Rangers Minor League Roundup – 8/27

Frisco reduced its playoff-clinching magic number to three with a victory at Midland on Saturday. Lone Star Dugout takes a look at all of the day's minor league action in the Texas Rangers' system.

AAA: Round Rock 3 – (@) Albuquerque 8
L - Perez (3-4)
80-55, 12.0 GU

After clinching a division title on Tuesday, the Express traveled to Albuquerque for a five-game series. So far, Round Rock has lost three of the first four to the second-place club.

Starting pitcher Martin Perez pitched reasonably well through five innings before scuffling in the sixth. Overall, the 20-year-old southpaw allowed four runs in 5.1 innings, giving up eight hits, walking three, and striking out five.

Perez allowed a sixth-inning round-tripper to University of Texas product Kyle Russell. Russell is Texas' all-time home run leader, and his long ball on Saturday was his first in Triple-A.

Hard-throwing reliever Timothy Wood, who was recently acquired from Pittsburgh and placed on the 40-man roster, coughed up four runs on six hits in 1.2 innings. The 28-year-old has scuffled in his four appearances with Round Rock––4.2 ip, 9 h, 5 r, 3 bb, 2 k.

Matt Kata went 2-for-5 with his 27th double, the club's only extra-base hit of the game. Esteban German (2/4, BB), Jose Ruiz (2/4, BB) and Guilder Rodriguez (2/4) all singled twice.

Round Rock scored only three runs despite getting 12 hits and walking five times. The offense stranded 14 runners on base.

Lefty Beau Jones tossed a scoreless eighth inning, fanning a pair and working around one single.

Chad Tracy became the Express' single-season RBI record holder (102) with his bases-loaded walk in the eighth inning.

Player of the Game: 2B Matt Kata
5 0 2 1 0 0 0 1 .297

AA: Frisco 3 – (@) Midland 1
W - Ramirez (1-0)
SV - Yan (1)
33-28, 6.0 GB

The ‘Riders took another step toward clinching a postseason berth with their sixth win in seven games. Frisco has a magic number of three (over current opponent Midland) with nine regular-season contests remaining.

Because San Antonio will almost certainly win both halves, Frisco would go to the playoffs as the Texas League South Division's wild card winner.

The Rangers have been giving prospect Neil Ramirez a bit of a breather since late-June, keeping his pitch count in the 40-to-60 range during his starts. On Saturday, the righty threw 70 pitches in five innings. He held Midland to a run on two hits, walking one and striking out two.

Ramirez has the following line in five starts with Frisco––14.1 ip, 10 h, 3 r, 6 bb, 17 k.

Frisco scored all three of its runs in the top of the second inning, and the pitching staff made sure the early lead held up.

Engel Beltre (1/3, BB) knocked a run-scoring single to center field. He also stole his 14th base of the season. Later in the frame, first baseman Jared Bolden (2/4, 2B) brought home two more runs with his first Double-A double.

The 21-year-old Beltre is only 6-for-34 (.176) in his last 10 contests, but he has drawn five walks during that span.

Renny Osuna (2/4, 2B) singled, doubled, and stole his 19th base of the year. Jonathan Greene (2/4) and Elio Sarmiento (2/4) had two singles apiece.

Slugging DH Mike Bianucci went hitless in four at-bats, dropping his August slash line to .188/.274/.412 in 22 games. Nine of his 16 hits this month have gone for extra bases.

Tall righty Adalberto Flores (2.81 ERA/.232 BAA) scattered four singles around 2.1 scoreless innings after Ramirez exited the game. Johan Yan (0.39 ERA/.207 BAA) earned his first Double-A save, throwing 17 of his 18 pitches for strikes in 1.2 shutout innings. He gave up a hit and fanned two without issuing a walk.

Player of the Game: RHP Neil Ramirez
5.0 2 1 1 1 2 0 1.88

A+: Myrtle Beach 3 – (@) Winston-Salem 1
W - de los Santos (6-3)
SV - Reyes (1)
HR - Swift (1)
29-33, 4.5 GB

On Thursday, Justin Grimm bounced back from his worst outing of the season with a strong seven-inning performance. Left-hander Miguel de los Santos (3.59 ERA/.186 BAA) did the same two days later.

The 23-year-old held the first-place Dash to a single run in 6.2 innings, giving up three hits while walking one and fanning nine. De los Santos, who possesses a plus-plus changeup, has now fanned at least nine batters in four of his last five starts. He has 86 punchouts in 57.2 innings at High-A this summer.

The Dominican hurler retired the first nine batters of the game, and after a brief struggle in the fourth, he sat down the last nine he faced.

Zach Zaneski (.286/.350/.413) was 2-for-4 with his 15th double and a run batted in. Jimmy Swift's (1/4, HR) solo home run and Andres James' (1/3) single drove home the other two Myrtle Beach runs.

Catcher Vin DiFazio had two singles in four at-bats for the second consecutive game.

Andrew Clark (.341/.516/.545) was 0-for-3 with two strikeouts and a free pass. The 24-year-old has 16 walks (with eight strikeouts) in his first 14 High-A contests.

Reliever Ryan Kelly (1.65 ERA/.193 BAA in August) worked two shutout innings before lefty Jimmy Reyes punched out the final batter of the game to earn his first Carolina League save.

Reyes, 22, has pitched well in his first five appearances––5.1 ip, 5 h, 0 r, 0 bb, 4 k.

Long-time Rangers' farmhand Ian Gac, who batted .238 and socked 22 home runs at High-A Bakersfield in '09, is batting .278/.355/.535 with 32 homers and 90 RBI for Winston-Salem this season.

Player of the Game: LHP Miguel de los Santos
6.2 3 1 1 1 9 0 3.59

A: Hickory – (@) Lakewood – PPD (Hurricane)
35-25, 0.5 GB

Due to Hurricane Irene hitting the Jersey Shore this weekend, the Crawdads and Blue Claws will take Saturday and Sunday off. They'll play doubleheaders on both Monday and Tuesday to finish the five-game series.

SSA: Spokane 1 - (@) Eugene 5
L - Alvarez (0-2)
12-20, 5.0 GB

Spokane's bats remained dormant in Saturday's loss. During the Indians' current five-game losing streak, they've scored a total of nine runs.

Despite the recent struggles, Spokane remains middle-of-the-pack in most Northwest League offensive categories. The team currently ranks fourth in the eight-team circuit with 346 runs scored. They are fourth in batting average (.253), fourth in on-base percentage (.335), and fifth in slugging percentage (.365).

The pitching staff's cumulative 4.62 earned-run average ranks seventh, but they are also first with 613 strikeouts.

Nick McBride (3.73 ERA/.269 BAA) continued to throw strikes and get ground balls on Saturday. The 20-year-old allowed one run on three hits in five innings, striking out two without issuing a walk. He also induced eight groundouts and two flyouts.

In his last three starts, McBride has surrendered three total runs over 17.1 innings.

Venezuelan righty Richard Alvarez suffered the loss after he permitted three runs in one inning of work. Alvarez gave up two hits and walked two.

Jerad Eickhoff (2.84 ERA/.182 BAA) allowed a run in two innings.

After yet another hitless game, talented outfielder Zach Cone saw his batting average drop to .190. Cone got off to a strong start but is now just 5-for-68 (.074) in August.

Catcher Brett Nicholas was the only Spokane player to reach base multiple times. He had a single and a walk in four plate appearances.

Player of the Game: RHP Nick McBride
5.0 3 1 1 0 2 0 3.73

RK: AZL Rangers 8 – (@) AZL Royals 0
W - Blackwell (5-0)
HR - McGuiness (1)
36-18, 12.0 GU

The Surprise Rangers appeared to be setting up their Arizona League postseason rotation during Saturday's game against the Royals. And while five different pitchers threw for the Rangers, they all tossed up zeros.

Starting pitcher Abel de los Santos worked a scoreless first inning before being lifted. Then Shawn Blackwell (3.58 ERA/.228 BAA) surrendered two singles in five shutout frames, walking one and striking out four.

Lefty Andrew Faulkner (2.16 ERA/.187 BAA) followed by fanning two in a perfect seventh inning, and Greg Williams (3.42 ERA/.267 BAA) punched out the side in a clean eighth.

Sacramento native Kyle DeVore (3.29 ERA/.281 BAA) finished the game with a scoreless ninth, working around two singles and striking out one.

Playing in his second rehab game, first baseman Chris McGuiness had a two-run homer and a base on balls in four plate appearances.

DH Matt Leeds went 2-for-4 with a double and three RBI in his first game since rejoining the rookie club from Double-A Frisco. Kevin Torres (1/4, 2B) and Jeremy Williams (1/2, 2B) also doubled.

Player of the Game: RHP Shawn Blackwell
5.0 2 0 0 1 4 0 3.58

DSL: DSL Rangers – Season Over
41-30, 5.5 GB

The Dominican Rangers failed to qualify for the Dominican Summer League playoffs despite posting a strong 41-30 record. The club finished in second place, 5.5 games behind the DSL Cubs2.

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