Round Rock Express - Game Notes at Salt Lake BeesMay 11, 2012 - Pacific Coast League (PCL) Round Rock Express
ROUND ROCK EXPRESS (17-18) at SALT LAKE BEES (17-18)
RADIO: 104.9 FM The Horn ESPN"Austin | ONLINE"AUDIO: www.espnaustin.com
EXPRESS: LHP Michael Kirkman (2-1, 6.95 ERA) | BEES: LHP Brad Mills (2-2, 2.51 ERA)
Round Rock continues an eight-game road trip tonight with the finale game of a four-game series against the Salt Lake Bees (Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim). First pitch is scheduled for 7:35 p.m. CDT at Spring Mobile Ballpark in Salt Lake City. The Express, who are 7-3 in their last 10 games, have lost two straight for the first time since April 30. The Bees, who are 3-7 in their last 10 games, have won two straight for the first time since April 24. Round Rock is 7-12 on the road, dropping five of their last seven. Salt Lake is 8-7 at Spring Mobile Ballpark. The Express are fourth in the Pacific Coast League's American Southern Division, trailing Albuquerque by five games. The Bees are one game back of the Reno Aces in the Pacific Northern Division.
Tonight's game airs on 104.9 FM The Horn ESPN"Austin. Online audio also is available at www.espnaustin.com. Express Director of Broadcasting Mike Capps handles play-by-play duties.
This is the lone series between the two squads this season. Salt Lake leads two games to one. The Express won Tuesday night's opener 11-9 behind a five-homer effort; however, the Bees overcame deficits entering the bottom of the eighth inning in each of the last two games. Wednesday night, the Bees scored five ninth-inning runs for a 10-9 victory. Last night, Salt Lake plated four eighth-inning runs for a 5-3 win. It marks the first time Round Rock lost consecutive games to Salt Lake since 2008 when the Bees won each of the series' first three games. ... SERIES NOTES: Round Rock is 18-13 all-time against Salt Lake, winning season series in 2005 (3-1), 2009 (3-1), 2010 (3-1) and 2011 (3-1). The Express are 7-8 at Spring Mobile Ballpark, splitting the 2006 series, dropping three of four in 2008 and winning three of four in their last visit (2010). There has never been a series sweep between the two franchises with two of the seven series ending in 2-2 splits. ... Last year, the Express won the first (3-2), third (2-0) and fourth (3-1) games of the series at The Dell Diamond. The Bees won the second game 6-2. ... Round Rock is hitting .347 (41-for-118) in this year's series with eight homers, 23 runs scored, 10 doubles and a triple. Salt Lake is hitting .327 (36-for-110) with three homers, 24 runs scored, nine doubles, a triple and 13 walks against only 12 strikeouts. No Bee has struck out more than twice. Seven of Salt Lake's 24 runs scored in the series were unearned, including three last night. ... Julio Borbon is 5-for-14 (.357) with a double, a triple, two walks, three runs scored and a stolen base. Joey Butler is 8-for-11 (.727) with two homers, nine RBI, two doubles, two walks, three runs scored and two stolen bases, reaching safely in 10 of 13 plate appearances. Luis Hernandez is 5-for-15 (.333) with four RBI, two doubles, a walk and two runs scored. Brad Nelson is 4-for-12 (.333) with a pair of solo homers, two walks and four runs scored. Yangervis Solarte is 5-for-16 (.313) with one homer, two RBI, a double and two runs scored. ... Kata has appeared in 18 games against Salt Lake since 2005 with a .378 average (28-for-74), one home run, 10 RBI, three doubles, eight runs scored and two stolen bases. Kata faced Salt Lake in 2003 while a member of the Tucson Sidewinders, but statistics are not available. ... Brad Nelson has played 31 career games against Salt Lake, posting a .278 average (32-for-115) with four homers, 15 RBI, 10 doubles, a triple and 18 runs scored. ... Ryan Spilborghs has played 24 career games against Salt Lake, going 33-for-98 (.337) with two homers, 16 RBI, 10 doubles, two triples and nine runs scored.
GAME"33 | TUESDAY, MAY 8
Express 11, Bees 9
WP: Ramirez (4-2). LP: Shoemaker (2-2). SV: Scheppers (6).
GAME"34 | WEDNESDAY, MAY 9
Bees 10, Express 9
WP: Jepsen (1-1). LP: Scheppers (0-2). SV: None.
GAME"35 | THURSDAY, MAY 10
Bees 5, Express 3
WP: Cassevah (1-0). LP: Green (0-2). SV: Brasier (4).
GAME"36 | FRIDAY, MAY 11 | 7:35 p.m. CDT
Express: LHP Michael Kirkman (2-1, 6.95 ERA)
Bees: LHP Brad Mills (2-2, 2.51 ERA)
LHP MICHAEL KIRKMAN (2-1, 6.95 ERA)
2012: Made nine relief appearances with Rangers at spring training ... 1-2 with a 6.75 ERA"(10 ER/13.1 IP) and three walks against nine strikeouts ... pitched a scoreless ninth with one strikeout in April 2 exhibition game vs. Rangers ... made five relief appearances in season's first 11 games before moving to the starting rotation April 20 ... recorded at least one strikeout in all five relief outings ... surrendered at least two runs in three of five relief appearances and was charged with two blown saves ... made first start April 20 vs. Omaha, a predetermined three-inning outing in a 2-1 Express win ... was first start since Aug. 24, 2011, and second since May 14, 2011 ... suffered loss in April 26 start at Oklahoma City; allowed season-high eight runs, seven earned, on seven hits over 2.1 innings ... claimed season's first victory in May 1 start vs. New Orleans, a 6-3 Express win; allowed two runs over five innings ... opponents are 1-for-16 (.063) with runners on base and two outs, 1-for-10 with RISP"and two outs ... opposing batters are 4-for-5 with bases loaded, all singles, with 10 RBI, one walk and one strikeout ... All but three of 18 runs allowed scored in the third (eight) or eighth (seven) innings; 1.15 ERA (3 R/2 ER/15.2 IP) during other innings ... opponents are 7-for-15 (.467) when leading off an inning with two homers and eight walks against six strikeouts for a .652 on-base percentage ... averaging 8.82 strikeouts per nine innings as a starter.
LAST START: Earned victory in May 6 start vs. Memphis at The Dell Diamond, a 5-1 Express win ... allowed one hit - Matt Adams' fourth-inning leadoff homer - with five walks and seven strikeouts ... longest outing since going seven innings in a losing effort May 4, 2011, at Iowa ... highest strikeout total since recording eight Aug. 8, 2010, at Colorado Springs ... induced one double play ... used 81 pitches, 47 strikes.
2011 vs. SALT LAKE: Made lone career outing Aug. 5, 2011, at The Dell Diamond ... worked 1.1 scoreless innings with one hit allowed, no walks and three strikeouts in a 2-0 Express win.
2011: Shuttled between Round Rock and Texas during 2011 ... started season with the Express as a starter before shifting to a relief role in May ... had three separate stints with Rangers ... made 15 relief appearances, going 1-1 with a 6.59 ERA"(20 ER/27.1 IP) and 21 strikeouts against 12 walks ... started seven games and made 20 relief appearances with Round Rock, going 3-3 with 5.05 ERA"(41 ER/73.0"IP) ... 0-3 with a 6.40 ERA (23 ER/32.1 IP) in seven starts, compared to 3-0, 3.98 (18 ER/40.2 IP) in 20 appearances out of the bullpen ... allowed career-high 10 runs on 10 hits in first start April 7 vs. Iowa ... recorded first professional save with no earned runs allowed over 3.0 innings of relief May 9 vs. Nashville ... shifted to bullpen beginning with May 19 appearance vs. Colorado Springs ... recorded 1.17 ERA (1 ER/7.2 IP) over final three relief appearances, recording multiple strikeouts in all three, equaling season relief-high of five strikeouts Sept. 1 at Omaha ... tossed 4.0 scoreless innings with four strikeouts over two appearances in the playoff series vs. Omaha.
NOTABLE: Pitched at Columbia High School (Lake City, Fla.) ... went 7-3 with a 1.43 ERA (16 ER/67.1 IP) in 11 appearances in 2005 ... recorded 124 strikeouts, including season-high 18 Ks twice ... held opposing batters to a .173 average and .220 slugging percentage ... signed a letter of intent with Lake City [Fla.] Community College ... ranked as the third-best prep prospect in Florida entering the 2005 June draft by Baseball America ... Michael Scott Kirkman ... he and his wife, Lorie (8/10/09), have twin daughters Anna Elizabeth (11/9/11) and Ellie Katherine (11/10/11) ... has participated in the Rangers winter caravan each of the past two off-seasons, making appearances in the DFW Metroplex and outer markets ... hobbies include hunting and fishing.
Three members of the Salt Lake Bees played for the Round Rock Express last season: outfielder Doug Deeds, catcher Robinzon Diaz and pitcher Eric Hurley. Deeds hit .249 (51-for-205) in 55 games with seven homers, 32 RBI, 13 doubles and three triples. Deeds was on the disabled list during the Round Rock-Salt Lake series. Diaz played 38 games for the Express and hit .303 (43-for-142) with four homers, 14 RBI, three doubles and 21 runs scored. Diaz played two games against the Bees, going hitless in six at bats. Hurley was 8-3 with a 5.55 ERA (52 ER/84.1 IP) in 16 starts with 46 strikeouts against 36 walks. Hurley made one start against Salt Lake last season but did not factor in the decision of a 3-2 Express win; he allowed two runs on eight hits over six innings with three walks and four strikeouts. Hurley tossed 7.1 innings in a no-decision last night, allowing two runs on six hits and two walks with nine strikeouts - a season high. Deeds is 2-for-7 (.286) in the series with a triple and two RBI, while Diaz is 3-for-13 (.231) with a double and three RBI.
SOLARTE STREAK REACHES 21 GAMES
Yangervis Solarte pushed his hitting streak to 21 games last night, eking out an eighth-inning infield single to go 1-for-5. His streak is the longest in Round Rock's Triple-A history (since 2005), eclipsing the former mark posted by Mark Saccomanno in 2008 (18 games). Solarte's streak is the PCL's longest this season and the league's 11th of at least 20 games since the start of the 2010 season. He is hitting .386 (34-for-88) during the streak with five homers, 13 RBI, six doubles, 15 runs scored and six walks against six strikeouts. Solarte has 10 multiple-hit outings during the streak, including three consecutive three-hit games in the second, third and fourth games of the run. Perhaps most impressive is that he has hit safely in 14 consecutive road games, the first three of which were not part of the current 20-game streak. His is the league's second-longest road streak this season behind the active 15-game run by Fresno's Roger Kieschnick. Solarte also has reached safely in 24 straight games, also the PCL's longest streak this season; he has reached safely in 30 of 32 games played. Solarte has gone hitless in consecutive games only twice this season with no three-game skids.
BUTLER ON ANOTHER TEAR
Joey Butler, who earlier this season enjoyed a 15-game hitting streak, is 8-for-11 on the road trip with two homers, nine RBI, two doubles and three runs scored. He also has reached safely in 11 of 14 plate appearances vs. Salt Lake. This comes on the heels of going hitless in consecutive games for only the fourth time in his Triple-A career (147 games). His five RBI Wednesday night were the most of his professional career after six games with four RBI, most recently Aug. 22, 2011, vs. New Orleans. Butler had three hits in each of the series' first two games; it was the third time in his professional career that he produced at least three hits in consecutive games, something he last did Aug. 1-2, 2008, with short-season Spokane. Butler has reached safely in 31 of 34 games played. He is hitting .430 (40-for-93) when putting the ball in play, hitting safely in seven consecutive such at bats before flying out in the sixth inning last night. Butler, who has hit into a team-high six double plays, snapped a streak of five consecutive games with at least one strikeout last night. He is hitting .356 (33-for-90) after the third inning with all six of his home runs and 18 of his 21 RBI.
STARTERS PICKING UP STEAM
Express starters boast a 2.70 ERA (15 ER/50.0 IP) over the last eight games with 10 of the earned runs coming in the last three games. Round Rock's starter has worked at least six innings six times in that span with three seven-inning efforts. The starters are 5-0 in that time. Two of the no-decisions were by Zach Jackson and the other was by Greg Reynolds. Jackson held Memphis scoreless over 6.1 innings May 5 - the only starter to not allow a run during the last eight games - and limited Salt Lake to one earned run over seven-plus innings last night. Reynolds surrendered three earned runs over 5.1 innings in Wednesday night's loss; he left with a 9-3 lead. Furthermore, Express starters are 6-0 with a 3.63 ERA (21 ER/60.1 IP) in May (10 games) after going 6-11 with a 5.53 ERA (77 ER/125.1 IP) in April (25 games).
BULLPEN SHAKY OF LATE
After going 22 consecutive games without a loss, Round Rock's bullpen has taken three on the chin over the last six games. In the 22 games between losses, Express relievers posted a 2.81 ERA (26 ER/83.1 IP) and allowed no more than one earned run in 17 of the 22 games. Express relievers are 0-3 with a 5.94 ERA (11 ER/16.2 IP) in six games since, also surrendering five unearned runs. Wednesday night's 10-9 loss saw Salt Lake overcome a four-run, ninth-inning deficit. That is the largest ninth-inning lead blown by the Express bullpen since July 20, 2011, when Round Rock plated eight seventh-inning runs to take an 11-7 lead only to see New Orleans score seven ninth-inning runs for a 14-11 win. Round Rock relievers are 5-7 with a 3.92 ERA (54 ER/124.0 IP) this season. The pen yielded six runs over 3.1 innings Wednesday night, the most runs surrendered in one game by Express relievers since giving up six Aug. 28, 2011, at Albuquerque.
SCHEPPERS STRUGGLING, AS WELL
Tanner Scheppers suffered blown saves in two of his last three outings after going 10 consecutive appearances and four straight opportunities without a blown save. He surrendered two runs over two-thirds of an inning Wednesday night, ending an eight-appearance, 8.0-inning scoreless streak. It was the third time in 15 outings this season in which he has yielded a run and the first time he allowed multiple-runs since coughing up three runs April 11 at Omaha. Scheppers had retired 16 of his last 18 batters faced before surrendering a home run to Luis Jimenez - the first batter he faced last night.
PITCHER'S BEST FRIEND
Round Rock has turned 41 double plays, second in the league behind only Tucson (45). The Express are fifth in the PCL with a .978 fielding percentage and were error-free in eight of 14 games with seven total errors in that time before committing three errors last night. It was the first time Round Rock committed more than two errors since a three-miscue game April 17 against Omaha. The Express have made at least one defensive miscue in each of the last four games.
DOUBLE YOUR PLEASURE
Round Rock has at least one double in every game since the season opener - a 34-game run. The Express clubbed at least two doubles in 24 of those games, collecting three or more 12 times, four or more eight times and five doubles twice. The Express tallied three doubles in the first inning alone May 4 vs. Memphis en route to a five-double night. Round Rock is fourth in the PCL with 78 doubles; Sacramento leads with 84 two-baggers. Joey Butler is tied for third with 12 doubles.
"HOME" RUNS SCARCE
In stark contrast to last season, The Dell Diamond has not been a launching pad for the Express. Round Rock is averaging 0.75 homers per game through 16 home dates this season while averaging 1.47 homers in 19 road games, including a season-high five in Tuesday night's series opener at Salt Lake. The Express have homered in seven consecutive road games (seven homers), 10 of their last 11 and all but four road games this season. Round Rock has enjoyed only two multiple-homer games at The Dell Diamond - two April 14 vs. Iowa and three May 3 vs. New Orleans. Meanwhile, the Express have clubbed at least two home runs seven times on the road. Last season, Round Rock averaged 1.46 home runs per game at The Dell Diamond and 0.97 homers per game on the road. Teams have combined to score 8.75 runs per game at The Dell Diamond this season as opposed to the 11.90 average in 2011. The Express average 4.53 runs per game at home and 6.00 runs per game on the road.
ONE-RUN GAMES NOW RARE
Wednesday night's 10-9 loss at Salt Lake was Round Rock's first one-run loss since a 3-2 defeat April 16 vs. Iowa, a game that ended a franchise-record streak of seven consecutive one-run games. The Express are 5-7 in one-run games, snapping a three-game winning streak in such games last night. Seven of the one-run games were against Iowa, which leads the PCL with 16 one-run games.
BASES-LOADED WOES SUBSIDE
Round Rock is 4-for-10 with the bases loaded since Tommy Mendonca's bases-loaded single in the seventh inning May 1 snapped an 0-for-11 slump. The Express are 9-for-29 (.310) with the bases loaded, also drawing six walks. Only two of the nine hits went for extra bases. Luis Hernandez's three-run double in Tuesday night's series opener at Salt Lake was Round Rock's first extra-base hit with the bases loaded since a Yangervis Solarte three-run double April 8 at Iowa. Meanwhile, opposing batters are 12-for-27 (.444) with the bases loaded, including a pair of grand slams. Opponents are 8-for-14 (.571) with the bases loaded since April 21, including a 5-for-5 series by Oklahoma City (April 26-29).
Mike Bianucci was held hitless last night for only the second time in his last 10 games. He hit .314 (11-for-35) over nine games prior to last night with three homers, four RBI, a double and eight runs scored. Bianucci homered in three of his last five games after hitting one homer in his previous 18 games. He has 10 multiple-hit games, all two-hit efforts. ... Julio Borbon has hit safely in 10 of his 11 games (.354, 17-for-48) with six multiple-hit outings, one home run, seven RBI, two doubles, two triples and six runs scored. He was 4-for-39 (.103) in 11 games prior to this stretch. Borbon has nine RBI over his last 13 games after producing six RBI in the season's first 19 games. He has reached safely in 11 straight games. ... Dusty Brown has reached safely in nine consecutive plate appearances and 14 of his last 17. He has hit safely in eight of his last nine games, going 14-for-26 (.538) in that time with three home runs, eight RBI, four doubles, six runs scored and nine walks against two strikeouts. Brown produced at least one RBI in six of the nine games (eight RBI total) during that stretch with five multiple-hit outings. He is 2-for-9 with runners in scoring position but has drawn four walks and produced seven RBI in that situation; both hits came with two outs, including one home run. ... Luis Hernandez has four extra-base hits (two doubles, two homers) over a 20-game stretch since April 15. His walk last night was his first since May 2 and his first non-intentional walk since April 22, a span of 15 games; he has 15 strikeouts in that time, fanning at least once in each of his last four games. ... Matt Kata has not gone hitless in consecutive games this season. He is 9-for-32 (.281) over his last seven games with three multiple-hit outings, two homers, seven RBI and six runs scored. He has hit safely in 12 of his last 13 starts and reached safely in 19 of 21 games started. Kata is 8-for-25 (.320) with runners in scoring position, producing 13 RBI. He struck out three times in his last game, his first hat trick since Aug. 12, 2011, and only his second since a four-strikeout night June 10, 2010 (202 games). ... Luis Martinez is hitting .289 (11-for-38) over his last 10 games with four multiple-hit outings, seven doubles, a triple, a home run, six RBI and five runs scored. However, he also has 10 strikeouts against three walks in that time. Martinez is 6-for-11 (.545) in the fourth inning but 10-for-54 (.185) the rest of the game. ... Tommy Mendonca has struck out in nine of his last 15 at bats, fanning nine times over his last four games with at least one strikeout in each game. He has 11 multiple-strikeout game and six outings with at least three strikeouts. Mendonca is 4-for-12 (.333) with RISP and two outs, but 2-for-14 (.143) with RISP and fewer than two outs. ... Brad Nelson has hit safely in four straight and 15 of his last 16 games, going 24-for-66 (.364). However, he has four RBI in his last 13 games and has not enjoyed a multiple-RBI game since April 26. Nelson has four extra-base hits (two doubles, two homers) over his last six games after going seven consecutive games without an extra-base hit (12 singles in that seven-game span). ... Ryan Spilborghs has hit safely in each of his first six games with the Express; however, he is 3-for-15 over the last three games. He is 4-for-7 when leading off an inning. Spilborghs was acquired by the Rangers in a May 4 trade with Cleveland. ... Sean Green allowed 10 runs (eight earned) over his last four outings after surrendering two runs total in his first eight appearances. Opposing batters are 2-for-13 (.154) with RISP and two outs but 7-for-16 (.438) when leading off an inning and 13-for-28 (.464) with the bases empty. ... Mark Hamburger surrendered four runs Wednesday night after yielding only one run over his first 9.2 innings as a reliever this season. It was the most runs he has allowed as a reliever since surrendering four July 10, 2011, vs. Memphis. Opponents are hitting .476 (10-for-21) with runners in scoring position, producing two home runs and 19 RBI. ... Opposing batters are 0-for-10 with RISP and two outs against Derek Hankins. He has not allowed multiple runs in any of his last eight outings since surrendering two in his first appearance of the season. ... Zach Jackson has a 1.38 ERA (4 ER/26.0 IP) over his last three starts but is only 1-1 in those games. Opponents are 1-for-21 (.048) with runners on base, going hitless in 15 at bats with RISP and two outs. ... Tanner Scheppers has allowed a run in three of 15 outings (six runs total). His walk Wednesday night was his first since April 16, a 9.2-inning stretch over 10 outings, with 12 strikeouts in that time. Scheppers has at least one strikeout in seven of his last eight appearances. He is tied for fourth in the PCL with six saves and leads the league with 14 games finished. Scheppers has allowed four of eight inherited runners to score, including six of the last eight, and has blown three saves. ... Ben Snyder has not allowed a run over his last three outings (3.1 innings), allowing only one hit in 11 at bats, since surrendering four runs in 1.1 innings April 28 at Oklahoma City. He has held the opposition scoreless in seven of his last eight appearances. Snyder has allowed four of five inherited runners to score over his last two outings. ... Yoshinori Tateyama has not allowed an earned run in eight of nine outings, allowing four runs (one earned) in the other two appearances. Opponents are 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position. The home run Tateyama surrendered last night was his first of the season, first at Triple-A since April 18, 2011, and second in 32.2 career innings with Round Rock. ... Tyler Tufts has pitched three scoreless innings over his last two outings after allowing a season-high three runs April 26 at Oklahoma City.
Round Rock has produced at least nine hits in 16 of its last 18 games with at least 10 hits 12 times in that span, including a season-high 17 hits Tuesday night at Salt Lake. ... Round Rock is 13-2 when holding the opposition to fewer than five runs but 4-16 when allowing at least five runs, dropping nine of their last 11 in that situation. ... Express relievers have allowed 12 runs (eight earned) after the seventh inning over the last three games. ... Round Rock is 3-6 in series openers but has won two straight. ... Of Round Rock's 40 home runs, 22 have been solo shots, including 10 to leadoff an inning; 18 came with no outs. ... Round Rock is 1-12 when trailing after seven innings, posting their first such win May 2 with a six-run eighth to rally past New Orleans 10-5. Conversely, Wednesday night's loss was Round Rock's fourth in 20 games when leading after seven innings - more than any other PCL team.
Round Rock continues an eight-game road trip with a four-game series against the Tacoma Rainiers (Seattle Mariners). The series begins Saturday with a 9:05 p.m. CDT first pitch and continues Sunday at 3:35 p.m., Monday at 9:05 p.m. and Tuesday at 1:05 p.m.
GAME"37 | SATURDAY, MAY 12 | 9:05 p.m. CDT | TACOMA, WASH.
Express: LHP Martin Perez (3-2, 3.98 ERA)
Rainiers: RHP Erasmo Ramirez (0-0, 6.00 ERA)
GAME"38 | SUNDAY, MAY 13 | 3:35 p.m. CDT | TACOMA, WASH.
Express: RHP Neil Ramirez (4-2, 4.98 ERA)
Rainiers: RHP Jeff Marquez (2-3, 6.06 ERA)
GAME"39 | MONDAY, MAY 14 | 9:05 p.m. CDT | TACOMA, WASH.
Express: RHP Greg Reynolds (2-3, 4.12 ERA)
Rainiers: RHP Forrest Snow (0-3, 7.57 ERA)
GAME"40 | TUESDAY, MAY 15 | 1:05 p.m. CDT | TACOMA, WASH.
Express: LHP Zach Jackson (1-3, 3.64 ERA)
Rainiers: RHP Brian Sweeney (0-0, 5.74 ERA)
Pacific Coast League Stories from May 11, 2012
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- Wells, Cubs Roll Past Grizzlies - Iowa Cubs
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- Sacramento Knocks off Omaha - Omaha Storm Chasers
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