Results tagged ‘ Texas League ’
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).
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.
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).
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.
In ‘Riders News:
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.
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:
Just confirmed Nelson Cruz broke his bat on that homerun. #beastmode
— Emily Jones (@EmilyJonesFSN) April 25, 2013
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:
— Jason Cole (@LoneStarDugout) April 25, 2013
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:
17 year old Nomar Mazara with a towering solo homer over the video board and clock in Greensboro to give the #Crawdads an early 1-0 lead.
— Aaron Cox (@TheAaronCox) April 24, 2013
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:
Frisco RoughRiders: @RidersBaseball
Corpus Christi Hooks: @CCHooks
Midland Rockhounds: @RockHounds
San Antonio Missions: @MissionsMiLB
Arkansas Travelers: @ARTravs
Northwest Arkansas Naturals: @NWANaturals
Springfield Cardinals: @Sgf_Cardinals
Tulsa Drillers: @TulsaDrillers
Teams in the Rangers System:
MLB – Texas Rangers: @Rangers
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.
Alex Vispoli, Frisco RoughRiders: @Vispoli
Michael Coffin, Corpus Christi Hooks: No twitter account (see team Twitter handle)
Mike Saeger, San Antonio Missions: @SAMissionsRadio
Phil Elson, Arkansas Travelers: @ElsonPhil
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:
Nathan Barnett, Media Relations & Broadcasting Assistant: @NathanSBarnett
Ryan Garrett, Media Relations Intern: @Garrett_RM
Corpus Christi Hooks:
Chris Blake, Media Relations Coordinator: @ChrisCBlake
Greg Bergman, Assistant GM / Media Relations & Advertising: @GregBergman
Brian Carroll, Director of Media / Public Relations: @BKC001
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.
Baseball term of the day: wand - baseball bat
Okay so let’s try that again. Opening Day in North Little Rock was washed out yesterday. The other three games in the Texas League went off without a hitch, and the South Division dominated the action. All three games went the way of the south yesterday, so Frisco comes into Opening Day back a half-game of the other three members in the division. Midland, Corpus Christi and San Antonio all picked up Opening Day victories. Midland and Frisco begin the season on the road while the other two opened up their seasons at home last night.
The rotation is not expected to change today. Cody Buckel will start game one while former big leaguer Ryan Feierabend opposes the Travelers order in game two. Arkansas counters with Jarrett Grube and Mike Piazza. No, not that one.
Keep an eye on the ‘Riders twitter feed for the latest updates on action from North Little Rock, including the starting lineups for game two, but for now, here is the game one lineup. Just the same as yesterday:
2B Odubel Herrera
CF Ryan Strausborger
RF Jared Hoying
1B Brett Nicholas
3B Alex Buchholz
LF Chih-Hsien Chiang
C Zach Zaneski
SS Hanser Alberto
RHP Cody Buckel
CF Travis Witherspoon
LF Matt Long
3B Kaleb Cowart
1B C.J. Cron
DH Robbie Widlansky
RF Randal Grichuk
2B Taylor Lindsey
C Jett Bandy
SS Rolando Gomez
RHP Jarrett Grube
News, notes, thoughts, and links:
- The RoughRiders weren’t alone in having weather issues yesterday. Of the four active minor league teams in the Texas system (Spokane and the Rangers AZL and DSL teams pick up in June), only one of them got their opener in.
- That was Round Rock. The Express topped Omaha 3-1 behind five shut-out innings from soon-to-be Texas Ranger’s 5th starter Nick Tepesch. The former ‘Rider scattered five singles in his five frames and struck out five Stormchasers on the way to the victory in his Triple-A debut.
- Hickory (Class-A) and Myrtle Beach (Class-A Advanced) were both rained out yesterday. Unlike Frisco, they will not make up their games today. Hickory will play a twin bill tomorrow beginning at 4:00 CT. Myrtle Beach won’t make up their postponed game until May 25th.
- An extra long edition of the game notes today, complete with both starting pitchers is available at RidersBaseball.com
- Tonight’s doubleheader 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.
- Frisco finishes the three game set with Arkansas in a full nine-inning contest tomorrow at 6:10 p.m. before getting back on the bus for the 194-mile trek to Springdale, Ark., home of the Northwest Arkansas Naturals. The RoughRiders round out the weekend Sunday with the first of a three game series against NW Arkansas at 2:00 p.m.
day two of the season Opening Day! Go ‘Riders!
With calendar year wrapping up, we’re taking one last look at the 2012 season, specifically the top performers in the Rangers organization. MiLB.com’s Rangers Organization All-Star Team provided a good jumping off point and yesterday we took a look at the infield with an eye upon the outfield and pitching today.
Joey Butler, Round Rock (137 G, .290-20-78, 28 2B, 3B, 93 R, 6-10 SB, .392 OBP, .473 SLG, .865 OPS)
Julio Borbon, Round Rock (126 G, .304-10-56, 23 2B, 8 3B, 78 R, 20-28 SB, .349 OBP, .433 SLG, .783 OPS)
Engel Beltre, Frisco (133 G, .261-13-55, 17 2B, 17 3B, 80 R, 36-46 SB, .307 OBP, .420 SLG, .727 OPS)
Lewis Brinson, AZL Rangers (54 G, .283-7-42, 22 2B, 7 3B, 54 R, 14-16 SB, .345 OBP, .523 SLG, .868 OPS)
The Rangers have a decent number of outfield prospects in their farm system and some very exciting ones who spent 2012 in the lower levels. Unfortunately, some of those exciting prospects did not have very good years offensively. The super-athletic Jordan Akins (Hickory) couldn’t crack the Mendoza Line in his first year with a full-season club while former first rounder Jake Skole struggled mightily in the Carolina League before serving a 50-game suspension for performance-enhancing drugs.
However, there were some notable seasons among outfielders down on the farm. While perhaps a little too old to wear the “prospect” label, Butler turned in a fine season for the Express, providing a consistent, middle-of-the-order threat. Whether or not he profiles to make a big league team at any point, he should have a long career in professional baseball given his ability to produce at the Triple-A level. I could have really included the entire Round Rock outfield on this list, as Borbon’s numbers were nearly as impressive Butler’s and Leonys Martin (55 G, .359-12-42, 1.033 OPS) was a stud in his limited time in Triple-A. While both certainly have credible cases to be made, ultimately I decided that there were other players who deserved the recognition maybe just a bit more.
My pick of Beltre was likely influenced by having the opportunity to see him everyday with the RoughRiders this past season. The former Red Sox signee entered this past season looking to wipe the slate clean from a disastrous 2011 campaign that tarnished his prospect status. The Dominican delivered, setting career-highs in home runs, triples and steals. His 17 three-baggers were the second-most in Minor League Baseball and he played an astonishingly good center field. Speaking from a purely defensive standpoint, I am convinced that he could step into the big leagues today and be a top 15 center fielder.
Based on his 2012 season, the Rangers certainly have to be happy with selecting Brinson with their first round draft pick this past June. The 18-year-old Floridian did not get the same level of attention that AZL Rangers teammate Joey Gallo received for his desert power surge, but that was through no fault of his own. Brinson led the AZL with 36 extra-base hits, 54 runs scored and 124 total bases while finishing one shy of the league lead in both hits and RBI. The potential of Brinson and many of his teammates from this past season should keep Rangers fans excited for the future.
RIGHT-HANDED STARTING PITCHER
MiLB.com’s pick: Barret Loux, Frisco (25 GS, 14-1, 3.47 ERA, 127 IP, 120 H, 100 K, 41 BB, 1.27 WHIP, .251 BAA)
My pick: Cody Buckel, Myrtle Beach/Frisco (26 G, 23 GS, 10-8, 2.49 ERA, 144.2 IP, 105 H, 159 K, 48 BB, 1.06 WHIP, .206 BAA)
Loux’s record is gaudy, but a closer look into his and Buckel’s numbers make the Californian the decisive choice from my perspective. Loux wowed everyone (the Diamondbacks included, methinks) by winning each of his first ten starts of the season before going 4-1 in his final 15 outings. His command of four pitches and ability to adjust from start-to-start and during starts were something to behold. Traded to the Cubs in November as Jake Brigham’s replacement in the Geovany Soto deal, Loux fits the profile of a 4 or 5 starter in a big league rotation. While Loux was very good at the start of the season for Frisco, Buckel was transcendent for the Pelicans. The undersized righty had more starts (13) than runs allowed (12) in the Carolina League and, after an adjustment period in Double-A, was at his best in the Texas League as the season wrapped up. Buckel learned to pound the strike zone with his zippy 92-94 mph fastball and then tortured hitters with his multitude of off-speed offerings (including a “shuuto,” or “reverse-slider”). Buckel should be a regular big league contributor (either with the Rangers or another team depending on how the trade winds are blowing) before the end of the 2014 season. Justin Grimm and C.J. Edwards also were worthy of consideration for this spot.
LEFT-HANDED STARTING PITCHER
MiLB.com’s pick: Chad Bell, Myrtle Beach/Frisco/Round Rock (31 G, 21 GS, 8-7, 3.48 ERA, 2 SV, 142.1 IP, 123 H, 110 K, 54 BB, 1.24 WHIP, .236 BAA)
My pick: Bell
The paucity of lefty starters in the Rangers’ system almost gives this award to Bell by default, but he is still a worthy recipient. He probably should have begun the year: a) in Frisco; and b) as a starter all along. But he started 2012 in a multi-inning relief role for Myrtle Beach before joining the RoughRiders at the end of April. He got off to a rocky start in the Texas League, allowing a home run in his first outing before settling down and going 23 straight innings over seven outings without allowing another earned run. By mid-May, he was starting and on June 11 he received the biggest boost of his season and perhaps his professional career. With Rangers Special Assistant and pitching legend Greg Maddux in attendance, Bell allowed just one hit and one walk with six strikeouts over 6.2 scoreless innings in a win over Midland. Maddux said after the game that it was one of the most impressive starts by a Minor Leaguer he had ever witnessed. Bell was in Round Rock by the end of the month and, though the PCL proved to be more treacherous, continued to string together solid performances.
MiLB.com’s pick: Ben Rowen, Myrtle Beach (38 G, 5-0, 1.57 ERA, 19-20 SV, 57.1 IP, 52 K, 3 BB, 0.77 WHIP, .201 BAA)
My pick: Rowen
Winner of a “MiLBY Award” for the best reliever in all of Minor League Baseball, the submariner Rowen is obviously the best choice here. The former 22nd round draft pick kept his pitches consistently down, inducing a 2.9 GO/AO ratio and allowing just two home runs all season. His ludicrously low number of walks (three) is perhaps his most impressive statistic, given the unpredictablility of submarine-style pitchers in general. Other excellent relievers from this past season included Phil Klein (Spokane/Myrtle Beach), Jimmy Reyes (Myrtle), Nicholas McBride (Spokane/Myrtle Beach), Zach Osborne (for his Myrtle work), Ross Wolf (Frisco/Round Rock), Joseph Ortiz (Frisco/Round Rock) and Yoshinori Tateyama (Round Rock).
- Alex V.
As you might have seen on ESPN, Team Canada topped Team USA yesterday to take the gold medal in the Pan American Games. A familiar name to RoughRiders’ fans, Jimmy Van Ostrand, drove in both of Canada’s runs as they edged Tommy Mendonca and the US team, 2-1. For what’s it’s worth, Matt Hicks, the “Voice of the Hooks,” told me at one point during the season that Van Ostrand was one of the best guys he’s ever met in minor league baseball.
Mendonca, the ‘Riders 2011 everyday third baseman, batted seventh in the championship game and finished 0-for-3 with three strikeouts. However, those numbers aren’t a fair representation of his overall performance during the Games. In the opener of the Pan American Games, the Fresno State product went 3-for-4 with two doubles, six RBIs and two runs scored as the United States thumped the Dominican Republic, 20-2. In his first three tournament games he hit .455 with nine RBIs.
Along with Van Ostrand, the Canadian team featured Northwest Arkansas’ Tim Smith and Jamie Romak. Arkansas’ Matt Shoemaker, the Texas Leauge Pitcher of the Year, joined Tommy on the US squad. As did Matt Clark (San Antonio, ’10) and former RoughRider Chad Tracy.
Game 6 of the World Series is tonight (maybe). The Cardinals’ batting practice is scheduled for 4:00 p.m. with the Rangers hitting an hour later if possible. Game 6 has officially be postponed due to rain. We’ll have to wait until Thursday.
According to Nettie Schwarz, our receptionist here at Dr Pepper Ballpark and All-Time Greatest Rangers’ Fan, Ian Kinsler’s stolen base in the 9th inning in Game 2 of the World Series “was the game.”
Ben and Skin on 103.3 FM ESPN this morning went so far as to say that, along with Nelson Cruz’s blasts in the ALCS, it might be the most defining moment in the playoffs so far for the Rangers.
Kinsler, a member of the RoughRiders’ 2004 Texas League Championship team, told the Dallas Morning News after the game, “my hand just barely got in there. It took everything I had.”
Of course, all of this came on the heels of Cardinals’ All-Star catcher Yadier Molina rifling a strike down to second base to get Kinsler in the first inning of Game 1.
The replay of his stolen base in Game 2 showed that second base umpire, and St. Louis native, Ron Kulpa got the call right. Rangers’ radio play-by-play man Steve Busby said, “Boy … Molina, not only did he get rid of it quickly, he threw a laser down there to second.” Boy, is that right. Couldn’t have been much closer.
Didn’t it remind you a little of Boston’s Dave Roberts’ stolen base in Game 4 of the 2004 ALCS against the (stinkin’) Yankees? Granted that was an elimination game, but still, when Kinsler took off to to second base, virtually everyone’s heart stopped beating until he was called safe – just like Roberts.
Who knows, maybe Kinsler’s stolen base will do for Texas what Roberts’ did for Boston.
Texas League South Division Series
Frisco RoughRiders at San Antonio Missions
Wednesday, September 7 – 7:05 p.m.
Game 1 – Series tied 0-0
GAME 1 BACKGROUND:
The RoughRiders begin their sixth postseason journey tonight in San Antonio against a Missions team that finished with minor league baseball’s best record (94-46). These two teams posted the top two records in the entire Texas League. San Antonio won the season series 19-13, which includes an 11-5 mark against the ‘Riders at Nelson Wolff Municipal Stadium. These two franchises have not met in the postseason since 2008 when the RoughRiders swept San Antonio 3-0.
Frisco – LHP Robbie Ross: Ross earned a promotion to Frisco in early August, and he has an ERA of 2.61 in his six starts with the ‘Riders. With High-A Myrtle Beach, Ross went 9-4 with a 2.61 ERA, which was enough to earn him the Carolina League’s Pitcher of the Year honor. The southpaw squared off with San Antonio August 26, and he worked seven innings and gave up three runs (two earned) on seven hits. Left-handed hitters are hitting just .143 against Ross.
San Antonio – RHP Joe Wieland: Wieland joined the Missions after Texas shipped the right-hander to San Diego, along with lefty Robbie Erlin, for big league reliever Mike Adams. Since joining San Antonio, Wieland is 3-1 with a 2.77 ERA in five starts. The Reno, Nevada, native earned a victory against the ‘Riders in his only start against his former club August 25. Overall this year with High-A Myrtle Beach, Frisco and San Antonio, Wieland is 13-4 with an ERA of 1.97, which is fifth in minor league baseball.
- The RoughRiders are 4-4 all-time in playoff series openers, which is also their record in playoff series. When the ‘Riders win Game 1 of a playoff series, they have always won the series. When they lose Game 1, they have always lost the set.
- Robbie Ross’ Double-A debut came in Game 4 of the Texas League Division Series last year. He gave up seven runs in three-plus innings in a season-ending loss at Midland.
- Renny Osuna has been the ‘Riders’ best hitter against the Missions this season. In 29 games, Osuna is hitting .328 with 13 RBIs. Frisco’s home run leader, Mike Bianucci, has also enjoyed some success against the Missions. Bianucci hit seven of his 30 homers against San Antonio pitching.
- The RoughRiders enter the postseason without a player on the disabled list. San Antonio is missing only Beamer Weems, who has been out of action since July 5. The Missions did get an offensive boost with the return of Vince Belnome, who returned to the lineup August 30 after missing a month and a half. Belnome boasted a .327 average against the ‘Riders in 15 games.
- Three other Rangers affiliates begin postseason play tonight. Triple-A Round Rock hosts Omaha in their first playoff game since 2006. High-A Myrtle Beach is in the playoffs in its first season as a Rangers farm club, and the Pelicans play Kinston. Low-A Hickory travels to Greensboro for the opener of a best-of-three semifinal.
You can catch tonight’s game, along with every 2011 playoff game, on 1630 KKGM or online here. You will hear from Frisco skipper Steve Buechele and LoneStarDugout.com’s Jason Cole on the pre-game show, which begins at 6:35.
Yesterday, we broke down the pitching matchups for Game 1 and Game 2 of the RoughRiders’ divisional round showdown with San Antonio beginning Wednesday night. Now, here is your chance to hear from both Robbie Ross and Ben Snyder, the two men who will try to lead the RoughRiders to victory at Nelson Wolff Municipal Stadium. Reid Copeland had a chance to chat with both during the ‘Riders’ most recent series against Midland. The videos are available below.
Game 1 starter – Robbie Ross
Game 2 starter – Ben Snyder
We have been working on a special version of the PlayBall! game program for the playoffs, and you can get a sneak peak at the feature story here. It is a summary of the 2011 season, and it brings back some memories from a tremendous five-month.
The RoughRiders’ Run to the Playoffs
For the sixth time in franchise history, the RoughRiders are in the Texas League playoffs. Find out how the ‘Riders reached this point in our season rewind.
A Texas League season is a grind, with long trips, steamy temperatures, and few breaks. It is a long journey with peaks and valleys. Here in the RoughRiders’ ninth season, there were enough peaks for Frisco to enjoy playoff baseball for the sixth time.
April was a struggle for second-year skipper Steve Buechele’s club. The ‘Riders finished the month in the South Division’s basement at 8-14. The signature moment of the rough April was quite a notable one, though. Martin Perez, the Rangers’ top prospect, tossed a rain-shortened perfect game at Arkansas April 19.
By May 13, the ‘Riders worked their way back to the .500 mark. Later in the month, Frisco staked its claim to second place with a four-game sweep of Midland at Dr Pepper Ballpark. From this point on, the ‘Riders spent more time in second place than any other team in the Texas League.
The RoughRiders received some temporary help in May. Last year’s American League Most Valuable Player Josh Hamilton hit a home run during his two-day rehab stint in Frisco. Nelson Cruz also graced the middle of the ‘Riders’ order for three games while battling back from an injury. Big name pitchers like Neftali Feliz, Tommy Hunter and Brandon Webb rehabbed in Frisco, too.
Also, outfielder Leonys Martin made his stateside debut with the RoughRiders after the Rangers inked Martin to a $15.5 million dollar contract. Martin hit .348 in 29 games with the ‘Riders before heading to Triple-A Round Rock.
Frisco finished the first half strongly, but a 40-30 mark was not good enough to notch a division championship after San Antonio’s 49-win showing. Individually, Tommy Mendonca was the star of the show in June. Mendonca was the Texas League’s Player of the Month after boasting a .375 batting average and driving in 30 runs.
July was a month for the record books in Frisco. The ‘Riders matched a franchise-high in runs in their 19-4 thumping of Corpus Christi July 22. Mendonca hit three of the RoughRiders’ record-setting eight home runs.
One week later, Joe Wieland became the first RoughRider to single-handedly throw a nine-inning no-hitter at San Antonio. Less than 48 hours after the no-no, the Rangers dealt Wieland and Robbie Erlin to San Diego for big league reliever Mike Adams. As a result, the former Frisco duo joined San Antonio’s loaded rotation.
The RoughRiders spent the month of August holding off Midland for a playoff berth. They officially clinched a spot in the season’s final week, a few days after the ‘Riders took three of four from their first round opponent—San Antonio.
Over the course of 140 games, the ‘Riders played well enough to earn a chance to vie for the Texas League’s richest prize. The club has been among the best in the league in most categories this season, and Frisco is well positioned to have a September to remember for the first time since 2004—the franchise’s first and only championship season.
The RoughRiders have won regularly here in 2011, and now only six playoff wins separate the ‘Riders from a title.
With the RoughRiders’ 3-1 win over Midland and San Antonio’s 6-0 victory over Corpus Christi, Frisco is closing in on its sixth ever playoff appearance. Ultimately, the ‘Riders’ standing in the second-half race means nothing at this point because they already have the wild card spot secured if one is needed.
The first-half champion meets the second-half champion in the Texas League’s divisional round. However, San Antonio won the first half and lead the second half by six games with nine to go. This is where the wild card comes into play.
When one team wins both division titles in a season, the team with the second best overall record punches a ticket to the postseason. Frisco (73-58) already has the second-best mark clinched in the South Division, with Midland (59-72) and Corpus Christi (48-83) well below .500.
The only thing that can prevent the ‘Riders from going to the playoffs is a huge comeback by Midland for the second-half crown (Corpus has already been eliminated from the race). Midland’s “elimination number,” which is calculated just like a magic number but isn’t nearly as magical, sits at three. Thus, if the number of Midland losses plus San Antonio wins from now until the regular season equals or surpasses three, San Antonio wins the second half and Frisco claims the wild card.
With that being said, let’s set the table for the two games that matter tonight:
Frisco (Ben Snyder; 9-5, 4.21) vs. Midland (Gary Daley; 6-5, 4.50)
6:00 p.m. – Citibank Ballpark
The ‘Riders have owned Midland this season, posting a 15-8 record against the men from the Permian Basin. Four of Ben Snyder’s nine wins have come against the RockHounds, and his ERA sits at 4.26 in his eight appearances against them. However, Gary Daley loves facing the ‘Riders. Daley is 3-0 with a 1.19 ERA in 22 2/3 frames in three starts against Frisco in ’11. The rest of Midland’s pitching staff has an ERA of 5.68 against the ‘Riders.
San Antonio (Robbie Erlin; 0-0, 2.12) v. Corpus Christi (Erick Abreu; 6-6, 4.07)
6:05 p.m. – Whataburger Field
The Padres monitor their minor league pitchers’ innings more than most systems, so Robbie Erlin has only worked 17 innings in his four starts with the Missions. In his last two efforts, Erlin has tossed only five innings, so don’t expect a workhorse-like effort from the former RoughRider tonight. Abreu has labored against San Antonio this year (7 IP, 7 ER, 11 H). The Missions have a 19-4 mark against Corpus this season, which is the second-most lopsided season series in the TL (Frisco’s 10-2 record against Tulsa is the most lopsided).
If the ‘Riders win and the Missions lose tonight, then Frisco can clinch a playoff spot as early as tomorrow. Then, it’s time to think playoffs in North Texas for the second straight season.