Results tagged ‘ Northwest Arkansas Naturals ’

A night to remember in the Texas League

Crazy Night in TL

While the Riders-Drillers game last night wasn’t full of that much drama, it was quite the night elsewhere around the Texas League last night. All I can say is that it was a bonkers night in the circuit.

CORPUS CHRISTI vs. ARKANSAS

Typically, when you are one out away from a perfect game, you expect to win. Unfortunately for the Arkansas Travelers, that wasn’t the case last night. After six perfect innings from starter Alex Blackford and 1-2-3 frames from Edward Paredes and Victor Alcantara, Eduardo Paredes got the first two men he faced and went to a full count with Ramon Laureano.

He walked Laureano, so the perfect game was gone, but the no-hitter was still intact. That is, until Bobby Boyd singled in the next at-bat to end the no-no, but the 1-0 lead was still there. That is, until Nick Tanielu singled in the tying run and Paredes threw a walk-off wild pitch to give Corpus Christi the win, despite getting outhit 8-2 and coming a strike away from having a perfect game thrown against them.

MIDLAND at SPRINGFIELD

This wasn’t a perfect game bid, but Springfield’s Johnny Walter had a no-hitter through eight against the RockHounds. As he went back out for the ninth, he had a chance to finish a ninth inning of no-hit ball, but the game wouldn’t be over then because Springfield also hadn’t scored yet.

Walter’s no-hitter was broken up by leadoff man Danny Oh in the ninth, but that was only the beginning of the damage. Midland went on to score three runs in the top of the ninth and moved past a solo homer in the bottom of the ninth to win 3-1. Walter, despite taking a no-hitter into the ninth, took the loss.

SAN ANTONIO vs. NORTHWEST ARKANSAS

San Antonio came one hit away from a no-hitter last night, although the drama was gone much earlier. The Missions allowed their only hit in the third inning. However, they too couldn’t get anything across until the bottom of the ninth when Franchy Cordero led off with a walk-off home run, just the fourth hit of the game for San Antonio. For those counting at home, that’s 10 walk-off wins for San Antonio (out of 47 total wins).

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To recap:

  • Both teams that took a no-hitter into the ninth inning last night ended up losing.
  • The winning teams in these three games last night had hit totals of four (SA), three (MID), and two (CC).
  • There were 23 total hits between the six teams. By comparison, Tulsa (13) and Frisco (9) combined for 22.
  • Seven of the eight runs scored in those three games came in the ninth inning.

– Ryan

Baseball term of the day: Mask work – The catcher’s duties

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary

Saddle Up: Riders vs. Northwest Arkansas (7/11/16)

GAME #87 (2nd HALF GAME #18)

Frisco RoughRiders (43-43 overall, 5-12 2nd half) vs. Northwest Arkansas Naturals (39-48, 10-7)
Monday, July 11, – 12:05 p.m.
Dr Pepper Ballpark – Frisco, TX
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Watch: MiLB.TV (Nathan Barnett and Ryan Rouillard)
Listen: Streaming online and on the TuneIn Radio app (Barnett and Rouillard)
Live stats: Click here
—————————————–
This series: Game 3 of 3 (Series tied, 1-1)
This season: Game 12 of 12 (Riders lead, 7-4)

FRISCO LINEUP

  1. Lewis Brinson – CF
  2. Andy Ibanez – 2B
  3. Ryan Cordell – DH
  4. Preston Beck – RF
  5. Isiah Kiner-Falefa – C
  6. Joe Jackson – LF
  7. Alex Burg – 1B
  8. Luis Mendez – 3B
  9. Alberto Triunfel – SS

LHP Yohander Mendez (3-0, 2.73 ERA)

RIDERS RECAP: Sunday vs. Northwest Arkansas (L, 8-6 – 10 innings)

Box Score
Recap
Postgame Notes

PREGAME INTERVIEW: Rangers Assistant Pitching Coordinator Jeff Andrews

Archived interview coming soon. Listen live on the Dr Pepper Pregame Show around 11:45 a.m.

SETTING THE STAGE (full game notes here)

 LAST TIME OUT:Despite five good innings from Major League rehabber YU DARVISH and a season-high four home runs, the RoughRiders lost 8-6 to Northwest Arkansas in 10 innings on Sunday…Darvish allowed three runs on six hits in his five innings of work…The RoughRiders continued their recent power surge with home runs from PRESTON BECK, LEWIS BRINSON, ALEX BURG, and RYAN CORDELL…Leading 6-3 in the ninth, the Riders saw the lead slip away on a three-run homer from Logan Moon…The Naturals took an 8-6 lead in the 10th and held on for the win.

GOOD TO SEE YU AGAIN:
Rangers RHP YU DARVISH made his fifth start of the season with the RoughRiders on Sunday. It was Darvish’s fifth start with the Riders this season, covering two separate Major League rehabilitation assignments, and the righty is 1-1 with a 2.25 ERA in those starts.

SEEKING A SERIES WIN:
After winning six of the first nine series (6-1-2), Frisco has not won a series in its last eight tries (0-5-3) but can change that with a win today in the series finale. The last series win came June 3-5 vs. Springfield, when the Riders won the first two games of the three-game set. The Springfield series also marked the last time that the RoughRiders won consecutive games (6/3 and 6/4).

SOMEBODY PAID THE POWER BILL:
The RoughRiders recently went through a shortage of power hitting, but appear to be on the way back up. The RoughRiders hit four home runs Sunday, the first time they’ve done that since May 16 of last season vs. Corpus Christi. Frisco has eight homers in the last three games after hitting just one in the previous 11. Those home runs accounted for 12 straight Riders runs prior to LUIS MARTE’s RBI double last night.  Additionally, 13 of the Riders’ 28 hits the last three games are extra-base hits after just 14 XBHs out of 97 total during the previous 11 contests.

BRINSON IS BACK:
After spending the past few weeks on the disabled list, outfielder LEWIS BRINSON returned to the RoughRiders Wednesday and has gone 7-for-20 (.350) in his first five games back. Brinson went 3-for-4 with two triples and an RBI Thursday and has homered each of the last two nights. He was placed on the DL June 12 (retroactive to June 10) and missed a total of 21 games. The Riders went 7-14 in Brinson’s absence.

THE FUTURE WAS YESTERDAY:
Riders infielder RONALD GUZMAN participated in the 2016 SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game Sunday in San Diego. Guzman started at first base and went 0-for-1 with a walk and a flyout. The lefty slugger is hitting .298 (second in the Texas League) with 11 homers and 40 RBI in 81 games. The Texas League Mid-Season All-Star was one of two Rangers farmhands selected to the game, joining infielder Travis Demeritte (Class A-Advanced High Desert). He is currently on the temporary inactive list and is expected to rejoin the team for Wednesday’s game at Corpus Christi.

KINER KEEPS GETTING ON:
Though he struggled in his first few games back from the disabled list, Riders utility man ISIAH KINER-FALEFA is back in the groove of where he was before landing on the DL in late May. He has reached base in 10 straight games, a new season-long. He has hits in eight of those games and has reached safely in 16 of his 42 plate appearances (38%) in that span (10 hits, five walks, one HBP). Kiner-Falefa’s .354 on-base percentage is 10th-bst in the Texas League and second on the team among qualified players (RONALD GUZMAN, .360).

THINGS GOING SOUTH AGAINST THE NORTH:
Frisco has not fared well against North Division opponents after a red-hot start against the North this year. Over the first 10 games against Northern opponents, the Riders were 9-1, outscoring opponents 56-21 (5.6 to 2.1 average score). Since then, Frisco is just 5-19 against Arkansas, Northwest Arkansas, Springfield, and Tulsa, and is being outscored 117-74 (4.9 to 3.1 average score).

SLACK BACK ON TRACK:
Reliever RYNE SLACK is in the midst of a roller coaster season. He has worked four consecutive scoreless outings, covering 6 1/3 innings of work. The southpaw started the season with nine straight scoreless outings (14.1 IP), garnering Rangers Minor League Reliever of the Month in April for his work. However, Slack allowed 15 runs in his next 10 appearances (10.1 IP).

RANGERS RIDE TO FRISCO:
Already this season, nine Rangers have donned a RoughRiders uniform for at least one game. Seven of those have been rehabbers, including YU DARVISH and KEONE KELA, who are both currently with the squad. The Riders also welcomed rehabbers JOSH HAMILTON, SHIN-SOO CHOO, ROBINSON CHIRINOS, CHRIS GIMENEZ, and A.J. GRIFFIN earlier in the year. Currently, the Riders have two players (RHPs LUKE JACKSON and NICK MARTINEZ) who were optioned to Frisco directly from Texas. Additionally, two players who are currently with the Rangers (RHPs MATT BUSH and JOSE LECLERC) started the year on the Riders roster.

MENDEZ, GARRETT RIDE THE “E-TRAIN”:
A pair of former Riders pitchers, lefty YOHANDER MENDEZ and righty REED GARRETT, made their Triple-A debuts with the Round Rock Express earlier this week. Mendez made the start Tuesday and surrendered just three hits and three walks while striking out seven in five shutout innings for the Express. After striking out the side in the first, he only allowed two New Orleans baserunners to enter scoring position, both coming with two outs. Garrett made his debut Saturday, allowing four runs on eight hits during his five innings on the mound. Mendez returns to the Riders today and will make the start against the Naturals.

OPPOSING STARTER:
Fifth-year pro Ashton Goudeau faces the Riders for the first time this season in today’s series finale. The righty out of Newport, Arkansas earned a promotion to the Naturals from Class A-Advanced Wilmington on May 20 and has mostly worked as a starter since joining the club. Goudeau has worked at least six innings in four of his eight starts, with each of those counting for quality starts. The 23-year-old was 2-4 with a 5.14 ERA in seven outings with Wilmington and was named Carolina League Pitcher of the Week May 8 following eight shutout innings in a start against Myrtle Beach on May 5. Goudeau was taken in the 27th round of the 2012 draft by the Royals out of Maple Woods Community College in Kansas City,  the same school that produced Albert Pujols. Goudeau bypassed a scholarship at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette to turn pro. REPERTOIRE: Fastball, changeup, slider, curveball.

Saddle Up: Riders vs. Northwest Arkansas (7/10/16)

GAME #86 (2nd HALF GAME #17)

Frisco RoughRiders (43-42 overall, 5-11 2nd half) vs. Northwest Arkansas Naturals (38-48, 9-7)
Sunday, July 10 – 6:05 p.m.
Dr Pepper Ballpark – Frisco, TX
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Watch: MiLB.TV (Nathan Barnett and Ryan Rouillard)
Listen: Streaming online and on the TuneIn Radio app (Barnett and Rouillard)
Live stats: Click here
—————————————–
This series: Game 2 of 3 (Riders lead, 1-0)
This season: Game 11 of 12 (Riders lead, 7-3)

FRISCO LINEUP

  1. Lewis Brinson – CF
  2. Andy Ibanez – 2B
  3. Ryan Cordell – DH
  4. Preston Beck – RF
  5. Isiah Kiner-Falefa – 3B
  6. Joe Jackson – LF
  7. Alex Burg – DH
  8. Luis Marte – SS
  9. Kellin Deglan – C

RHP Yu Darvish (1-1, 1.20 ERA)

RIDERS RECAP: Saturday vs. Northwest Arkansas (W, 5-4)

Box Score
Recap
Postgame Notes

PREGAME INTERVIEW: Manager Joe Mikulik

SETTING THE STAGE (full game notes here)

LAST TIME OUT:The Riders came from behind twice and knocked off the Naturals 5-4 on a walk-off, two-run home run from KELLIN DEGLANin the bottom of the ninth…LEWIS BRINSON and ALEX BURG also homered for the Riders, who had their first three-homer game since June 14…The RoughRiders trailed 2-0 in the sixth before taking a 3-2 lead in the seventh. The Naturals, however, tied the game in the eighth and took the lead in the ninth before Deglan’s walk-off…NICK MARTINEZ worked six innings, allowing two runs on four hits in his 2016 Riders debut…Major League rehabber KEONE KELA threw a scoreless seventh inning.

GOOD TO SEE YU AGAIN:
The Rangers announced Friday that RHP YU DARVISH will make another rehab start with Frisco tonight. The three-time American League All-Star will make his fifth rehab start with Frisco this year and the second of his current rehab assignment, as he recovers from right shoulder discomfort. Darvish started in Springdale on Monday, going two+ innings, allowing three runs, two earned, on two hits, while walking three and striking out five. Darvish is expected to throw about five innings or approximately 75 pitches.

SEEKING A SERIES WIN:
After winning six of the first nine series (6-1-2), Frisco has not won a series in its last eight tries (0-5-3) but can change that with a win in either of the remaining two games in this series. The last series win came June 3-5 vs. Springfield, when the Riders won the first two games of the three-game set. The Springfield series also marked the last time that the RoughRiders won consecutive games (6/3 and 6/4).

BRINSON IS BACK:
After spending the past few weeks on the disabled list, outfielder LEWIS BRINSON returned to the RoughRiders Wednesday and has gone 5-for-16 in his first four games back. Brinson went 3-for-4 with two triples and an RBI Thursday and homered last night. He was placed on the DL June 12 (retroactive to June 10) and missed a total of 21 games. The Riders went 7-14 in Brinson’s absence.

THE FUTURE IS TODAY:
Riders infielder RONALD GUZMAN will participate in tonight’s SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game, which takes place at 6:00 p.m. CT from San Diego’s Petco Park. The lefty slugger is hitting .298 (second in the Texas League) with 11 homers and 40 RBI in 81 games. The Texas League Mid-Season All-Star joins Travis Demeritte (Class-A Advanced High Desert) as the Rangers organization representatives at the Futures Game. He was placed on the temporary inactive list yesterday.

POWER RESTORED?:
The RoughRiders recently went through a shortage of power hitting, but appear to be on the way back up. Frisco has four homers in the last two games after hitting just one in the previous 11. Additionally, seven of the Riders’ 15 hits the last two games are extra-base hits after just 14 XBHs out of 97 total during the previous 11 contests.

KINER KEEPS GETTING ON:
Though he struggled in his first few games back from the disabled list, Riders utility man ISIAH KINER-FALEFA is back in the groove of where he was before landing on the DL in late May. He has reached base in nine straight games, tying a season-long streak. He has hits in seven of those games and has reached in 15 of his 37 plate appearances in that span (nine hits, five walks, one HBP). Kiner-Falefa’s .357 on-base percentage is seventh-best in the Texas League and second on the team among qualified players (RONALD GUZMAN, .360).

THINGS GOING SOUTH AGAINST THE NORTH:
Frisco has not fared well against North Division opponents after a red-hot start against the North this year. Over the first 10 games against Northern opponents, the Riders were 9-1, outscoring opponents 56-21 (5.6 to 2.1 average score). Since then, Frisco is just 5-18 against Arkansas, Northwest Arkansas, Springfield, and Tulsa, and is being outscored 109-68 (4.7 to 3.0 average score).

SLACK BACK ON TRACK:
Reliever RYNE SLACK is in the midst of a roller coaster season. He has worked four consecutive scoreless outings, covering 6 1/3 innings of work. The southpaw started the season with nine straight scoreless outings (14.1 IP), garnering Rangers Minor League Reliever of the Month in April for his work. However, Slack allowed 15 runs in his next 10 appearances (10.1 IP).

RANGERS RIDE TO FRISCO:
Already this season, nine Rangers have donned a RoughRiders uniform for at least one game. Seven of those have been rehabbers, including YU DARVISH and KEONE KELA, who are both currently with the squad. The Riders also welcomed rehabbers JOSH HAMILTON, SHIN-SOO CHOO, ROBINSON CHIRINOS, CHRIS GIMENEZ, and A.J. GRIFFIN earlier in the year. Currently, the Riders have two players (RHPs LUKE JACKSON and NICK MARTINEZ) who were optioned to Frisco directly from Texas. Additionally, two players who are currently with the Rangers (RHPs MATT BUSH and JOSE LECLERC) started the year on the Riders roster.

MENDEZ, GARRETT RIDE THE “E-TRAIN”:
A pair of former Riders pitchers, lefty YOHANDER MENDEZ and righty REED GARRETT, made their Triple-A debuts with the Round Rock Express earlier this week. Mendez made the start Tuesday and surrendered just three hits and three walks while striking out seven in five shutout innings for the Express. After striking out the side in the first, he only allowed two New Orleans baserunners to enter scoring position, both coming with two outs. Garrett made his debut Saturday, allowing four runs on eight hits during his five innings on the mound.

OPPOSING STARTER:
Matt Strahm makes the start tonight against the Riders. The southpaw works with much improved velocity from his high school days, now firing a 89-94 mph fastball, a slider from 78-84 and a rarely used changeup. Strahm pitched at Neosho County Community College in Kansas, leading his club to the JUCO World Series with a 9-3 record and a 1.91 ERA. This season is his fourth professional season after a 21st round selection in 2012. After beginning his pro start in the bullpen, the Royals moved the left-hander to the rotation in High-A Wilmington in the second half of last year. Strahm matches up with the Riders for the fourth time this season, having gone 1-1 with a 2.30 ERA in those starts. Twice, Strahm has not allowed an earned runal to the Riders, including his last time out against Frisco on Tuesday when he allowed just five hits in 5 1/3 innings.

Ballpark Bio: Arvest Ballpark (Springdale)

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Today marks part six of a seven-part series in which I’ll show you the different parks of the Texas League and give you an idea of the various places the Riders are playing, aside from Dr Pepper Ballpark. To read previous entries, click here.

Facts and Figures
Opened: April 10, 2008
Capacity: 7,500
Dimensions: LF – 327, CF – 400, RF – 325

Today marks our final day in Springdale and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my visit to Arvest Ballpark. As the home of the Naturals, it really embodies the idea of natural beauty.

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The gorgeous structure out front

The park is somewhat isolated on the edge of Springdale, but that’s not a bad thing. Out beyond the perimeter of the park are a few grass fields with lush green trees billowing in the wind. Even the batter’s eye is made up of trees and bushes, plus a gorgeous stone design of the Naturals logo. Out front, there’s a really cool structure combining natural elements, such as rocks and wood alongside the Naturals logo. Plus, there is plenty of grass in the outfield berms. As a native of “The Evergreen State” (Washington), I really appreciate the natural elements around the park.

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My favorite batter’s eye in the Texas League

The greenery isn’t the only thing that makes this park great, though. The seating bowl is very clean and well-maintained, and the rounded seating keeps everyone close to the action. The suite level wraps about 200 feet down each line and the glass front gives it a really nice touch.

Another neat feature here is the dugouts, which are very deep, allowing fans (and broadcasters) to see a lot of what goes on in the dugouts. The bullpens are also very transparent the left and right field corners.

There’s so much to like about Arvest Ballpark, a place that really embodies the idea of natural beauty. After all, when there’s beauty in your backyard, why not use it?

Thanks for touring the Texas League ballparks with me. I won’t be in San Antonio, but Nathan has a guest post coming later this summer to round out our tour of the Texas League.

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-Ryan

Baseball term of the day: Baton Swinger – A batter.

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary

Saddle Up: Riders vs Northwest Arkansas (4/14/16)

GAME #7
Frisco RoughRiders (5-1) vs Northwest Arkansas Naturals (3-3)
Thursday, April 14 – 7;05 p.m.
Dr Pepper Ballpark (Frisco, TX)
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Audio: Listen online or through the TuneIn Radio app (Nathan Barnett and Ryan Rouillard)
Watch: MiLB.TV (Barnett and Rouillard)
Live stats: Click here
—————————————–
This series: Game 1 of 3
This season: Game 4 of 12 (Riders lead, 3-0)

FRISCO LINEUP

  1. Isiah Kiner-Falefa – C
  2. Ryan Cordell – RF
  3. Lewis Brinson – CF
  4. Ronald Guzman – 1B
  5. Zach Cone – LF
  6. Preston Beck – DH
  7. Alberto Triunfel – 2B
  8. Luis Mendez – 3B
  9. Luis Marte – SS

LHP Frank Lopez (1-0, 0.00)

RIDERS RECAP: Tuesday at Arkansas (L, 6-3)

Box Score
Game Recap
Highlights
Postgame Notes

SETTING THE STAGE (full game notes here)

LAST TIME OUT:

For the first time this season, the RoughRiders lost a contest, falling 6-3 to the Arkansas Travelers in North Little Rock on Tuesday afternoon.  The Travs put a pair of runs in the first and third and another in the fourth on starter JOSE LECLERC, chasing him after just four innings. The Riders broke the shutout in the seventh, when ZACH CONE singled in LEWIS BRINSON to make it 6-1. Frisco added two more in the eighth. The loss was Frisco’s first of the year.

RIDING HIGH:

The Rough Riders started the year 5-0,  before dropping the series finale at Arkansas Tuesday morning.  The 5-1 start is tied with the 2008 squad for the best start in team history. The 2008 RoughRiders finished with a 84-56 record and lost to Arkansas in the Texas League championship series.

THE ‘PEN IS MIGHTIER:

While almost every facet of the RoughRiders team is clicking right now, the bullpen is in the midst of a particularly impressive stretch. Over the past three games, the pen has allowed just one  run (17 1/3 innings). Over that stretch, the relievers have allowed just nine hits and five walks, while striking out 10.

PREYING ON THE ‘PEN:

Though struggling against starting pitchers this season, Riders bats have heated up once the starter leaves the game.Opposing bullpens have a 5.84 ERA against the Riders this year (16 ER/24.2 IP), while starters hold just a 3.06 ERA (11 ER/32.1 IP).

ONCE ISN’T ENOUGH: 

Early on, multi-hit games have been a trend throughout the Riders lineup. Eight different players have registered a multi-hit game in 2016, led by four from LEWIS BRINSONRYAN CORDELLJOE JACKSON, and RONALD GUZMAN each have three multi-hit contests.

ANSWERING OPPORTUNITY’S KNOCK:

One of the big reasons for Frisco’s early success has been cashing in on opportunities with runners in scoring position. The RoughRiders lead the Texas League in average with RISP (.404). Northwest Arkansas, the second-best team in that category, is considerably behind Frisco (.275).

aMAZing DEBUT:

Nomar Mazara (MLB Pipeline No. 3 prospect, Riders ’14-15) made history in his first start with the Rangers. The 20-year-old outfielder became the youngest player to ever record three hits in his Major League debut. Mazara singled in his first two at-bats before smacking a solo homer off 11-year veteran Jered Weaver.

BRETT TO THE BIGS:

Nomar Mazara wasn’t the only former Rider to get called up to the Majors last week. The Rangers purchased the contract of Brett Nicholas (Riders ’13). After playing in Frisco, Nicholas spent the past two seasons with Round Rock and began 2016 with the Express before being promoted Sunday.

HOW SWEEP IT IS:

After taking all three games from Northwest Arkansas in the opening series, the Riders accomplished something that was done just once last year. Frisco only swept one series in 2015, and it was a rain-shortened two-game road set against Northwest Arkansas on July 10. The last time the Riders had swept a three-game series was August 15-17, 2014 at Tulsa.

RANGER DANGER:

The RoughRiders aren’t the only Rangers affiliate off to a hot start. Triple-A Round Rock and Class-A Hickory also started their seasons 5-1, while Class-A Advanced High Desert was 4-2 through its first six games. Of the other 116 full-season affiliates in Minor League Baseball, only 13 started 5-1 through their first six games. The New York Yankees are the only other parent club to have multiple affiliates start 5-1 (Class-A Advanced Tampa, Class-A Charleston)

 

Saddle Up: Riders at NW Arkansas (4/9/16)

GAME #3
Frisco RoughRiders (2-0) at Northwest Arkansas Naturals (0-2)
Saturday, April 9 – 6:05 pm
Arvest Ballpark (Springdale, AR)
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Audio: Listen online or through the TuneIn Radio app (Nathan Barnett and Steve Goldberg)
Watch: MiLB.TV (NW Arkansas feed)
Live stats: Click here
—————————————–
This series: Game 3 of 3 (Riders lead, 2-0)
This season: Game 3 of 12 (Riders lead, 2-0)

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Lewis Brinson has posted back-to-back multi-hit games to begin the 2016 season

FRISCO LINEUP

  1. Isiah Kiner-Falefa – 3B
  2. Ryan Cordell – RF
  3. Lewis Brinson – CF
  4. Ronald Guzman – 1B
  5. Zach Cone – LF
  6. Joe Jackson – DH
  7. Luis Marte – SS
  8. Kellin Deglan – C
  9. Luis Mendez – 2B

RHP Sam Wolff (0-0, -.–)

RIDERS RECAP: Friday at NW Arkansas (W, 6-3)

Box Score
Game Recap
Highlights
Postgame Notes

SETTING THE STAGE (full game notes here)

LAST TIME OUT: Shutting out Northwest Arkansas until the eighth inning, the RoughRiders moved ahead with a five-run sixth inning and held on for a 6-3 win over the Naturals on Friday night at Arvest Ballpark…CONNOR SADZECK posted six shutout frames en route to a win in his season debut…LEWIS BRINSONALEX BURGRYAN CORDELL, and JOE JACKSON all collected two hits…Frisco led 5-0 until the eighth, when the Naturals scored a run off MATT BUSH…Frisco got the run back in the ninth before the Naturals scored two more in the ninth…RYNE SLACK entered to pick up the final two outs and the save.

TOP OF THE CLASS: The RoughRiders enter the season with six players ranked in either Baseball America or MLBPipeline.com’s Rangers Top 30 Prospects. LEWIS BRINSON, the No. 2 prospect in Rangers’ farm system according to MLBPipeline.com and Baseball America, returns to Frisco. He appeared in 28 games for the Riders last season, hitting .291 with six home runs and 23 RBI before being promoted to Round Rock in August. Brinson is joined by five other players named in the lists—RYAN CORDELL (No. 15 in MLB, No. 11 in BA), RONALD GUZMAN (23, 29), JOSE LECLERC (25, 21),SAM WOLFF (26, NR), and CONNOR SADZECK (27, 26).

STREAKING START: The RoughRiders have had a fair amount of success following an Opening Day victory, and last night’s victory continued the trend. Frisco now has a 5-3 record in the second game of a season after winning the first, and they are 5-1 in those games since 2007.

THREE’S A CROWD: While the Riders have reached the 2-0 mark five times, the team has only improved to 3-0 once. Frisco opened the 2008 season with five straight victories, all occurring on the road against Springfield and Arkansas.

PUTTING THE ‘O’ IN FRISCO: The RoughRiders began this season in a fashion that has never been done before in team history. Frisco kept Northwest Arkansas off the board for 16 straight innings before allowing a run on a one-out sacrifice fly in the bottom of the eighth yesterday. The previous record for consecutive scoreless innings to begin a RoughRiders season was 13 2/3 in 2012.

WELCOMING WOLFF: Right-handed pitcher SAM WOLFF is set to make his Double-A debut for Frisco tonight and his first start since 2014. Wolff missed the entire 2015 season with a torn Achilles following an impressive season with High-A Myrtle Beach the year before. He is currently ranked the No. 26 prospect in the Rangers’ organization, according to MLB Pipeline.

HOW SWEEP IT IS: After winning the first two games of this series, the Riders are back in action trying to accomplish something that was only done once last season. The Riders swept one series in 2015, and it was a rain-shortened two-game road set against Northwest Arkansas on July 10. The last time Frisco swept a series of three or more games was August 15-17, 2014 at Tulsa.

RANGER DANGER: All four of the Rangers’ full-season affiliates are off to 2-0 starts in the 2016 season. Yesterday, everyone in the Texas farm system won, including the big league club. The Rangers beat the Angels 7-3 behind a third inning two-run homer by Rougned Odor (Riders ’13-14). For the second straight game, Triple-A Round Rock scored all their runs in the first three innings and held on to defeat Iowa 4-3. Francisco Mendoza (Riders ‘13-15) gave up a run in the ninth but worked around it to earn his first save. High-A High Desert put up a four-spot in the first inning and for the second straight game, Travis Demeritte (No. 21 prospect, MLB Pipeline) hit two home runs in the 9-5 victory over Inland Empire. Single-A Hickory topped Kannapolis 8-2.

MATT’S ALL, FOLKSMATT BUSH made his debut in the Rangers’ organization Thursday and earned his first save since August 24, 2011 with Double-A Montgomery. Originally a shortstop, the San Diego native was selected No. 1 overall by his hometown Padres in the 2004 MLB Draft. Bush was converted to a pitcher prior to the 2007 season and later spent two years in the Tampa Bay Rays’ farm system.

Ace Ventura: From the Texas League to the World Series

Ventura cardWhen Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura takes to the mound at Kaufmann Stadium tonight with the hopes of an entire fan base weighing on his slim frame, he can take comfort in one indisputable fact: at least he won’t have to face Brett Nicholas in tonight’s Giants lineup. While the former RoughRiders first baseman, who played his college baseball in the Show Me State, won’t be confused with Buster Posey or Hunter Pence, he is one of only 13 players who have a perfect 1.000 batting average in multiple at bats against Ventura. Nicholas was a perfect 2 for 2 versus the hard-throwing righty in Ventura’s sole Texas League start against the RoughRiders back on April 7, 2013 while pitching for the Royals-affiliated Northwest Arkansas Naturals.

I remember talking with Frisco hitting coach Jason Hart about Ventura before the game and he (based on what he saw in spring training) compared him to Pedro Martinez, an observation that has been made on Fox’s World Series telecast over the past week. I even wrote in my game notes that day that the 5’11”, 178 lb. native of the Dominican Republic had been nicknamed “Lil Pedro” (despite being about ten pounds heavier than the future Hall of Famer). Looking at their age-23 seasons, the comparison is even more apt. In 1995, when Pedro was 23 and throwing for the Expos, he went 14-10 with a 3.51 ERA, 174 strikeouts, 66 walks (in 194.2 innings), 123 ERA+ and a 3.90 FIP. As for Ventura’s 2014: 14-10, 3.20 ERA, 159 strikeouts, 69 walks (in 183 innings), 125 ERA+ and a 3.60 FIP. Lil Pedro, indeed.

On top of being a heralded prospect (ranked #3 going into the 2013 season by Baseball America), he had a killer nickname: Ace Ventura. Of course, it works on a baseball level in addition to a pop culture one, though I would doubt if Yordano knows if Finkle is Einhorn or not (he wasn’t even three years old when the pet detective hit theaters).

As for Ventura’s outing against the ’Riders, it was a solid start to begin a season that would later see him make his major league debut. After a perfect first inning, he allowed a single to Nicholas in the second before inducing a double-play ball off Alex Buchholz’s bat. He finished the inning with a strikeout of Chih-Hsien Chiang and tossed another scoreless frame in the third, yielding a harmless two-out single to Teodoro Martinez.

With pre-knuckleballin’ Kevin Pucetas putting up zeros in his first three innings, the ’Riders finally got to Ventura in the fourth. Hanser Alberto nicked his countryman for a single to right field and moved up to second on a deep flyout by Jared Hoying. Then Nicholas lined a 1-0 pitch down the left field line for a run-scoring double to get Frisco on the scoreboard. Two pitches later, he scored on a single by Buchholz to make it 2-0 .

Ventura came back with a 1-2-3 fifth inning to mark the end of his day. The 72-pitch outing featured five strikeouts and no walks over five frames. Ventura was let off the hook for a loss thanks to Naturals runs in the fourth and fifth innings, but Alberto’s sac fly in the sixth pushed the RoughRiders ahead for good in a tightly played 3-2 victory.

That sunny day in Springdale, Arkansas sticks out because it was the only time I saw Ventura pitch until catching him in a Royals uniform on television later in the season (because Frisco and Northwest Arkansas play in different divisions, the teams don’t match up frequently). He looked as sharp as advertised, with a fastball that hit triple digits on the RoughRiders’ radar gun several times in addition to a hard curveball and a solid changeup. While there were questions as to whether or not his body could hold up to be a starting pitcher, he certainly looked the part of a starter that afternoon and since hasn’t made anyone think twice about Kansas City’s move to keep him away from the bullpen.

(Fun fact about that game: the only other future major leaguer to play in the contest to date was 2014 Ranger Ben Rowen, who earned a hold by tossing a scoreless eighth inning for the ’Riders.)

The hope here is to see Ventura pitch well enough for the Royals to win and get us all to a Game Seven tomorrow night. Then maybe we can ask someone who was in the Texas League in 1999 to write a retrospective piece on Tim Hudson’s three starts that season for the Midland RockHounds.

A look at the scorebook from Yordano Ventura's start against the Frisco RoughRiders on April 7, 2013.

A look at the scorebook from Yordano Ventura’s start against the Frisco RoughRiders on April 7, 2013.

  • Alex

One home stand late and two posts off the mark…a belated introduction

Baseball players thrive on rhythm and routine both on and off the diamond. The RoughRiders’ first home stand consisted of two rain-outs (including one on Opening Day), two doubleheaders and six games squished into a four-day span. Two of the games featured rehab appearances by big league hurler (and former RoughRider) Matt Harrison. The ‘Riders played three games in a 24-hour period from April 7-8. Simply put, neither rhythm nor routine were present during the first week of the season.

Fortunately, in a regular season that encompasses five months and 140 games, repetition is almost inevitable. The RoughRiders seem to have found at least a semblance of it in the Natural State on their first road trip of the season. The ‘Riders swept the Northwest Arkansas Naturals in three games, but their first game against the Arkansas Travelers was, as you may have guessed, rained out.

Regardless, back at the corner of Hicks & Diamond Drive, I too, have begun to settle into the ebb and flow of the baseball season. I couldn’t be happier, either. As Alex Vispoli’s Broadcasting & Media Relations Assistant, I am excited to help bring you RoughRiders baseball this summer. You can hear me on the air with Alex during every home game and on pregame/postgame coverage while the team is on the road. I look forward to the journey with the ‘Riders this season and I hope we can learn more about this team and the game of baseball together.

As Alex progressively introduced me to the staff at Dr Pepper Ballpark over the course of my first month in town, I consistently heard the phrase, “Welcome aboard.” My effort to reciprocate this friendly Texas welcome appears before your eyes now, regrettably late by one home stand and two blog posts. This is the 502nd post on the ‘Riders Insider Blog and I realize now I had a subconscious desire to publish the 500th. Alas, my dreams of attaining ‘Riders Insider immortality have been dashed (or at the very least, altered).

In an effort to amend my tardiness, I have included some worthwhile links. ‘Riders on the Record returns below as Alex Vispoli sits down on Opening Day with new ‘Riders skipper, Jason Wood. I also encourage you to listen to the first RoughRiders Roundtable of the season on the Dallas Sports Network with Alex, myself, and the usually uninformed Michael Tepid. Many thanks to Ted Price for his work on the production end.

Click here to listen to the 13th edition of RoughRiders Roundtable.

I am genuinely thrilled to climb on the saddle with the RoughRiders in 2014. Here’s to a great ride.

-Chris Vosters

‘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)

_____________________________________________________________________________

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)

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

July ADVENT_Carrier_FREE_SUNSHADE_RV_2azw9mde

  • 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)

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