Rain wreaked havoc on the Arkansas Travelers’ schedule over the weekend with a doubleheader played last Sunday in the rain followed by another two games last Monday. Fortunately for the Travs, the changes didn’t concern them too much.
"It didn’t have an effect of us," Travs manager Phillip Wellman said. "In the first game yesterday (Monday), our starting pitcher went six innings, and we used one reliever. In the second game, we used three relievers. We could do that in a normal game. If the starting pitcher can go, then we are O.K."
The Travs’ chances of winning the first half division are slim after losing both games in a doubleheader Monday night to Springfield. As of Tuesday, Arkansas was 30-33 and 5 ½ games out of first place behind the Tulsa Drillers. This past Tuesday, a win by Tulsa at Springfield coupled by a Travs’ loss to Northwest Arkansas would end Arkansas’ hope of winning the first-half division.
"You try to find a way to win every game," Wellman said. "If the day comes and we are eliminated, we will continue to do our jobs and still develop players."
So far, Wellman is pleased with the Travelers’ performance except in one area. It seems they hit better on the road than at home, and Wellman would like for that to change.
"We just talked about that with the guys," Wellman said. "We have to get mentally tougher and not let the ballpark affect our hitting. From the mental standpoint, we can’t let the big ballpark affect us."
Wellman and his staff have also had to deal with lots of turnover with players being promoted to AAA and then brought back down and others sent to A and then to back up. Two pitchers, including Cam Bedrosian and Sean Burnett (ended a rehab assignment), are with the Angels.
"We have several players who have track records of offense and are not fully producing," Wellman said. "We’ll work on that and never give up, and hopefully they can figure it out."
As of Tuesday, the Travs have 13 games remaining before the all-star break. They will finish the first half with four games at home from June 19-22 before the all-star game on June 24 at Dickey-Stephens Park.
Wellman and his staff were named the all-star coaches for the 2014 Texas League All-Star game presented by Farm Bureau Insurance. Three Travelers were chosen as starters and include first baseman Brian Hernandez, second baseman Alex Yarbrough and outfielder Adam Melker. Pitchers Michael Roth and Orangel Arenas were picked as starting pitchers with Cam Bedrosian and David Carpenter also voted as relievers.
"It’s fun and way different than a normal game," Wellman said. "It’s more about showcasing the players and their strengths, talents and abilities and not a lot of strategy."
Rucinski Notches First Texas League Complete Game
Drew Rucinski became the first pitcher in the Texas League to record a nine-inning, complete-game shutout last Saturday in a 3-0 victory over the Northwest Arkansas Naturals at Dickey-Stephens Park. In his first shutout of his career, he yielded five singles and no walks and struck out six batters.