Results tagged ‘ San Antonio Missions ’

Joe Benson is Back

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Announced today, outfielder Joe Benson has been activated off the disabled list and, although he is not in the lineup, Joe is listed on Steve Buechele’s bench tonight in San Antonio. Benson provided a spark for the RoughRiders when he arrived from on May 25, after he was claimed off waivers from the Minnesota Twins (click for more on the Joe Benson story).

Benson, however, as has been the case in recent years, had issues staying on the field. In two months, Benson played just nine games for the RoughRiders.

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Benson played six games for the ‘Riders in May, homering in the first three contests he played in donning a RoughRiders uniform. Straining his groin running out a groundout on May 31, Benson sat on the bench, recuperating before finally returning to play on June 9 as a pinch hitter in a come-from-behind victory for the ‘Riders 4-3 in Midland. His triple set up the game-winning RBI fielder’s choice. He went 0-for-3 the following night before he was tossed in the fifth inning for arguing a call, and on June 11, after two trips to the plate, he was lifted for a defensive replacement in right field, and we have not seen him in the lineup since.

Joe was placed on the disabled list on June 19, as he had reaggravated the groin injury. After resting for a long while, he intensified his rehabbing and spent the past week terrorizing teenagers (mostly) in the Arizona League (Rookie). In seven games (five at CF and two at DH), Benson hit .417 with three doubles and a homer. Although those numbers are silly, they are not that much better that his performance at Double-A with the ‘Riders–the guy can hit.

In his nine games for the ‘Riders, Benson hit .333 with two triples and four home runs, driving in six of his teammates. Although the sample size is unfairly small to draw big conclusions, the numbers still speak loudly. His 1.289 OPS between Frisco and Arizona leads all Rangers minor leaguers this season.

The ‘Riders went 7-2 in games played by Benson, and with the current state of affair for the team, which has lost three in-a-row and five of six, his return is an extremely welcomed one for the offense, which has been shutout in back-to-back games and has not scored in 26 innings.

The ‘Riders step into the box against Keyvius Sampson tonight at 7:05 p.m., you can catch the game at RidersBaseball.com. For all the ways to listen to the game, check out our post on the new ‘Riders mobile app!

More Joe Benson nuggets can be found from his interview on the ‘Riders pregame show shortly after his arrival in May, posted on ‘Riders on the Record.

- Nathan

Baseball term of the day: goat’s beard - the plastic or leather flap hinged at the bottom of a catcher’s or umpire’s mask

That crazy Texas weather: ‘Riders rain delays

It’s often said that the Texas weather is unpredictable, that if you don’t like the weather just wait ten minutes.  Lately, those sentiments have been true.

Last week, North Texas was experiencing triple-digit heat, then Sunday, clouds covered the sky and the temperatures dropped into the mid-80s, just in time for the RoughRiders four-game home stand against the San Antonio Missions.

RainOut

The rain was on and off all day Sunday, but the ‘Riders and Missions’ 6 p.m. contest fell perfectly in a two hour dry window. Monday, however was a different story, as the rain caused a rare July postponement.  Today the teams will play a double-header beginning at 4:30.

The last time the RoughRiders had a July rain out was the summer of 2010 when Frisco had three postponed games in the month.

  • July 12, 2010 against Arkansas (North Little Rock).
    This is the most recent July rain out.  The ‘Riders and Travelers played a double header the next day (July 13), splitting the two games.
  • July 8, 2010 against Springfield (Springfield).
    Frisco and the Cardinals made up this game in a double header two days later on July 10, splitting the games.
  • July 2, 2010 against Springfield (Frisco)
    The RoughRiders and Cardinals made this game up the next day (July 3).  Frisco won both games of the double header.
    **According to all available records, this appears to be the only other time that Frisco had a  rain out at Dr Pepper Ballpark in the month of July.

Today’s game:

This is the third double header the RoughRiders have played this season, the second at Dr Pepper Ballpark.  The season opener on April 4 in Arkansas was rained out to the next day, and Frisco split the double header. May 29 in Frisco against the Springfield Cardinals was the second postponed game, and again, the ‘Riders made up the game the next day and split the two games.

Today, Kevin Pucetas (8-7, 4.84 ERA) is on the mound for game one at 4:30 p.m., and will face Matt Wisler (4-3, 3.15 ERA) for the Missions. Arlett Mavare (1-2, 6.12 ERA) will start the second game against Donn Roach (6-8, 3.93).  The second game of tonight’s double header will begin as close to 7 p.m. as possible.

Ranger’s center fielder Craig Gentry and third baseman Jeff Baker will continue their rehab assignments.

-Ryan

Baseball Term of the Day: Solid up the middle - Said of a team that has excellent players at catcher, second base, shortstop and center field.

‘Riders on the Record: owning seven gloves and hunting hogs

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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.

This week, highlights include the Manager’s appreciation for the submarining right-hander, a fascinating conversation with Danny Clark (editor’s note: my favorite interview of the year thus far), and hunting stories from Kevin Pucetas.

Happy Sunday and enjoy!

Sunday, June 2, 2013 - Manager Steve Buechele


This week’s Sunday chat with ‘Riders manager Steve Buechele finished up the home stand for the RoughRiders. He hits on Mike Olt‘s strange vision issues and the torrid start for Joe Benson. He lauds Ben Rowen for getting his team out of so many jams. (w/ Alex Vispoli)

Tuesday, June 4, 2013 - RHP Nick McBride


Nick McBride joins us for the first time this season. He talks about his bouncing around the Rangers system. He weighs on his favorite pitching role, whether he wants to be a starter or reliever. (w/ Alex)

Wednesday, June 5, 2013 - Danny Clark


The Rangers Minor League Pitcher Coordinator Danny Clark took some time out of his day to join the pregame show to discuss the state of the Rangers arms. He tells us that Randy Henry will be pitching in short stints following his return from the DL. He talks about the inconsistencies of Wilmer Font, the enigma of Ben Rowen and the philosophies of the Rangers in promoting their pitchers. He also outlines a number of guys who could be the next RoughRiders pitcher coming up from the lower levels. (w/ Alex)

Thursday, June 6, 2013 - Missions Broadcaster Mike Saeger


Missions broadcaster Mike Saeger chats with the Voice of the RoughRiders Alex Vispoli before the game Friday night. They discuss the Missions inability to field against the RoughRiders. Saeger talks about the quietly impressive year of Padres prospect Matt Andriese and Kalian Sams bursting onto the scene. (w/ Alex)

Friday, June 7, 2013 - IF Guilder Rodriguez


The RoughRiders utility infielder owns nearly enough gloves to field a whole team. Guilder Rodriguez talks about playing multiple positions and how he prepares for the combination of situations he must be ready for on a day-to-day basis. He talks about his big hit the previous night, which gave the RoughRiders a big one-run win in San Antonio. (w/ Alex)

Saturday, June 8, 2013 - RHP Kevin Pucetas


RoughRiders starting pitcher Kevin Pucetas joins us and breaks down where he is mentally and physically close to the mid-way point for the season. He also shares his favorite hobby, hunting, and tells a story of nearly breaking a North Texas record! (w/ Alex)

- Nathan

Baseball term of the day: coop –  dugout

(term from The Baseball Thesaurus)

‘Riders on the Record: a red-eye and a nearly historic start

‘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.  

Happy Holiday weekend ‘Riders fans! The RoughRiders play their first evening game on a Sunday tonight in Tulsa, and since it is Sunday, once again it is time for ‘Riders on the Record. Hope you enjoy the entries this week which include the skipper’s side of his ejection a week ago, a former Metroplex star discussing his bout with cancer, a surprising callup’s crazy travel day to Frisco and the thoughts of Carlos Pimentel following his near no-hitter. And there is Fungo Golf, of course.

Enjoy!

Sunday, May 19, 2013 – Manager Steve Buechele


This Sunday morning Alex asked Manager Steve Buechele about the hot-hitting of Teodoro Martinez, the hamstring injury to Jared Hoying and the offensive struggles of Ryan Strausborger. He also explains his gripe with the umpires the previous night that led to his ejection. (w/ Alex Vispoli)

Monday, May 20, 2013 – San Antonio Missions RHP Josh Geer


Forney High School graduate and San Antonio Missions right-handed pitcher Josh Geer took some time after batting practice to tell us about his memories of baseball in the Metroplex growing up. The former major leaguer talked about his bout with cancer and where is in physically in his recovery as well as how it changed his mental approach with baseball. He recounts his days in high school with Braves catcher Evan Gattis as well. (w/ Nathan Barnett)

Wednesday, May 22, 2013 – OF Ryan Strausborger


Finally catching fire a bit for the ‘Riders offensively, Ryan Strausborger talks about his big hit the previous ballgame and how he feels offensively past the quarter mark of the season. Well on his way to eclipsing his stolen base mark of a year ago, he brings up his desire to be more aggressive on the base paths as well. In the wake of Ross Wolf‘s first Major League start the same day, he talks about what the pitcher was like as a teammate as well. (w/ Alex)

Thursday, May 23, 2013 – OF Barrett Serrato


Newest RoughRiders position player Barrett Serrato has yet to play in a game, but it could be in part because he still has jet lag! He talked about his wild travel day Sunday after getting the call that he had been promoted to Double-A. He talks about his goals for the season and the adjustments he is trying to make him his metal bat days at Purdue. (w/ Alex)

Friday, May 24, 2013 – RHP Carlos Pimentel


A day after the RoughRiders combined for a one-hit shutout, the starting pitcher Carlos Pimentel talks about his special night. Pimentel through the first seven innings and took a no-hitter into the 6th inning. (w/ Alex)

Saturday, May 25, 2013 – RHP Ben Rowen


Following a night in which he picked up his third save of the year, Ben Rowen joined Alex on the pregame show. Despite his very different arm angle, Ben explained that he experiences similar soreness and tire that any other pitcher would. He also talked about his hockey-playing days and his Fungo Golf hobby. (w/ Alex)

- Nathan

Baseball term of the day: a la cartea catch made with one hand

Home Sweet Home: Day baseball aplenty and the return of Richard Bleier

The Frisco RoughRiders return home in second place in the Texas League, trailing only their opponent from this past weekend, the Corpus Christi Hooks. The ‘Riders split the four-game series with the Astros affiliate.

Today, they begin a four-game series with the Midland RockHounds, the Double-A affiliate of the Oakland Athletics. This is the first trip of the season for the RockHounds to Dr Pepper Ballpark; the two teams got acquainted last week when Frisco dropped three of four games at Citibank Ballpark in Midland.

The RoughRiders announced today that Richard Bleier has been added to the roster, received from Triple-A Round Rock, where he began the season. Bleier threw for the RoughRiders in each of the last three seasons. We will have more on him later in the week; he is projected to start on Thursday.

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Richard Bleier returns to Frisco this home stand, having made eight appearances for the Triple-A Round Rock Express thus far.

This is how the pitching matchups line up:

Monday: Tyler Tufts vs. Zach Neal

Tuesday: Neil Ramirez vs. Arnold Leon

Wednesday: Kevin Pucetas vs. Sean Murphy

Thursday: Richard Bleier vs. TBA

Home stand promotions and broadcast info:

Monday, May 13   |   7:00 p.m.   |   RoughRiders vs. Midland RockHounds (Oakland Athletics)
Radio: RidersBaseball.com    Webstream: MiLB.tv 

Tuesday, May 14   |   11:00 a.m.   |   RoughRiders vs. Midland RockHounds (Oakland Athletics)
Radio: RidersBaseball.com    Webstream: MiLB.tv 

Wednesday, May 15   |   11:00 a.m.   |   RoughRiders vs. Midland RockHounds (Oakland Athletics)
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, May 16   |   7:00 p.m.   |   RoughRiders vs. Midland RockHounds (Oakland Athletics)
Radio: RidersBaseball.com    Webstream: MiLB.tv 

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

  • $1 Dr Pepper Thursdays
  • RoughRiders Horse Race presented by Whataburger

Friday, May 17   |   7:00 p.m.   |   RoughRiders vs. San Antonio Missions (San Diego Padres)
Radio: RidersBaseball.com    Webstream: MiLB.tv 

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

  • Friday Night Post-game fireworks
  • RoughRiders Horse Race presented by Whataburger
  • Smashburger SMASH inning

Saturday, May 18   |   7:00 p.m.   |   RoughRiders vs. San Antonio Missions (San Diego Padres)
TV: KTXD    Radio: RidersBaseball.com    Webstream: MiLB.tv 

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

  • Free ‘Riders sunshade
FREE SUNSHADES!

FREE SUNSHADES!

Sunday, May 19   |   4:00 p.m.   |   RoughRiders vs. San Antonio Missions (San Diego Padres)
TV: KTXD    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

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Monday, May 20   |   11:00 a.m.   |   RoughRiders vs. San Antonio Missions (San Diego Padres)
Radio: RidersBaseball.com    Webstream: MiLB.tv 

For information on tickets to see the RoughRiders in 2013, please call (972) 731-9200, email info@ridersbaseball.com or visit www.ridersbaseball.com.

- Nathan

Baseball term of the day: radio balla fastball thrown so hard, the batter claims he can hear it but not see it 

Texas League Prospects (South Division)

Today, we look at some of the prospects in the Texas League South Division and their performance this first month and a half of play.   The South Division has held the lead in the league, currently occupying the top four places in the rankings.

Corpus Christi Hooks:

George Springer, CF – Springer is ranked as the 3rd prospect by Baseball America in the Houston Astros system.  The 23-year-old is also the Astros’ top outfielder.  In his first year at the Double-A level, George leads the Hooks this season in runs (27), hits (35), doubles (9) home runs (11) and RBIs (27).  Springer also leads the Texas League in home runs, RBIs  and total bases (77).

Springer

Frisco RoughRiders:

Hanser Alberto, SS – Alberto is ranked as the 15th prospect in the Rangers’ system, and is the top ranked position player on the RoughRiders’ roster by Baseball America.  Hanser has hit .289 in his 30 games this season with 114 at-bats and has had 13 runs on 33 hits with an RBI of 14.  As of opening day, he was the youngest player in the Texas League and the second youngest at the Double-A level at the age of 20.

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San Antonio Missions:

Matt Andriese, RHP – Andriese is ranked by Baseball America as the Padres’ 20th prospect and the ninth top pitcher in the San Diego system.  The 23-year-old has gone 5-0 with an ERA of 2.19 this season with seven starts, opponents hitting .196.  Andriese leads the Missions and the Texas League in wins (5).

Andriese

Midland RockHounds:

Miles Head, 3B – At the age of 22, Head is ranked 7th and the top third baseman in the Oakland Athletics’ system by Baseball America.   Head’s swing is quick and compact, and he has cited as having excellent bat control.  Miles is hitting .206 in 28 games with 107 at-bats and has 11 runs off 22 hits.  He has hit two home runs this season.  In his three games against the RoughRiders, Miles had three runs with eight at-bats striking out twice and walking four times.

Head

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In ‘Riders News:

Coming off a 6-4 win over the Hooks last night, Frisco continues their series in Corpus Christi tonight at 7.  Kevin Pucetas will start for the RoughRiders and faces Nick Tropeano.

The ‘Riders return to Dr Pepper Ballpark Monday night at 7 against the Midland RockHounds.

Baseball term of the day: Pull the trigger - to decide to swing at the pitch.

-Ryan

The 2013 (Nearly) Complete Twitter Guide to the Frisco RoughRiders, the Texas League and the Texas Rangers Farm System: Part One

A couple days ago I wrote a post here with the best resources for keeping up on the Texas Rangers and its minor league teams and prospects, and the entire time while writing it, I kept thinking about how I get as much or more information on Twitter these days.

I still hit the ‘ole feedly reader every day. Sometimes 140 characters just doesn’t really cut it for a topic. Yu know, like Darvish’s outing last night. (For more on that, read this, and this, and this and this. Oh and you have to watch that).

And while that is true, Twitter is still great, especially for breaking news. Want to be the first one to find out that Nelson Cruz’s home run last night actually came with a broken-bat swing? FSSW’s Emily Jones has you covered:

Did you see former RoughRiders pitcher Robbie Erlin got called yetserday? With Twitter, you could find great stuff on who is behind the numbers from excellent Rangers prospect guru Jason Cole:

And, yeah, you might have heard that 17-year-old Rangers prospect Nomar Mazara hit his second home run last night for Class-A Hickory, but how impressive was it? Crawdads’ broadcaster Aaron Cox does a very nice job tweeting in-game. See:

SO, without further ado, here it is: The 2013 (Nearly) Complete Guide to the Frisco RoughRiders, the Texas League, and the Texas Rangers Farm System.

Why “nearly” complete? Well. 1) this is not necessarily exhaustive. Plenty of people tweet about these topics, but this is a great starting point. And 2) of course we need your input! Let us know who we are missing by commenting below or tweeting at me (@NathanSBarnett) and 3) I am not done with the rest of the parts yet…

And, yes, this is just Part One of The 2013 (Nearly) Complete Twitter Guide (TNCTG). I will have a few entries over the next week or so and also update them, as I find new handles worthy of the all-important “follow” click.

Part One looks at the teams and key employee follows in the Texas League and Rangers system. Future entries will include key journalists, commentators, and bloggers to follow. And players! Yes, the exhaustive list of players as well. Stay tuned!

_________________________

TNCTG PART ONE:

Texas League Teams:

South Division:

Frisco RoughRiders: @RidersBaseball

Corpus Christi Hooks: @CCHooks

Midland Rockhounds: @RockHounds

San Antonio Missions: @MissionsMiLB

North Division:

Arkansas Travelers: @ARTravs

Northwest Arkansas Naturals: @NWANaturals

Springfield Cardinals: @Sgf_Cardinals

Tulsa Drillers: @TulsaDrillers

Teams in the Rangers System:

MLB – Texas Rangers: @Rangers

Triple-A – Round Rock Express: @RRExpress

Double-A – Frisco RoughRiders: @RidersBaseball

Advanced-A – Myrtle Beach Pelicans: @PelicanBaseball

Single-A – Hickory Crawdads: @HickoryCrawdads

Short-Season A – Spokane Indians: @SpokaneIndians

Rookie – AZL Rangers: No official Twitter handle, that I am aware of. There is @AZL_Rangers which was created by a fan. Decent follow.

Rookie – DSL Rangers: Ditto. Some do cover this team, however. More to come in future TNCTG entries.

The Voices:

Alex Vispoli, Frisco RoughRiders: @Vispoli 

Bob Hards, Midland Rockhounds: Unknown. 

Michael Coffin, Corpus Christi Hooks: No twitter account (see team Twitter handle) 

Mike Saeger, San Antonio Missions: @SAMissionsRadio

Phil Elson, Arkansas Travelers: @ElsonPhil

Steven Davis, Northwest Arkansas Naturals: Unknown. 

Andrew Buchbinder, Springfield Cardinals: Unknown. 

Dennis Higgins, Tulsa Drillers: Unknown. 

Eric Nadel, #1 MLB – Texas Rangers: @NadelEr

Matt Hicks, #2 MLB – Texas Rangers: @RadioHicksie

Mike Capps, Triple-A – Round Rock Express: @RRExpressRadio

Travis Lucian, Advanced-A – Myrtle Beach Pelicans: @TravisLucian

Aaron Cox, Class-A – Hickory Crawdads: @TheAaronCox

Mike Boyle, Short-A – Spokane Indians: @MrMBoyle

Other good employees and team-related follows:

Frisco RoughRiders:

Nathan Barnett, Media Relations & Broadcasting Assistant: @NathanSBarnett

Ryan Garrett, Media Relations Intern: @Garrett_RM

Corpus Christi Hooks:

Chris Blake, Media Relations Coordinator: @ChrisCBlake

Midland Rockhounds:

Greg Bergman, Assistant GM / Media Relations & Advertising: @GregBergman

Tulsa Drillers:

Brian Carroll, Director of Media / Public Relations: @BKC001 

Texas Rangers:

John Blake, Executive Vice President of Communications: @RangerBlake

Updates on Rangers Ballpark: Parking, Traffic, Valet, Gate Openings, Weather & Events: @RangersInfo

In-game Rangers Twitter handle: @theRangersGame

_________________________

For those of you out there wanting to keep up with every with a Twitter “list” — I have made one with most of these handles on there. Feel free to subscribe, I plan to keep it up to date this season.

- Nathan

Baseball term of the day: wand - baseball bat

The spirit of kindness

A week ago today, the small town of West, Texas was hit by tragedy when a fertilizer plant exploded and engulfed a large portion of the small Central Texas town in flames.  This explosion came just two days after the terror attack in Boston, making for an extremely tense and sad week in news.  In both Boston and West, the spirit of kindness shined through the destruction as complete strangers stepped in to lend a helping hand and a prayerful heart to those in need.

During the three-game weekend series with Seattle, the Texas Rangers collected tens of thousands of essential items for the West victims and residents that filled two large meeting areas at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington as well as thousands of dollars in gift cards. In addition, some $40,000 in cash donations went to the citizens of West from Texas Rangers fans and employees and the Texas Rangers Baseball Foundation.  Players’ wives, Rangers employees and former Rangers outfield Kevin Mench, who has family in West, loaded the boxes of toiletries, food and supplies were loaded into a truck to take to West yesterday morning.  The Fox Sports Southwest Fan Express accompanied the equipment truck to West, and delivered the items to the West Fairgrounds.

Along with the collection of supplies for West, the Rangers teamed with Carter BloodCare and reported that 80 donors were processed during the blood drive at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington prior to Sunday’s game against the Mariners. The number of units of blood drawn equates to over 200 lives saved.

“Texas Rangers fans demonstrated overwhelming generosity for the team’s relief initiatives for the devastating explosion and fires in West, Texas last week,” said the Rangers in a press release yesterday.

The Rangers’ efforts to help the town of West were one of many in Texas and around the country. Lines at blood banks stretched far outside the doors in Waco and the DFW area in the days following the explosion.  Students at Baylor, UNT and other nearby colleges held drives for food, toiletries, school supplies and other necessities to aid the families in West.  Companies and organizations all over Texas held similar drives, encouraging people to give as much as they could for those whose lives have been shaken.  Nearby school districts donated desks, chairs and even a few buildings for the school that was destroyed by the fire.  All these efforts brought to light how, in the midst of tragedy and destruction, people will come together to help one another.

The next few weeks and months will be difficult for those affected by the tragedies in West and Boston; please keep these folks in your thoughts and prayers as they begin the rebuilding process.

Tomorrow (Thursday, April 25), a public memorial will be held at 2 p.m. inside Baylor University’s Ferrell Center for the firefighters and first responders who lost their lives in the explosion.

WestDrive

Items collected by the Rangers and Rangers fans for the West disaster loaded onto a truck on Tuesday, April 23. (Photo Credit STAR-TELEGRAM/JOYCE MARSHALL)

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RoughRiders Game Notes:

Tonight, the RoughRiders continue their series against the Missions in San Antonio.  Kevin Pucetas looks to bounce back from a defeat his last time out against San Antonio’s Matt Andriese.  First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 tonight.  Read the game notes here.

Baseball Term of the Day: Cowhide Joyride: a home run

-Ryan

Back on the road again

After a partial day off and a seven-hour bus ride to Corpus Christi, the RoughRiders open South Division play against the Hooks Thursday at 7:05 p.m.

The team plays the first four games of the eight-game trip in Corpus Christi before traveling to San Antonio to take on the San Diego affiliate San Antonio Missions.

Both series should be good tests for Frisco, who opens the trip in first place in the entire Texas League. The RoughRiders are 8-4. That puts them a game ahead of 7-5 Corpus Christi and Midland and two games ahead of San Antonio.

The South Division dominated the first two weeks of the season, going 27-20 in cross-divisional play. The fourth place team San Antonio is tied with the first place teams in the North, Arkansas and Tulsa, at 6-6.

Now divisional plays opens, and the next few weeks should tell us a lot about the teams in the league.

The Opponents

Corpus Christi Hooks (7-5, Thursday-Saturday, 7:05, Sunday, 1:05)

The Hooks spent most of last week in first place before getting swept by Tulsa Sunday through Tuesday. An intigruing team to watch, the Hooks are a Houston Astros affiliate. Houston is employing a “piggybacking” or a “tandem” starting rotation at all of their minor league levels. Instead of having an ordinary five-man starting rotation, they have four pairs of starters. Each pair alternates who starts the game, and both go multiple innings. Chris Blake with the Hooks media department has a piece up explaining the pairing system if you want to find out more. Teams at lower levels have employed this system for years, but it is unheard of at the Double-A and Triple-A level.

Because of this rotation, Frisco will not “miss” any of the Corpus starters. The four-game series forces each of the eight “starting pitchers” to face the Frisco lineup at some point during the four-game set. Asher Wojciechowski has been the stalwart so far for the Hooks staff. He has posted 14 scoreless innings with 14 Ks and just four walks. He should relieve David Martinez Saturday night.

Intriguing offensive players on the roster are headlined by first baseman Jonathan Singleton, but he won’t play until May after violating minor league baseball’s drug policy in January; he is suspended for 50 games. Center fielder George Springer, who struggled in his brief stint in Corpus in 2012, is the highest ranked Astros farmhand currently active for the Hooks. He has performed better in the early going this year, hitting .273 with three home runs and is tied for second in the Texas League with 11 RBI. He hit 22 bombs and swiped 28 bags in the California League a year ago and has big time power and speed. Less ballyhooed outfield prospects Austin Wates and Domingo Santana are also off to good starts.

San Antonio Missions (6-6, Monday-Thursday, 7:05)

The farm team of another lowly MLB club, the Missions, like most of the San Diego farm system, is pitching-heavy in prospects. The Missions have six of the top-30 players in the Padres farm system according to Baseball America, and all six are on the pitching staff. Starters Donn Roach (19) and Matthew Andriese (20) are joined by bullpen arms Adys Portillo (9), Burch Smith (22), Matt Stites (27) and Kevin Quackenbush (29), although Portillo is currently on the DL. Andriese and Roach have been filthy thus far, and Quackenbush picked up the team’s only save ten days ago. The prospect-laden staff is producing; the Missions lead the Texas League in ERA (2.66) are tied for the fewest walks allowed (21).

No top-30 players in the Padres system fill the lineup for the Missions, but Tommy Medica has turned some heads. The C/1B/OF prospect was selected in the 14th round in 2010 and is already 25 years old, but he led all Padres farmhands in batting average (.330), on-base percentage (.406) and slugging (.623) a year ago. This is his first season at the Double-A level, and he is crushing the baseball. The career .297 minor league hitter leads the Missions in homers with four and has posted a .348 average. He is also first in the Texas League in total bases. Fringe prospect Jake Blackwood is off to a good start as well; he is tied with RoughRiders killer, Arkansas’ Matt Long, with 18 hits to lead the league.

‘Riders Notes

  • The best source of information on the RoughRiders players on a day-to-day basis are the game notes. You can check out today’s by clicking here.
  • What a homestand for Frisco. Offensively, the team hit just .204 with two home runs in six road games. The six games at home produced 10 long balls and a .313 team average. Frisco is now second in batting average and homers in the league.
  • Leading the way at home was Alejandro Selen (10-for-20, 8 R, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 1 SB), Ryan Strausborger (8-for-20, 4 R, 2 HR, 10 RBI, 2 SB) and Jared Hoying (8-for-23, 3 HR, 9 RBI, 1 SB). Alex Buchholz led the team with eight extra base hits. These were just four of the seven players who hit over .300 on the home stand.
  • The pitching wasn’t too shabby either. Frisco posted 23 consecutive scoreless innings in the middle of the current five-game winning streak. After Matt Long‘s grand slam in the sixth inning on Thursday, the ‘Riders silenced the Travelers and then the Naturals until Carlos Pimentel allowed a pair of runs in the third inning Sunday. The RoughRiders won that game 9-2.
  • Despite two rough outings from Cody Buckel on the home stand (2 GS, 3.1 IP, 8 R, 2 ER, 11 BB, 6 K), Frisco posted a 1.83 ERA in the six games.
  • Randy Henry threw 7.1 scoreless innings in his two outings and is tied a top of the Texas League ERA leaderboard. He is one of only three qualifying players yet to give up a run.
  • Kevin Pucetas (7.1 IP, 0 R, 5 H, 1 BB, 1 K) delivered the longest start of the season, and Neil Ramirez (5.2 IP, 2 H, 2 BB, 5 K)  looked excellent in his second start.
  • During the five-game winning streak Frisco is outscoring the opposition 48-12.

Some random thoughts and tidbits

  • In not so random news, former ‘Riders lefty Joe Ortiz picked up his first and second big league victories for the Rangers during the time Frisco was home. He got his first in Seattle Thursday and another Saturday at Safeco. 
  • Nick Tepesch pitched okay but took the loss in his second start of his MLB career.
  • In wouldn’t-it-be-neat-if-this-guy-made-it-here-this-year news, Joey Gallo hit his fifth and six home runs for the Rangers Class-A affiliate in Hickory. He got some love from MiLB.com this week as well. The power prospect trails only Ernesto Mejia (7) of the Atlanta Braves Triple-A team in Gwinnett for homers by a minor leaguer.

Today’s game begins at 7:05 p.m. The pregame show begins at 6:40 and can be heard here or if you are on an iPad or iPhone, click here. You can also watch the games with the audio feed simulcast by purchasing a subscription to MiLB.tv.

- Nathan

Baseball term of the day: petticoat ball – a strike at the knees in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. 

Thursday’s News & Notes

It’s finally starting to feel like fall here in Frisco and although hot stove league talk might be a bit premature, there are plenty of things going on right now affecting the RoughRiders and Rangers:

  • After winning his third-career Gold Glove on Tuesday, Rangers’ third baseman Adrian Beltre has just won his third ever Silver Slugger Award.  Beltre was also honored by the award in 2004 (Los Angeles) and 2010 (Boston), as he becomes just the sixth player (both leagues) since the award’s inception in 1980 to win three times as a third baseman.  The only other Texas third baseman to win a Silver Slugger Award was Buddy Bell in 1984.
  • According to the Chicago Sun-Times, two names “at or near the top” of  Theo Epstein and the Cubs’ list for a new

    Will Mike Maddux leave for the Cubs or Red Sox? (Getty Images)

    manager are Rangers’ pitching coach Mike Maddux and one-time Milwaukee interim manager Dale Sveum, who interviewed for the Boston Red Sox vacancy on Wednesday.  Maddux is also reportedly in the mix for consideration by Boston. (We all remember when the Rangers won the pennant in 2010, the club lost hitting coach Clint Hurdle months later when took over as manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates.  The unfortunate cost of winning).

  • In minor league news, it’s no surprise that the San Antonio Missions have been named Minor League Team of the Year and Double-A Team of the Year by MiLB.com.  The Missions recorded the best record in all of the minors at 94-46 while winning both the first and second halves. Their 94 victories were the most in the league since the advent of the 140-game schedule in 1961 and were the second-most in franchise history, just one less than the 95 victories by the 1908 club.  The Missions registered 100 overall wins after going 6-1 in the post-season on their way to capturing the franchise’s 12th Texas League Championship.
  • On July 19, Northwest Arkansas’ Will Smith and Kelvin Herrera combined for the Naturals’ first-ever no-hitter. To make things even better, the no-no was helped out by a sixth-inning 5-4-3 triple play.  The Naturals edged the Arkansas Travelers 1-0 and, as a result, have also won Double-A Game of the Year from MiLB.com.
  • It was announced yesterday that Hickory shortstop, and the Rangers’ No. 2 prospect, Jurickson Profar, has won the Minor League Baseball Yearly Award for Class A Full Season Hitter of the Year.  Only 18-years-old, Profar was previously named 2011 Low Class A Player of the Year by Baseball America to go along with winning the South Atlantic League MVP Award and being named to the SAL Annual All-Star Team this past season.  I guess this kid is pretty good.
  • Starting Friday at 10 a.m., The RoughRiders Foundation will be auctioning off game-used items and autographed memorabilia.  Items start at their low reserve price and are open for bidding through November 18, 2011 at 5 p.m. Notable items include game-worn jerseys by Josh Hamilton and Nelson Cruz during their rehab assignments in Frisco this season. Questions?  Contact Michael Davidow at 972-334-1978 or mdavidow@ridersbaseball.com.
-AG

 

 

 

 

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