Though starting pitching wasn’t where Arkansas Travelers Manager Daren Brown wanted it in the first half, it has become better the second half. Still, the Travs can’t seem to put both pitching and offense together on the same day and string wins together.
In the first half of the north division of the Texas League, the Travs finished fourth and seven games behind first-division winner Northwest Arkansas Naturals. As of Tuesday, they are five games behind league-leaders Tulsa and Springfield and their next seven games are against those two teams. They finish a four-game stretch Wednesday at Tulsa and start a seven- game home stretch Thursday with four of those contests against Springfield.
“In the first half, the wins and losses weren’t quite where I wanted them,” Brown said. “I feel like the start of the second half, the pitching is better. The first 20 games, I thought we threw better and the starters got deeper. We just need to put both together—pitching well and hitting and defense.”
Brown said that while the Travelers need to string four or five victories together in a row, the focus is to look at what they can do today (or the day of the contest). With a 42-52 overall record (as of Tuesday), he believes one bad stretch has kept Arkansas from being .500.
“Pitching-wise, we have one of the best places in the league to pitch,” Brown said. “We needed to be much better.”
As a manager, Brown won league division races including last year in Jackson, Tenn. He is used to being in the situation where the Travelers are now. With so many games left, anything can happen.
“I feel like we are doing all we can to not get beat,” he said. “It would be a problem if we weren’t trying.”
One thing that did surprise Brown was Ian Miller leading in the first half and still the leader in the league in batting percentage. As of Tuesday, he owned a .325 percentage which was 8 points ahead of Tulsa’s Edwin Rios’ .317.
“I didn’t expect that,” he said. “That was the last thing I expected coming (for him) coming out of spring training.”