Weekly Record: 5-2
Overall Record: 28-34
Standings: 3rd, 12.0 GB, Eliminated from 1st half playoff contention
Transactions: 6/3 Walker Sheller to IL, Bryce Hensley assigned to NWA from Arizona
The Naturals had a great week winning five games and losing just two. The unfortunate part is that they’ve already been eliminated from winning the first half of the Texas League. Remember that in the Texas League they take the winner from each division in the first half and match them up against the winner of the division from the second half. They play a best-of-five and the winner advances to the Championship which is also a best-of-five. Well, I’ve been saying I hope the Naturals have some momentum for the second half and this seems like it’s some momentum. They have been really streaky but hopefully they have learned how to win as a group and can start the second half strong.
On Monday, the Naturals won against the Travelers in a 4-2 game decided in the last three innings. With a 0-0 score going into the bottom of the seventh, Gabriel Cancel drilled a home run to left. It was his 12th of the season. Anderson Miller singled and Travis Jones walked before Nate Esposito dropped a hit into right driving in the Naturals second run. The Naturals scored two more when Emmanuel Rivera homered to left center driving in Khalil Lee who had walked. The two insurance runs proved to be the difference as Franco Terrero gave up a two-run homer in the top of the ninth.
Gerson Garabito continued his strong season for the Naturals going 7.0 innings allowing no runs on 3 hits, no walks, and 5 strikeouts. Garabito lowered his season ERA to 3.65 in this game. Garabito is quietly having a really good season. He works low-90’s and has a change up that he moves both armside and gloveside. They are two distinctly different pitches both with great results.
On Tuesday, Ofriedy Gomez lead the Naturals with 7.0 strong innings allowing just 1 run. Gomez allowed 5 hits, walked 1, and struck out 6. He lowered his ERA to 3.99. Drew Storen threw the last 2.0 innings giving up just 1 hit while striking out 4. Cancel hit his 17th double while Taylor Featherston hit his 5th home run. Lee also homered, his 3rd on the year. The Naturals stole 5 bases in 6 attempts. Nick Heath stole his 33rd of the season and Lee stole his 23rd. Meibrys Viloria continued to slowly up his average with 3 hits in this game.
Wednesday was not a good day and the Naturals got beat 11-1. Travis Jones drove in Miller for the Naturals only run. Conner Greene got beat up giving up 5 runs in 4.2 innings and Emilio Ogando got destroyed in his 1.1 innings giving up 5.
On Thursday, it was a good day for rain and the game was postponed meaning there Naturals would play a doubleheader on Friday against the Cardinals. Brady Singer started the first game and JC Cloney started the second game. In the first game, Singer had his worst professional start giving up 7 ER on 10 hits in just 4.2 innings. Singer walked 1 and struck out 2. He got a no decision. Grant Gavin came in striking out all four batters he faced to earn the win. Yunior Marte pitched the final inning for the save.
Lee continued to swing a hot bat getting two hits with a double. Heath also had two hits but added a triple. The Naturals stole four bases adding to their season total. Heath stole his 34th.
Viloria had two hits and three RBI to continue to bring his average over .250 on the season. Miller had two hits and a walk getting on base three times.
In the night cap, Cloney earned the win going 6.0 innings allowing just 1 ER on 7 hits, zero walks, and 5 strikeouts. Cloney improved to 2-1 on the season at Double-A while lowering his ERA to 2.76.
Lee added two more hits in this one including his fourth homer of the season and stole his 24th base of the season. Angelo Castellano continued his strong season hitting a home run and walking twice. The 24-year-old only has 43 at bats on the season in NWA but he sure has made the most of them. Heath was only on base one time but he managed to steal second and third giving him 36 on the season.
Garabito started his second game of the week on Saturday going just 5.0 innings while giving up 3 ER on 5 hits, 4 walks, and 5 strikeouts. All in all, it was a solid week for Garabito earning two wins. Andres Sotillet threw 3.0 perfect innings in relief striking out 2.
Miller, Jones, and Heath all doubled for the Naturals and Miller added a triple. Peterson homered giving him seven on the year. Lee stole his 25th base of the season and Heath was actually caught for the 5th time this year.
Sunday turned into the second loss of the week for the Naturals. Gomez took a hard luck loss going 6.0 innings allowing 3 runs, 2 ERs, on 4 hits, 1 walk, and 6 strikeouts. Ogando gave up 2 runs and Andrew Beckwith gave up 5 in relief.
Heath added two more hits bringing his average up to .240. After such a dismal start it is good to see him finding some life. By the way, stop me if you’ve heard this before, but Heath stole a base. His 37th. Not to be outdone, Lee stole his 26th base and DJ Burt stole his 15th and 16th. This Naturals team is fast and they like to run.
The Naturals have Monday off traveling to Amarillo for three and Frisco for three.