NWA Week in Review: June 4 – 10
Weekly Record: 3-3
Overall Record: 30-32
Standings: 2nd (tied with Springfield) (2.0 GB)
Weekly +/-: -7 (31 runs scored, 38 runs allowed)
6/6 – Gabe Speier assigned to NWA
6/8 – Michael Mariot reassigned to Omaha
Overview. It was a .500 week but the pitching gave up an average of 7 runs a game. I don’t know if this team has enough starting pitching right now to win the first half title of the division. I really hope everyone has their best week of the season. Pitching did get a reinforcement in the bullpen this week when the Royals traded Jon Jay. Gabe Speier was having a great season in Jackson as a reliever.
Yesterday’s loss was really disappointing as the Naturals had a 5-4 lead going into the bottom of the 7th inning. The pen gave up 7 runs while recording the next 6 outs. If the Naturals win that game and the bullpen holds, they are tied with the Travelers going into the last week of the first half. Now they have some work to do.
We wrote about Elier Hernandez swinging it well and a few days later he lost his 16 game hitting streak. But, he followed the 0-fer up with back to back multihit games. So he is back on the right track and starting a new hitting streak. For the week, Hernandez was 9-25 which is good for a .360 average. Hernandez added two doubles, four runs, and eight RBI while stealing two bases and walking once to his three strikeouts.
Nicky Lopez, who Hernandez is challenging for top average, cooled slightly going 7 for 21 which is .333. Lopez started 5 games at short and one at second this week. One stat that jumped off the page at me was 5 walks in his 6 games compared to just 1 strikeout.
Erick Mejia also walked 5 times but he struck out 6 times. Mejia also stole 5 bases this week and was caught once. Mejia added 6 hits and 5 runs for the week.
Jeckssen Flores is also having a solid season. Flores is currently on a 12 game hitting streak and hit .455 this week with 2 doubles and a home run. Flores played third base in all 6 games.
Donnie Dewees was 9-28 this week although he did strike out 9 times.
Anderson Miller went 6-22 and added a home run, 4 RBI, 4 runs scored, 3 walks, and 3 Ks.
Alex Liddi hit 2 home runs this week and was 3 for 14. Liddi struck out 4 times to his 1 walk.
Nick Dini was 6 for 15 on the week with 4 RBI and 3 runs scored.
Luis Villegas played five games this week. Villegas spent three of those as a DH and the other two behind the play. He 2 for 16 but did add a home run.
The third catcher the Naturals are carrying, Nathan Esposito, played in one game this week and went 1 for 4 with a K.
John Brontsema started 3 games at first base and 1 as a DH this week as he shares the first base role with Alex Liddi. Brontsema was 4 for 16 with home run and 2 RBI.
Brandon Downes only played in one game this week and that was as a DH. Downes was 1 for 3 with a double.
Andres Machado was the Naturals starting pitcher that got an extra start this week. Machado went 5.0 innings in both games. Combined he went 10.0 innings, gave up 7 runs, 13 hits, walked 2, and had 8 Ks.
Foster Griffin had another rough start this week although his stats seem to be the product of some back luck according to the advanced metrics. I’ve seen him pitch several times and he just seems to give up hits in bunches. Griffin went 4.0 innings, gave up 6 runs, 8 hits, walked 2, and had 4 strikeouts.
Zach Lovvorn went 6.0 innings allowing 3 runs on 8 hits while recording 4 Ks and not walking a batter. He did give up two home runs.
Scott Blewett had the best start on the week going 7.2 innings giving up 4 runs. Blewett recorded the win and allowed 10 hits while issuing no walks and striking out 5. He seems to be starting to figure some things out at the double-A level and should be in position to have a good second half.
Emilio Ogando went 5.0 innings to record the win in his outing this week. Ogando gave up 2 runs on 7 hits, walked 6, and had 5 Ks. Ogando is continuing to record strikeouts but his control is just not there this season.
Sam Selman, Franco Terrero, and Walker Sheller competed for the worst week out of the pen. Selman recorded just one out in two games while giving up 2 runs on 3 hits and three walks. Selman did record one K. Sheller threw in three games and was tagged with one of the team’s losses. In 2.0 innings, Sheller gave up 7 runs, 5 hits, 2 walks, and recorded 2 strikeouts. Franco Terrero had a great month of May but he has really had a rough month of June. Terrero threw in 3 games, took an L, and gave up 8 runs on 9 hits, 5 walks, a home run, and 2 strikeouts.
Michael Mariot got promoted this week but still made two outing for the Naturals. Mariot went 2.0 innings, gave up no baserunners, and had 4 Ks.
Grant Gavin threw in 2 games going 3.2 innings allowing 2 runs on 6 hits, 3 Ks, and 1 walk.
Pedro Fernandez threw in 2 games recording 2.2 innings. Fernandez did not give up a run this week and allowed 2 hits, 1 walk, and had 4 Ks.
Yunior Marte picked up a win in 2 games, 4.0 innings pitched, gave up no runs and allowed no walks. He also had 6 Ks.
Gabe Speier made his debut for the Naturals and recorded one out. He faced just two hitters allowing a hit.
Jake Newberry added 2 more saves pitching 2.1 innings, giving up a run on 4 hits, 1 walk, and 4 strikeouts.
This week. The Naturals must have a really good week. If there was any week to do it. This would be it. The first half of the Texas League ends on June 18. Next Monday is the last game for the first half. What is significant about this is the winner of the first half receives a playoff berth. The Naturals are absolutely within striking distance as they play the division leader five times before the end of the half.
This week features the end of the series at Arkansas which is currently tied at one game apiece. Winning the next two would be huge for the Naturals as it would put both teams at 32-32 and tied for 1st place. The Naturals then play 4 at Tulsa before hosting Arkansas for a 4 game series. But remember, next Monday is the last one that counts for the first half standings. Tulsa is the worst team in the division on paper so this is a great opportunity for the Naturals to win the division.
Photo from the Naturals website.