Dickey-Stephens Park has not been very accommodating to the Travelers.
After a six-game road stretch from June 25-30 at Frisco and Midland, the Travs returned home to Dickey-Stephens with a five-game winning streak. That span turned into a six-game losing sweep at the hands of Frisco then Midland. Arkansas is just not hitting well at home.
“It’s weird, and I keep running out of things to say,” Traveler Manager Phillip Wellman said. “Hopefully, it will take care of itself. I think it is just a mental thing, and I challenge them every day. I tell them to quit using the ballpark as an excuse and quit being so soft.”
In the six games, Arkansas has accumulated a total of 10 runs. Five of those occurred in a 9-5 loss to Frisco on July 4, and the Travs led 5-1 after three stanzas. They tallied all five runs in the bottom of the third inning with two outs.
“That was the second time our bullpen let us down,” Wellman said. “To me, that is an apparition. The bullpen can’t be perfect all the time and haven’t let us down all year but did that night.”
In the first contest with Frisco (1-5), they scored one run and also tallied one run in the second contest with Midland last Sunday (1-4). Arkansas wrapped up the home stand this past Monday with a 6-3 loss to Midland. Going into Monday’s game, Arkansas was batting .157 and allowed 21 runs and a .271 batting average.
“We are hitting 75 points lower at home,” Wellman said. “If that was 10-15-20, that would be O.K. I’m done talking to them about it. Sometime, they have to become accountable themselves.”
Prior to the losing streak, the Travs had an 8-4 second-half league mark and owned a two-game lead in the North Division. Now, they are 8-10 and are one game behind the Northwest Arkansas Naturals.
Perhaps, the tide will change when they travel to Tulsa for four games beginning Wednesday through Saturday. Scoring and hitting have been easier away from Dickey-Stephens. Through 42 road games, the Travs are averaging 4.9 runs, have hit 27 home runs and are batting .276 as a team. At home, they are averaging 2.6 runs and a .209 batting average. Additionally, Arkansas has been held scoreless 11 times at home.
They return home for a four-game stand with Springfield from Sunday through Wednesday. After Tuesday’s off day, Arkansas doesn’t have an off-day until Aug. 4
Rice to the Futures Game
Though he won’t be joined by any Arkansas players, Travs’ pitching Coach Pat Rice was chose as the pitching mentor for the U.S. Futures Team. Sunday, July 12, is the date for the XM Futures Game at Target Field in Minneapolis.
Pitcher Michael Roth was optioned back to the Travs after one day on the Angels’ 25-man roster. Matt Long joined Arkansas after being transferred from Salt Lake City, and Michael Snyder is slated to rejoin the Travs after a rehab stint in Arizona. Zack Borenstein was traded to Arizona and Jimmy Swift was released.