Results tagged ‘ Nathan Barnett ’

#MascotMania! Vote Deuce!

Deuce_MascotMania

Today marks the beginning of Mascot Mania, a competition where YOU decide who has the best mascot in all of minor league baseball. From now until August 1 is Round One, in which the ‘Riders mascot, Deuce, is competing against the other seven mascots from the Texas League.

Last year was the inagural year of the Mascot Mania, but the rules have changed this season. Deuce needs only to outlast the other Texas League mascots to capture victory and make it the finals.

Contest Details

Dates: Round One begins on Thursday, July 18 and runs through noon on Thursday, August 1. Round Two starts around 2 PM EDT on Thursday, August 1 and ends at noon EDT on Thursday, August 8.

Matchups: Every team will be in a group with the other teams from its League for Round One. Deuce is in a round with the other Texas League mascots. Each League winner will advance to Round Two to compete for the overall championship. The overall winner will receive a “Championship Belt”:

2012 Champion Orbit of the Albuquerque Isotopes

How to vote:

Fans can vote in two different ways –

a)      Online – Fans can vote an unlimited number of times through the online ballot. Vote here.

b)      Twitter – fans can vote via Twitter by using the hashtag mascotmania (#mascotmania) and by including the club Twitter handle in the tweet (@RidersBaseball). You can vote up to 25 times per account per day on Twitter. Retweets count as well, so encourage retweeting in your tweets. 

Sweepstakes and prizes:

The campaign features a sweepstakes where fans can win MLB.TV subscriptions, MiLB.TV subscriptions, MLB.com & MiLB.com shop giftcards. Fans can enter through the ballot or by tweeting their vote and following @MiLB.

In addition, the RoughRiders are encouraging fans to vote by giving away some sweet RoughRiders gear! A few select fans who vote on Twitter will be selected at the conclusion of the contest and will win RoughRiders merchandise, autographs or special VIP tours of Dr Pepper Ballpark.

Vote early! Vote late! Vote often! And spread the word!

- Nathan

Baseball term of the day: yakker a mean, sharp-breaking, overhand curveball

Battle of the Beards: Tufts vs. Bleier

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I will save you the suspense. Tufts won. At least in the battle of attrition. Richard shaved his beard on Saturday, so the fight is not a really a fair one here.

That said, this photo and graphic can forever keep his fantastic all-black (not dyed) beard living forever on the internet. We aren’t quite sure why he shaved it. He did admit that his significant other doesn’t like the beard, but that being the reason is pure speculation. For now, let’s live in the glory days, and remember what was: the best beard battle of the RoughRiders’ season.

To honor this great competition, we profiled the two beards. Now we need you to help us decide. Comment below or send us a tweet with “#BattleoftheBeards” and vote who you think has had the better beard.

RoughRider: Tyler Tufts Richard Bleier
Beard Name: Red Raider Dark Passenger
Beard Color: A little red, a little blonde, a little bit of brown — the Perfect Mixture Black
Beard Age: 3 months 3 months  Four Days
How long have you been growing beards? Since college–this is the most epic one I have ever grown though. Since I entered pro ball. We weren’t allowed to in college.
How often do you trim your beard? NEVER Often because of the curling cowlicks on the sides.
Is this a season-long beard you plan on growing? Nothing will stop it. I am not shaving it. Take it day-by-day. If it gets annoying enough I will probably shave it, but right now, I am trying to keep up with Tufts.
Beard Personality: Grouchy and angry. It would spend most of the day sleeping and playing Call of Duty. It would just be hot and sweaty all the time.
If your beard could eat one meal what would it be? Cheesy Gordita Crunch from Taco Bell Whatever I am eating that day.
Why is my beard better than the opposition? Because Richard trims his. It’s gotta be the color. When I have Mitch Moreland telling me that my beard is better than Tufts’…I mean, it’s just a full black beard. Tyler’s is a good beard though…
On a 1-10 scale, rank Tyler’s beard: 10 7
On a 1-10 scale, rank Richard’s beard: 8 7.5 – Jake [Brigham], Tyler and I have been growing these for years. Jake’s is like a 2.

You know, looking back at the answers, it’s not all that shocking that Richard shaved his beard first. Tyler was just with oozing confidence for  his mane.

So now, help us decide, who had the better beard? Vote #Tufts or #Bleier by tweeting at @RidersBaseball.

Want us to profile another beard this season? Let us via twitter or post in the comments section below. Here are a few beard and other facial hair photos from this season (click for larger view):

Bleier

Richard Bleier

Tyler Tufts

Joakim Soria

Kevin Pucetas

Carlos Pimentel

Jake Brigham

Coach James Vilade

Zach Zaneski

Herrera

Odubel Herrera

Chih-Hsien Chiang

ADDENDUM: As pointed out by Jan, we missed Jimmy. A inexcusable goof. As were excluding the other fellows listed below:

Jimmy Reyes

Jimmy Reyes

Kyle McClellan

Kyle McClellan

 

Joe Benson

Joe Benson

 

Randy Henry

Randy Henry

Justin Miller

Justin Miller

 

- Nathan

Baseball term of the day: belly whoppera headfirst slide

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary)

‘Riders on the Record: a catcher pitching and playing like a girl

071413 blog shot team riders on the record
‘Riders on the Record is a weekly rundown of the pre-game interviews record by broadcasters Alex Vispoli and Nathan Barnett with RoughRiders players and coaches and occasionally a special guest. You can find all previous editions by clicking here.

Without a doubt one of my favorite editions of ‘Riders on the Record this season. Steve Buechele gives some extremely high praise to Carlos Pimentel’s slide piece, Guilder Rodriguez gives his sage wisdom to the youngsters on the roster, catcher Zach Zaneski smiles over the microphone about pitching in a ballgame and Casey Candaele explains why he occasionally took batting practice naked in the big leagues. Radio gold this week.

Happy Sunday and enjoy!

Sunday, July 7, 2013 – Manager Steve Buechele


Steve Buechele sits down in his weekly conversation to talk about the bounce back effort from Carlos Pimentel. Coming off his eight strikeout performance, he talks about the right-hander’s slider that has put him into the ‘Riders record books. (w/ Alex Vispoli)

Monday, July 8, 2013 – IF Guilder Rodriguez


Guilder Rodriguez joins us to talk about his first ever All-Star game experience, coming two weeks prior in Springdale, Arkansas. The 13-year veteran explains how special the honor is but is quick to divert the attention to the younger players who got the honor as well. Rodriguez sheds light on how he tries to help the younger players like Herrera, Alberto and Telis improve and carry themselves professionally. (w/ Nathan Barnett)

Wednesday, July 10, 2013 - IF Alex Buchholz


Alex Buchholz talks about his current hot streak, which was highlighted by a blast of a home run to finish the home stand. He talks about his mental and physical adjustments this season and the importance of staying healthy. He weighs in on the swing of Chih-Hsien Chiang and the fan environment in Frisco. (w/ Alex)

Thursday, July 11, 2013 - C/”RHP” Zach Zaneski


During the longest game in RoughRiders history, catcher Zach Zaneski made his professional appearance on the mound. Impressively, Zach tossed three scoreless innings with two strikeouts. He talks about his unforgettable experience and what he learned from former big leaguer Kyle McClellan in the bullpen to get ready for his outing. (w/ Alex)

Friday, July 12, 2013 – Rangers Infield Coordinator Casey Candaele


Casey Candaele is the Rangers infielder coordinator, and for the series in Corpus Christi served as the acting manager. He talks about the whirlwind of a first game played in the series that took 16 innings. He weighs in on what the young infielders Hanser Alberto and Odubel Herrera need to do to keep getting better and reminisces on his impressive, long, and occasionally amusing big league career. (w/ Alex)

Saturday, July 13, 2013 – IF Greg Miclat


One of the newer RoughRider Greg Miclat has played two positions in his first five professional seasons–shortstop and second base. In Corpus Christi, he twice played third base. He talks about the adjustment to that spot and the last time he has played there. Not known for his power, Greg tells us that he remembers each one of his home runs and he recalls his pro homer. (w/ Alex)

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We will post our “Home Sweet Home” preview of the whole home stand tomorrow, but the ‘Riders begin a four-game series today. Pitching matchup has RHP Nick McBride (1-5, 5.84) vs. RHP Keyvius Sampson (6-4, 2.90)

Sunday, July 14   |  6:05 p.m.   | RoughRiders vs. San Antonio Missions (SDP)
TV:  KTXD    Radio: RidersBaseball.com    Webstream: MiLB.tv 

- Nathan

Baseball term of the day: pool table - a smooth infield

Metroplex Mysteries: a 10-Hour Tie Game?

So we are now over 24 hours beyond the longest game in RoughRiders history. MiLB does a great job compiling minor league baseball statistics, but their records only go back to 2005, when they began tracking and storing minor league data. Therefore when we claimed the game on Wednesday as the “Longest Game in RoughRiders History,” it comes with an implied “in known history”–even explicitly stated so by us, like in the game notes from Thursday.

We do have some records from 2003 and 2004, the first two years in RoughRiders history, but they are not official and sometimes incomplete. The first broadcaster for the ‘Riders, Scott Garner left his scorebooks for the archives here, and those help a ton.

In perusing the data I could find there were a pair of 13-inning contests–nothing longer that I could find. One in particular was intriguing and just might be the true longest game in team history. For starters, here is the old box score still available in MiLB’s archive (although the box score was not produced by Minor League Baseball Advanced Media (MILBAM), so they can not verify it’s correctness–good thing too, as you will see):

Click for larger view

Click for larger view

So a couple of things jump out.

  1. There is no official game time.
  2. The game was tied at 4-4 but the Travelers never had their half of the 13th.
  3. At the top the the winner is listed “TIE GAME”.
  4. Steve Andrade is listed as a pitcher in line to pitch the 14th for the Travelers but never threw a pitch.

Now, games can get called and never “count” in a league, but it typically happens late in either half of  the season when the game won’t be able to be made up because the two teams will not play in the same site again. Trouble is, the two teams played in Arkansas the following day. They should have been able to play the game after suspending it. The ‘Riders did play another tie game earlier that year on April 23, 2004 in Wichita despite traveling to Wichita again later in the season, so it seems the Texas League rules have changed some since then.

Still, the game appears to be an enigma.

Neither team was given a win or loss for the game, but it’s not that the game was scrapped from the records all-together, which is what happens when games are postponed before they become official (Rangers fans might remember when Mitch Moreland hit the grand slam that never happened). The stats still counted from the game.

Confounded by this game, I went to Scott’s old scorebook:

photo2

Finding the game in this book confirms that it was a tie. Paging forward to the following game shows that each team’s record did not change following the July 16 contest. The ‘Riders were 48-44 when they began on July 16 and 48-44 when they started their contest on July 17. Arkansas was 40-51 for both. So how did this game end? Well, the ‘Riders were retired in the top of the 13th:

Frisco Top 13th

The ‘Riders were retired in order: strikeout, line out, and 1-3 ground out from the 5-6-7 batters in the order (Tydus Meadows, Edgar Gonzalez, and Jason Bourgeois).

How about the supposed never-finished bottom of the 13th? Remember the box score above showed an “x” in the bottom of the 13th, a symbol usually reserved for the bottom of the ninth when the home team wins without the benefit of batting in the bottom of the ninth.

ARK BOT 13thSo the inning began with Nick Gorneault striking out. Derrick Gibson then reached and was erased on the fielder’s choice by Jeff Mathis, going 5-4 for the second out of the inning. Then comes Mike Eylward. The box score at the top claims that Eylward went 0-for-6 with two strikeouts. To this point on the scorecard, Eylward was 0-for-5 with a strikeout, two fly outs, a ground out, and a line out. Deduction would assume that he struck out.

Taking a look at the card though, the last marks of his plate appearance in the 13th shows he had a 2-1 count. Maybe he struck out and it was never indicated (I have been known to not put the last play sometimes, having to go back later, as I can get busy totaling up line scores and such when the game concludes). There are also some instances in which a broadcaster would go on to another page; perhaps Scott did this at this point with how cramped the space was, and we have lost that extra card.

What seems likely is that the game was either called due to weather during that plate appearance or immediately after it. Perhaps Steve Andrade came into the ballgame and warmed up in the top of the 14th and then they called the game before the inning officially began, which is why he was entered into the scoring system but never threw a pitch.

Weather data from July 16 and July 17 indicates that it was indeed raining and didn’t stop until 1:00 a.m.

On the right side of the page, Scott typically noted the attendance and the time of game. And here is the kicker…and really the reason for the whole post. Remember, the box score lists no game time. photo4

10 hours and 56 minutes! That must have included multiple rain delays as well. Or at least you would think so, but it didn’t begin raining in Little Rock (which at the time was the home of the Travelers at Ray Winder Field), until around 11:00 p.m. Maybe this is when they called the game, which would make the game just under four hours (assuming a 7 o’clock start). That also seems unlikely since, according to the above weather data, the rain would have been starting up at that time.

With the 17th’s game played under no threat of rain, and on a Saturday, it seems strange that they didn’t finish this suspended game.

So…the mystery continues. If you have any idea what happened on this day, let us know in the comments or tweet us at @RidersBaseball ! We will try and update the post if we hear any additional info. For now, be baffled and amused.

- Nathan

Baseball term of the day: wilted lilly - a batter who lets his bat droop as he awaits for the pitch

Meet the new ‘Rider: Greg Miclat

Best wishes Justin Miller. As of Wednesday, Justin is a member of the Triple-A Round Rock Express, making his first career trip to Triple-A. Finding his form over the last six outings, Miller seemed ready for the next step, and now he will get the chance. From the ‘Riders press release:

Miller, 26, has played exclusively for the RoughRiders since 2011. The right-hander was recovering from “Tommy John” surgery at the start of the season, and began a MLB rehab assignment with the RoughRiders on May 17. On June 12, Miller was taken off his rehab assignment and was optioned to Frisco. In 16 appearances with the ‘Riders this season, Miller was 1-0 with a 6.19 ERA. He allowed 11 earned runs on 16 hits in 16 innings of work, striking out 21 and walking seven. Over his last six outings, the Bakersfield, California native allowed one unearned run in six innings of work. He did not walk a batter and surrendered just three hits over that stretch. Miller pitched for the ‘Riders in 2011 and missed all of 2012 after undergoing “Tommy John” surgery in April 2012.

In return, the RoughRiders are getting Greg Miclat from the Express, a middle infielder that has spent his first two years in the Rangers organization as a member of the Triple-A squad.

Miclat, 25, is in his second season with the Round Rock Express. Drafted by the Baltimore Orioles in the fifth round of the 2008 MLB June Amateur Draft, Miclat was traded to Texas by the Orioles in December 2011 as a player to be named later, along with Randy Henry, in exchange for former RoughRiders and Rangers catcher Taylor Teagarden. In 68 games this season, the Salisbury, North Carolina native is hitting .252 with no home runs and 24 RBI to go along with ten stolen bases, playing 30 games at shortstop and 39 at second base. The middle infielder stole a career-high 50 bases in 2011 with the Bowie Baysox in his final season as Orioles’ property. This will be his first stint with the RoughRiders.

RRSP0179

(Jamie Harms / American-Statesman)

Splitting his time between 2B and SS makes you think that he probably plays there for the ‘Riders as well. In fact, he has played only 2B and SS in his career.

Could that mean we see G-Rod in the outfield like 2012? Before Monday night, the ‘Riders had played the Teodoro Martinez / Ryan Strausborger / Chih-Hsien Chiang outfield trio for 20 straight games until Alejandro Selen spelled Chiang a couple days ago in right field. The addition of Miclat could allow Rodriguez to give that trio a bit more rest. In his career, Rodriguez has played three games in right field, 16 in center, and 23 in left field.

Bringing in Miclat also brings the ‘Riders back into a more conventional roster construction. Since Benson’s placement on the disabled list on May 19, the RoughRiders have functioned with just two bench players. Now they have three.

Miclat (25 years old) doesn’t hit for much power but provides an experienced middle infielder to bolster the youngsters Hanser Alberto (20) and Odubel Herrera (21). The 50 stolen base season for Miclat in 2011 provides some intrigue as well. The Express have been a pretty conservative baserunning team in his time in the Rangers system, ranking second to last in the PCL in 2012 in stolen bases with 70 in 104 attempts. This season they have been slightly below middle of the pack in both. Maybe this is why Miclat’s stolen base totals are down so significantly.

Perhaps with Steve Buechele‘s “green light” system, we could see Miclat return to his running ways. Scouted as having speed that grades as less than elite, Miclat clearly knows how to run the bases; his 50 steals in 2011 came on just 53 attempts.

File this away in the slightly interesting category: this is the first time that Henry and Miclat will be on the same team in their careers. They have been in the same major league organization since Henry was drafted in 2009, but Miclat has always been a level or two above the Oklahoman.

Miclat will be in uniform for the RoughRiders tonight when they begin a four-game series with the Corpus Christi Hooks. You can read more about the matchup in today’s game notes and be sure to tune in to the broadcast, which begins at 6:40 p.m. for the 7:05 scheduled first pitch.

- Nathan

Baseball term of the day: sodfather - the groundskeeper

‘Riders on the Record: Three pitchers, two managers and a broadcaster

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‘Riders on the Record is a weekly rundown of the pre-game interviews record by broadcasters Alex Vispoli and Nathan Barnett with RoughRiders players and coaches and occasionally a special guest. You can find all previous editions by clicking here.

A pitching-heavy week on ‘Riders on the record provided some gems from our guests. Kevin Pucetas spoke with R.A. Dickey about his knuckleball apprenticeship–good stuff. Other highlights include Tyler Tufts channeling his old college routine to starting pitching, Nick McBride’s July 4th tradition, Travelers’ manager Tim Bogar comparing Terry Francona and Joe Maddon and Naturals broadcaster Steven Davis’ impressions of flamethrower Yordano Ventura.

Enjoy and Happy Sunday! (and belated Happy Independence Day!)

Sunday, June 30, 2013 – Manager Steve Buechele


In their weekly chat, Alex spoke with ‘Riders manager Steve Buechele about the week that was after the All-Star break. He touches on the resiliency of the offense in their big come-from-behind win. He also talks about the promotion of 2012 ‘Riders outfielder Engel Beltre to the big leagues. (w/ Alex Vispoli)

Monday, July 1, 2013 – Voice of the Naturals Steven Davis


Steven Davis, the voice of the Naturals, talks about the success of the All-Star Game at Arvest Ballpark. He discusses the improved offense and the no-hitter from Brooks Pounders and reminisces on the most impressive Royals pitching prospects he has seen in his time in Springdale. (w/ Alex)

Wednesday, July 3, 2013 – RHP Tyler Tufts


Tyler Tufts made just one start in his pro career before 2013. This year, he has made 12. He has been great as a starter as well. He talks about his routine adjustment and explains what his timeline is like on the day his spot in the rotation is due up. He explains his current health situation and tosses aside the notion 100% in favor of day-to-day assessment. (w/ Nathan Barnett)

Thursday, July 4, 2013 – RHP Nick McBride


On Independence Day, RoughRiders starting pitcher Nick McBride talks about his family’s July 4th tradition on what is now his property. A fixture in the ‘Riders rotation for over a month, McBride began the season in the bullpen at Advanced-A Myrtle Beach; he discusses the change in routine and adjustment as a starter as well as the development of a new pitch. (w/ Nathan)

Friday, July 5, 2013 – Arkansas Travelers Manager Tim Bogar


Arkansas Travelers Manager Tim Bogar joined the pregame show for the final meeting of the regular season between the RoughRiders and the Travelers. He talks about his coaching tree and breaks down the play of some of the key Angels prospects on his roster. (w/ Nathan)

Saturday, July 6, 2013 – RHP Kevin Pucetas


Starting pitcher Kevin Pucetas has begun throwing a knuckleball in addition to his more conventional pitch mix. He talks about the development of that pitch and the advice given to him by R.A. Dickey. (w/ Nathan)

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The RoughRiders meet up with the Naturals tonight at 6:00 p.m. from Dr Pepper Ballpark. As always, you can find the game over at RidersBaseball.com! Here Alex’s interview with the manager live tonight at around 5:50 as part of the pre-game show.

- Nathan

Baseball term of the day: raw-raw - a knuckleball 

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary)

‘Riders in Review: June 2013

Early first half struggles for Tulsa and Northwest Arkansas flipped upside down as the two teams became the two most dominant Texas League squads in the month of June. Led by retired-no-more Roy Oswalt and indy-ball right-hander Sean Gallagher, the Drillers posted an absurd 2.12 ERA in June and made up enough ground to capture the first-half title in the North Division. The Naturals played spoiler to their in-state rivals, beating the Arkansas Travelers in five of six meetings to close the first half and send the Travs tumbling out of the top spot in the North. Now the Naturals are tied for first place in the whole Texas League in the second half (8-5 entering Thursday).

The RoughRiders, on the other hand, experienced a tough month of June. Losing Roman Mendez in May didn’t help, neither did the promotions of Wilmer Font, Jared Hoying, Ryan Rodebaugh, and Ben Rowen, not to mention the continued injury issue for outfielder Joe Benson. Still, the RoughRiders completed the first half in second place and are competing in the early part of the second half.

Texas League Rankings for the Month of June

Record: 44-37 overall, 12-15 in May (T-5th in Texas League), home: 5-9, road: 7-6, vs. division: 10-10

Runs: 96 (7th)

Average: .259 (3rd)

On-base percentage: .299 (8th)

Stolen bases: 23 (T-3rd)

Home runs: 18 (5th)

ERA: 4.10 (7th)

Strikeouts for: 210 (1st)

Walks allowed: 99 (8th)

Avg attendance for the year: 7310 (1st)*

RIDERS REVIEW Record Runs AVG OBP SB HR ERA K BB Avg. Att. TD*
April 14-11 107 .250 .297 19 17 2.87 208 84 7060
May 18-11 125 .247 .306 38 32 4.12 255 114 7315
June 12-15 96 .259 .299 23 18 4.10 210 99 7310
Season 44-37 328 .252 .301 80 67 3.73 463 297 7310

TL IN MAY Record Runs AVG OBP SB HR ERA K BB Avg. Att. TD*
Tulsa 17-9 82 .230 .307 26 12 2.12 158 65 5,950
NW Ark. 17-12 137 .283 .330 25 29 4.01 209 95 4,794
Corpus 14-13 132 .252 .324 19 33 4.16 160 72 5,388
San Anto. 14-13 102 .257 .314 22 12 3.44 207 71 4,221
FRISCO 12-15 96 .259 .299 23 18 4.10 210 99 7,363
Springfield 12-15 104 .260 .323 13 24 3.97 200 72 4,611
Arkansas 12-16 111 .254 .320 23 22 3.66 195 80 4,499
Midland 11-16 132 .256 .347 16 17 3.97 193 72 4,641

*Attendance calculated through July 3 games, so June numbers include one game of July for each team

Awards

‘Riders Slugger of the Month

C Tomas Telis (.338/.365/.563, 9 R, 4 2B, 4 HR, 13 RBI, 2 BB, 1 SB)

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What a month for Tomas. The Texas League All-Star hit all four of his home runs in the month and lifted his average from .234 after June 1st’s 0-for-4 to .277 when the month completed. Telis was not only the best ‘Riders hitter in June but can make a case that he was the best hitter in the whole league. His .338 mark was the best in the league among qualifying hitters. He was tied for seventh in home runs. He accomplished what he did in just 18 games, splitting time with Brett Nicholas and Zach Zaneski at the catcher spot. He posted nine multi hit games in June (and has done so in all three July games already). He stole a base to boot and he won a fan a car. Not bad. Bravo Tomas!

Past winners: Nicholas (May), Hoying (April)

‘Riders Hurler of the Month

RHP Tyler Tufts (0-1, 1.82 ERA, 5 GS, 24.2 IP, 18 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 0 HRA, 9 K, 4 BB, 3 HB, 0.89 WHIP, .207 BAA)

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Like Telis, Tufts really had a breakout month in June. The career reliever made one spot start in 2012, his first in five seasons as a pro.  This year, he has made 12 starts with a 3.20 ERA as a starter. In five June starts, he allowed one or fewer earned runs in four of his five outings. On two occassions, Tufts fired five innings of shutout ball with two or fewer hits allowed, and in 24.2 innings over the month, he walked just four batters. Only Jimmy Reyes had a lower ERA during the month among pitchers with more than eight innings pitched (1.80 ERA).

Past winners: Rowen (May), Henry (April)

Official Texas League Players of the Week:

May 27 – June 2: P – Murphy Smith (Midland); B – George Springer (Corpus Christi)

June 3-9: P – Carlos Pimentel (Frisco) ; B – Brian Fletcher (NW Arkansas) 

June 10-16: P -Roy Oswalt (Tulsa); B – Alex Buchholz (Frisco)

June 17 – 23: P – Neil Ramirez (Frisco); B – Ruben Gotay (Springfield)

June 24 – 30: P – Brooks Pounders (NW Arkansas); B – Whit Merrifield (NW Arkansas)

Punching Bag of the Month

Corpus Christi Hooks SP Jake Buchanan

The award given out to the player most likely to be glad he isn’t facing Frisco anytime soon goes out of respect this month to Jake Buchanan. It’s not that Buchanan was the hardest-hit pitcher the RoughRiders faced, but considering his accomplishments before his meeting with the RoughRiders on June 12, his slip-ups to end June (and coincidentally his Texas League season, for now), made him a contender and the ultimate selection of the notorious honor.

In his final three Texas League starts, before promotion to Triple-A Oklahoma City, Buchanan allowed 13 runs, all earned. Before that three-start stint he had allowed six earned runs in 15 appearances, 10 starts. He faced the ‘Riders in two of those three starts, allowing nine runs over nine innings. Coming in to that stretch a perfect 7-0, Buchanan left the Texas League at 7-2, taking losses against the ‘Riders and San Antonio.

Best Moment of the Month

Frisco rallies from three down with seven-run ninth – June 29, 2013 - Again the ‘Riders waited until the end of the month to come up with the most memorable moment of the month. Last month it was the back-to-back-to-back home runs on May 31. This month was an easy selection. In the midst of a brutal offensive stretch, the RoughRiders plated seven runs to take a 10-6 lead in the top of the ninth in Springdale, Arkansas against the Northwest Arkansas.

Frisco fell behind 3-0 in the second, 4-0 after the third, and trailed 5-1 after seven innings. In the first seven innings, the ‘Riders offense managed six baserunners on two singles, three walks, and a hit batter. But the ‘Riders plated two in the eighth and trailed 6-3 going into the ninth.

In the wild top half of the ninth inning, the RoughRiders collected eight hits and a walk against relievers Scott Alexander and J.C. Sulbaran. They plated seven runs. Every RoughRiders hitter other than Odubel Herrera reached base in the inning, and nine consecutive ‘Riders reached safely. The big hit came ten batters into the inning when Ryan Strausborger hit a bases-clearing triple to put Frisco ahead 10-6.

The Naturals got the tying run to the plate in the ninth, but Frisco hung on for the 10-7 win.

The seven runs and eight hits put together in the ninth were the most by the team in any single frame this season.  The last time the ’Riders scored at least seven in an inning was in the seventh inning on July 22, 2011 in a 19-4 win versus Corpus Christi. The most ninth inning runs in known team history occurred on May 19, 2006, when the RoughRiders used an eight-run ninth inning to defeat Midland 10-5 at Citibank Ballpark.

How did the prospects do?

Frisco’s Opening Day Roster contained six prospects in the Baseball America Rangers Organization top 30:  RHP Cody Buckel (8), RHP Roman Mendez (13), IF Hanser Alberto (15), RHP Wilmer Font (22), RHP Neil Ramirez (23) and RHP Randy Henry (29). Joe Benson, ranked 19th in the Minnesota Twins organization by Baseball America to open the season, joined the RoughRiders in late May.

Cody Buckel - Buckel last pitched for the ‘Riders in May. He has been in Arizona at extended Spring Training trying to sort out control issues ever since. Rangers Rehab Pitching Coordinator Keith Comstock updated us on Buckel last home stand. You can hear my interview with him from ‘Riders on the Record.

Roman Mendez - Mendez is out for the season after undergoing surgery in May to repair a stress fracture in his elbow.

Wilmer Font - No longer with the RoughRiders, Font was promoted to the Round Rock Express on June 29.  The Venezuelan right-hander has a team-high ten saves and sported a career best 1.41 ERA with the RoughRiders in 26 appearances this season. Over his last four RoughRiders appearances he allowed just two hits and issued three walks in 4.1 innings with no runs scored against him and fanned eight. In ten June innings, he allowed one run on four hits and six walks, striking out seventeen. He went three-for-three in save chances and posted a 1-1 record over the month.

Hanser Alberto - After a .162 hitting May, Hanser improved only slightly in June, hitting .213. He also committed another six errors. He walked only once in 83 plate appearances. He did club four of his ten extra-base hits on the season during the month with two doubles, a triple and a home run. 

Neil Ramirez - Neil was rocky in May but bounced back with a fantastic June. In five starts, he went 4-0 with a 2.25 ERA. In 28 innings, he fanned 35 and walked only eight. He is 7th in the Texas League in ERA, 2nd in wins (9), first in strikeouts (106), fourth in WHIP (1.08) and first in batting average against (.190). He also was the winning pitcher in the All-Star game, throwing a perfect first inning. He doesn’t have much more to prove in the Texas League. Ramirez pitches tonight, and if you are dead-set on seeing him here in Frisco, you should come out sooner than later; it seems hard to imagine him staying in Double-A much longer if he keeps pitching like he did in June.

Randy Henry - Henry was activated off the disabled list on June 13 from an ulnar nerve injury in his right elbow that caused him to miss over a month. This blog’s selection for ‘Riders Hurler of the Month in April was not quite as dominant when he first returned but the numbers are still excellent. In six outings, Henry tossed 5.1 innings, allowing five hits and one walk. He surrendered no runs, earned or otherwise, and struck out four. He also collected his first Texas League save of the season.

Joe BensonNot officially on the top 30 list of Rangers prospects by Baseball America, he probably would be if he was Rangers property to begin the season. After a torrid start to his RoughRiders career, Benson was hampered by a groin injury in June and is still on the disabled list. He played in just three games during the month. On June 9, he pinch hit for Chih-Hsien Chiang in the ninth inning, knocking a triple in what was then a tie game against the Midland RockHounds. He later scored in the inning and served as the difference in a 4-3 win. Benson went 0-for-3 before a fifth inning ejection the following night and 0-for-2 the next evening before leaving with injury. He hasn’t seen the field since then (June 11).

Happy July and go RoughRiders!

- Nathan

Baseball term of the day: bill in addition to meaning the visor of a ballcap, “bill” refers to a game on the schedule (and why a “twin bill” is another term for a doubleheader)

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary)

Home Sweet Home: Fireworks, fireworks!

070313 Blog Fireworks

Twelve games deep into the second half of the Texas League season, and the Frisco RoughRiders sit tied atop the South Division standings. The upcoming six-game home stand, which begins tonight, will complete a stretch of 12 straight games against North Division opponents.

This is an important home stand for Frisco, as they are eight games over .500 against the North Division this season and need to capitalize on these meetings against North Division foes. The games line up the same as they did the last six games: three against the Travelers and then three against the Naturals. Frisco went 3-3 in that stretch, taking one from the Travs and two from the Naturals; both teams are 7-5, the best mark in the second half in the Texas League.

These are the matchups we expect to see on the mound for the upcoming two series:

Wednesday: RHP Nick McBride (1-3, 5.14 ERA) vs RHP Matt Oye (5-5, 5.29 ERA)

Thursday: RHP Kevin Pucetas (8-7, 4.80 ERA) vs RHP Brandon Hynick (6-3, 2.88 ERA)

Friday: RHP Neil Ramirez (9-2, 3.14 ERA) vs RHP Mike Piazza (4-2, 3.24 ERA)

Saturday: RHP Carlos Pimentel (7-6, 4.55 ERA) vs TBA

Sunday: RHP Tyler Tufts (2-2, 3.24 ERA) vs TBA

Monday: RHP Nick McBride vs TBA

Wednesday, July 3   |   7:05 p.m.   | RoughRiders vs. Arkansas Travelers (LAA)
Radio: RidersBaseball.com    Webstream: MiLB.tv 

Promotions (click here and also here for more details):

  • Dollar Dog Night
  • RoughRiders Horse Race presented by Whataburger

Thursday, July 4   |   7:05 p.m.   | RoughRiders vs. Arkansas Travelers (LAA)
Radio: RidersBaseball.com    Webstream: MiLB.tv 

Promotions (click here and also here for more details)

  • July 4th Post-game fireworks
  • Free ‘Riders sunshade

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  • Dairy Queen Triple Play
  • RoughRiders Horse Race presented by Whataburger

Friday, July 5   |   7:05 p.m.   | RoughRiders vs. Arkansas Travelers (LAA)
TV: KTXD    Radio: RidersBaseball.com    Webstream: MiLB.tv 

Promotions (click here and also here for more details):

  • Friday Night Post-game fireworks
  • Free Elvis Andrus Replica ‘Riders T-Shirt compliments of Nationwide

5thInningNationwideElvisJersyShirt_for_blog

  • Dairy Queen Triple Play
  • Smashburger SMASH inning

Saturday, July 6   |   7:05 p.m.   | RoughRiders vs. Northwest Arkansas Naturals (KC)
TV: KTXD    Radio: RidersBaseball.com    Webstream: MiLB.tv 

Promotions (click here and also here for more details):

  • Post-game fireworks
  • Dairy Queen Triple Play
  • RoughRiders Horse Race presented by Whataburger

Sunday, July 7   |   6:05 p.m.   | RoughRiders vs. Northwest Arkansas Naturals (KC)
Radio: RidersBaseball.com    Webstream: MiLB.tv 

Promotions (click here and also here for more details):

  • Kids Run the Bases
  • Raising Cane’s Grand Slam Sunday
  • RoughRiders Horse Race presented by Whataburger

Monday, July 8   |   7:05 p.m.   | RoughRiders vs. Northwest Arkansas Naturals (KC)
Radio: RidersBaseball.com    Webstream: MiLB.tv 

Promotions (click here and also here for more details) 

- Nathan

Baseball term of the day: seat-boomerslang term for a home run

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary)

‘Riders on the Record: a Cinderella run and a Gold Glover’s art

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‘Riders on the Record is a weekly rundown of the pre-game interviews record by broadcasters Alex Vispoli and Nathan Barnett with RoughRiders players and coaches and occasionally a special guest. You can find all previous editions by clicking here.

Another week has come and gone. The All-Star break sends us into the final 60+ games and the season, and once again we look back on another fine set of guests from this week’s ‘Riders on the Record. Highlights include Justin Miller’s College World Series storytelling and future Hall-of-Famer Omar Vizquel’s artistic inspiration.

Enjoy and Happy Sunday!

Sunday, June 23, 2013 – Manager Steve Buechele


Steve Buechele sits down for the Sunday interview for the last time before the All-Star break. He harps on the resiliency of his team but stresses the importance of this break. He highlights the nice contributions from Mitch Moreland and Joakim Soria in rehab stints during the home stand and touches on the departure of Ben Rowen and the arrival of Alex Claudio. He also shares his experiences with facing the knuckleball in light of Pucetas throwing one just a few days prior.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013 – C Zach Zaneksi


Coming off his home run before the All-Star break, Zach Zaneski talks about the current offensive groove he is in and how he is trying to make adjustments this season. He talks about catching MLB rehabber Joakim Soria and the quality of Kevin Pucetas‘ knuckleball.

Thursday, June 27, 2013 – RHP Justin Miller

Alex checked in with Justin Miller on the status of his stuff and his health on his road back from “Tommy John” surgery. He talks about his recent aggressiveness and how pitching coach Jeff Andrews has helped him along. He also reminisces on his collegiate days at Fresno State when his 2008 team made a Cinderella run through Omaha at the College World Series.

Friday, June 28, 2013 – Angels Infield Coordinator Omar Vizquel


Angels infield coordinator and Travelers Manager for the series, Omar Vizquel, sat down to speak about his first year as a coach and his long playing career. He zeroed in on the keys to his defensive successes and his delved into favorite hobby.

Saturday, June 29, 2013 – RHP Randy Henry


Randy Henry talks about his adjustment to short relief outings after his return from the disabled list. He explains his injury and the plans the Rangers have for him as far as how he will be used out of the bullpen. He also tells his story of when he was traded from the Orioles to the Rangers.

- Nathan

Baseball term of the day: Punch and Judy hitter - a singles hitter

Remembering the Promoted Ones

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So apparently today is Paul Bunyan Day. Or maybe it was yesterday. The origin stories seem dubious.

At any rate, that got me thinking about Jared Hoying, the most Paul Bunyan like of this season’s RoughRiders. The big body, long arms, big swing of the stick, and the prodigious power that put on shows in batting practice on a regular basis in the season’s early months.

Of couse, now Jared, along with a number of other 2013 RoughRiders are playing elsewhere. And the promotions have been well-deserved. Although we would all love to have Hoying and his big bat and rangy outfield skills helping the RoughRiders and Ben Rowen’s more-often-than-not unhittable stuff baffling Texas League batters, it is nice to see them succeeding at higher levels.

Now seems as a good a time as any to check in on these most recent former ‘Riders and their paths at the higher levels.

Ross Wolf - RHP

As we go chronogically, Wolf was the first RoughRider promoted this season. The veteran reliever was pushed into a starting role after his April 9 promotion to Round Rock where he performed nothing short of sensationally. In six starts, Wolf went 1-1 with a 1.85 ERA for the Express, striking out 25 and walking just nine over 34 innings. Making his first appearances as a starter since 2005 and first work as a regular fixture in a starting rotation since his rookie season in 2002 with the Jamestown Jammers of the New York-Penn League, Wolf went six or more innings in four of his six outings, tossing 85 pitches or more on three occasions and even registering 97 pitches in his final Triple-A start.

Then Nick Tepesch got a blister. And Wolf was promoted to the Rangers to make the spot start. Suggested by some that he would be DFA’d immediately following the outing, Wolf remains on the Texas roster 37 days later. Challenged with somewhat irregular work, Wolf is 1-1 with a 1.47 ERA in the big leagues this year. He has thrown scoreless outings on five of the seven occassions he has been used out of the pen, and allowed earned runs only once out of the bullpen. His lone loss came in the 18-inning battle with the Blue Jays in which he allowed one unearned run in 6.2 relief innings.

Jake Brigham - RHP

Jake is lucky to be pitching at all. On May 20, in just his fifth appearance since the call-up, he was struck with a ground ball on his lower right leg. He was carted off the field. Amazingly, he was pitching five days later, as nothing was broken.

The numbers don’t look great (1-1, 5.44 ERA), but he has found a recent groove. He has not allowed an earned run over his last three appearances, including one start, spanning 13 innings. Over his last 18.1 innings, he has surrendered just one earned run and has lowered his ERA from 9.39 as a Triple-A pitcher to 5.44 where it is today.

Ryan Feierabend - LHP

Promoted on May 1 along with Brigham (and Alex Buchholz who has since returned), Feierabend has been a steady force in the rotation. He has completed at least five innings in all 11 of his Triple-A outings, thrown 100 or more pitches on three occasions, and even tossed a complete game, the only one thrown by an Express pitcher this season. He is 4-2 with a 3.90 ERA in his 11 starts after going 1-2 with a 3.86 ERA for Frisco in April.

Martin Perez - LHP

Originally a MLB rehabber, Perez was a member of the active RoughRiders roster from May 12 to May 16 before his Triple-A promotion. Perez dazzled in Triple-A action, posting a 5-1 record with a 1.75 ERA for Round Rock in six starts. After a rocky first outing, Perez allowed just three earned runs in his last five Triple-A starts, good for an 0.87 ERA.

The lefty makes the start for the Rangers tonight at home against the Reds. He has made two MLB starts this season and is 1-1 with a 3.65 ERA. His last start was a gem, as he tossed seven innings of two-run ball against the Cardinals in the Rangers’ sweep of St. Louis this past weekend.

Kyle McClellan - RHP

Former St. Louis Cardinals reliever Kyle McClellan is not a product of Rangers development but his time in Frisco still ensured he was ready to move on up. Signed to a minor league contract in the offseason, McClellan made two appearances for the ‘Riders and six for the Express before his call to the Rangers bullpen. He has provided nice depth for the Texas pen, albeit with mediocre numbers thus far (6 G, 8.1 IP, 6 H, 6 ER, 4 BB, 3 K). McClellan has a fantastic major league tract record and should be nice depth for the Rangers relief corps for the remainder of the season.

Mike Olt - 3B

Olt made a brief stop in Frisco after getting his troubling vision problems got sorted out. After a tremendously slow start in Triple-A, where he hit just .139 with one home run in twenty games, Olt was disagnosed with an issue stemming from a problem with his tear duct. After the prescription of some seemingly-magical eye drops, Olt went 4-for-12 in three games at Dr Pepper Ballpark with a home run and two doubles before heading back to Round Rock.

Back with the Express, Olt is hitting .261/.361/.543 with seven long balls, five doubles and has walked 15 times in 24 games since his return. He seems poised for a big league promotion at some point, especially if Texas can’t keep the injury bug away from its hitters.

Jared Hoying - OF

On his 24th birthday, Jared received a strain of his left hamstring on a double to left field. Out from May 18 until June 7, when he was activated from the disabled list, Jared was also promoted, earning his first career call up to Triple-A.

Jared got a hit in each of his first three games, including his first Triple-A home run and triple. After a hitless effort on June 11 and a failed pinch-hit attempt on June 13, he put together his first two-hit Triple-A game on June 14. It was the first of 11 straight games with at least one hit for Hoying, a streak that was snapped last night.

In 17 games he has three homers, three triples and two doubles. His .617 SLG is the highest on the Express since his promotion, and lately, he has been hitting in third spot of the order for Rangers Triple-A club.

Ryan Rodebaugh - RHP

Like Jake Brigham, Ryan Rodebaugh doesn’t posses the best Triple-A numbers of the bunch (0-0, 5.68 ERA) but has been mostly the Ryan Rodebaugh that Frisco fans have come to know, love and trust over the last two seasons. After a four-run debut in a single inning of work on June 11, Ryan has not allowed a run. In a stretch spanning five appearances and 5.1 innings, he has walked five but allowed just three hits and has racked up seven Ks.

Ben Rowen - RHP

And then there is the submariner. Missing out on the Texas League All-Star game because of the call-up, Ben has been used just twice since his June 20 promotion. In his first ever Triple-A appearance, he fanned three and allowed just one base runner on a single hit in two innings. It took him just 23 pitches to toss those two scoreless frames, as he threw 16 pitches for strikes.

His last time out, Rowen, who led the RoughRiders with 10 saves at the time of his promotion, earned his first Triple-A save with a scoreless inning to close out a 10-7 come-from-behind win for the Express in the extremely hitter-friendly home of the Albuquerque Isotopes.

- Nathan

Baseball term of the day: grazer an outfielder

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary)

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