Last week was an interesting week for the Travelers as their wins and losses were all over the place.
In a doubleheader last Wednesday at Tulsa, they lost 2-1 and 3-2. Then last Thursday, they scored nine consecutive runs for a 9-6 victory. Over the weekend at Springfield, they won the Saturday contest, 9-3. In a doubleheader last Sunday, they were blasted by Cardinals, 15-2, but then won the second game, 1-0. In the finale this past Monday, Arkansas suffered a 12-2 defeat.
"That in a nutshell is AA baseball because of the consistency of the players and their performances," Travelers Manager Tim Bogar said. "You have to go through the ups and downs. The main thing is to be consistent with our work ethic and attitudes."
Bogar knows it can be a frustrating process but keeps the ultimate goal in perspective. He knows the main objective is for the players to get better.
"People forget the human element," he said. "It’s not all about the statistics."
Arkansas began a four-game home stand with Tulsa on Tuesday with a 7-4 win. On Saturday, they begin an eight-game road trip with games at the Northwest Arkansas Naturals and then on to Tulsa.
Days of doubleheaders
Because of the weather, the Travelers had to play two doubleheaders in a span of five days. The first time was last Wednesday at Tulsa and then again on Sunday at Springfield. Sunday’s was the fourth time year.
"We haven’t fared too well and are 2-6 (in doubleheaders)," Bogar said. "We are trending to be bad (in those)."
Bogar said doubleheaders aren’t fun, and that it is hard for the guys to play 14 innings in one day. Two contests in one day also get the players out of their routines, and baseball players like their routines
A work in progress
Bogar said one of the areas he wants to see improvement in is situational hitting. He is particularly interested in the Travs getting better with runners at third and less than two outs.
"I think the guys are trying to do too much to be successful," Bogar said. "They are trying to do more than they are capable of, and they will get better with more experience and maturity."
When asked who might be a surprise to Bogar at this point in the season, he said he wasn’t really surprised by anyone but did notice the performance of several players. His comments on a few players:
Leftfielder Matt Long — quality at bats and leads in RBIs.
First baseman C.J. Cron — is showing why he had so many RBIs last season.
Shortstop Rolando Gomez — So much improved since the beginning of spring and his defense is coming along.
Catcher Jett Bandy — handles pitching staff well and is unbelievable at blocking balls in the dirt and allows the pitchers to throw all their pitches.
Allowing one run in 13 innings in his last two victories, Jarrett Grube was named the Pitcher of the Week in the Texas League. With a 4-0 record, he currently leads the Texas League in wins and his 1.53 ERA is third lowest in the league.