The Round Rock Express, nearing the end of a frustrating season on the field, return Tuesday night to Dell Diamond for the first of what could be their final 10 home games as a Texas Rangers affiliate.
Round Rock (57-69), which faces Nashville, sits in last place in its Pacific Coast League division, 19 games out of first with 14 to play. Only Sacramento (50-76) and Iowa (46-79) have worse records in the 16-team Triple-A league.
It’s the worst record the Express have had since a 57-87 mark in 2010, their final season as the Houston Astros top farm club.
The fortunes of the World Series champion Astros and cellar-dwelling Rangers have flipped, and the Express could jump back to the Stros after their affiliation agreement ends with Texas next month. That is to be determined.
For the next 10 days, though, Express fans can catch a team fronted by popular left fielder Willie Calhoun, recently returned to Round Rock after hitting .275 with one homer and nine RBI in 69 at bats for the Rangers over the last month.
Power-hitting first baseman Tommy Joseph also is back after missing nearly 40 games on the disabled list. Joseph, in just 72 games, easily leads the team in home runs with 18 and is second to Hanser Alberto with 54 RBI.
The team’s struggles haven’t hurt the number of tickets sold. Round Rock’s average home attendance of 8,908 leads the PCL, with only Nashville (8,653) in the vicinity.
Round Rock closes its 2018 campaign at Dell Diamond over the next 10 nights. All games start at 7:05 p.m. except Aug. 26, a 6:05 p.m. first pitch.
vs. Nashville (A’s)
About Nashville: The Sounds (67-59) are paced by RF Anthony Garcia (20 HR, 81 RBI, 60 extra-base hits). Middle INF Franklin Barreto (15 HR, 41 RBI in 66 games) is the team’s top prospect.
Promotion: Thursday is First Responders Night to honor those who serve and protect Central Texas.
vs. New Orleans (Marlins)
About New Orleans: The Baby Cakes (62-63) feature RHP Sandy Alcantara, a 22-year-old who is Miami’s No. 2 prospect, according to MLB.com.
Promotion: Saturday is Andy Roddick Texas Legend bobblehead giveaway night. Also the team’s uniforms will be auctioned off during the game
vs. Memphis (Cardinals)
When: Aug. 28-30
About Memphis: Many of the stars who made the Redbirds (76-50) the runaway division leaders already are in St. Louis. But 1B Rangel Ravelo (60 RBI, .309 BA), RF Adolis Garcia (21 HR, 69 RBI) and C Carson Kelly (.285 BA, 41 RBI) are carrying the load.
Promotion: Fan Appreciation Night is Aug. 30, including prizes, autographs, photographs, fireworks and more.