Naturals host Midland after day off
SPRINGDALE — Even Northwest Arkansas manager Vance Wilson said his team was in need of a day off during the Naturals’ last homestand.
The Naturals (16-28) finally got one on Monday, after playing 26 consecutive days. It’s the first of three consecutive Monday off days in August as Northwest Arkansas plays the final 26 games of the regular season.
“They’re tired right now,” Wilson said following the Naturals’ 9-8 win over Arkansas on Aug. 1.
“It’s a grind and they’re just trying to get to that next off day.”
Northwest Arkansas sits in last place in the Texas League North Division, after winning the first-half division title. But the Naturals have still played well at Arvest Ballpark with an 11-10 record, despite the dismal second half.
They are also trying to put a horrendous month of July behind them in which they went 9-21 and averaged less than three runs per game.
First baseman Samir Duenez looks to have done that, going 11-for-25 (.440) with three home runs and seven RBIs already in August. He hit .197 with just two homers in 28 games in July.
Catcher Nick Dini hasn’t had a prolonged dry spell since coming up and leads the team with a .348 batting average in 47 games.
Starting pitcher Josh Staumont (1-2 6.04 ERA) was better in his last start, allowing just two runs over 52/ innings 3 and walking only two.
Control has been an issue this season for the righthander, who came into the season rated as the top prospect in the Kansas City Royals farm system by Baseball America.
He was demoted from Triple-A Omaha and has walked 17 in 221/ innings, which covers 3 five starts.
Staumont will start tonight for the Naturals when they open a six-game homestand against Midland, the Double-A affiliate of the Oakland Athletics. First pitch is scheduled for
7:05 p.m. Northwest Arkansas has won four of six games against the two-time defending Texas League champions.
Northwest Arkansas sits in last place in the Texas League North Division, after winning the first-half division title. But the Naturals have still played well at Arvest Ballpark with an 11-10 record.