BY RYAN ABER
Some pregame thoughts as the tarp at AT&T Bricktown Ballpark gets staked down an hour before the scheduled start of today’s 5:05 doubleheader against Nashville:
-Magic number: 6 (Could be a big moving day in the division, though, as both the RedHawks and Albuquerque have doubleheaders today).
-This will be the sixth doubleheader for the RedHawks this season. They’ve been swept in three doubleheaders (May 17 against Fresno, July 20 at Iowa and July 24 at Memphis) and swept two of them (June 16 against New Orleans and July 7 vs. Nashville). The Sounds are playing their seventh doubleheader of the year. Nashville is 5-7 in doubleheaders this season, splitting three, getting swept twice and sweeping one.
-Ian Kinsler and Cristian Guzman are in the lineup for the opener for the RedHawks. Kinsler is at second base, while Guzman is at short.
Kinsler has been on the disabled list since July 29 with a left groin strain. He’s hitting .298 with six home runs and 38 RBIs in 76 games for the Rangers this year after starting the season on the disabled list.
Guzman has been on the disabled list since Aug. 14 with a right quadriceps strain. He hit just .088 in 10 games at second for the Rangers after being acquired in a July 31 trade from Washington.
Kinsler played three games for Frisco in the last few days, going 2 for 10 with a triple.
Their presence in the lineup tonight once again gives the RedHawks a lineup where all 10 starters have major league experience.
-Dustin Nippert will start tomorrow for the RedHawks. He’ll get three innings or 45 pitches.
-Tomorrow is also the day rosters expand in the majors, although few RedHawks figure to be called up at least immediately. The Rangers will be getting several players off the disabled list soon and figure to bolster their lineup by holding onto the players already with Texas.
-Brandon Boggs isn’t in the lineup for the opener but it’s hoped he’ll report today.
“It’d be big to get him back,” RedHawks manager Bobby Jones said. “We haven’t had a lot of flexibility with the outfielders lately so that’ll help.”
-Max Ramirez is again at DH tonight with Taylor Teagarden catching. Ryan Garko, a night after hitting a triple, gets the first game off.
“I’m good for about one of those a year,” Garko said of his triple.
Both Ramirez and Hernan Iribarren have seven-game hitting streaks entering today’s games.
BY RYAN ABER
Pregame notes from the first of a nine-game season-ending series for the RedHawks (7:05 tonight vs. Nashville):
-Magic number watch: 8
-If the RedHawks can be successful the next couple of nights and Iowa can give them some help in Albuquerque, that magic number has the potential to dip quickly. Both series have doubleheaders tomorrow, with the Isotopes already trailing the first game of theirs 4-0 with the Cubs still batting in the top of the first. That game was suspended when rains came.
-Brandon McCarthy will start tonight against Tim Dillard. McCarthy, though often hurt this season, has been effective in every appearance but one this season. That one, though, was his last start, an eventual 11-3 loss at Albuquerque. McCarthy gave up 8 earned runs (9 total) in five innings in that game. Dillard has turned in his two best performances in his last two starts, going seven innings last time out and eight the start before that. He allowed just one run in those 15 innings, walking three.
The RedHawks scheduled starters the last two nights have wound up being scratched. Two nights ago, Derek Holland was scratched after being summoned to Texas to join the Rangers bullpen and last night, Guillermo Moscoso was scratched because of a blister on one of his pitching fingers. Although many of the RedHawks are late-arriving today as they come off a long road trip, Moscoso is out playing catch in the outfield and appears to be throwing all right.
It’d be a big boost if he could pitch tomorrow, as the RedHawks haven’t announced a starter for the second game of the doubleheader. Omar Beltre will start the opener.
-Brandon Boggs is back with the team after being sent down to make room for Nelson Cruz. Boggs was 0 for 7 in four games with the Rangers since being called up Aug. 15. Boggs gives Bobby Jones more flexibility with his lineup, since he’d been going with just two natural outfielders since Boggs was called up and Craig Gentry went down with a broken wrist. Gentry was called up and immediately placed on the 15-day disabled list.
Boggs isn’t in tonight’s lineup, as Matt Brown and Hernan Iribarren man the corner outfield slots.
-The RedHawks finished 33-38 on the road and did not win a road series from a team other than Round Rock since winning 3 of 4 in Omaha from June 5-8. Their batting average is 34 points better at AT&T Bricktown Ballpark (.290 vs. .256) .
-Max Ramirez enters tonight with a six-game hitting streak, during which he’s 7 for 19 (.368). Ramirez is hitting fourth tonight, at designated hitter. Taylor Teagarden is hitting ninth and catching.
BY RYAN ABER
Just more than a year ago, Yukon’s Chad James was picked in the first round by the Florida Marlins.
Friday night, playing for Class A Greensboro, James got a taste of the big leagues.
James faced Lakewood, with a rehabbing Ryan Howard, on the road and pitched his best game in a month.
“It was awesome,” James said. “That’s a once in a lifetime opportunity, especially in Low-A ball.
“It definitely got my adrenaline pumping for sure.”
The 19-year-old struck out three and allowed just one hit–a sixth-inning RBI double by Howard–in six innings to pick up his first win since July 1. James allowed one run in the Grasshoppers 4-1 win in front of more than 10,000 fans in Lakewood.
“I guess if you’re going to give up a no hitter it might as well be to a hitter like that,” James said. “I was trying to go inside and just left the ball out over the middle and he drove it to the gap.”
James had a no-hitter going into the inning before Howard’s hit. The RBI gave Howard the BlueClaw’s career record with 92.
Before the game, Lakewood retired Howard’s number.
James walked Howard in the first, then got the Phillies first baseman to ground out to second to lead off the fourth.
BY RYAN ABER
Pregame notes as the RedHawks get ready for the third of a four-game series tonight against Reno (7:05 at AT&T Bricktown Ballpark):
Jones night set for Friday
The RedHawks will honor longtime manager Bobby Jones before Friday’s game and a plaque will be placed in the park honoring his time with the team.
Jones is the organization’s all-time leader in wins as a manager after playing for the then-89ers during his career.
In all likelihood, this will be Jones’ final season with the team.
The Rangers are expected to change their Triple-A affiliate to Round Rock and Jones says he expects to remain a part of the organization that drafted him.
Treanor almost back
After a five-inning start Monday and a seven-inning start Wednesday, rehabbing Matt Treanor is expected to catch for the entire game in Friday’s series finale.
“He’s right on schedule,” RedHawks manager Bobby Jones said. “He should be back up pretty quick.”
Treanor has been on the disabled list since July 24 with a right posterior cruciate ligament strain.
Taylor Teagarden has been up since Treanor’s injury, filling in as the backup to Rangers catcher Bengie Molina.
Kevin Richardson, who has hit well of late, is starting at catcher for the RedHawks tonight.
Slider helping Phillips’ repertoire
RedHawks reliever Zach Phillips worked on a slider some last year but never used it in a game.
About a month ago, Phillips decided to give the pitch a try in a game situation and it’s certainly paid off so far.
Phillips has not allowed a run in 12 2/3 innings entering Thursday’s game.
“It came around a lot further than I thought it would so I decided to start using it,” Phillips said. “It’s just another tool to get hitters out, especially against lefthanders.”
Harden expected to stay with RedHawks
After turning in a 10-strikeout performance in six innings Wednesday, rehabbing Rich Harden certainly looked like he was ready to pitch in the big leagues again.
But Harden is expected to pitch at least once more for the RedHawks before the Rangers make a decision on whether to activate him.
Harden was placed on the DL on Sunday with right shoulder tendinitis.
“He did a great job last night,” Jones said. “His changeup especially was fantastic.
“If he’s not there, he’s definitely close.”
In his last rehab outing with the RedHawks, Harden turned in another brilliant start, striking out 10 in six innings at Memphis on July 26. And Harden carried that through after being activated by the Rangers, allowing one run in seven innings against the Angels on July 31.
But then he struggled in his next start and quickly found himself back on the disabled list.
Brown’s struggles continue
Just a couple weeks ago, there was no hitter on the RedHawks as locked in as Matt Brown.
But since the RedHawks roadtrip that started Aug. 4, Brown has struggled.
Wednesday, Jones bumped Brown down in the order and, after an 0 for 4 night, Brown was hitting sixth again.
“He’s just not seeing the ball real well right now,” Jones said. “That’s usually what happens when you hit a slump. But we’re going to keep him in the lineup and he’ll break out of it eventually.”
Colome ready to pitch
After being unavailable for his first couple days with the team, newly signed Jesus Colome was available for the first time Wednesday night but not needed after Harden and Warner Madrigal went the distance.
Colome wasn’t available early after throwing a side session when he arrived with the RedHawks earlier this week. Colome hasn’t appeared in a game since being released by Albuquerque on July 3.
By Ryan Aber
Notes heading into tonight’s second game of the RedHawks’ four-game series with Reno (7:05 tonight, AT&T Bricktown Ballpark):
-Rich Harden, who was briefly scheduled to start yesterday’s game, will be on the mound tonight for the RedHawks as he starts his second rehab stint with the team. Harden went on the DL for the second time this season Sunday, this time with right shoulder tendinitis. Instead of sending Guillermo Moscoso out after Harden, the right-hander will pitch Thursday.
For the Rangers, Harden is 4-4 with a 5.19 ERA. In his first game back after his initial DL stint, Harden through seven innings, giving up just one run. But in his second, Aug. 7 at Oakland, Harden couldn’t make it out of the third inning and gave up three runs and walked five. The 28-year-old right-hander was 0-2 with a 5.19 ERA for the RedHawks in July, finishing with six innings at Memphis on July 26, where he allowed no runs and struck out 10.
-Brandon McCarthy‘s shoulder has responded well recently as he’s ramped up his workload in anticipation of being activated. As hoped, McCarthy will start Friday in the series finale against the Aces. McCarthy is 2-0 with a 2.48 ERA in seven appearances this year. But the right-hander has been bothered by shoulder ailments all season, resulting in three separate trips to the DL. Omar Beltre, who was scheduled to start Thursday, has been pushed back another two days and will pitch Saturday in the series opener in Round Rock.
-Nearly half of the tonight’s RedHawks lineup is made up of guys that were not here a week ago. It would’ve been half if James Tomlin wasn’t getting the night off in right field. Tonight’s new addition is Alex Cora, who was signed as a free agent Tuesday. Cora will start at second base and hit eighth. Cora was hitting just .207 with the Mets before being released earlier this month.
But Cora said his numbers were a bit deceiving, as he felt good about his approach and he was hitting with runners on base. His numbers back that up, as Cora was hitting .300 with runners in scoring position this season. He’d driven in 20 runs in 187 at bats with the Mets. Cora’s time with the RedHawks might not last long, as he could be a more valuable bench piece for the Rangers than Joaquin Arias.
With Cora’s arrival, Guilder Rodriguez was sent back to Double-A Frisco. Rodriguez hit .254 in 21 games with the RedHawks. He also stole four bases and was solid in the field filling in where needed.
-Matt Brown has been moved down in the order to sixth after his recent struggles at the plate. One of the RedHawks top hitters in July (.339/.376/.505), Brown has cooled off. In his last 10 games, the 28-year-old is hitting just .105 (4 for 38) with just one extra-base hit.
-Matt Treanor is back in the lineup tonight for his second rehab game. Treanor caught five innings in Monday’s game but sat out Tuesday in favor of Max Ramirez.
-Pedro Strop is back with the RedHawks after being optioned from Texas to make room for Derek Holland, who started for the Rangers on Wednesday.
BY RYAN ABER
Some notes heading into the RedHawks series opener against Reno (7:05 tonight):
-Zach Phillips will start for the RedHawks tonight, making his first start of the season. There was some thought that Rich Harden would start for the RedHawks tonight, and he’s likely to pitch a rehab outing for the team at some point, but instead it’ll be Phillips. Phillips has pitched well out of the bullpen, throwing 9 2/3 consecutive scoreless innings over all or part of his last eight outings. The last runs Phillips allowed came July 17 in the first of two innings against Iowa.
-Guillermo Moscoso was scheduled to start tonight but was pushed back when it looked like Harden might pitch. Instead, Moscoso will pitch Wednesday.
-With Harden’s departure from the Rangers rotation, Derek Holland will start for Texas on Wednesday. Holland had been scheduled to pitch for the RedHawks on Wednesday. Insteadm the Rangers moved Tommy Hunter up a night and will slide in Holland against Tampa Bay on Wednesday. Holland is 2-1 with a 4.19 ERA in four starts and a relief appearance with the Rangers. When Holland is activated, it’s likely either Brandon Boggs or Pedro Strop will be heading back to the RedHawks.
-The RedHawks have another new face coming with the signing of infielder Alex Cora. Cora played 62 games for the Mets before being released a little more than a week ago. With Joaquin Arias‘ struggles in the field last night in Tampa, Cora could be destined for Texas as soon as the Rangers next homestand. He’ll join the RedHawks for Wednesday’s game.
-The RedHawks pitching staff has been a big part of the RedHawks success this year, turning in a league-best 3.91 ERA. The defense, though, has been less than spectacular. The RedHawks are third in the league in unearned runs allowed, with 84. Sacramento and Las Vegas are tied for first with 104. Tonight’s opponent, Reno, has allowed just 61.
-Max Ramirez will start at catcher tonight with Matt Treanor getting the night off. Chris Davis will be the DH, with Ryan Garko at first.
-Newcomer James Tomlin is still looking for his first Triple-A hit but showed that he has an arm in right field yesterday. Tomlin threw out a runner trying to go from first to third on a single and also made a solid throw to the plate that had a chance to get a runner earlier in the game.
-The starters for Friday’s and Saturday’s games are listed as TBA. Brandon McCarthy figures to start Friday against Reno as long as his shoulder is fine.
By Ryan Aber
Another hot one today at AT&T Bricktown Ballpark (although slightly less so today) as the RedHawks prepare for the series finale against Las Vegas at 7:05 tonight. A few notes heading into the game:
-Matt Treanor has joined the team to start his rehab stint and is in the lineup at catcher tonight, hitting eighth. Treanor has been on the disabled list since July 24 with a strained posterior cruciate ligament in his right knee. Since Treanor’s injury, Taylor Teagarden has been backing up Rangers starting catcher Bengie Molina.
-Willy Taveras has also joined the RedHawks and is in tonight’s lineup, starting in center. James Tomlin moves over to right after starting in center yesterday in his Triple-A debut. Hernan Iribarren moves from right to left.
-Treanor and Taveras aren’t the only new faces for the RedHawks today. Elizardo Ramirez rejoins the team after spending the last 17 days with Frisco. Also, the Rangers signed veteran pitcher Jesus Colome. Colome was most recently playing for Albuquerque after spending some time in the majors this season with Seattle.
-Today’s RedHawks starter, Doug Mathis, has been searching for consistency on the mound after not having much, either in results or role, lately. He’s struggled in his last two starts, giving up eight earned runs in a combined 6 1/3 innings against Salt Lake and Colorado Springs. Mathis has been much better at home, though, going 2-2 with a 3.52 ERA. His road record is the same, but he’s done it with a 6.63 ERA.
-July was brutal for RedHawks catcher Kevin Richardson. He spent much of the month buried with both Max Ramirez and Jarrod Saltalamacchia on the roster and getting the majority of the playing time. And in the chances he did get, Richardson didn’t produce, hitting just .100 for the month (2 for 20). But already in August, with Saltalamacchia gone and playing time increased, Richardson has more at bats than he did all of last month and is earning them. Heading into tonight’s game, Richardson is hitting .423 (11 for 26) for the month. He’s also driven in more runs (7) than he did combined in June and July (6).
By Ryan Aber
Pregame notes before the RedHawks take on Las Vegas at 4:05 today:
-Brandon McCarthy threw a simulated game this afternoon, throwing about 65 pitches to some college hitters. McCarthy said he felt great after the session and that things were on track for him to throw 4-5 innings Friday against Reno in the homestand finale.
-Justin Tomlin will make his first Triple-A start today, starting in centerfield. Tomlin is in his 11th minor-league season but is making his first appearance in Triple-A. Look for more on Tomlin in Monday’s paper.
-Brandon Boggs has been called up to Texas to take Rich Harden‘s spot on the roster. Boggs’ callup is more of a reaction to what happened to Nelson Cruz last night. Harden’s move was retroactive to Aug. 8. Cruz will have an MRI on Monday on his hamstring.
-With Boggs up and Gentry on the DL, Tomlin is the only outfielder on the roster for today’s game. So a pair of infielders, Matt Brown (left) and Hernan Iribarren (right) will be in the corners today. In response to the lack of outfield depth, the Rangers signed Willy Taveras to a Triple-A contract. Taveras, who spent some time this season with the Nationals, had most recently been playing for Gwinnett, Atlanta’s Triple-A team.
-Matt Treanor is not with the team today. Instead, the Rangers catcher will join the RedHawks tomorrow as he begins his rehab assignment.
-Tanner Scheppers pitched back-to-back games for the first time in the first two games of the series. He allowed a run last night but still has saves in each of the two games.
-Five consecutive games for the RedHawks have been decided by one or two runs.
BY RYAN ABER
A couple tidbits before the RedHawks take on Las Vegas at 7:05 tonight:
-Craig Gentry‘s time with the RedHawks this season is done after he suffered a broken right wrist last night making a play at the wall. Gentry will travel to Arizona tomorrow and will have surgery on the wrist Tuesday. He’ll have a pin placed in the wrist, hoping to return to Texas late in the season as a pinch runner of possible defensive replacement.
-Longtime minor leaguer Justin Tomlin has been called up to take Gentry’s place on the roster and is likely to be in centerfield Sunday. Hernan Iribarren will play right tonight, with Brandon Boggs in center. Tomlin is in his 11th minor league season and will be making his first appearance in Triple-A. He was a Rule 5 pick by the Rangers last year.
-Matt Treanor is likely to join the RedHawks on Sunday for a rehab assignment as he works his way back from a strained posterior cruciate ligament.
-Pedro Strop has been called up by the Rangers after they placed Cristian Guzman on the DL with a strained right quad.
-As much as the RedHawks have struggled lately, going 5-8 over their last 13, their lead is the largest of any division in the Pacific Coast League (3.5 games over New Orleans). The RedHawks have been in sole possession of first place since late April.
BY RYAN ABER
Back after a tough road trip to Salt Lake City and Colorado Springs, the RedHawks start and eight-game homestand tonight with Las Vegas, then Reno.
Some notes heading into the next-to-last homestand of the year:
-Michael Kirkman, who has been the RedHawks best starter this season, has been moved to the bullpen. The move came from the Rangers, who want Kirkman to pitch out of the bullpen in anticipation of him pitching in that role in Texas down the stretch.
-Omar Beltre will start tomorrow after missing a start on the trip. Beltre (2-8, 2.67) had some shoulder stiffness on the road trip but is fine.
-RedHawks manager Bobby Jones said he hasn’t heard any more on the status of Chad Tracy, indicating that he’s not close to returning from the strained oblique he suffered in early July.
-Chris Davis didn’t take batting practice after arriving a bit late to the park. Davis has been battling a foot ailment lately but should be fine. Davis also got some work in left field during the trip, his first outfield work since being drafted. Jones said that call also came from Texas and Davis would play two games at first (where he is tonight), two at third, then two at left for the time being.
-Brandon McCarthy isn’t likely to travel to Arizona to face live hitters. Instead, McCarthy will stay with the RedHawks and pitch batting practice sometime in the next few days. The team hopes he’ll be back in the next week-10 days. When he returns, McCarthy is likely to start, throwing 50-60 pitches when he returns.