As the season winds down, the Arkansas Travelers seem to be clicking.
Going into this past Tuesday’s game with San Antonio at Dickey-Stephens Park, the Travs own a four-game lead in the North second-half division standings. They were 59-54 for the season and 25-18 for the second half.
“It appears as such,” Travs Manager Phillip Wellman said about this team clicking. “We are playing well in all facets of the game—pitching, hitting and defense. If we can keep it rolling for 25-30 games, that would be great.”
One thing Arkansas is doing lately is having big innings and did so in a two victories at Springfield last weekend. In last Saturday’s 8-5 win, they tallied four runs in the second inning. Four runs in the fourth inning in last Sunday’s 5-0 triumph was the catalyst. Arkansas is also coming up with runs in late innings to seal wins. In last Thursday’s 6-2 victory at Springfield, the Travelers were trailing 2-0 after six frames. They tallied two runs in the seventh for the tie, one in the eighth to take the lead and three more insurance runs in the ninth.
“We are executing well,” Wellman said. “We are getting runners at third with less than two outs which is nice to have. We are also scoring late in the seventh, eighth and ninth innings which gives our pitchers a chance.”
This week, the Travelers return home for a three-game series (Tuesday thru Thursday) with San Antonio and then a three-game series (Friday thru Sunday) with Corpus Christi. They will return the favor next week with three-game series at those two places.
One thing Wellman is pleased about is Arkansas may be over its issue of not performing well at home. During the second half, the Travs own an 11-9 record at home. They entered the series with San Antonio on a four-game winning streak and are 8-2 in their last 10 games.
“I hope so,” Wellman said of Arkansas playing better at home. “We are finally above .500 at home and better than the first half. I think it is attributed to how we play. Collectively, they are getting better.”
Wellman still doesn’t talk about winning the North division second-half race. He does know the players know what is at stake. With a four-game lead, he believes destiny is in their hands.
“With a four-game lead, we need to take care of our business,” he said. “We don’t need help, and they all know what’s going on.”