Location: Hammons Field (Springfield, MO)
Team Records: Frisco RoughRiders (1-0 Tied for First Place in the Texas League South)... Springfield Cardinals (0-1 1 game back in the Texas League North)
Last 10: 1-0
Road Trip: 1-0
2012 Series Record: 0-0-0
2012 Record against Springfield: 1-0
All-Time Record against Springfield: 47-41
Record on April 6 since 2003: 2-0
Starting Pitchers: Miguel De Los Santos (0-0 0.00 ERA) vs. John Gast (0-0 0.00 ERA)
Frisco Spoils Opening Night in Springfield: Frisco won their season opening game for a third straight season and for the seventh time in the last eight years. Pitching dominated the game as Frisco needed just one run for the 1-0 victory. The 'Riders scored a run on a Jose Felix sacrifice fly in the 3rd inning.
Not a Grimm Beginning: If opening night was any sign of things to come for Frisco starter Justin Grimm, then Frisco fans are in for quite a ride. Justin Grimm was about as dominant as you can be, striking out ten batters and allowing just three base runners over 5 1/3 shutout innings. Grimm also had the rare four strikeout inning in the 2nd inning when Adam Melker reached base on a passed ball by Jose Felix. Grimm gave up 2 hits, 1 walk, and got 3 groundballs to 3 flyballs. He made 74 pitches and 51 of those went for strikes. He got ahead in the count to 11 of the 19 batters he faced and was able to get an impressive 16 swinging strikes. His 10 strikeouts were tied with Austin Wood (Cedar Rapids) and Nicholas Struck (Tennessee) for the most in minor league baseball on opening night.
Inning By Inning Count
1: 8 Pitches- 6 Strikes- 3 Called- 2 Swinging- 2 Balls- 2 BPIP- 1 Swinging K- 1 Hit
2: 20 Pitches- 15 Strikes- 5 Called- 6 Swinging- 4 Fouls- 5 Balls- 3 Swinging K- 1 Looking K
3: 14 Pitches- 11 Strikes- 3 Called- 4 Swinging- 3 Fouls- 3 Balls- 1 BPIP- 1 Swinging K- 1 Looking K
4: 10 Pitches- 6 Strikes- 2 Swinging- 2 Fouls- 4 Balls- 2 BPIP- 1 Swinging K
5: 14 Pitches- 9 Strikes- 2 Called- 2 Swinging- 2 Fouls- 5 Balls- 3 BPIP- 1 Swinging K- 1 Hit
6: 8 Pitches- 4 Strikes- 1 Called- 1 Swinging- 2 Fouls- 4 Balls- 1 Looking K- 1 BB
Strausborger's Solid Debut: Among the more interesting new players on Frisco's roster is 24 year old outfielder Ryan Strausborger, who hit .270 with 31 steals and a .763 OPS for the Myrtle Beach Pelicans last year. In his Double-A debut on Thursday night for Frisco, Strausborger did a little bit of everything. He led the 'Riders with 2 hits in 4 at bats at the plate. Strausborger also added a steal in the 3rd inning and threw out Jose Garcia at second trying to stretch a single into a double. He had 11 outfield assists in 2011 and added his first in 2012 in the first game.
Strikeouts Galore: In the pitching dominated game, strikeouts seemed easy to come by, especially early on. Of the first thirteen batters to come to the plate in the game between the two teams, ten of them finished their at bat with a strikeout. Both starting pitchers had five through the first two innings. Every batter in the Springfield Cardinal's starting lineup had at least one strikeout and even Greg Garcia joined in the action with a strikeout on a pinch hit at bat. Frisco had three players, Leury Garcia, Mike Olt, and Chris McGuiness, who struck out two times in the game. Overall, there were 25 strikeouts between the two teams combined. Frisco pitchers recorded 16 strikeouts in the game.
Scoreless Relief: It wasn't always pretty, but Frisco's relievers got the job done for the final 3 2/3 innings they had to pitch. Carlos Pimentel, Joe Ortiz, and Johan Yan gave up 2 hits and 2 walks over the 3 2/3 innings, and struck out 6 batters as well. They did not allow a run though and preserved the victory. Johan Yan earned his first save of the season with a 1 1/3 inning appearance.
Could Speed Resurface?: In the ten years that Frisco has existed, the 'Riders have ranked in the top 3 in the Texas League in stolen bases just one time. That year came in 2008 when Frisco had 185 steals for the season. Of the 185 steals, 54 of them came from current Rangers starting shortstop Elvis Andrus. Five other players had double digit stolen base totals, including Julio Borbon and Craig Gentry. This season, Frisco has three players in Jurickson Profar, Leury Garcia, and Ryan Strausborger that had offer the ability to steal some bases. Profar had 23 for Hickory last season, while Leury Garcia and Ryan Strausborger had 30 and 31 steals for Myrtle Beach last season.
Former 'Riders on the Mound:
RHP Tanner Roark (Syracuse Chiefs) vs. Rochester Red Wings
LHP Martin Perez (Round Rock Express) @ Iowa Cubs
RHP Guillermo Moscoso (Colorado Springs Sky Sox) @ Reno Aces
RHP Jesse Chavez (Las Vegas 51s) vs. Sacramento River Cats
Minor League Baseball Golden Sombrero Count: 8
Minor League Baseball Sombrero Count: 21
Around the Ranger's System
Yesterday's Record: 1-1
Round Rock (AAA) lost 5-3 to the Iowa Cubs on the road. Former 'Rider Mark Hamburger made the start for Round Rock. Hamburger struggled early, but settled down and finished with a final line of: 5 IP 8 H 3 R 1 BB 1 K. Derek Hankins took the loss after giving up 2 runs in 2 innings of relief. He gave up 2 hits, walked 2, hit a batter, threw a wild pitch, and recorded a strikeout. Ben Snyder pitched a perfect inning of relief as well with 2 strikeouts. The Express managed just three hits in the game as well. Last year's homerun leader for Frisco, Mike Bianucci, homered in his first AAA at bat. It was his only hit of the game, but gave Round Rock a 2-0 lead at the time. Last year for Frisco, Bianucci also homered in his first AA at bat. Julio Borbon also homered in the sixth inning to tie the game at the time. Leonys Martin and Joey Butler each went 0 for 3 with a walk in their first game of 2012.
Myrtle Beach (A+) did not have a game. Their home opener is today at 6:05 PM CT.
Hickory (A) had their game rained out. They will have a doubleheader on Saturday.
Minor League Performance of the Day
On most days Justin Grimm's performance would have been a legitimate contender, but on Thursday there was one performance that stood out above all others. Lehigh Valley IronPigs starting pitcher Tyler Cloyd pitched 6 perfect innings in the IronPigs' 3-0 victory over the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees in Lehigh Valley's home opener. The 24 year old starter struck out 8 batters in the 6 innings pitched and induced 7 groundballs to 3 flyball outs. Cloyd, an 18th round pick by the Philadelphia Phillies in the 2008 draft, went 9-4 with a 2.77 ERA in 2011 and is off to a flying start in 2012. It's been his command that has separated the righty from many other pitchers. Last season, he walked just 1.4 batters per 9 innings with a strikeout rate of 8.5 batters per 9. Over 5 minor league seasons and 471 2/3 innings, Cloyd has a walk rate of 2.0 batters per 9 innings. He will certainly be an interesting pitcher to keep an eye on, if Thursday is anywhere near a sign of things to come.
A special thanks to any blog followers from New Haven, CT!
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- By Michael Damman