BY RYAN ABER
Locust Grove right-handed pitcher Adrian Houser, an OU signee, was the first state player to be selected in Tuesday’s second day of the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft.
Houser went in the second round, No. 69 overall, to the Houston Astros.
“I’m pretty excited about it,” Houser said. “I’m not sure what will happen now. My advisor has a number in mind but I’m not even sure exactly what it is.”
Houser was the fourth state high pitcher taken, following the selections of Owasso’s Dylan Bundy, Broken Arrow’s Archie Bradley and Deer Creek’s Michael Fulmer on the draft’s first day.
“It’s pretty awesome (to be a part of this class),” Houser said. “Especially since me, Archie and Dylan used to play on the same team.”
Bundy, Bradley and Houser played together for a few years before reaching high school.
Houser was 9-1 with a 0.76 ERA in 62 innings pitched for the Class 4A state champions. He struck out 125.
At the plate, Houser hit .487 with eight home runs and 41 RBIs.
BY RYAN ABER
Just before he left the bullpen to head to the dugout in the middle of the tenth, RedHawks outfielder Drew Locke was stopped by relief pitcher Jose Valdez.
“Hit a home run,” Valdez said in Spanish.
Locke had to ask Valdez for a translation but came through minutes later, delivering a two-out, walk-off home run toward that same bullpen as the RedHawks won 4-3 in front of 2,951 at RedHawks Field at Bricktown.
“All you can do pinch hitting is try to do that,” Locke said. “I was just sitting on that pitch and got it.”
Locke was forced to the bullpen to catch for the relievers after backup catcher Robinson Cancel had to be pressed into action when starter Carlos Corporan broke his hand midway through the game.
Corporan is expected to be out 4-6 weeks after being hit with a bat on his throwing hand.
The RedHawks have won a season-high three in a row headed into Thursday’s series finale.
The team’s surge has been keyed by a different approach at the plate.
After struggling at the plate in their recent series in New Orleans, the RedHawks had a team meeting before the series against the Sounds to discuss a different approach.
RedHawks manager Tony DeFrancesco and hitting coach Keith Bodie are asking the hitters to take a more disciplined and patient approach.
It’s paying off so far.
After drawing seven walks in the three games ending Saturday, the RedHawks have now drawn 31 in their last four.
It goes beyond the walks.
“It gets us deeper into counts and forces pitchers to throw more pitches and hopefully get them out quicker,” DeFrancesco said. “It’s working for us right now.”
Nobody’s illustrating that shift more than outfielder Collin DeLome right now.
After going 4 for 5 in Wednesday’s win, DeLome is 6 for 9 at the plate in the last two games and drew three walks in the first game of the series Monday.
The change at the plate has taken DeLome out of his comfort zone but it’s paying off.
“I’m a first-ball, fastball hitter,” DeLome said. “But I’m changing that up and just looking for the pitch exactly where I want it and if it’s not there, I’m letting it go. I’m trying to be more disciplined at the plate with less than two strikes.”
The RedHawks trailed 3-2 entering the eighth but kept the game got singles by Koby Clemens and DeLome to start the inning and Tommy Manzella tied it with a fielder’s choice.
The RedHawks got a solid performance from their starting pitcher once again as Jordan Lyles allowed two runs in six innings, striking out nine.
The bullpen through four innings, allowing just three hits and one unearned win as Sergio Escalona picked up the win.
“We’re more relaxed now,” DeFrancesco said. “We’re settling in and doing the things we need to do to win.”
BY RYAN ABER
The RedHawks’ 2011 schedule will begin on the road, will once again feature a July 4 home game and will include one scheduled doubleheader.
Game times will be announced later.
After opening with an eight-game road trip, the RedHawks will open the home portion of their schedule April 15 against Albuquerque.
It won’t take long before the Rangers’ Triple-A affiliate makes their first visiting appearance in nearly 30 years in the city.
Round Rock will play a pair of series at AT&T Bricktown Ballpark, the first coming April 19-22 and the second May 31-June 3.
The last two seasons, the RedHawks’ scheduled Fourth of July games have been rained out. They’ll get another chance next year with Iowa starting a series here on that night.
The schedule also features the RedHawks’ first trip to North County, the expected home of the team formerly known as the Portland Beavers.
The Padres’ Triple-A affiliate is expected to share a park with the Class-A Lake Elsinore Storm.
See the complete schedule after the jump
BY RYAN ABER
The RedHawks clubhouse is a comfortable enough place for the players to hang out. There’s a couple of televisions hanging up on either side of the room, plenty of seating including a couple comfortable chairs and couches and a well-stocked supply of food.
The home team’s clubhouse in Reno apparently was accommodating as well.
When former RedHawks utility man Ryan Roberts didn’t make the Diamondbacks out of spring training, he broke the lease on the place he’d already secured in Arizona. After he got sent back to Triple-A Reno after a short stint with the DBacks, Roberts’ wife decided to stay behind in Phoenix and make occasional visits.
So instead of getting a second place in Reno or springing for a hotel every time the Aces were in town, Roberts made a habit of hanging out in the clubhouse until everyone had gone home, then crashing there, the Arizona Republic’s Nick Piecoro wrote in a blog post: Ryan Roberts’ low-rent housing in Reno
Roberts played for the RedHawks in 2008, hitting .300 with 10 home runs and 66 RBIs. He was recently called back up by Arizona.
BY RYAN ABER
Game 1 (at Memphis/Sacramento): Wednesday
Game 2 (at Memphis/Sacramento): Thursday
Game 3 (at Oklahoma City/Tacoma): Friday
Game 4 (at Oklahoma City/Tacoma): Saturday (if necessary)
Game 5 (at Oklahoma City/Tacoma): Sunday (if necessary)
RedHawks (Rangers) at Memphis (Cardinals)
Season series: Memphis won 9-7 (5-3 at Memphis)
Leaders (among qualifiers, still with team)
HRs: Chris Davis, 14
RBIs: Davis, 80
Avg.: Davis, .327
OPS: Davis, .903
SBs: Petit, 12
Wins: Guillermo Moscoso, 7
ERA: Moscoso, 5.18
SOs: Moscoso, 107
Saves: Tanner Scheppers, 4
HRs: Mark Hamilton, 18
RBIs: Allen Craig, 81
Avg.: Ruben Gotay, .285
OPS: Gotay, .845
SBs: Tyler Greene, 12
Wins: Lance Lynn, 13
ERA: Brandon Dickson, 3.23
SOs: Lynn, 141
Saves: Josh Kinney, 17
Tacoma (Mariners) at Sacramento (A’s)
Season series: Split, 8-8 (Split 4-4)
Note: Tacoma’s home playoff games in the series will be played at Seattle’s Safeco Field. If Tacoma advances, all games in the PCL Championship Series will be played at either Oklahoma City or Memphis.
Blake Beavan: Committed to OU before being drafted by the Rangers and signing. Reported to the RedHawks earlier this season but was traded to Seattle in the Cliff Lee deal before making an appearance.
Tug Hulett: Played for the RedHawks in 2007, hitting .275 with 11 home runs and 67 RBIs.
Justin Smoak: Hit .300 in 15 games with the RedHawks early in the season before getting called up by the Rangers. Like Beavan, Smoak was dealt to the Mariners in the Cliff Lee trade.
Corey Brown: The outfielder was a first-round pick by the A’s out of Oklahoma State in 2007.
Brett Tomko: Tomko threw a no-hitter for Tacoma on July 3, 2001 at AT&T Bricktown Ballpark.
Corey Wimberly: Player two seasons (2007-08) for Tulsa as part of the Rockies organization.
Leaders (among qualifiers, still with team)
HRs: Greg Halman, 33
RBIs: Halman, 80
Avg.: Matt Mangini, .313
OPS: Mangini, .873
SBs: Halman, 15
Wins: Andrew Baldwin, 9 ERA: Baldwin, 4.90
SOs: Baldwin, 87
Saves: Levale Speigner 10
Sacramento River Cats
HRs: Chris Carter, 31
RBIs: Carter, 94
Avg.: Eric Sogard, .300
OPS: Carter, .894
SBs: Corey Wimberley, 56
Wins: Clay Mortensen, 13* ERA: Mortensen, 4.25*
SOs: Mortensen, 112*
Saves: Michael Benacka, 5
*Mortensen is on the inactive list but is expected to play in the Pacific Conference playoffs.
Some good stuff from Oklahoman photographers, including some celebration shots:
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
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.