Results tagged ‘ roughriders ’

Top 12 Games of 2012 (No. 11)

TOP 12 GAMES OF 2012
Throughout the fall, we’ll take a look at the top 12 games of 2012. Today, we look at Game No. 11 on our list. Click here to read about Game No. 12 and nine others that were considered for the list.

No. 11
Sept. 1:  Express 6, at Oklahoma City 3
It was the last victory in a rather subpar year, but it was a good one to end on. Round Rock plated five runs in the top of the ninth to erase a 3-1 deficit and all but end Oklahoma City’s playoff hopes. The RedHawks were eliminated the following day despite winning the season’s penultimate game.

Julio Borbon reached on an error to start the game and later scored on a wild pitch. However, that was the extent of Round Rock’s offensive production until the ninth inning. Oklahoma City wrestled away the lead with a three-run second, but the RedHawks managed only three hits the rest of the way.

Ryan Spilborghs’ RBI double started the five-run ninth. Later, Borbon delivered a bases-loaded, two-run single that proved to be the game-winning hit. Luis Hernandez followed with a two-run triple for good measure.

Borbon’s ninth-inning single was his 158th of the season, breaking Mark Saccomanno’s 2008 franchise record.

The game may have gone somewhat unknown – the 142nd game of the season and on the road can be that way. But it capped a stretch in which the Express went 9-3, and it was Round Rock’s 26th victory in 38 games after July 25.

 

ENGLE IN THE OUTFIELD
Congratulations are in order for Frisco center fielder Engel Beltre, who Friday was named a 2012 Minor League Baseball Rawlings Gold Glove Award winner. Although not as prestigious as its major league equivalent, the minor league award is more difficult to win. Consider: There are 30 major league teams and 120 full-season minor league teams.

Beltre, 22, played 119 games in center and committed only one error with 12 outfield assists. He led all Double-A outfielders with a .997 fielding percentage. Beltre was deemed the “Best Defensive Outfielder” in the Rangers’ farm system by Baseball America prior to the 2012 season. He also was rated the Texas League’s best defensive outfielder in the publication’s “Best Tools” issue in August. A mid-season and postseason Texas League All-Star, Beltre hit .261 with 13 homers, 55 RBI, 80 runs scored and 36 steals. He also finished second in the minors with 17 triples.

Originally signed by the Red Sox out of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, in 2006, Beltre was acquired by the Rangers along with David Murphy in the Eric Gagne trade one year later.

Expect to see Beltre at The Dell Diamond in 2013.

News and Notes (Sept. 11)

FRISCO VIES FOR TEXAS LEAGUE CROWN
Texas Rangers Double-A affiliate Frisco begins play in the 2012 Texas League Championship Series tonight. It will be a rematch – of sorts – of the 2011 World Series as the RoughRiders face St. Louis Cardinals affiliate Springfield Cardinals. First pitch is scheduled for 7:08 p.m. CDT at Hammons Field in Springfield, Mo.

It is a best-of-five series with Game 2 scheduled for 7:08 p.m. Wednesday at Springfield. The series then shifts to Frisco’s Dr Pepper Ballpark for Friday’s 7 p.m. Game 3 and continues Saturday (7 p.m.) and Sunday (7 p.m.) if necessary. The Texas League Championship Series can be heard online at www.ridersbaseball.com.

Frisco got a boost to its roster this morning as it was announced that catcher Mike Napoli will join the RoughRiders on a rehab assignment. He is expected to be with the RoughRiders for at least the series’ first two games.

RoughRiders catchers – Jose Felix and Zach Zaneski – combined to go 2-for-10 (both singles) in Frisco’s three-game sweep of Houston Astros affiliate Corpus Christi in the division series. First baseman Chris McGuiness led the RoughRiders’ offensive attack, going 6-for-12 with two doubles and four RBI. Val Majewski (3-for-6, home run, three runs), Tommy Mendonca (3-for-10, run) and Guilder Rodriguez (3-for-9, two RBI) – each of whom played for the Express this season – also were strong contributors.

However, Frisco dominated Corpus Christi on the mound, outscoring the Hooks 14-7. RoughRiders hurlers posted a 2.33 ERA with 21 strikeouts against eight walks and held Corpus Christi to a .206 average. Game 3 starter Nick Tepesch was most dominant, yielding only three walks and one hit over seven scoreless innings with four strikeouts. Wilmer Font and 2012 Express member Ross Wolf finished Frisco’s 5-0 win.

Leury Garcia and McGuiness had consecutive RBI singles in the sixth inning, and the Riders added three insurance runs in the top of the ninth on a Rodriguez RBI single and Engel Beltre’s two-run double.

Highly touted right-hander Cody Buckel starts tonight’s championship series opener for the RoughRiders. The 20-year-old and 2010 second-round draft selection was 10-8 in the regular season, splitting the year between Class A-Advanced Myrtle Beach (5-3) and Frisco (5-5); he posted a sub-3.00 ERA for the season with 159 strikeouts in 144.2 innings. Buckel did not pitch in the division series. He was considered the Rangers’ sixth-best prospect entering the season by Baseball America and has risen quickly through the system, going 8-3 with a 2.61 ERA for Class-A Hickory last season in his first full professional season (he pitched four games for the AZL Rangers in 2010).

Buckel faced Springfield once this season – a June 29 loss at Hammons Field when he allowed six runs (five earned) on seven hits and two walks over 6.1 innings. It was not smooth transition to Double-A for Buckel, who was 1-5 with a 4.45 ERA (16 ER/32.1 IP) in his first six games with Frisco (he worked six shutout innings July 4 at Arkansas in the lone victory). However, Buckel was 4-0 with a 3.19 ERA (13 ER/36.2 IP) in his final seven outings. Runs allowed in his final four starts:  one, one, none, none (21.2 IP).

Tepesch is scheduled to start Game 2, followed by right-handers Barret Loux and Wilfredo Boscan. Frisco has not announced a potential Game 5 starter, meaning 2011 and 2012 Express member Neil Ramirez is at least a possibility.

Frisco won seven of 12 meetings with Springfield in the regular season, going 2-4 at Hammons Field.

 

PCL CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES
The Pacific Coast League Championship Series opens tonight as the Reno Aces (Diamondbacks) host the Omaha Storm Chasers (Royals). Omaha (83-61) won the American Northern Division by 16 games, while Reno (81-63) won the Pacific Northern Division by six games. Sacramento (86-58) had the PCL’s best record for the second straight season, but failed to return to the PCL Championship Series for a second straight season.

Omaha, however, is back to defend its 2011 league crown. Only one franchise has won back-to-back PCL titles since 1998 – Sacramento accomplished the feat twice (2003-2004, 2007-2008). The only other franchise to win consecutive PCL crowns since Albuquerque’s three-year run 1980-1982 was Edmonton (1996-1997); seven years later, the Edmonton franchise was purchased by Ryan Sanders Baseball and the Round Rock Express joined the PCL.

For the first time since 2005, both division championship series went five games. Omaha got three field goals a touchdown to edge Albuquerque 16-7 in Sunday night’s series finale at the ever-offensive Isotopes Park. (One night earlier, the Isotopes used four field goals to nab a 12-10 victory.) In all seriousness, the Storm Chasers scored at least once in eight of nine innings Sunday night (we’re still not sure what happened in the anomalous sixth inning).

Meanwhile, Mike Jacobs’ three-run homer sparked a four-run seventh inning as Reno defeated Sacramento 7-4 in Sunday’s series decider at Aces Ballpark. The homer, which snapped a 3-3 tie, was off Merkin Valdez – a member of Round Rock’s 2011 division-title squad. That was not the only Express tie in the game; Reno’s starter was none other than Brett Tomko, who was 9-6 with the E-Train last season. Furthermore, Aces shortstop Wladimir Sutil played for Round Rock in 2010 while both were members of the Astros organization.

Omaha right-hander Jake Odorizzi (11-3, 2.93 ERA) faces Reno right-hander Trevor Bauer (5-1, 2.85 ERA) in tonight’s championship series lid-lifter.

Reno wielded the league’s most potent lineup this season, including PCL Player and Rookie of the Year Adam Eaton. In fact, the Aces posted three of the league’s four best individual batting averages in Eaton (first, .381), Ryan Wheeler (second, .351) and Jake Elmore (fourth, .344). However, that trio combined to go hitless in the division championship series. Eaton was busy hitting safely in each of his first five major league games with the Diamondbacks (four multiple-hit outings). Wheeler was promoted to Arizona in mid-July, and Elmore has been with the Diamondbacks since early August.

On the other hand, Omaha was fifth in team average (.290) and third in staff ERA (4.24). The Storm Chasers have the bulk of both their lineup and rotation intact for the postseason. Omaha hit .323 with nine homers and 8.8 runs per game against Albuquerque. Former Express member Jason Bourgeois was 7-for-24 with two triples, a homer and five runs scored in the division series; he was one of six Chasers with at least six hits in the five-game series.

Given Omaha’s rotation of Ryan Verdugo (12-4, 3.75 ERA), Nate Adcock (8-6, 5.53 ERA) and Doug Davis (9-4, 4.66 ERA) behind Odorizzi and a deep bullpen, we like the Storm Chasers in four games. The series begins with a 9:05 p.m. CDT first pitch tonight at Aces Ballpark.

 

FORMER EXPRESS MEMBERS IN THE MAJOR LEAGUES
Several former Express members currently are in the majors with organizations other than Texas. Here is a look at a few; we’ll check in with others throughout the remainder of the season.

If at some point this season you’ve caught a Baltimore Orioles game and thought, “Hmmm. This team looks familiar,” you were onto something. Eight 2012 Orioles played for the Express in 2011:  catcher Taylor Teagarden, infielders Chris Davis and Omar Quintanilla, outfielder Endy Chavez, and pitchers Tommy Hunter Darren O’Day, Zach Phillips and Pedro Strop.

Teagarden (.119, two homers, five RBI) spent the season’s first three months on the disabled list but returned to the O’s in mid-July. Quintanilla (.240, three homers, 12 RBI) began the season in the Mets organization; he spent the first two months with Triple-A Buffalo before a 29-game stint in New York. The Orioles nabbed Quintanilla in mid-July. Chavez (.190, two homers, eight RBI) has been on the disabled list since early August.

Davis (.256, 24 homers, 67 RBI) has split time between first base and the outfield, playing in 118 of Baltimore’s 140 games. How good was he with Round Rock last season? Well, Davis had the same number of homers and one fewer RBI in 48 games. Then again, Davis does have a 1-0 record and a 0.00 ERA in one relief outing with the Orioles this year.

Hunter (4-8, 5.85 ERA) has started 20 games for the Orioles abut worked in relief in each of his last two outings. He has surrendered 32 homers, tied for third in the American League. O’Day (7-1, 2.22 ERA) has been one of the league’s best bullpen arms; he’s allowed one run since July 19 – a stretch of 19.1 innings over 21 outings (0.47 ERA). Phillips (0-0, 11.57 ERA) spent nearly the entire season with Triple-A Norfolk (2-2, 3.17 ERA, seven saves), rejoining the Orioles last week; he’s pitched only three games with Baltimore. Strop (5-2, 2.26 ERA, three saves) has struggled of late, allowing eight runs over 12.2 innings in 16 games since Aug. 1 (5.68 ERA).

Baltimore arguably is baseball’s biggest surprise this season. The Orioles are one game behind the Yankees in the American League East standings entering tonight’s game against Tampa Bay (one game back of Baltimore). Furthermore, the O’s currently are in the lead for the American League’s second wild card spot.

A lot has changed in Charm City over the past 24 months. The Orioles went 66-96 and finished 30 games back in last place in 2010. Last year, former Rangers manager Buck Showalter took over the helm. After a 69-93 record in 2011, Showalter has the Orioles in legitimate postseason contention with what would be at least a 20-game turnaround even if the Birds go 11-11 the rest of the regular season.

All this begs the question:  When will the Orioles fire Showalter?

Confused? Check in next time for the explanation.

News and Notes (Sept. 7)

2012 EXPRESS MEMBERS STILL IN ACTION
Several 2012 Round Rock Express members still are in action this season. The current Texas Rangers roster features eight 2012 Express members:  pitchers Michael Kirkman, Roy Oswalt, Martin Perez, Tanner Scheppers and Yoshinori Tateyama, catcher Luis Martinez, infielder Brandon Snyder and outfielder Leonys Martin. Additionally, the Rangers roster includes outfielder Craig Gentry, who was an Express member last season. Other current Rangers who rehabbed with the Express this season are pitchers Alexi Ogando and Koji Uehara and infielder Mitch Moreland.

Meanwhile, Double-A Frisco is alive and well in the Texas League playoffs (more on that below). Former Express members Val Majewski, Tommy Mendonca, Guilder Rodriguez and Justin Grimm have seen action through the RoughRiders’ first two games of the playoff games. Right-hander Neil Ramirez also is on Frisco’s active roster.

 

ROUGHRIDERS BUILD 2-0 SERIES LEAD
Rangers Double-A affiliate Frisco is one win away from reaching the Texas League Championship Series. The RoughRiders lead their division series against Houston Astros affiliate Corpus Christi 2-0, winning both home games in dramatic fashion.

Wednesday, the RoughRiders got a one-out RBI double from Chris McGuiness that scored Leury Garcia with the winning run in the bottom of the ninth as Frisco edged Corpus Christi 6-5. The RoughRiders got hits from all nine starters, including former Express members Tommy Mendonca (1-for-4, run), Val Majewski (2-for-3, RBI, run, walk) and Guilder Rodriguez (1-for-3, RBI, walk). One of Majewski’s hits was a second-inning leadoff homer that tied the game 2-2. The RoughRiders plated three runs in the third to take a 5-2 lead before the Hooks posted solo spots in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings to tie the game.

Frisco got another walk-off win Thursday night as Garcia blasted a two-out solo homer in the bottom of the ninth for a 3-2 victory. Rodriguez walked to open the ninth and moved to second on an Engel Beltre sacrifice bunt. Rodriguez then was caught trying to steal third with Garcia at the plate. Garcia, however, had the last laugh as he deposited a Ryan Rodebaugh 2-1 offering over the fence down the right-field line. Mendonca (1-for-2) and Rodriguez (0-for-2) both walked twice; Majewski scored the game-tying run as a pinch-runner in a two-run eighth. Justin Grimm worked two scoreless innings in relief for the RoughRiders, scattering a pair of hits with two strikeouts and no walks. Corpus Christi designated hitter Drew Locke, who played for the Express in 2010, was 0-for-4.

The best-of-five series now shifts to Corpus Christi’s Whataburger Field. Game three features former University of Missouri right-hander Nick Tepesch on the mound for the RoughRiders against Hooks right-hander Ross Seaton. Tepesch was 6-3 with a 4.28 ERA in 14 starts and two relief outings for Frisco during the regular season. He began the 2012 season with Class A-Advanced Myrtle Beach, where he was 5-3 with a 2.89 ERA in 12 starts. Seaton was 8-8 with a 4.07 ERA in 25 starts for the Hooks during the regular season.

Frisco has not announced starters for the final two games of the series should they be necessary. However, projections have Neil Ramirez going in game four and right-hander Cody Buckel in the series finale. Ramirez began the season with the Express and struggled through 15 starts (6-8, 7.66 ERA) after a promising Round Rock showing in 2011. He was reassigned to Frisco in late June and went 2-5 with a 4.20 ERA in 12 starts and one relief appearance with the RoughRiders. Like Tepesch, Buckel started the season with Myrtle Beach; he was dominant with the Pelicans, going 5-3 with a 1.31 ERA and 91 strikeouts over 75.2 innings in 13 starts. Buckel was promoted to Frisco in mid-June and was 5-5 with a 3.78 ERA and 68 strikeouts over 69.0 innings in 10 starts and three relief outings with the RoughRiders.

 

FORMER EXPRESS MEMBERS ELSEWHERE
Pitchers Mark Hamburger and John Gaub, both of whom were Express members in 2012, completed their seasons with other Triple-A squads.

Hamburger, who was Round Rock’s pitcher of the year in 2011, was acquired by the San Diego Padres upon his mid-June release from the Rangers. However, he was not with the Padres long, going 0-2 with a 7.50 ERA in one start and four relief outings with Triple-A Tucson. Hamburger was released in mid-July and nabbed by the Houston Astros, who assigned him to Triple-A Oklahoma City. There, Hamburger was 1-1 with a 4.71 ERA in 17 relief appearances. His lone victory was Aug. 19 at Round Rock when he worked one and one-thirds scoreless innings with one strikeout and one walk in the RedHawks’ 5-2 win.

If you blinked in late May and early June, you likely missed Gaub’s stint with the Express. The veteran lefty started the season with Triple-A Durham (Tampa Bay Rays) of the International League and was released May 20. The Rangers signed him three days later and assigned him to Round Rock, where did not record a decision or allow a run in five relief outings – the first four of which were on the road. Gaub threw 12 pitches in an Express uniform at The Dell Diamond, those coming in one perfect inning June 5 against Albuquerque. He was released shortly thereafter and acquired by the St. Louis Cardinals, who assigned him to Triple-A Memphis. Gaub spent the remainder of the season with the Redbirds, going 0-3 with one save and a 6.68 ERA in 33 relief appearances. He pitched in three games against the Express, including a scoreless inning July 13 at The Dell Diamond.

 

FORMER EXPRESS MEMBERS IN THE MAJOR LEAGUES
Several other former Express members currently are in the majors with organizations other than Texas. Here is a look at a couple; we’ll check in with others throughout the remainder of the season.

Luis Cruz (Express 2011) began the season with Triple-A Albuquerque (Los Angeles Dodgers) and hit .381 with eight homers, 46 RBI, 31 doubles and three triples in 74 games with the Isotopes. He was promoted to the Dodgers in early July and did not look back. His call-up was due to an injury to starting shortstop Gordon Dee. Cruz moved to third shortly after the Dodgers’ trade for Hanley Ramirez, who returned to shortstop after playing third with the Miami Marlins. (Remember all the ballyhoo surrounding his move to third when the Marlins acquired Jose Reyes in the off-season?) Cruz is hitting .306 with four homers, 30 RBI and 15 doubles in 54 games with the Dodgers. After leading Dodgers regulars with a .333 average in August, Cruz is off to an 8-for-20 start in five games this month (he had four hits Monday against San Diego). In fact, his August average tied for the National League’s seventh-best mark that month. Cruz has done most of his damage in key situations, hitting .352 with runners in scoring position.

Cody Ransom (Express 2006-2007) made it to the majors for the sixth consecutive season and the second straight with Arizona. This is his 10th big-league season with five organizations (Giants, Astros, Yankees, Phillies, Diamondbacks). Ransom started the 2012 campaign with the Diamondbacks Triple-A affiliate Reno Aces, hitting .294 with two homers and nine RBI in 10 games before joining the Diamondbacks, for whom he played 17 games (.269, four homers, 12 RBI). He was claimed on waivers by Milwaukee in mid-May but struggled with the Brew Crew (.196, six homers, 26 RBI in 64 games). Arizona reclaimed Ransom off waivers last weekend, and he was 1-for-3 with two walks and a run scored in his first game back Monday night.

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