-12. The information is online here. It is always a great event every year. I could have used some of this training during my baseball “career.”

We’re on early today. 10:30 pre-game. Note to those listening on 1630 KKGM: We will again be on tape-delay. You can hear the game in its entirety at 6:30 this evening. Enjoy!

- Brian

Some Comic Relief

UPDATE: Check out Aaron Goldsmith’s conversation with yesterday’s starter, Martin Perez. Details on Perez are available in this post.

Martin Perez Interview 4.15.11.mp3

_____________________

During our interactive gameday blog, the “Extra Bases Blog,” someone decided to have a little bit of fun. This person logged in as “Fabio Castillo” and posted things like this:

guys this is my first time pitching all year can
u cut me some slack? i did have a broken foot im still recovering from,
ill get em next time right”

its a long season and this is only my 4th double a apperance (sic) ill be ready next time”

Baseball is such a long season, and I hope that Castillo is able to recover from what was a rough outing. And for the fans of Castillo and the RoughRiders, hopefully this bit of comic relief helped after last night’s loss at Springfield.

With “Fake Fabio’s” approval, we head to the Facts.

FRISCO FACTS:

  • First, some injury news. Infielder Renny Osuna has been placed on the disabled list with a broken nose. He tried to bunt his way aboard in the sixth, but the ball went off his bat and then hit his nose. The ‘Riders add a pitcher for the 24th man–reliever Ramon Aguero. Aguero signed with the Rangers following the 2010 campaign after spending his entire minor league career in the Pirates organization.
  • Aguero was with Triple-A Round Rock for the start of the ’11 season. He worked two scoreless innings, which included a win in his only decision.
  • A former RoughRider is back in the bigs, at least for a few days. Pitcher Michael Kirkman was called up today through MLB’s new Paternity Leave List. Colby Lewis’ wife Jenny gave birth to a girl Wednesday, so he is spending a few days away. By rule, Lewis must be reinstated to the Rangers’ roster no later than Monday.
  • Another day, another big showing from Mike Bianucci. Bianucci clubbed his fifth home run of the very young season in yesterday’s fourth inning. It is obviously early, but think about this. Over the last four seasons, here are the home run totals for the Texas League leader at year’s end: 29 (NW Arkansas’ Clint Robinson), 26 (Frisco’s Chad Tracy), 26 (NW Arkansas’ Kila Ka’aihue and Arkansas’ Corey Smith), and 29 (Springfield’s Colby Rasmus).
  • Where am I going with this? Well, the Texas League season spans five months. So, all five of these home run leaders failed to average six home runs per month. Bianucci has five in the month of April, and the ‘Riders still have 15 games before May arrives. Wow.
  • The RoughRiders seemed to have complete control last night when they took a four-run advantage because of some slump busting. After two men were out, Engel Beltre reached on a single, which snapped an 0-for-11 skid. Bianucci followed suit with a walk, and Tommy Mendonca shed a sizable slump of his own (0-for-13) with an RBI single. Tack on Jonathan Greene’s first RBI of the season, and the ‘Riders had quite a showing in the sixth.
  • That was the good. We’ll get to the bad momentarily. But we have to touch on the great from last night’s game–Martin Perez. Perez, the Rangers’ top prospect, went five innings and struck out nine, which ties a career high. He scattered four hits and stranded five runners. Of his 81 pitches, 51 were strikes. 
  • Since the beginning of the 2010 season, Perez had pitched at least five innings of scoreless baseball only twice before yesterday. Those outings came in back-to-back starts last year: June 23rd against Midland and June 28th against Corpus Christi. 
  • Now, the bad. We will not delve into the seventh inning, with the exception of this: single, strikeout, single, single, double, intentional walk, single, single, walk, ground out, single, fly out. That was the batter-by-batter happenings in that frame. In all, the Cardinals banged out 16 hits, the most by a ‘Rider opponent since Corpus Christi banged out 17 on September 2nd, 2010.
  • Frisco’s pitching staff is now sixth in the league with a 5.86 ERA. The ‘Riders are barely above Arkansas’ 5.96 mark. Tulsa’s staff has a 7.40 ERA, with many of those runs coming in the Drillers’ 23-10 loss earlier this week to San Antonio.
  • We will be back with Richard Durrett of ESPNDallas.com for his live blog of the Rangers-Yankees game. During the game, we’ll be giving updates from the ‘Riders-Cards contest. You can access the blog and ask Richard and others your Rangers and RoughRiders questions here. We’ll also have the Extra Bases Blog up and rolling, as always at http://ridersbaseball.com/extrabases

Aaron Goldsmith has the call from Hammons Field at 7:07. Our coverage along the RRBN gets going at 6:37. Enjoy!

- Brian

On The Road Again

By far, the least glamorous part of minor league baseball is the travel. Let’s just say it isn’t always fun or comfortable.

A few leagues are fairly condensed. For example, the longest trip within the Florida State League (Daytona to Fort Myers) is about four hours. In the Appalachian League, the longest trip is a little less than five hours (Danville, Virginia to Greeneville, Tennessee).

There are some brutal trips in other leagues, though. For example, imagine almost 11 hours from Vancouver, British Columbia to Boise, Idaho in the Northwest League. Or almost 11 hours from Grand Chute, Wisconsin to Bowling Green, Kentucky in the Midwest League. Or more than 10 hours from Youngstown, Ohio to Burlington, Vermont in the New York-Penn League.

The Texas League has a mammoth trip. It is about 15 hours from Springfield to Corpus Christi. Ugh.

Fortunately, the RoughRiders are fairly centrally located within this league. Here are the seven trips (all according to Google Maps):

  • Arkansas: 5:20
  • Corpus Christi: 7:30
  • Midland: 6:00
  • NW Arkansas: 5:30
  • San Antonio: 5:10
  • Springfield: 7:00
  • Tulsa: 4:20

Nothing too long, but there isn’t a true “short” one, either. Anyways, here’s a quick version of the Facts to get you by on this off day.

FRISCO FACTS:

  • With Josh Hamilton’s injury, former ‘Rider Chris Davis was called up to the big leagues. That’s been all over the news. But, to fill Davis’ place, outfielder Joey Butler has been called up to Triple-A Round Rock. Butler was hitting .316 (6-for-19) with two homers and four runs batted in.
  • To fill the spot on the Frisco roster, infielder Erik Morrison has been added from the disabled list. Morrison was with high-A Bakersfield all of last year (.242, 13 HR, 45 RBI). He played in two games here in Frisco back in ’09.
  • The ‘Riders only have three outfielders on the roster because of Butler’s promotion. I don’t expect any shifting of Engel Beltre from center.
  • The question is: where will David Paisano and Mike Bianucci be? Of Paisano’s 467 career games, he has played in right only 91 times. But 61 of those came last year. He has been in left field for all five of his starts thus far this season. Bianucci has started in left once this season; the other five starts have come at DH. But he has spent more time in right in his minor league career (111 games) than Paisano. The outfield alignment will be interesting to monitor.
  • The Northwest Arkansas Naturals are off to their best start in franchise history: 5-1. They have won four of their games by one run.
  • Only two minor league teams remain undefeated: the Hagerstown Suns (South Atlantic League, 5-0) and the Daytona Cubs (Florida State League, 6-0). The Suns, by the way, have the services of Baseball America’s top overall prospect–Washington’s Bryce Harper.

Enjoy a day away from the RoughRiders. We’ll be back tomorrow at 6:37 along the RRBN for the ‘Riders and the Cards. Take care.

- Brian

‘Riders on ESPNDallas.com

We’ve got a special treat for you this morning/afternoon. Richard Durrett of ESPNDallas.com has invited us on his live blog for the Rangers’ afternoon date with the Tigers.

You can view the blog here. We will be providing in-game updates of the rubber match between the ‘Riders and the Travelers. The participation for these Rangers blogs have been great, so check it out.

Also, check out Durrett’s recent feature on former RoughRider Alexi Ogando’s journey to the majors. Ogando worked seven scoreless innings for his second straight victory yesterday in Detroit. Ogando and the Rangers are now 9-1.

Here’s a Tuesday edition of the Facts before brunch with the Riders at 11 a.m.

FRISCO FACTS:

  • It was a tough night for the heart of the RoughRiders order last night. The 2-5 hitters (Engel Beltre, Joey Butler, Mike Bianucci, and Tommy Mendonca) went a combined 2-for-16 (.125). That quartet, which has remained the same through the first five games of the season, was hitting a combined 18-for-61 (.295). 
  • Even Bianucci cooled off after an incredible four-game start. He went 0-for-4 to lower his batting average to .350 (7-for-20). He still leads the league in homers (4) and is second to Tulsa’s Tim Wheeler in RBIs (8).
  • Joey Butler did have his best game of the young campaign. The right-fielder who spent all of last year with Frisco (.277, 10 HR, 58 RBIs in 132 games) went 2-for-4 with an opposite field, two-run homer. 
  • Jose Ruiz, a free agent signing after being let go by the Tampa Bay Rays, added two more hits last night to keep his average at .500 (7-for-14), which ties him for the league lead. Despite his big frame (6’3″, 235), though, all of his hits have been singles. His good work at the plate earned him a move up in the lineup. Ruiz will hit fifth today after getting four starts in the seven hole.
  • The ‘Riders pen has been the better of the two pitching units through the first turn in the rotation. The bullpen has two of the three wins and a 2.96 ERA, while the starters have a 6.23 ERA. Plus, the relievers have tossed more innings (24.1) than the starters (21.2). Only two starters have reached the five-inning mark–Jake Brigham and today’s starter Wilfredo Boscan.
  • Interesting note from second-year skipper Steve Buechele regarding early games that follow a typical 7 p.m. start: the starting pitcher for the morning/early afternoon game does not leave the previous night’s game early. Thus, Boscan was at the stadium last night until at least 10:16, which was one minute after the final pitch of yesterday’s 6-4 Arkansas win.
  • We talked about it on the broadcast last night, but check out the box score from yesterday’s 23-10 victory for San Antonio over Tulsa. I checked three different sources before I believed that score. Crazy stuff. 

Our coverage begins at 10:35 a.m. on the RoughRiders Baseball Network. For those who tune in via 1630 KKGM, please note that today’s game will be played on tape delay beginning at 6:35 this evening. Enjoy the game!

- Brian

My Play of the Game

I know it is early in the season, but I have to toot my own horn. I promise I won’t do it often. I may never do it again. But during yesterday’s game, I caught a foul ball.

During my play-by-play call of the third inning, Mike Bianucci fouled one off behind home. The ball hopped off the roof in front of our booth and shot inside it. I tapped it up with my right hand and then made the catch after a brief collision with the wall to my right.

I feel bad because Aaron left the booth for only one inning last night. And it happened to be the third. Good thing he wasn’t there to witness it, from my perspective, because I was probably sporting a petrified face as the ball came at me.

Anyways, let’s get you a Monday edition of the Facts.

FRISCO FACTS:

  • Almost everyone took part in the hit parade yesterday. All RoughRiders starters except Tommy Mendonca had at least one hit and scored at least one run. Three ‘Riders (Renny Osuna, Engel Beltre and Mike Bianucci) had multi-RBI efforts. That trio, plus Jonathan Greene, posted at least two hits.
  • Through four games, admittedly a small sample size, the RoughRiders are second in team batting average (.295), second in runs scored (27), tops in homers (seven), and second in OPS (.915) in the Texas League.
  • Why are the ‘Riders leading the way in homers? Two words: Mike Bianucci. Bianucci, who made his first start in left field yesterday after three straight starts at designated hitter, has four of the ‘Riders seven. Within the Texas League, Bianucci is the only batter with more than two. Taking it a step further, Bianucci has hit four of the 33 within the league. In other words, he has hit 12.1% of the home runs in the TL so far.
  • Frisco starter Miguel De Los Santos was brilliant at times yesterday afternoon. At one point, the southpaw rung up five straight (four coming on called-third strikes). He whiffed eight for the game. De Los Santos did, however, labor in the fourth. The Travelers, a club that hasn’t scored more than four runs in a game this season, plated four in the fourth alone. Three straight doubles, none of which were cheap, plus a home run from Ryan Mount made the game interesting.
  • Outside of those four batters, though, here’s De Los Santos’ line: 4.2 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 1 BB, 8 Ks. Only two balls left the infield during that span.
  • For the fifth straight day, batters two through five are set in manager Steve Buechele’s lineup: Beltre, Joey Butler, Bianucci and Mendonca. Safe to say that those four guys are pretty set in the order.
  • The first go-around in the rotation wraps up tonight, as Carlos Pimentel toes the rubber for the RoughRiders. Pimentel had a pretty unique line in Tuesday’s exhibition against Round Rock (3.0 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 5 BB). Out of the bullpen, Pimentel escaped a bases-loaded, one-out jam with a double play line out to second in the fourth. The fifth was pretty clean, with two strikeouts and only a one-out walk. In the sixth, the Express left men at second and third with two away.
  • Fantastic job by the RoughRiders staff and fans over the last four days. The four-day attendance total of 39,248 (or 9,812 per game) is the highest total and average in all of affiliated baseball.
  • Great tweet from Scott Lucas (@scottrlucas) of the Newberg Report: “Chris
    Davis has more homers than 17 AAA teams.” The former ‘Rider has four in
    four games for Round Rock. The Memphis Redbirds, the Triple-A affiliate for the Cardinals, do not have a home run yet this
    season.
  • How about this game from the low-A South Atlantic League: Kannapolis 2-Lakewood 0 in 16 innings. And it was game one of a doubleheader, which means they were only slated to play seven innings! Lakewood only had three hits in the game.

It’s game two of this three-game set between Frisco and Arkansas. Pre-game begins at 6:35 along the RRBN, with first pitch set for 7:05. By the way, if you have any questions, comments, or suggestions for the blog, feel free to send them my way: bboesch@ridersbaseball.com. Thanks!

- Brian

A Tradition Unlike Any Other

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.

FRISCO 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!

- Brian

The B-List

I’m a huge fan of the letter “B.” After all, that’s the first letter of my first and last name. In the season opener last night, the letter “B” was huge for the RoughRiders. Consider this:

*Mike Bianucci, Engel Beltre and Joey Butler had six of the ‘Riders seven hits.
*Bianucci and Butler hit a combined total of three home runs.
*Wilfredo Boscan and Beau Jones earned a win and a hold, respectively.

On the flip side, Springfield had only one player with a first or last name that starts with a “B” appear in last night’s game. Brett Zawacki tossed a scoreless inning of relief.

It’s all about the B’s. There will be plenty of B’s in today’s Facts.

FRISCO FACTS:

  • That was quite a Double-A debut for Mike Bianucci. In his first at-bat, the designated hitter clubbed a pitch that was low and a little outside over the Dr Pepper Patio in left-center. I don’t have the best set of eyes in the world, but, in my opinion, that ball went 400+ feet. In the seventh, Bianucci hit another blast more toward center field.
  • The two pitches that Bianucci hit were not in the typical “wheelhouse” of your normal player, but that’s just fine with him. “They were down in the zone, but those are pitches that I like,” Bianucci said. “I can get my hands extended on them pretty easily…those are my pitches.”
  • To put this day into perspective, go back to last year. A RoughRider drove in 3 or more runs 18 times last year. Only five times did someone surpass Bianucci’s run-producing effort. “It’s not what you are expecting,” Bianucci said about his big day. “I had a lot of adrenaline going last night, and I tried to just calm myself down and put good swings on the ball and I think I did last night.”
  • In the minors, lineup changes are always fun to watch, especially early in the season. To no one’s surprise, the 2-5 hitters for Frisco (Beltre, Butler, Bianucci, Mendonca) will remain intact. Renny Osuna will get the start at second and will lead off. David Paisano, who hit in the one-hole yesterday, falls down to sixth. Jonathan Greene gets the start at first base in place of Jose Ruiz, and he will hit seventh. The Felix-Rodriguez combo at 8 and 9 is back in place tonight.
  • I have to include a Fact on Wilfredo Boscan, the RoughRiders’ starter from last night. Boscan, in the lid-lifter of his Double-A career, gave up two runs over five innings for the victory. The only two tallies came on solo home runs, one of which hit the yellow padding of the wall in right-center and bounced over. He has never made an in-season jump in the minor leagues, so, if history holds true, fans in Frisco should get familiar with Boscan.
  • All eyes will be on tonight’s starting pitcher–Martin Perez. Perez is back in Frisco after a 5-8 season in 2010. The Rangers’ top prospect posted a 5.96 ERA. No minor league pitcher will ever be the prototypical “work horse,” but Perez did not get deep into outings last year even in the context of a minor league hurler. He averaged 4.15 innings per outing in ’10. But manager Steve Buechele has said on multiple occasions that Perez pitched better than he ever has during spring training, and ’11 is a chance for Perez to showcase that improvement.
  • Not a good day for former ‘Rider Michael Kirkman. The 2010 Pacific Coast League Pitcher of the Year gave up 10 runs on 10 hits in three and a third innings in Triple-A Round Rock’s 12-9 loss to Iowa last night.
  • On the flip side, how about the low-A debuts of a pair of top-10 Rangers’ prospects. Infielder Jurickson Profar, the number two prospect according to Baseball America, homered to left in his first at-bat for Hickory. Later in that first inning, outfielder Jake Skole, number nine on Baseball America’s list, hit a three-run double in his first full-season AB. That was all the offense Hickory needed in a 4-2 triumph over Asheville.
  • Good luck to the Myrtle Beach Pelicans, the newest Texas high-A affiliate, as they open the Carolina League slate tonight at home against the Wilmington Blue Rocks.
  • Finally, tonight is the first fireworks display of the season here at Dr Pepper Ballpark. There will be 16 shows this season!

Join us on the Network at 6:35 this evening for more from Mike Bianucci and a preview of game two of the series. It’s Springfield and Frisco. Enjoy!

- Brian

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 56 other followers