After losing both games of a doubleheader to the Springfield Cardinals last Friday, Travelers manager Tim Bogar decided to shake things up with a change in the lineup last Saturday. So far, it has worked out well as after last Monday, the Travs won two of their three games.
The day of the adjustment, Arkansas defeated Springfield, 6-2. Last Sunday, they lost to the Cardinals, 3-1, in 10 innings but bounced back with a 7-2 victory at Tulsa last Monday.
“One thing I wanted to do was try to achieve some energy,” Bogar said. “When you are struggling offensively and having trouble scoring runs a change in the lineup can get things going.”
Major changes in the lineup included moving shortstop Rolando Gomez from ninth to leadoff and centerfield Travis Witherspoon from leadoff to eighth. On Sunday, Gomez singled twice and hit a solo home run in the Tulsa victory.
“This is probably not permanent,” Bogar said. “I wanted to put guys in positions to be successful. So far it has worked. I would prefer to find one where the players are at the same positions.”
Pitchers holding their own
Though, as of Monday, the Travelers owned an 8-9 record, the starting pitchers have been doing their jobs. They just need runs to back up their performances.
“In 17 games, 15 to 16 of those were quality starts,” Bogar said. “Our pitchers keep us in the game and give us chances to win. The bullpen has done pretty well.”
With a 0-3 record, right-hander Lay Batista is having some hard knocks. His losses include a 4-1 setback to Midland on April 7, a 6-0 defeat to Frisco on April 13 and a 3-0 defeat to Springfield last Friday.
“He is pitching great, and I have no worries,” Bogar said. “He’ll do good. In two of his three losses, we didn’t score runs to support him.”
Bogar knows a pitcher looking at the record could get down, but he has assured Batista that they aren’t looking at that and want him to keep developing. On the reverse, Matt Oye is 2-1 with consecutive victories at Midland and last Saturday against Springfield.
“He’s a battler with tons of energy,” Bogar said. “He attacks the lineup and is not going down without a fight.”
Tuesday night against Tulsa, Brandon Hynick made his season debut. Bogar said having him back will help set up the rotation, and he complimented Mike Piazza for his quality starts with the Travelers while being shorthanded.
Bogar not fooled
In the victory over Tulsa this past Monday, Driller leftfielder Kyle Parker smacked a ball to the centerfield wall that was initially ruled a home run. After the play, Bogar appealed and believed the ball got stuck in the fence. The hit was ruled a ground-rule double.
“I really enjoy the strategy part, and it’s also knowing the rules and taking care of the little things,” he said. “It was evident of what happened, and the umpires did a good job of letting the play play out.”