Nat­u­rals host Mid­land af­ter day off

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - SCOREBOARD - PAUL BOYD Paul Boyd can be reached at pboyd@nwadg.com or on Twit­ter @NWAPaulb.

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.

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