Results tagged ‘ Opening Day ’

A Look at the Archives: Riders Home Openers

Last week, prior to the first game of the RoughRiders season at Northwest Arkansas, Ryan wrote a piece about the magic of Opening Day. While Opening Day is certainly something to look forward to, only half the teams in a league actually begin their season at home.

For the other teams, like the Riders this year, Opening Day comes on the road. Sure, there is magic in the air when the players step out on the field for the first time. But it is a different feeling when you are the visitors and not the ones receiving cheers from the crowd.

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Home openers are always special, no matter if they fall on the first game of the year or the ninth. For this year’s Riders, the home opener is scheduled for today after the team won five of six road games to begin the season.

While Frisco’s record on Opening Day is 8-6, their record in home openers is not nearly as pretty. The Riders are 4-9 in the first game at Dr Pepper Ballpark, including a 0-8 mark in home openers after beginning play on the road.

Here is a look at the year-by-year results in home openers at Dr Pepper Ballpark:

April 9, 2015 vs. Arkansas: L, 8-4 (Attendance: 8228)

April 4, 2014 vs. Northwest Arkansas: L, 3-1 (Attendance: 8211)

April 11, 2013 vs. Arkansas: L, 6-3 (Attendance: 9267)

April 12, 2012 vs. Springfield: L, 4-3 (Attendance: 7258)

April 7, 2011 vs. Springfield: W, 6-2 (Attendance: 7150)

April 8, 2010 vs. Springfield: W, 2-1 (Attendance: 8301)

April 16, 2009 vs. Springfield: L, 11-9 (Attendance: 7342)

April 10, 2008 vs. Springfield: L, 12-5 (Attendance: 9771)

April 5, 2007 vs. Arkansas: W, 3-2 (Attendance: 8458)

April 6, 2006 vs. Midland: W, 4-2 (Attendance: 8816)

April 12, 2005 vs. Corpus Christi: L, 4-1 (Attendance: 8723)

April 18, 2004 vs. Tulsa: L, 4-1 (Attendance: 10,773)

April 3, 2003 vs. Tulsa: L, 16-2 (Attendance: 10,685)

The RoughRiders will try to snap their four-game losing streak in home openers when they take the field tonight against the Naturals. Last week, Frisco swept Northwest Arkansas in a three-game series at Arvest Ballpark to begin the season. LHP Frank Lopez (1-0, 0.00 ERA) takes the mound for the Riders against LHP Matt Strahm (0-0, 0.00 ERA) for the Naturals.

– Steve

Baseball term of the day: four-ribeye steak – synonym of grand slam

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary)

Season Storylines to Watch

We’ve finally made it to Opening Day. As I wrote Monday, it’s always one of my favorite days of the baseball season. The RoughRiders begin their 14th season tonight in Springdale, Arkansas against the Northwest Arkansas Naturals at 6:25. As they get ready to roll tonight, here are some storylines worth watching for this season:

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  1. THE OUTFIELD IS LOADED

This really is the theme throughout the Rangers organization, and that wealth of talent is probably part of the reason some really good players are not higher up in the organization to start the year. Lewis Brinson has drawn a lot of the attention on this roster, but he’s far from the only talented outfielder on the squad. Ryan Cordell was with Brinson in Major League camp this spring and looks to build off a good season last year. Preston Beck is back with the Riders and looking to continue improving. Zach Cone has been tearing the cover off the ball all spring, and Joe Jackson is coming off a nice season at High Desert. Early on, it will be interesting to see how the coaching staff rotates those five through the outfield and what trio proves to be the regular core for the RoughRiders.

  1. THE POTENTIAL IS THERE…

While 17 of the 25 players on the Opening Day roster have been with Frisco before, some of the first-timers at the Double-A level could be valuable assets to the squad if they’re able to keep up the level of play they had in the lower levels. Ronald Guzman comes off a strong year between Hickory and High Desert last season (131 G, .283 avg, 28 2B, 7 3B, 12 HR, 87 RBI), and he looked to be swinging well in Spring Training, too. Zach Cone is another guy who’s been swinging well and is coming off one of the best years of his career (113 G, .276, 27 2B, 18 HR, 71 RBI), which included a late-season promotion to Frisco. On the pitching side, both Reed Garrett and Richelson Pena have had a strong last few years in the lower levels of the farm system. Don’t look into their High Desert stats too much, given how much of a hitter’s league the California League is. With all of these guys, it’s just potential for now. But there’s reason to believe that at least some of them can continue playing at a similar level to what they did in the Single-A ranks.

  1. PITCHING LOOKS TO IMPROVE

Last year, it was “rough riding” on the mound. Frisco finished last in the Texas League in team ERA (4.70) and finished at or near the bottom in numerous other categories, too. Nine of the 13 pitchers on the initial roster pitched in Frisco last year, so perhaps that previous experience will pay off this season. The other four bring reason for optimism, too. Both Reed Garrett and Richelson Pena had good seasons in High Desert last year, with Garrett finishing tied for the California League lead in complete games (2) and Pena ending the year tied for the most wins in the league (10). Sam Wolff returns from injury, and the flamethrower Matt Bush is sure to offer a great anchor at the back end of the bullpen.

Those are just some of the bigger picture storylines to watch. Others will develop as the season goes along, and there will be some individual storylines to monitor, too. But enough speculation; first pitch is almost here, and we’ll see just how well the 2016 RoughRiders come together.

-Ryan

Baseball term of the day: Teaser – A slow, deceiving pitch to tempt a batter.

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary

The Magic of Opening Day

There are plenty of great two-word phrases in baseball: play ball, home run, and strike three, to name a few. But I’ve always been a believer that there’s no two-word phrase more satisfying to a baseball fan than this one: Opening Day.

You just can’t beat the festive atmosphere that comes with Opening Day. For baseball fans across the country, it’s a chance to come out of a six-month, baseball-less hibernation. Teams that are coming off a good year hope to keep a good thing going, while those that were out of the race by August are back in a five-way tie for first place. 23127972556_e8321afec1_k

Opening Day is so regal, in a way that other sports can’t match when their seasons open. Full stadiums, introductions of the entire team and special ceremonies make Opening Day memorable every year.

I remember getting out of school early to go spend a few hours under the sun and formally welcome baseball back from its extended absence. When I lived in Seattle, I even remember waking up to watch Mariners Opening Day on TV at 3:00 am (they were playing in Japan), back in 2012.

You just can’t beat Opening Day. It was great watching the three games yesterday, and there’s plenty more on tap today, including the Rangers opener at 3:05. It’s all serving as an appetizer for Opening Day in the minor leagues, coming up on Thursday, including Frisco’s game at Northwest Arkansas. So even if you don’t get a chance to go to a ballgame today, hopefully you feel the excitement of a new baseball season, where anything can happen and the fun is just beginning.

-Ryan

Baseball term of the day: open the floodgates – For a fielder to bring his glove up too quickly, allowing the ball to skid under the glove and between the fielder’s legs.

(term from The Dickson Baseball Dictionary)

MLB Opening Day Rosters Filled With RoughRiders

Opening Day for the Frisco RoughRiders is this Thursday, but former Riders players will have a presence in nearly every Opening Day contest at the start of the 2015 Major League Baseball season. There are 33 former RoughRiders on the Opening Day active rosters of 16 different MLB teams this season, highlighted by the big league debuts of 2014 Frisco players Keone Kela and Odubel Herrera.

Rangers pitcher Keone Kela at spring training in Surprise, Az., (Rodger Mallison/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/TNS via Getty Images)

Rangers pitcher Keone Kela at spring training in Surprise, Az., (Rodger Mallison/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/TNS via Getty Images)

The Texas Rangers have an MLB-high 12 former RoughRiders on their roster, with Kela making his first appearance on a major league roster. He is expected to be a member of the Texas bullpen for tonight’s season opener in Oakland. The 21-year-old right-handed pitcher was promoted to Frisco on May 3, 2014 and spent the remainder of the season as a RoughRider. Kela posted a 2-1 record with five saves and a 1.86 ERA in 36 Texas League appearances in 2014, registering a 55:27 strikeout-to-walk ratio and a .162 opponents’ batting average in 38.2 innings. He did not allow an earned run in 30 of his last 32 regular season outings and twice compiled streaks of 14 consecutive scoreless appearances. Kela was the Rangers’ 12th round selection in the 2012 First-Year Player Draft out of Everett (Wash.) Community College.

Herrera is expected to be the Philadelphia Phillies’ everyday centerfielder when the Phillies open the season this afternoon at home against Boston. A Rule 5 Draft selection by Philadelphia in the off-season, Herrera spent the bulk of the past two seasons as a second baseman with the RoughRiders.

 Odubel Herrera of the Philadelphia Phillies bats during a spring training game. (Photo by Ronald C. Modra /Sports Imagery/ Getty Images)

Odubel Herrera of the Philadelphia Phillies bats during a spring training game. (Photo by Ronald C. Modra /Sports Imagery/ Getty Images)

He won the Texas League batting crown last year with a .321 average, 13 points higher than second place. In 96 games with the Riders, Herrera compiled 16 doubles, four triples, two home runs and 48 runs batted in. The left-handed batter was named a Texas League Postseason and Mid-Season All-Star last year; he was also a Mid-Season TL All-Star in 2013. A native of Zulia, Venezuela, Herrera was signed by the Rangers as a non-drafted free agent in 2008.

Twelve of the of the 15 Opening Day games scheduled for last night and today feature a former RoughRider on the 25-man roster of at least one team. Since 2003, Frisco has sent 128 former players to the big leagues (not including Major League rehabbers).

FULL LIST OF FORMER ROUGHRIDERS ON MLB OPENING DAY ACTIVE ROSTERS

Texas Rangers (12)

  • SS Elvis Andrus
  • RHP Neftali Feliz
  • LHP Derek Holland
  • RHP Keone Kela (MLB debut)
  • RHP Phil Klein
  • OF Leonys Martin
  • RHP Nick Martinez
  • RHP Roman Mendez
  • 1B/OF Mitch Moreland
  • 2B Rougned Odor
  • OF Ryan Rua
  • Jake Smolinski

Chicago Cubs (4)

  • RHP Justin Grimm
  • RHP Kyle Hendricks
  • 3B Mike Olt
  • RHP Neil Ramirez

Boston Red Sox (2)

  • RHP Alexi Ogando
  • LHP Robbie Ross, Jr.

Kansas City Royals (2)

  • RHP Edinson Volquez
  • RHP Chris Young

Oakland Athletics (2)

  • RHP Jesse Chavez
  • OF Craig Gentry

Baltimore Orioles (1)

  • RHP Tommy Hunter

Cincinnati Reds (1)

  •  RHP Jumbo Diaz

Chicago White Sox (1)

  • RHP John Danks

Detroit Tigers (1)

  • Ian Kinsler

Houston Astros (1)

  • RHP Scott Feldman

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (1)

  • LHP C.J. Wilson

New York Mets (1)

  • OF John Mayberry, Jr.

Philadelphia Phillies (1)

  • OF Odubel Herrera (MLB debut)

San Francisco Giants (1)

  • 3B Joakim Arias

Toronto Blue Jays (1)

  • Justin Smoak

Washington Nationals (1)

  • Tanner Roark

– Alex

Welcome Home

The rain has stopped, the clouds have parted, and Rangers baseball is back in Arlington!   Many people will call in sick from work, pull their kids out early from school, and make the drive to the ballpark to welcome our Rangers back home for the 2013 season.  Opening Day is finally here as the Rangers face the LA Angels this afternoon at 1:05.

Ballpark

Today also marks Josh Hamilton’s first return to Rangers Ballpark since leaving for LA.  This return has sparked a number of reactions by Rangers fans, especially after remarks made by Hamilton questioning the loyalty of DFW baseball fans.

I am personally on the edge of my seat waiting to know how Josh will be received at today’s game.  Will the stadium erupt in boos?  Will there be cheers for the once-adored All-Star?  Or will he receive the silent treatment, getting little acknowledgement from the fans of his former team?

More than likely, there will be a combination of all three.  There are a number of fans who feel Hamilton leaving the Rangers and the way he left was a betrayal, and boos will be heard throughout the stadium.  Others will try to look past the hurt feelings and the tension, and cheer.  However, the hope for many is that there will be silence, no boos or cheers, proving Rangers fans stand strongly behind their team and can move past the tensions from the last few months.

Hamilton

Regardless of how Hamilton’s reception plays out, the fact is today is the Rangers Home Opener.  The day Rangers fans have been looking forward to is finally here.  Enjoy it and look forward to many enjoyable days and nights at the ballpark!

 Other notes from the week:

-The Rangers began the season this past Sunday on the road in Houston.  Despite dropping the first game of the series 2-8 in the Astros’ first game in the American League, the Rangers came back to win the series in back-to-back shutouts.

Yu Darvish was one strike away from pitching a perfect game in Game 2, tallying a career-high 14 strikeouts.  Former RoughRider Alexi Ogando also had a career-high 10 strikeouts in Game 3. In total, the Rangers had 43 strikeouts, the most by a major-league team in the first three games of the season, breaking the mark set by the 1966 Cleveland Indians.

-Elvis Andrus is in Texas for a while.  The 24-year-old shortstop announced Thursday that he signed an eight-year contract extension, securing him at least through 2018 (he has an opt-out in his contract at that point).

Where was Nolan Ryan?  At Thursday’s press conference announcing Andrus’ contract extension, Ryan was noticeably absent.  This only fueled the curiosities of his future with the Rangers.  It was reported later that Nolan attended the Round Rock Express season opener.

What does the future hold for Jurickson Profar?  With the Elvis Andrus contract extension, the future for Rangers’ top prospect Profar is up in the air.  The former RoughRider, will be in Round Rock this season, but playing the same position as Andrus brings questions regarding the 20-year-old’s future.

-Ryan

Baseball term of the day: Parachute Hitter – another term for a singles hitter

RoughRiders bring exciting changes to food and beverage at Dr Pepper Ballpark

The ‘Riders home opener is less than a week away, coming next Thursday against the Arkansas Travelers at Dr Pepper Ballpark. The gates will open to all the lovely sights, sounds and smells of baseball: the perfectly manicured infield and outfield grass, players flinging the ball in warm-ups, the bustle and chatter of fans and, of course, the smell of ballpark food.

The RoughRiders poured in over $1 million in concessions this off-season into Dr Pepper Ballpark, upgrading and refreshing food and beverage options for the approximately half-a-million fans expected to pass through the gates this season.

Find out what is in the “Firecracker” hot dog and more at RidersBaseball.com.

– Nathan