AA – Northwest Arkansas Naturals (5-8)
It hasn’t been the best start for the Northwest Arkansas Naturals. Another rough week started with a 14 inning marathon against the San Antonio Missions. After starter Matt Tenuta got roughed up, the bullpen went on to pitch 7.2 scoreless innings. But in the 14th, reliever Luis Rico gave up the walkoff hit.
The Naturals returned Friday trying to get their first win of the series. On the hill was prospect Miguel Almonte. He pitched terrifically in 4 innings, only allowing 3 baserunners. The offense couldn’t scrap up anything though. The Missions were even 2 outs away from a combined no-hitter, but outfielder Ruben Sosa singled to break up the bid. Some late baserunners weren’t enough though, as the Naturals fell 2-0.
The Naturals gave it another try Saturday with Christian Binford standing on the mound. He pitched terrifically, handing the ball to the bullpen, where they pitched a combined 3 hitless innings with 8 strikeouts to 1 walk. Terrance Gore also collected his first stolen base.
The Naturals next series would be on the road against Corpus Christi. On the mound, making his second AA start would be Corey Ray. Him and swingman Pedro Fernandez would struggle in long outings, while reliever Tim Hill got hit around hard. This added up to 10 runs allowed by the pitching staff.
The good news about this series though is the offense. The lineup put out 22 runs in a 3 game span.
Overview: It hasn’t looked good for the Naturals at all. So far, the pitching staff has given up the most runs in the Texas League. The offense isn’t much better either, ranking second-to-last in runs scored and last in OPS.
After Samir Duenez, Frank Schwindel, and Mauricio Ramos, the lineup isn’t threatening at all.
Player of the Week – Samir Duenez: Duenez has led the way so far on offense. He ranks first on the team in BA, OBP, and SLG. On Thursday night he’ll look to homer in 3 consecutive games.