Results tagged ‘ Tommy Hunter ’

PlayBall! Preview

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.
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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.

Leonys Martin's stateside career began in Frisco, and he is now in Arlington. (James Garner)

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 'Riders begin their 2011 playoff journey Wednesday in San Antonio (Alex Yocum-Beeman).

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.

- Brian

Alumni Report

The RoughRiders have made 82 different transactions this season, and many players have come and gone. Let’s update you on a few of the guys who are no longer with the RoughRiders and, in some cases, no longer even in the Rangers’ system.

Miguel De Los Santos: A member of the 40-man roster, De Los Santos is the reigning Carolina League Pitcher of the Week after tossing seven no-hit innings for Myrtle Beach against Potomac Saturday. The P-Nationals broke up the no-no bid in the ninth inning after De Los Santos left. The southpaw is 3-3 with a 2.95 earned run average in eight High-A appearances this season with the Pelicans.

Robbie Erlin: After the Rangers sent him to the San Diego farm system in the Mike Adams deal, Erlin joined up with the best team in minor league baseball–the San Antonio Missions. So far, Erlin has made two starts and he has thrived. Erlin has surrendered only one run on seven hits in 12 innings of work. However, the southpaw is without a decision with San Antonio. Overall this season, Erlin is 8-4 with a 3.11 ERA.

Tommy Hunter: The Rangers sent Hunter and former RoughRider Chris Davis for reliever Koji Uehara. So far with the Orioles, Hunter is 0-1 with a 6.94 ERA in three appearances (two starts). In 11 and two-thirds innings, Hunter has allowed nine runs on 17 hits.

Leonys Martin: In his 58 minor league games since signing as an amateur free agent with the Rangers in early May, Martin is hitting .306. However, the outfielder has a .269 batting average with Triple-A Round Rock. In his 25 games with the Express, Martin has driven in 13 runs and stolen four bases. In a strange split, Martin is batting .394 against fellow lefties but only .213 against righties in Triple-A.

Martin Perez: The Rangers’ top prospect is 3-2 with a 5.28 ERA in six starts with Triple-A Round Rock. Perez has had two great outings in a row, including last night’s no decision against Tacoma (5.2 IP, 2 ER, 4 H, 2 K). Opponents at Triple-A are hitting a pretty healthy .341 against Perez in his first six efforts for Round Rock.

Guilder Rodriguez: In Rodriguez’s second go-around at the Triple-A level, the infielder is batting .278 with nine RBIs in 22 games with the Express. For the most part, Rodriguez has batted ninth and played at shortstop. However, he is getting some time at second base with Nick Green now on the Round Rock roster.

Tanner Scheppers: Scheppers joined Triple-A Round Rock Saturday after a couple of months with the RoughRiders. The dynamic reliever has tossed five innings with the Express, and he has allowed nine hits but only one run. Last night against Tacoma, Scheppers tossed three shutout innings during extra frames.

Joe Wieland: Wieland accompanied Erlin to San Antonio in the deadline deal with the Padres, but not before the righty posted the fourth no-hitter in Frisco history. With the Missions, Wieland has made one start, during which he went six innings and gave up a run on three hits. Wieland will start for the Missions tonight at Springfield.

- Brian

Solving San Antonio

The RoughRiders have been on the outside of first place in the Texas League South because of one team: the San Antonio Missions. They are tied with the San Jose Giants of the California League for the best record in full-season minor league baseball (69-34).

Frisco has been in second place for around 70% of the season, and the ‘Riders have been in first place for only two days because of the Missions’ dominance. So far this year, the RoughRiders have gone 7-13 against San Antonio, and many games have gone down to the wire. Let’s go through these 20 matchups briefly and see why the ‘Riders have played San Antonio better than any other Texas League team.

We will categorize these 20 games into four terms: could have won, should have won, did win, or needed a break. Then we will show you how close the season series is by compiling these totals at the end.

April 25–San Antonio 7, Frisco 3: San Antonio scored four times in the eighth inning to pull away from the RoughRiders in the two clubs’ first meeting. (could have won)

April 26–San Antonio 6, Frisco 5: This was the wackiest game of the season series. With two on and two out in the eighth, Cody Decker crushed his seventh home run of the season to give San Antonio a 6-4 lead. The RoughRiders appeared to have regained the lead with two down in the top of the ninth, but the umpires overturned what was originally a three-run home run by Mike Bianucci. It was ruled an RBI double, which put men at second and third. Tommy Mendonca followed with a swinging strikeout to end the game. (should have won)

April 27–San Antonio 2, Frisco 1: Miguel De Los Santos worked seven innings and struck out ten, but Cody Decker’s two-run homer in the fifth was the difference. (could have won)

April 28–Frisco 5, San Antonio 4: The ‘Riders blew a three-run lead in the seventh but rallied in the tenth for their first win over the Missions this year. (did win)

May 3–Frisco 5, San Antonio 3: Trailing 3-0, the RoughRiders tied the game in the sixth and scored two more in the seventh to earn the victory. (did win)

May 4–Frisco 3, San Antonio 2: During Neftali Feliz and Tommy Hunter’s rehab outings in Frisco, the ‘Riders won on Mike Bianucci’s walk-off sacrifice fly in the tenth. (did win)

May 5–Frisco 5, San Antonio 3: Frisco took the lead in the second and never looked back in the ‘Riders’ first three-game winning streak of the 2011 season. (did win)

May 6–San Antonio 3, Frisco 0: Jake Brigham took a perfect game into the seventh inning, but the ‘Riders did not get any offense. The Missions scored three in the seventh and controlled from there. (needed a break)

May 20–San Antonio 8, Frisco 7: This game was lopsided for much of the night. Credit the ‘Riders for getting back within one, but the score is misleading. (needed a break)

May 21–San Antonio 9, Frisco 5: Kyle Blanks’ walk-off grand slam won it for the Missions in the 11th, but it shouldn’t have gotten to that point. Frisco surrendered a four-run lead in the eighth. This was one of the toughest losses of the year for the ‘Riders. (should have won)

May 22–San Antonio 6, Frisco 2: A five-run second allowed San Antonio to cruise to their third straight win over the ‘Riders. (needed a break)

May 23–Frisco 6, San Antonio 4: The Missions scored four in the ninth to tie the game, but the ‘Riders plated two in the tenth to win it and avoid what would have been a crippling loss. (did win).

June 8–San Antonio 11, Frisco 1: Uh, let’s just move on. (needed a BIG break)

June 9–San Antonio 5, Frisco 2: In this 15-inning marathon, all but two of the runs were scored in extras. Another tough, hard-fought loss against the Missions for Frisco. (could have won)

June 10–Frisco 5, San Antonio 4: Travis Adair’s RBI single in the ninth won it for the ‘Riders, which was a big bounce back victory after two very different losses. (did win)

June 11–San Antonio 9, Frisco 8: Fabio Castillo blew a save because of a Dean Anna home run and a Jose Ruiz error. The ‘Riders had a great chance to win this game, but I can’t make it a “should” because it was a seesaw battle. (could have won)

July 18–San Antonio 7, Frisco 6: Even though the ‘Riders tied the game in the ninth, San Antonio won it in the 12th to earn another narrow win against Frisco. (could have won)

July 19–Frisco 6, San Antonio 1: Joe Wieland. Enough said. Seven innings, one run, two hits, and an impressive win against the best club in the minors. (did win)

July 20–San Antonio 1, Frisco 0: Casey Kelly and the Missions’ bullpen held the ‘Riders off the board. The ‘Riders’ offense never got anything going, so I can’t give this a “could” or a “should.” (needed a break)

July 21–San Antonio 6, Frisco 4: The Missions’ three-run second set the tone for another series win for the Missions against the ‘Riders. (needed a break)

When you count things up, the ‘Riders have seven wins against the Missions. In the 13 losses, the RoughRiders COULD have won five and, in my opinion, SHOULD have won two more. Say the ‘Riders win half of those seven games, and I’ll even round down, and the season series in tied at 10. Tonight begins another showdown. Join us on the RoughRiders Baseball Network at 6:35. Enjoy!

- Brian

Former RoughRiders Thriving In Arlington

The Texas Rangers are in first place in the American League West at 58-43 through 101 games. In those 101 games, the Rangers have used 37 different players.

Of those 37 players, 21 of them appeared at one point or another with the RoughRiders. That’s almost 57 percent of the roster!

Who are the former RoughRiders contributing to the Rangers’ push for consecutive playoff appearances? The list is pretty impressive.

Elvis Andrus: A RoughRider during the 2008 season, his first in the Rangers’ system, Andrus is batting .278 with three home runs and 35 RBIs. The shortstop was 19 years old for much of his time in Frisco, and he hit .295 while with the ‘Riders that year.

Julio Borbon: RoughRiders fans saw Borbon during a brief rehab stint earlier this season. Borbon, who is currently on the disabled list, also played 60 games in Frisco back in 2008, rolling through Texas League pitching with a .337 average.

Nelson Cruz played in three games with the 'Riders in 2011 (Photo: James Garner).

Endy Chavez: Chavez had a brief four-game rehab stint with the RoughRiders last season, his first in the Rangers’ system. So far this year, Chavez has been a huge in-house addition to the Rangers (.328 average in 39 games).

Nelson Cruz: Cruz has been with the RoughRiders in back-to-back seasons for brief rehabs. He has gone 6-for-25 (.240) in those six games. In the bigs, Cruz has a team-leading 22 home runs to go along with 65 RBIs.

Chris Davis: Davis is back with the Rangers after Adrian Beltre was placed on the disabled list a few days ago. Davis played 76 games with the ‘Riders in 2007 and 2008. He hit .319 with 25 homers and 67 RBIs, which is just ridiculous.

Cody Eppley: Eppley, who made his big league debut a few months ago, boasted a 1.19 earned run average in 19 games with the ‘Riders in his only season in the Texas League last year.

Scott Feldman: Feldman made a few starts with the RoughRiders this season in a rehab assignment. The righty also made his way through Frisco on his journey to the big leagues, appearing in 46 games and posting a 2.36 ERA in ’05.

Neftali Feliz: Feliz joined the RoughRiders in 2008 for ten starts. The right-hander went 4-3 with a 2.98 ERA. Feliz returned to Dr Pepper Ballpark for a rehab outing earlier this year, and he struck out the side in his only inning.

Craig Gentry: A tenth-round pick in ’06, Gentry has been a valuable reserve for the Rangers in the outfield this year. He spent most of 2008 and all of 2009 with the ‘Riders. He is a lifetime .293 hitter in the Texas League, which is the league he has spent more of his time than any other league.

Josh Hamilton homered in his two-game rehab stint in Frisco back in May (Photo: James Garner).

Josh Hamilton: Who can forget Hamilton’s rehab assignment earlier this year in Frisco? He homered in his second at-bat and helped the ‘Riders to a pair of wins over Midland. By the way, he is still really good in the big leagues.

Matt Harrison: A former Atlanta farmhand, Harrison made nine appearances with the ‘Riders in 2008. He also rehabbed in Frisco in 2010. Harrison has been a solid addition to the Rangers’ rotation (8-7, 3.05 ERA).

Derek Holland: During Holland’s fast track to the majors, he made a brief four-appearance pit stop in Frisco. In those four starts, Holland gave up only two earned runs in 26 innings.

Ian Kinsler rehabs with the 'Riders in 2010 (Photo: James Garner).

Tommy Hunter: RoughRiders fans saw Hunter earlier this season for a rehab start. The ‘Riders also had Hunter in ’08 and ’09 when he went 5-2 with a ERA barely above 4. Hunter is currently in the Rangers’ bullpen.

Ian Kinsler: Kinsler has been a “normal” RoughRider and a “rehabbing” RoughRider in his time within the Rangers’ system. In his 79 games in the TL, Kinsler hit .290 with 52 RBIs.

Michael Kirkman: A RoughRider alum from 2009, Kirkman went 5-7 with a 4.19 ERA. Kirkman has bounced around from Round Rock and Arlington, and he is currently in Triple-A.

Mitch Moreland: Moreland, who has been a regular for the Rangers this season, spent 73 games with the ‘Riders in 2009. He hit .326 with eight home runs and 59 RBIs in Frisco.

Darren O’Day: O’Day, who has only made 11 appearances with the Rangers this year, has one career appearance with the ‘Riders, which came earlier this season. He allowed a run in an inning of work.

Alexi Ogando spent part of '10 in Frisco (Photo: James Garner).

Alexi Ogando: Ogando only spent 2010 in stateside minor league baseball, and his quick journey to the bigs went through Frisco. In seven appearances, Ogando gave up two runs in almost 16 innings of work. He had a WHIP of 0.57.

Pedro Strop: Strop, who has made 11 appearances with the Rangers, spent much of his 2009 campaign in Frisco. The reliever went 5-5 with a 4.38 ERA in 36 appearances, all of the out of the ‘pen.

Taylor Teagarden: Teagarden was with the RoughRiders in 2007, 2008, and 2010, and he has been bounced between Triple-A Round Rock and Arlington this season. In 97 games with the ‘Riders, Teagarden hit .245 with 12 homers and 54 RBIs.

C.J. Wilson: Four of the five current Rangers’ starters were with the RoughRiders at some point in their career, and that group is headlined by Wilson. Wilson spent parts of his ’03, ’05 and ’06 minor league seasons with the RoughRiders. He is 7-13 with a 4.39 ERA in the Texas League.

- Brian

Unending Praise

UPDATE: If you missed it during the pre-game show, check out the Mothers Day segment. Many RoughRiders said Happy Mothers Day to their moms.

MothersDayTributeFinal.mp3
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I have been almost unfairly blessed in my life with plenty of great things. Above all, though, is having the two parents that I have. My mom and dad have been extremely supportive of me through the years, even though my ambitions have taken me away from them geographically.

My mom has always been the one to comfort me when times got tough. She is also the one who will always say I sounded good on the air even if I thought my performance was awful.

But even my mom can point out a flaw or two. After my first ever broadcast, a baseball game in central Michigan in the end of March, my mom pointed out a few mistakes I made. It was safe to say, I had a long way to go as a broadcaster.

But to all the moms out there, Happy Mothers Day! And to my mom, thanks so much for being there through it all. I love you.

A few Sunday Facts before the ‘Riders meet the RockHounds.

FRISCO FACTS:

  • Be sure to tune into the RoughRiders pre-game show today for a special tribute to the women behind the ‘Riders. We’ll have special hellos from the players to their moms during our second segment in the pre-game show. It is great, so be sure to catch it.
  • After the bullpen was stellar during the brief home stand earlier this week, the offense bailed out the RoughRiders with that Travis Adair three-run double. Due to that big hit, a reliever has still not been saddled with a loss since April 26.
  • Speaking of Adair, this guy continues to play extremely well since getting the call up to Frisco for the first time. Over the last seven games, Adair has hit .385 (10-for-26) with five runs batted in. 
  • Frisco starter Miguel De Los Santos hasn’t had the best start to the season, but he is continuing his incredible rate of strikeouts. He whiffed nine in five innings to increase his season total to 38 in 28 innings. Per nine innings, he’s striking out more than 12 batters.
  • The RoughRiders hit three or more runs in a game for the fifth time this season last night. Tommy Mendonca and Mike Bianucci’s back-to-back home runs marked the first such occurrence this season.
  • Tommy Hunter is scheduled to make a rehab start for Triple-A Round Rock tomorrow against Nashville. Hunter pitched four innings for the RoughRiders Wednesday night at Dr Pepper Ballpark. He has not pitched this season.
  • Finally, three nights after Neftali Feliz also rehabbed with the ‘Riders, Feliz earned a save for the Rangers against the Yankees last night in Arlington.

Catch the pre-game show at 1:30. First pitch is set for 2. Happy Mothers Day!

- Brian

Successful Trial Run

After a few games with the RoughRiders at the beginning of the season, outfielder Joey Butler got the call up to Triple-A Round Rock. During his 15 games with the Express, Butler was a consistent bat. He hit .276 with a homer and eight runs batted in.

Today, Butler, who was carrying a ten-game hitting streak, was sent back to Frisco. For a young man who was one step from the big leagues for the first time, this was a very impressive showing. He made the most of his short time with the Express, which will only make it easier for him to get another crack in Round Rock sometime soon.

Notes on Butler and others in today’s Facts.

FRISCO FACTS:

  • Prior to that ten-game hitting streak, Butler got off to a slow start with Round Rock. He went 3-for-22 (.167) in his first six games. After that, though, Butler settled in and went 13-for-36 (.361) with seven RBIs, six of which came in his final two games of this Triple-A stint.
  • Before departing Frisco, Butler went 6-for-19 (.316) with two homers and four RBIs. He also walked six times, which gave him an on-base percentage of .500. He is back in the order tonight in right field. He will bat third.
  • The ‘Riders made one other roster move today. First baseman Jose Ruiz was placed on the Temporary Inactive List to travel home for the birth of his child. When on the TIL, one must sit out at least three games. On the year, Ruiz is hitting .306 with a homer and six RBIs. He has started at first base for the ‘Riders 22 times thus far this season.
  • The bullpen continued to thrive last night for the RoughRiders. The quartet of Tyler Tufts (3.0 IP), Ben Snyder (0.2), Ramon Aguero (0.1) and Mark Hamburger (1.0) allowed only one hit and struck out eight. With apologies to the other three, Tufts’ showing was the most impressive. He inherited a bases loaded, nobody out situation in the fifth and did not allow a runner to score. He then set down the Missions in order in the sixth and seventh.
  • In this three-game series, the ‘Riders’ bullpen (excluding Tommy Hunter’s rehab effort behind Neftali Feliz) has worked 14 and a third innings and has not allowed a run. Over that span, the relievers have struck out 20 and surrendered only five hits. Impressive stuff.
  • Martin Perez’s sixth start of the season was fairly similar to a few others this season. Perez labored through four innings and threw a season-high 94 pitches. He allowed three runs on six hits, and it could have been worse if not for Tufts’ Houdini act in the fifth.
  • In the four starts during which Perez has allowed at least two runs, he has averaged 19.8 pitches per inning. On the flip side, during his two shutout efforts, Perez has only tossed 14.8 pitches per frame.
  • A few lineup notes for tonight: Guilder Rodriguez is getting the day off, just his second of the season. Travis Adair, who has hit safely in the last five games, moves up to the two-hole. Davis Stoneburner moves up to the seventh spot after homering last night.

Enjoy tonight’s series finale, as the ‘Riders aim for their first sweep of the season. Pre-game along the RBN begins at 6:35. And again, look for the Texas League Power Rankings this weekend.

- Brian

Just Get It Over With

If you go to a basketball game, you will most likely hear the final buzzer less than three hours after the opening tip. In football, setting aside three-and-a-half hours is almost always sufficient. As for baseball, uh, who knows.

Last night, the Los Angeles Angels defeated the Boston Red Sox 5-3 in 13 innings. There was a rain delay of more than two-and-a-half hours. Not only that, but the game featured a two-run ninth from the Red Sox and an out at the plate in the 12th. In other words, mother nature and the baseball gods didn’t want this one to end.

Finally it did, a little shy of 3 a.m. EST. And yep, you guessed it. They had an afternoon game scheduled for today.

Oh baseball. You did it again. Let’s get on with the Facts.

FRISCO FACTS:

  • First, the two rehabbing Rangers. Neftali Feliz pitched the first inning and struck out the side following a lead-off single. From this eye, he threw 16 fastballs and six off-speed pitches. According to the radar gun at Dr Pepper Ballpark, which is known to be fairly accurate, Feliz averaged around 97 miles per hour on his fastballs. He hit 100 on the gun twice.
  • 14 of Feliz’s 22 pitches were strikes. Two of the three strikeouts were of the swinging variety, and the right-hander induced five swinging strikes altogether. The one single came on a fastball at 95 miles per hour.
  • Now, Tommy Hunter’s specifics. The righty threw 71 pitches (41 strikes and 30 balls). He threw at least 16 pitches in all four of his innings of work. He threw 21 pitches in his third inning of work, which was the highest number of tosses. Hunter went four innings and gave up two runs, one on a sacrifice fly and the other on a solo home run. He scattered three hits and struck out five, four of which were swinging.
  • Hunter sat around 93-94 miles per hour and peaked at 96 on the stadium gun. He did miss very badly on a pitch that hit Cody Decker in the helmet. Fortunately, he would stay in the game.
  • Enough about the former RoughRiders. Let’s get to the newest ‘Rider, the man who followed the Feliz-Hunter show. Richard Bleier, who pitched in a game that “counts” for the first time this season, went three and two thirds scoreless. After giving up a lead-off double to the first man he faced, Bleier sat down nine of the next ten he faced. He will be used as a starter now, and his next outing is scheduled for Monday at Midland.
  • Continuing the theme of pitching, Frisco reliever Justin Miller continued his good work last night. He went retired four of the five men he faced to earn his second victory. It was Miller’s fifth-straight scoreless outing. Over that span, Miller has allowed one hit over seven and a third.
  • Now, to the offense. Three RoughRiders had multi-hit games last night, and all three of those efforts are noteworthy. Renny Osuna went 3-for-4 to increase his batting average to .319. Since returning from the disabled list, Osuna is hitting .345 (10-for-29) with five RBIs.
  • Jonathan Greene had two hits last night, which matched his total from the previous four games combined. Greene was due to slow down at some point, seeing as he was hitting above .400 late last week. Still, that two-hit effort puts him at .333 for the campaign.
  • Also notching two knocks was Travis Adair. Adair, who debuted at the Double-A level a week ago today, has raised his average to .269. He began the season 0-for-11, but Adair has gone 7-for-15 since.
  • Two hitters saw streaks come to an end last night. Mike Bianucci’s 12-game hitting streak is no more, but I’m sure he will take the game-winning sacrifice fly instead. Also, Jose Ruiz had reached base in 12 straight games before going 0-for-4 last night.
  • Frisco manager Steve Buechele is giving Tommy Mendonca the night off. It is just his second day off of the season. Only Bianucci has played in every game so far this year for the ‘Riders. Ruiz takes over the clean-up duties, and Osuna will play at third base.
  • Programming note: Since the Texas League season is almost exactly five months, I’m planning on doing monthly Power Rankings. So, this weekend, I’ll delve into all eight teams within the TL. It’ll be a separate blog post.

Martin Perez, the Rangers’ number one prospect, will start tonight for Frisco. The ‘Riders and Missions meet at 7:05. Pre-game at 6:35 along the RBN. Enjoy!

- Brian

Frisco Time Machine

The day was June 27, 2008. Tommy Hunter scattered three hits in six
scoreless innings in a RoughRiders victory over Springfield. Hunter
would get the call up to Triple-A a few days later.

Ten days later, young Neftali Feliz donned the ‘Riders’ red for the
first time. He made only ten appearances that year, and he jumped up to
Triple-A to start 2009.

Those two missed each other at the Double-A level by that much during their rise to the big
leagues. Tonight, they will return to Frisco and pitch together at Dr
Pepper Ballpark for the first time.

Details on that, and more, in today’s Facts.

FRISCO FACTS:

  • Once again, if you haven’t heard, Feliz will pitch the first
    inning, and Hunter will follow for three to four frames. Behind that,
    Richard Bleier will toe the rubber for the first time this year. Bleier
    was just added to the roster yesterday, and he has assumed Wilfredo Boscan’s spot in the rotation.
  • Beyond today, the rotation will not change. Thus, Martin Perez will pitch on four-days rest tomorrow night, and Jake Brigham will follow Thursday with normal rest, also.
  • Just for fun, here are Feliz’s stats for the RoughRiders during
    2008: 4-3, 2.98 earned run average in ten appearances (all starts); 75
    strikeouts in 77.1 innings.
  • And here are Hunter’s numbers during his two stints (’08 and ’09) in North Texas: 5-2, 4.18 earned run average in 13 appearances (11 starts); 44 strikeouts in 74.0 innings.
  • The ‘Riders will get Feliz and Hunter one night after a big victory.
    Not only did Frisco win its third game of the season after trailing
    through five innings, but it was the RoughRiders’ biggest comeback since
    downing Springfield 7-6 in 10 innings April 8. That game and last night’s 5-3 triumph are the only two
    games this year during which Frisco overcame a multi-run deficit to win.
  • With an RBI single in the sixth, Mike Bianucci extended his hitting streak to a team-high 12 games yesterday. In his 25 games this year, Bianucci has hit safely in 21 of them. Only twice this year has the primary designated hitter failed to reach base in a game.
  • The most impressive part of Bianucci’s season? His ability to drive in runs. He is tied with Tommy Mendonca for the team lead in RBIs (21). With men in scoring position, Bianucci is hitting .500 (11-for-22). With two down and someone at second and/or third, Bianucci is hitting .625 (5-for-8).
  • Outfielder David Paisano has only played once in the last four games after appearing in all of the previous 21 games to start the season. Not sure what to make of that, but I thought I’d throw it out there, especially because the roster is short on outfielders at this point. For the year, Paisano is hitting .233 with 11 runs scored and four RBIs.
  • Since returning from the “Temporary Inactive List” April 19, reliever Mark Hamburger has been tremendous. The right-hander has given up just one run on two hits in 11 and two-thirds innings. During that span, Hamburger has whiffed 10 and walked five. 
  • Because of Springfield’s win over Northwest Arkansas earlier today, the Texas League only boasts two teams with records above .500. The third-best club in the TL (Northwest Arkansas) is 11-11, while the top two teams (San Antonio and Tulsa) are a combined 32-17.

Pre-game coverage along the RoughRiders Baseball Network begins at 6:35. Enjoy the unofficial “Rehab Day” at Dr Pepper Ballpark tonight!

- Brian

Wham With The Right Hand

For the first time since 2006, my favorite basketball team–the
Cleveland Cavaliers–is not involved in the postseason. They had this
LeBron James guy who helped them win a lot of games, and now his
“talents” are in South Beach. That may be the reason why.

The Cavaliers’ franchise will need to replace another key contributor
next season. This need comes on the broadcasting side, not the personnel
side. Joe Tait, the “Voice of the Cavaliers” for 39 seasons, called his
final game a few weeks ago. I had a chance to listen, and even though I
knew it was his last game, I didn’t totally comprehend it.

However, this official release
snapped me into reality. The team is now accepting applications. The
great broadcasters are the ones who you take for granted until they are
gone. Detroit had to cope with life without Ernie Harwell. Dodgers fans
are starting to realize that Vin Scully’s time behind the microphone
will be over soon. And one day, hopefully not for a while, men like the
Cowboys’ Brad Sham and the Rangers’ Eric Nadel will retire, too.

It is an honor to listen to some of these broadcasters, and I’ll miss hearing Joe Tait sign off with his “Have a good night, everybody.”

Now, onto a Tuesday, series-opening set of the Facts.

FRISCO FACTS:

  • The RoughRiders’ release in advance of “Rehab Day” at Dr Pepper
    Ballpark is online. In case you missed it, former ‘Riders and current
    Rangers Tommy Hunter and Neftali Feliz will be pitching for Frisco
    tomorrow night. For more information on the game or a contact number for tickets, you can click here.
  • There was a roster move by the ‘Riders this afternoon. Starter
    Wilfredo Boscan, who was 1-3 with a 6.95 ERA in five starts, has been
    sent down to high-A Myrtle Beach. Southpaw Richard Bleier has been added
    to the roster from extended spring training. Last year with Frisco,
    Bleier went 7-11 with a 5.04 ERA in 28 starts.
  • Also, Ramon Aguero has been activated from the disabled list. He is expected to pitch tonight.
  • Let’s tackle the good from last night’s loss before getting to the
    bad. Mike Bianucci continues to rake. He hit his eighth homer of the
    season, tying him for second in that category within the Texas League. Bianucci also became the eighth player in the TL to reach 20 runs batted in this year.
  • Bianucci started extremely hot and then cooled down. Now, he is
    back on a hot streak. He’s now on an 11-game hitting streak. During that
    time, Bianucci has hit .378 (17-for-45) with three homers and nine
    RBIs.
  • It was a rough go for Frisco starter Miguel De Los Santos, who
    allowed nine runs in two and a third innings yesterday. That run total
    was the highest by a Frisco arm this season. Michael Dammon of Chatter from the Pressbox told us that De Los Santos allowed the most runs by a Frisco pitcher since Omar Poveda also allowed 9 runs against San Antonio on August 10, 2009. 
  • The new opponent for the RoughRiders is San Antonio, the best team in this Texas League
    by three games. Frisco dropped three of four in San Antonio last week,
    but the ‘Riders held the Missions’ offense in check. San Antonio scored
    only 4.8 runs per game against the RoughRiders in those four games.
  • What about the rest of the Missions’ opponents this year? Well,
    here are the runs per game figures for the Missions against the other
    three teams they have played: 9.6 v. Midland, 8.8 v. Northwest Arkansas, and 6.3 v. Tulsa. The Missions had a 20-plus run output in a game against each one of those teams.
  • Overall, the Missions are scoring 7.8 runs per contest and hitting .318 as a team. It’s pretty scary that when you go to the “Team Batting Stats” page on the Texas League web site, the Missions are at the top of 14 of the 17 categories. The only categories that the Missions do not lead are at-bats (second), triples (tied for second), and stolen bases (fifth).
  • Finally, remember the J.D. Martinez grand slam in the third inning? Well, there are two promotions at Whataburger
    Field that were in effect. Not only did a fan win free tires for a grand
    slam being hit, but someone won a free in-ground pool. The promo in
    Corpus Christi says that if a home run is hit into the pool in the third
    inning, someone wins a pool. Crazy stuff.

Pre-game coverage along the RBN begins at 6:35. First pitch is set for 7:05. Enjoy!

- Brian

Where Were You?

On September 11, 2001, I was in my seventh grade English class when I heard about the attack on the World Trade Center. In fact, my dad flew on a plane that day. Fortunately, he landed in Baltimore without consequence. Still, what could have been still gives me chills to this day.

On May 1, 2011, I was watching television in Frisco, Texas, when I heard about the death of Osama bin Laden. It was one of the few news reports since 9-11 that gives me similar chills.

I won’t tell you how to react to this news, nor will I share my beliefs. This isn’t the forum. But this is such a monumental day in this country and this world. I am willing to bet that many will remember where they were when this news broke.

Let’s get you some Facts before tonight’s series finale.

FRISCO FACTS:

  • It will be a fun day at Dr Pepper Ballpark Wednesday. A pair of Texas hurlers–Tommy Hunter and Neftali Feliz–will pitch for the RoughRiders in rehab assignments. Hunter, who has been out since spring training with a groin injury, is expected to pitch three to four innings, and Feliz, who was put on the disabled list April 23 with shoulder inflammation, is slated to pitch one. For what it is worth, Wednesday is Wilfredo Boscan’s turn in the rotation. I’m guessing he will be pushed back a day to accommodate.
  • The ‘Riders’ pitching staff has improved greatly. In the last five games, Frisco opponents have scored only 15 runs, and all five starting hurlers have pitched beyond the sixth inning. Those pitchers have a combined earned run average of 2.76. Four of those five starts have resulted in quality starts, and the ‘Riders did not have one of those before this recent run.
  • Because of this surge, the RoughRiders are third in the league in ERA (4.56). Frisco is also fourth in the TL in WHIP (1.42).
  • And how about the Frisco sticks in the late innings last night. The ‘Riders hit home runs in three consecutive innings for the first time this season, and yesterday’s 9-2 triumph was the fourth time that Frisco had three or more long balls.
  • As a team, the RoughRiders are now tied for third in the Texas League in homers with 24. Of those 24, 14 have come from Mike Bianucci and Tommy Mendonca, with Mendonca hitting his seventh yesterday when things were already out of hand. The twosome is only behind San Antonio’s Cody Decker-Jaff Decker duo, which is crushing everyone with a combined 19 homers, for dingers by teammates. 
  • New RoughRider Travis Adair notched the first two hits of his Double-A career in the victory yesterday. Adair had begun his Frisco stint 0-for-11 before going 1-for-2 yesterday. Adair also walked and put down a sacrifice bunt.
  • A key for the RoughRiders in this series, a set that the ‘Riders have a chance to win tonight, has been their ability to slow down the middle of the Corpus Christi order. The 3-4 combination of J.D. Martinez and Jon Gaston has gone just 2-for-22 with one RBI. Martinez alone had a nine-game RBI streak snapped last week.
  • More rain for the TL’s North Division. Both games scheduled for tonight have been washed out. This is especially frustrating, I’m sure, for the two teams in Arkansas. The Naturals and Travelers have been slated to play eight times so far this season. They have actually played four times, with two games played on the same day.

The finale of this eight-game road trip comes up tonight at 7:05. Pre-game at 6:35 along the Network. Enjoy!

- Brian

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