RockHounds vs. RoughRiders Series Preview
Ryan Bender- Midland RockHounds
Hall of Fame Pitcher Nolan Ryan once said, “One of the beautiful things about baseball is that every once in a while you come into a situation where you want to, and where you have to, reach down and prove something.”
And for the RockHounds, this is their situation. With the Frisco RoughRiders heading into town, the RockHounds have a chance to potentially pull within three games of first place; and with the first half of the season drawing to a close, there is no better time for it.
RockHounds’ dominant pitcher Murphy Smith takes the mound against Frisco’s ace, one Carlos Pimentel. Pimentel holds a significant advantage in W/L ratio, 6-2 to Smith’s 5-6; but there is no denying Murphy Smith’s 2.24 ERA, which leads the team for starting pitchers and leads Pimentel by 1.05. Smith is looking to duplicate his last two performances in which he threw for a total of 14 innings while giving up only one run. And as hot as Smith has stayed, Pimentel has been luke-warm at best in his past two starts, giving up five runs in each outing.
The only knock on Murphy is when he takes the mound, the RockHounds cannot seem to find the run support he needs for the win. He has experienced three losses in his past ten starts in which he has only given up one run per game.
But, with Texas-League’s leading hitter, Anthony Aliotti on your team, things don’t look so bleak. Aliotti has rebounded tremendously from his mini-slump with a double and a homerun against The Corpus Christi Hooks on Thursday, and is looking to bring that power back to RockyTown for the eight game home stand.
The RockHounds find themselves seven games behind first place in the division, but with the eight game home stand in sight, Midland is confident they can close the gap. After all, crazier things have happened in baseball. (i.e. the Pittsburgh Pirates being 10 games above .500!)
The mid-season reset falls on Monday, June 17th and could prove to be a fresh start for the RockHounds. With all records being wiped away, and with the heart of the RockHounds lineup batting like this, (.263 in the first half of the season, tops in the Texas League) they seem like a tough opponent to beat.
Some of the highlights this series? Saturday is a beach-towel giveaway for the first 1000 fans. Plus who doesn’t love a Family Day Discount on Sunday’s, $2 ticket night on Monday’s sponsored by 7-Eleven, 2 for 1 ticket night sponsored by Baskin Robbins, and do I need to mention Thirsty Thursdays?
Catch Murphy Smith, Anthony Aliotti, and the rest of The Midland RockHounds at RockyTown starting this Saturday at 7pm, right here at Citi Bank Ballpark.