Fortunately, Arkansas manager Tim Bogar doesn’t let the ups and down of the Travelers get to him. The Travelers have given him many reasons to panic, but he remains calm.
Two weeks ago, the Travs (59-60, 26-24 second half of the season as of last Monday) won five games in a row at home. Unfortunately, they ended the home stand with two consecutive losses, and then proceeded to lose five more for a seven-game losing streak. Arkansas broke the skid with a 7-4 triumph last Sunday at Corpus Christi. Bogar has always said the extremes are part of Double A ball.
"As a fan, it looks like we are doing things right then we fall off the face of the earth," Bogar said. "But, you have to look at the little victories along the way. Taylor Lindsey (second baseman) is playing well the second half, and even though (Caleb) Cowart has been struggling, he sees and knows what he is doing wrong. (Lay) Batista (right-handed pitcher) is getting stronger as the year goes on."
When the Travs embarked on their six-game road trip to San Antonio and Corpus Christi, they held a three-game lead in the second-half league race. They returned to Dickey-Stephens Park this past Tuesday for three games each against San Antonio and Corpus Christi tied with Springfield and Tulsa.
"Looking back, it was not as bad as it looked," Bogar said. "We were in two games with San Antonio. In the second one (3-1 loss), it was a situation of the wind just blowing right. We played well and could have easily been 5-1 instead of 1-5. I am disappointed we came back without the lead."
Through all the ups and downs, Bogar remains patient and has to remember his team young. He approach is to talk to them and look at what has happened.
"We have three guys who are 21, and patience goes a long way," Bogar said. "We start to win games and then lose a lot of close ones. We do need to get more consistent of playing a level of ball that doesn’t fluctuate."
Bogar said he wouldn’t think about the race until three weeks were left in the season. Now, the time has come for the Travs to concentrate on winning the second half.
"We are going to play the best guys," he said. "The ones who are struggling are going to have to find a way to get back in. Pitching-wise, we will have the strongest out there."
Kudos to Randal Grichuk
Grichuk became the second player this season to nab Player of the Week honors. In Sunday’s victory, he tallied four hits of which two were home runs. In six games, he was 11-of-24 including a 9-of-13 performance in three games at Corpus Christi. Leading the Texas League with 23 total bases and a slugging percentage of .958, he drove in seven runs and hit three home runs last week.
"I give credit to him for playing through a hand injury earlier," Bogar said. "It shows strong character that he fought through that. His whole family was in Corpus, and he did a great job. He is adjusting to pitches better."