Roughriders closing in on first place

by Dan M | Posted on Saturday, July 18th, 2015

marte

By Nate Lucas
nlucas@ridersbaseball.com

The Frisco RoughRiders have successfully embarked on the second half of the season, starting 10-7 and sit just a half a game behind the first-place Midland RockHounds. The Riders are 39-49 overall through 88 games played.
Part of their recent success stems from the starting rotation. On the most recent six-game road trip, the starters went 3-0 with a 0.34 ERA. Between the combination of Victor Payano, Jose Leclerc, Edwar Cabrera, Frank Lopez and Chad Bell, the group has tossed 24 2/3 consecutive scoreless innings.
The team swept a rain shortened series against Northwest Arkansas Naturals, taking both games of a double-header on Saturday, July 10 in Springdale before taking two of three games against the Arkansas Travelers in North Little Rock.
The sweep against the Naturals is the first of the season for the Riders, albeit a two-game sweep.
Three key Riders have missed time with other obligations. Outfielders Nick Williams and Nomar Mazara each participated in the Sirius XM All-Star Futures Game and pitcher Jake Thompson is currently playing for Team U.S.A. in the Pan-American games in Toronto. Mazara started as the designated hitter for the World Team and collected two hits while Williams came off the bench and contributed an RBI single. The U.S. squad won the game, 10-1, marking their sixth consecutive win and improved to 13-4 overall against the World team. Former RoughRiders skipper Jason Wood managed the U.S. squad this season.
Williams leads the team in average, hitting .295 with eight home runs, 35 RBI and 45 runs scored in 83 games. Mazara is hitting .283 with 10 homers, 44 RBI and 38 runs in 80 games.
As of Wednesday, July 15, Thompson had yet to appear in a game in the Pan-American games, but Team U.S.A. is 1-2 with their lone win a 5-2 victory against Colombia.
The RoughRiders current roster has almost been completely overhauled from their opening day squad. Reinforcements from Advanced-A High Desert include Ryan Cordell, Alex Burg, Luis Marte and Zach Cone. Burg is hitting .340 with three homers and eight RBI since joining the team. He ranks first among full-season Rangers farmhands in homers, second in average (.309) and tied for third in RBI (50). Cordell has two home runs and has seen playing time in the outfield, third base and first base. He went 9-for-24 (.375) on his first home stand. Marte is an above average defender at shortstop, and his bat has come alive with five hits in his last 13 at-bats. Cone hit .286 with 15 blasts and 51 RBI with the Mavericks in the California League.
Frisco begins a four-game home stand on Wednesday, July 15 against the Corpus Christi Hooks. The team plays a stretch of 26 consecutive games with the next off day coming August 10. All of the next 26 games come against Texas League South division foes.
The Riders will play 11 of the next 15 games at Dr Pepper Ballpark, where they are 18-24 this season under first-year manager Joe Mikulik.

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