Welcome to "Chatter from the Pressbox", the website dedicated to the Pressbox of the Frisco RoughRiders, the Double-A affiliate of the Texas Rangers.

Today's Matchups Around the Ranger's System

Today's (5/20) Match-Ups Around the Ranger's System

Round Rock: Martin Perez (3-3 5.27) vs. Fresno Grizzlies: Andrew Kown (3-1 2.61) @ 1:00 PM CT

Myrtle Beach: Kyle Hendricks (1-4 2.91) @ Wilmington Blue Rocks: Sugar Ray Marimon (3-0 2.65) @ 12:30 PM CT

Hickory : Santo Perez (2-2 6.19) @ Asheville Tourists: Daniel Winkler (4-2 6.06) @ 1:05 PM CT

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Game 65: Frisco RoughRiders (Richard Bleier) @ Corpus Christi Hooks (Erick Abreu)

Time: 7:05 PM CT
Location: Whataburger Field (Corpus Christi, TX)
Team Records: Frisco RoughRiders (36-28 9 games back in the Texas League South)... Corpus Christi Hooks (23-41 22 games back in the Texas League South)
Streak: Won 3 in a row
Last 10: 6-4
Series Record: 9-8-1
2011 Record against Corpus Christi: 6-6
All-Time Record against Corpus Christi: 101-95
Record on June 16th since 2004: 4-3
Starting Pitchers: Richard Bleier (1-2 5.26 ERA) is 2-2 with a 3.61 ERA and 1.20 WHIP in 6 career starts against the Corpus Christi Hooks... Erick Abreu (3-0 3.13 ERA) is 3-0 with a 1.76 ERA and 0.85 WHIP in 17 career appearances and 3 career starts against the Frisco RoughRiders

What to Watch for on the Mound: Frisco sends Richard Bleier to the mound for the 9th appearance and 6th start, while Corpus Christi sends Erick Abreu to the mound for the 19th time and 4th start of the season in a battle of Texas League veterans... Richard Bleier's last appearance came against the San Antonio Missions on Saturday in Frisco when he came in relief of Scott Feldman, who started the game on rehab. Bleier gave up 6 hits and 5 runs over 3 1/3 innings in the Rider's 9-8 loss to San Antonio. Bleier's last start came on June 5th on the road against Tulsa and he gave Frisco 7 strong shutout innings in the win. Bleier gave up 4 hits and 1 walk in the start to earn the victory in a 3-0 shutout of the Drillers. On the season, Bleier has given up 50 hits, but just 4 walks over 39 1/3 innings with 21 strikeouts. Right handed hitters are hitting .321 against him on the season. The 24 year old southpaw is 1-1 with a 4.70 ERA in 3 road starts this season. He led Frisco with 164 1/3 innings pitched last season... Erick Abreu is making his 5th start of the 2011 season, his 3rd season spent in the Texas League. In his last appearance (a start), Abreu gave up 6 hits, 1 walk, and 3 runs (2 earned) over 5 innings with 7 strikeouts in Corpus Christi's 9-4 victory over Midland on Saturday. All 3 of Abreu's starts this year have come over the last 3 games, and he has given up 13 hits and 2 walks with 16 strikeouts over 17 innings in the 3 starts. Abreu is 2-0 in the 3 starts this season. On the season, Abreu has given up 31 hits and 9 walks in 37 1/3 innings with 33 strikeouts. At home, Abreu has been dynamite going 2-0 with a 1.84 ERA in 9 appearances/1 start. Opponents are hitting .223 against Abreu for the season.

Frisco Takes Final Game to Win Series vs. Midland: For the third consecutive game, Frisco scored early and often against the Midland Rockhounds. The Riders took a 5-2 lead after the 2nd inning and were up 10-3 after 4 innings. Frisco finished off the Rockhounds with a run in the 7th and 3 runs in the 9th to defeat Midland 14-7.

Offensive Domination: Frisco scored 10 or more runs for a third consecutive game, which is the second time that Frsico has achieved this in franchise history. The previous time came May 30th-June 1st in 2006 against the Arkansas Travelers. Frisco also accumulated 18 hits in the game, which gives them an astonishing 54 hits over the last 3 games combined. The only Frisco RoughRider's player to not get a hit or reach base via a hit, walk, or HBP was Mike Bianucci and he finished the game with a RBI and 2 runs scored! Seven players in Frisco's lineup had at least 2 hits in the game. Over the last three games, Frisco has gotten 58 at bats with RISP as a team combined.

Welcome to AA Mr. Robbie Erlin: If Robbie Erlin felt like he was still in high-A after breezing through his first 3 starts, he got a bit of a wakeup call on Wednesday... but still got the win. Erlin didn't have his best outing this season as he gave up 10 hits, 2 walks, and 6 runs over 5 innings with 5 strikeouts. Erlin also gave up 2 homeruns in the start, which continues to be the one definite weakness of Erlin, as he has now given up 12 homeruns this season between Myrtle Beach and Frisco, including 5 in 4 starts in Frisco. To make that point further, Erlin has given up more homeruns this year (12) than walks (9).Still, Erlin moved to 3-0 for Frisco and 6-2 for the season. Frisco has won all 4 of Erlin's starts so far.

Mendonca Machine: Another day, another fascinating road game for Tommy Mendonca who continues to hit like Albert Pujols on the road. Mendonca went 3 for 4 with a triple, 2 singles, 2 walks, had 3 RBI, and scored 2 runs. He has reached base 10 times over the last 2 games. He extended his road on base streak to 31 games for Frisco (37 individually), and is now hitting a ridiculous .415/.462/.669/1.131 on the road (compared to .227/.277/.482/.759 at home). Oh and the one out that Mendonca made was almost an opposite field homerun. In other words, he is in the zone right now. Mendonca also has 4 consecutive 3+ hit games and 6 consecutive multi hit games. Over his last 10 games, Mendonca is batting .477/.549/.705/1.254 with 7 extra base hits, 13 RBI, and 12 runs scored. It's more ridiculous when you consider that all 13 RBI and 9 of the 12 runs have come over the last 6 games.

Greene Says Don't Forget About Me: While Mendonca continues to rake, Jonathan Greene does as well. Greene finished 3 for 5 with a double, 3 RBI, and a run on Wednesday. It marked his 3rd consecutive 3 hit game and extended his on base streak to 14 games. It also was his 23rd multi hit game of the season and the double is his club leading 19th of the season. Greene is batting .375/.438/.536/.974 in the month of June with 13 RBI in 14 games.

It All Starts At the Top: The top of the order production has been key in all 3 games that Frisco has scored double digits in a row. On Wednesday, the top 3 hitters in the lineup (Davis Stoneburner, Renny Osuna, and Mendonca) reached base 11 times via a hit or walk and 12 times overall. And think about it... they went 1-2-3 in the first inning with 2 strikeouts!

Bad Day for Grant Green: Grant Green has struggled defensively this season and struggled at times with the bat. On Wednesday, it all came together and struggled at once. Green made almost as many errors (4) as outs (5) The errors, 3 of which were throwing, give him 18 for the season now in 56 games. His 18 errors are the most by a shortstop in the Texas League, and it's not really that close as the next closest is Tulsa's Hector Gomez with 11. He also leads AA shortstops in errors made as he is 1 up on Jose Pirela of the Trenton Thunder (Eastern League), who has 17.

First Look at Jose Altuve: This will be Frisco's first game against Corpus Christi since Jose Altuve was called up from high-A to AA. The 5'7" infielder has gotten a lot of attention with his ability to hit for average. Altuve was batting .408 in 52 games (213 AB) for the Lancaster JetHawks of the California League (high-A) before getting promoted to Corpus Christi. Since joining the Hooks, Altuve has not missed a beat as he is batting .386 over 14 games for Corpus Christi. Altuve has 10 extra base hits in the 14 games. It would be an interesting look to see someone so small (5'7" 170 pounds) be hitting 3rd in the lineup, but that is where he has been batting for the Corpus Christi. Frisco plays Corpus Christi in Frisco next on July 14th-17th.

Return of Emerson Frostad: For the first time in a Frisco RoughRider's game, Emerson Frostad won't be wearing a Frisco RoughRider's uniform. The former RoughRider signed with the Houston Astros and was placed in Corpus Christi on May 29th, 2011. He is currently hitting 6 for 31 (.194) for the Corpus Christi Hooks in 9 games. Frostad spent parts of four seasons with Frisco and hit .257 with a .745 OPS over 274 games (1,117 at bats) for the RoughRiders over the 4 seasons. He ranks 7th on the homerun list, 3rd in RBIs, 4th in runs scored, and Renny Osuna just passed him for 3rd on the all-time hits list. 

U.S. Open: The U.S. Open starts today and it is right up there with the Masters in my opinion. The Masters will always have the tradition being on the same course in the same location and the roses that they always talk about and CBS always does a great job with that, especially Jim Nance. But the U.S. Open is always such a tough tournament that it really makes it great to watch because it's a survival of the fittest. I will never forget Tiger Woods winning the U.S. Open on practically one leg. Oh how times have changed, however, as he has never been the same since. But for myself this year, the U.S. Open took a cooler turn. I grew up in St. Louis and played competitive golf growing up. Probably the best golfer I ever played with, albeit it was a long, long time ago, was Adam Long. He ended up going to play golf at Duke and finished with the 2nd lowest scoring average in Duke's history. He qualified for this year's U.S. Open and started this morning. Considering this is his first PGA tour tournament and it's the U.S. Open, I'd say his opening 76 (+5) was quite terrific. I wish him all the best.

Tracking Texas League Homeruns: 477 homeruns in 506 games (0.943 HR/G)

Term of the Day: Hacker- A batter with poor form at the plate or one who regularly takes reckless or undisciplined swings at pitches outside the strike zone.

Last Year on This Date: Frisco gave up 3 runs in the top of the 9th inning to fall 7-6 to the Midland Rockhounds at home. Ryan Tatusko started for Frisco and gave up 8 hits, 1 walk, and 4 runs over 5 innings with 2 strikeouts. Adalberto Flores and Ben Snyder combined for 2 1/3 innings of scoreless relief. Josh Lueke took the loss after pitching 1 inning of relief and gave up 3 runs (2 earned) on 3 hits and 2 walks. Brennan Garr finished the game with 2/3 of an inning of relief. Matt Lawson went 2 for 5 with a homerun, 2 RBI, and 2 runs scored. Wes Bankston went 2 for 4 with a homerun and 3 RBI for the Riders. Jacob Kaase added 2 hits in 2 at bats with a double, a walk, RBI, run, and sacrifice fly. Renny Osuna, Joey Butler, Mitch Hilligoss, and James Tomlin each added hits of their own for Frisco.

Answer to Yesterday's Question of the Day: Eric Gagne was the Texas League Pitcher of the Year in 1999 for San Antonio.

Around the Ranger's System

Yesterday's Record: 2-1

Round Rock (AAA) gave up the tying run in the 8th inning, but won 4-3 in 10 innings over the Nashville Sounds on the road. Seth McClung started for Round Rock and gave up 6 hits, 2 walks, and 2 runs over 5 2/3 innings with 1 strikeout. Former Riders Zach Phillips and Cody Eppley combined for 2 2/3 innings of scoreless relief after Ryan Tucker gave up a run in 1 2/3 innings. Julio Borbon went 2 for 5 in rehab for Round Rock. He also stole his 9th base for them. Joey Butler extended his hitting streak to 16 games with a 2 for 4 game including 2 doubles. He is now batting .340 for the Express. Brian Barden and Kevin Cash each went 1 for 4 in the game with solo homeruns. Chris Davis finished 1 for 5 with a RBI for Round Rock. Brad Nelson and Luis Cruz each added a hit.

Myrtle Beach (High-A) fell to the Potomac Nationals 5-4 in 10 innings on the road in a morning game. Robbie Ross started for Myrtle Beach and received a no decision after giving up 8 hits, 1 walk, and 4 runs over 5 innings with 4 strikeouts. Kennil Gomez pitched 2 shutout innings of relief and Trevor Hurley took the loss after giving up a run in 2+ innings of relief. Ryan Strausborger led Myrtle Beach's offense with a 3 for 5 day including a triple and 3 RBI. Santiago Chirino and Jared Bolden each added 2 hits of their own, including a double and 2 runs scored by Bolden. Vincent DiFazio and Chris McGuiness each added a hit for the Pelicans.

Hickory (Low-A) was rained out in their game with Asheville. Their next game is today at home against Charleston as they try to wrap up the 1st half with a division win.

Minor League Performance of the Day

On a day when pitching owned the buzz in the minor leagues, it was the South Bend Silver Hawk's David Holmberg who turned in the best overall performance. Seven starters allowed 0 earned runs over 7 or more innings on Wednesday and David Holmberg was one of those seven. Over 7 shutout innings, Holmberg gave up just 2 hits and 0 walks while striking out 10 batters in South Bend's 5-2 victory over the Lansing Lugnuts. Holmberg moved to 7-3 on the season and lowered his ERA to 2.61. The 19 year old southpaw has given up 64 hits and 13 walks over 76 innings this season with 74 strikeouts. His 1.01 WHIP is the 22nd best in minor league baseball right now. Holmberg was drafted by the Chicago White Sox in the 2nd round of the 2009 draft. He was traded along with Dan Hudson to the Arizona Diamondbacks as part of the trade that sent Edwin Jackson to Chicago. David Holmberg was rated by Baseball America as the 22nd best prospect in the Arizona Diamondback's organization entering 2011.

As always...

Station to Listen to the Game on: 1630 AM (KKGM)
Follow the Game Online at: http://web.minorleaguebaseball.com/scoreboard/league.jsp?sid=milb&lid=109
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And Check Out the Riders Insider Blog for more Frisco RoughRiders info: http://ridersinsider.mlblogs.com/

- By Michael Damman

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