NWA Week in Review: May 28 – June 3
Weekly Record: 3-3
Overall Record: 27-29
Standings: 3rd (1.0 GB)
Weekly +/- : -7 (31 runs scored, 38 runs allowed)
5/28 – Jake Kalish reassigned to Omaha
5/29 – Corey Toups reassigned to Omaha
5/29 – Sam Selman activated from DL
5/29 – Nathan Esposito assigned to NWA
Overview. The Naturals were about to win the Frisco series two games to one before dropping the Midland series one game to two. All in all, a three and three road trip isn’t a bad thing. You would love to come home four and two but we will take it. The Naturals are one game out of first and looking to move ahead.
The battle between Nicky Lopez and Elier Hernandez as the team’s best hitter has really heated up over the last couple of weeks. Hernandez is in the midst of a 13 game hitting streak while Lopez had his first week under .300 since mid-April. Right now, Lopez is hitting .322 while Hernandez is hitting .321. Just .001 separates these two guys. Lopez has yet to homer this year and Hernandez has only three so the deep fly isn’t currently in these two guys game. However, Hernandez has 15 doubles compared to Lopez’s 6. Nicky is winning the OBP battle getting on base at 38.9% compared to Elier’s 35.7%. This is partly because Lopez has walked 24 times to his 20 strikeouts and Hernandez has walked only 9 times to his 48 strikeouts. If Hernandez can cut down on his strikeouts, and increase his contact rate, he would easily be able to quite a few points to his OBP and BA.
In his six starts at third base this week, Jecksson Flores had 9 hits including a home run and 2 doubles putting his weekly average at .429. He continues to have a solid season and has forced his way into the Naturals lineup and kept his position. He is hitting .305 on the season with an OPS of .776.
Alex Liddi kept his hitting streak alive and has ran it to 14 games. Over the week, Liddi started all six games at first base. Liddi hit 2 home runs and had 4 doubles while driving in 7 runs.
Donnie Dewees cooled down this week losing his 7 game hitting streak and putting up .261 for the week. With 7 Ks. And 3 BBs.
Nick Dini had a decent week coming in at .278 with a home run. Anderson Miller has cooled off hitting only .200 on the week. The other catcher Luis Villegas had a rough week hitting .136 in 2 games behind the plate and 3 as the DH. John Brontsema started two games at DH and went 1 for 6. Erick Mejia started 2 games at SS this week and the other 4 at second base. Mejia went 4-27 this week with 2 of those hits being triples, 1 walk, and 4 Ks. Brandon Downes played LF in only one game this week and went 0-2 with 2 walks and 2 Ks. Nathan Esposito was 1-5.
With the exception of Scott Blewett, the Naturals starting rotation got blown up this week. Blewett went 7.0 innings giving up 1 run on 7 hits, zero walks, and 3 Ks. This was Blewett’s first start this season where he has not walked a batter. Zach Lovvorn, Foster Griffin, and Andres Machado all gave up 7 runs in their combined three starts. Griffin gave up 11 hits while Lovvorn and Machado each gave up 10. As bad as those three starts were, Emilio Ogando had two worse giving up a total of 4 home runs in 6.0 innings. Ogando walked 6 batters and struck out 5 while giving up 8 hits on 6 runs. Something has to happen in the Naturals rotation to get them right. Even though the team was able to salvage 2 of their 5 bad starts, this trend can’t continue.
Yunior Marte scored a victory for the pen this week in two games going 5.0 innings, allowing 2 runs on 5 hits, 1 BB, and 2 Ks. He also hit a batter. Franco Terrero proved to be human this week going 1.1 innings and giving up a couple of runs. Jake Newberry earned another win for the pen this week and also notched a save. Newberry threw 4.0 innings giving up 1 run on 3 hits, 2 walks, and 4 Ks. In 2 games off the DL, Sam Selman threw 2.1 innings without giving up a hit or run. He struck out 2 and walked 1. Michael Mariot threw 2.1 innings giving up a run on 2 hits. Mariot did not register a walk or a K. Grant Gavin threw in 2 games this week going 2.2 allowing 2 runs, 5 hits, 1 BB, and had 4 Ks. Pedro Fernandez threw 5.1 innings out of the pen this week giving up 2 runs on 6 hits, 1 BB, and 5 Ks. And the one guy no one thought would pitch, Brandon Downes went 0.1 innings walking the first batter he faced and then getting a ground out to second base.
This week. The Naturals host first place Springfield for a four game set. If all goes right, the Naturals will take 3 of 4 from the Cardinals and be 30-30 going to Little Rock. The Travelers are another team ahead of them in the standings. So this week, the Naturals have a chance to move into first place and then extend their newly found division lead.