NWA Week in Review: June 11 – 17
Weekly Record: 4-3
Overall Record: 34-35
Standings: 2nd (tied with Tulsa) (1.0 GB)
Weekly +/-: +1 (26 runs scored, 25 runs allowed)
6/13 – Sam Selman assigned to Omaha
6/13 – Jake Kalish reassigned to NWA
6/16 – Luis Villegas assigned to Omaha
6/16 – Xavier Fernandez assigned to NWA
Overview. Playoff baseball is the best baseball. The Naturals are in the thick of things sitting one game behind the Arkansas Travelers. The last week has been playoff baseball for the Naturals. At one point, the Naturals were in sole possession of first place but couldn’t hold it against the Tulsa Drillers. Sunday afternoon the Naturals kept their playoff hopes alive with a walk off victory on a single by Erick Mejia.
Mejia had a solid week and capped it off with that walk off hit. For the week he went 8-27 with a double, 4 runs scored, 2 RBI, a stolen base, 3 walks, and 2 Ks.
Nicky Lopez followed his 16 game hitting streak with a 13 game hitting streak that he lost earlier in the week. Lopez hit .360 on the week going 9-25 with his first home run on the season. Lopez also added 3 RBI, 3 runs, 3 BBs, and had 1 K.
Elier Hernandez has entered a cool streak and hit .143 in 28 at bats for the week. Hernandez had a double, 3 RBI, 2 R, no walks, and 6 Ks.
Jecksson Flores lost his 15 game hitting streak this week but still managed to hit .333. Flores hit a home run, had 2 doubles, 4 R, 2 RBI, 2 BB, 1 K, and 1 SB.
Anderson Miller had a solid week hitting .357 going 10-28. Miller hit 2 HRs, had 4 R, 5 RBI, no walks, 2 K, and had a stolen base.
Donnie Dewees had a rough week hitting .167. Dewees did hit a home run, had 3 R, 3 RBI, 2 BB, 3 K, and was caught stealing.
Nick Dini caught 6 games this week hitting .261 in 23 ABs. Dini added a double, 1 R, 2 BB, 2 K, 1 HBP, and stole a base.
Alex Liddi and John Brontsema continue to split time at first base. Liddi was 5-21 with 2 doubles, a HR, 2 R, 4 RBI, 1 BB, and 5 K. Brontsema was 1-10 with a triple, 2 R, 1 BB, 1 K, and stole a base.
Brandon Downes played in 5 games this week but was mostly a pinch runner or defensive replacement. Downes didn’t record a hit on the week going 0-5 but did have 2 SAC. Downes also struck out 3 times.
I’m still not sure why the Naturals are carrying three catchers on their roster because Nathan Esposito isn’t getting to catch and hardly any at bats. With Luis Villegas moving to Omaha and Xavier Fernandez being brought up, I’m not sure who will get the games that Dini doesn’t catch. Dini started six games behind the plate this week with Villegas getting the only other start. Villegas did get some other ABs as a DH and ended up 3-14 on the week. Fernandez has not played yet. Esposito got only one plate appearance in which he walked and was able to score a run.
Foster Griffin had a fantastic start last week and a mediocre one. In his first start, Griffin went 7.0 innings getting the win while allowing no runs, 4 hits, 1 BB, and had 4 K. In his second start, Griffin took the loss and managed 5.1 innings allowing 4 runs, 7 hits, 2 BB, 5 K, and allowed 2 home runs. One the week that’s 14 baserunners in 12.1 innings with 9 Ks. That’s not a bad week overall.
Zach Lovvorn made two starts for the Naturals this week as well. In his first start, Lovvorn got the win going 5.0 innings allowing 4 runs, 6 hits, 1 BB, and only 1 K. In the second start, Lovvorn got a no decision going 5.1 innings allowing 5 hits, 4 BB, and 1 K.
Scott Blewett added a win to his season total going 6.0 innings allowing 5 runs on 6 hits, 1 BB, and 5 K. Blewett has allowed just one walk in his last 20.2 innings while striking out 13 in that time.
Emilio Ogando made it through just 2.0 innings in his start. Ogando gave up 1 run on 2 hits, 3 BB, and 5 K.
Jake Kalish came down from Omaha to make a start for the Naturals Andres Machado. Kalish took the loss in 5.0 innings allowing 3 runs on 4 hits, 2 BB, and 7 K. Machado threw relief in a different game and went 2.2 innings allowing no runs on 2 hits, 0 BB, and 3 K.
Sam Selman didn’t pitch for the Naturals before moving up this week.
Grant Gavin only threw 0.1 innings this week.
Pedro Fernandez threw 2.0 innings allowing 3 runs, 4 hits, 2 BB, and 2 K.
The rest of the pen had a really good week. Yunior Marte threw in 3 games going 6.0 innings allowing no runs on 2 hits, 2 BB, and had 7 K.
Walker Sheller threw in 2 games going 2.2 innings allowing no runs, 1 hit, no BB, and 1 K.
Gabe Speier threw in 3 games going 2.0 innings allowing 1 run on 4 hits, 1 BB, and 1 K.
Franco Terrero threw in 2 games, earned a save, went 4.1 innings allowing no runs, 3 hits, no BB, and 1 K.
Jake Newberry was the heavy lifter this week throwing in 4 games. Newberry got a win and two saves in those 4 games. Newberry went 4.1 innings allowing 2 runs, 6 hits, 1 BB, a home run, and 2 K.
This week. The Naturals can clinch a tie for a playoff spot Monday. The Naturals host the Travelers who are one game ahead of them in the standings on the last day of the Texas League first half. If they win, the Naturals will be tied at 35-35 with the Travelers forcing a one game playoff on Tuesday. Making things more interesting, the Tulsa Drillers are also sitting one game back at 34-35. With a win over the Cardinals tonight and a Naturals win, there will be a three way tie. I haven’t clarified how the tie breaker works in that scenario but I will if it happens.
Scott Blewett is making the start for the Naturals today and has been solid recently. He has really cut down on his walks and his control has been good. He is the one pitcher I would like to see in this situation for the Naturals. If the Naturals do force a one game playoff, Ogando is scheduled to start. I don’t know what the Naturals will do in that situation because Ogando is the guy at the bottom of my list to start a game in that situation. Perhaps Machado will make the start. It’s fun to think about these situations but all that matters is the Naturals win tonight.