The Double-A Frisco RoughRiders of the Texas League will go on to play over 130 additional games during the 2014 season, so their first six games represent a microscopic sample size. No need for concern, but here’s hoping their upcoming rematch with Arkansas and NW Arkansas fare better for Frisco.
Matt West, Luke Jackson start season strong
Right-handed starting pitcher Luke Jackson, Baseball America’s top-ranked pitcher in the Texas Rangers’ organization, certainly lived up to the hype in his 2014 debut.
The 22-year-old native Fort Lauderdale went five strong innings against the NW Arkansas Travelers, allowing just two hits, while striking out three and walking one in the no-decision.
Matt West, in his first two appearances with the RoughRiders, has been very good, and has yet to allow an earned run over 3 2/3 innings in relief. West, recovering from Tommy John Surgery, is considered by many a future bullpen piece for the Texas Rangers, with an upside of a closer.
West earned the win in Luke Jackson’s inaugural start, and you have to wonder if these two names will eventually be linked in a big-league boxscore. Could be sooner rather than later.
Texas Rangers’ Matt Harrison shines in ‘Riders start
Just as the Texas Legends dipped into the Dallas Mavericks talent pool to stop their ten-game losing streak, the Frisco RoughRiders received a strong start from the Texas Rangers’ 2013 Opening Day starter Matt Harrison to prevent the Travelers from sweeping.
Harrison, making his second rehab after a stiff back slowed him in MLB Spring Training, had a shutout going through four innings. He surrendered a run to Northwest Arkansas in the fifth inning, and was touched up for just three hits over his 60-pitch outing. Harrison walked none and struck out three.
The Texas Rangers are reportedly targeting an April 23 return for the 6’4” left-hander, meaning he should see two more starts with the RoughRiders barring any setbacks.
Upcoming RoughRiders Games
The Frisco RoughRiders hit the road for a six-game tour of the Natural State, stopping in Springdale for a three-game stand with the Northwest Arkansas Naturals, then on to North Little Rock for three more against the Arkansas Travelers.
The RoughRiders return home for an eight-game stand at Dr. Pepper Ballpark next Thursday, to welcome the Corpus Christi Hooks followed by the 2013 Texas League Champion San Antonio Missions. You don’t have to live in Arkansas or drive to Dr. Pepper Ballpark to catch the RoughRiders games, as every broadcast is available via Tunein Radio, free of charge.