Even though Arkansas went 2-4 in its road trip last week in Texas, the Travelers were still able to maintain their six-game lead in the second-half North division race over Northwest Arkansas because of its 3-3 performance in Texas.
The Travelers (32-23 second-half and 66-59 overall going into this past Tuesday’s game) went 2-1 against San Antonio winning the second game of a doubleheader last Wednesday and then again the following Thursday, both in extra innings. Arkansas lost three in a row to Corpus Christie (2-1, 8-3, 5-4), and lost a series for the first time after winning four consecutive. The Travs lost the 2-1 game in ninth inning Friday and the 5-4 contest Sunday in the 10th inning.
“We didn’t meet our objective (of winning the series),” Traveler Manager Phillip Wellman said. “We played well in San Antonio, and we played well in Corpus Christie and lost two in walkoffs. We played well and swung the bats well. In one game, our starting pitching wasn’t quite good enough.”
It had been since the early part of July when the Travelers lost three in a row. Wellman is not bothered by the three-game losing skid and believes the Travelers can take care of business at home. Prior to the Texas trip, Arkansas swept Corpus Christie at Dickey-Stephens Park.
“I’m not any more surprised than us doing that to them at home,” he said. “They struggled when they played here but swung the bats well at home.”
Arkansas returns this week and next for its final home stand. They play four games against Tulsa Tuesday through Friday and then meet Northwest Arkansas beginning Saturday. A doubleheader takes place Sunday with the Travs’ final regular-season home game Monday. If this was the first half of the season, Wellman would have some concerns as the Travelers had trouble winning at home (14-22). The second half has been a different story with a 16-10 home record.
“We’ve been better the second half and more productive offensively,” Wellman said. “I’m pleased that we are over .500 the second half at home.”
Wellman isn’t paying attention to the elimination numbers (10 for Northwest Arkansas, nine for Springfield and seven for Tulsa). He thinks it is a distraction and believes if the Travs take care of business the remainder of the season then they can win the second-half North division.
Can They Pull it Off
The Travs need to win six of their remaining 15 games if they want to match their best record in 14 years as an Angel affiliation (73-66 in 2013). An 8-7 mark in the last 15 contests would match the best second-half season (40-30 in 2013).