February 23, 2024

After Being Drilled In Tulsa In Sweep, The Naturals Return Home

After Being Drilled In Tulsa In Sweep, The Naturals Return Home

Fresh off a road sweep at the hands of the Tulsa Drillers, the Northwest Arkansas Naturals are happy to be home. The trip to Tulsa was challenging in a series that opened with three straight extra-inning games with losses. The losses came in the form of 6-5, in eleven innings, on Tuesday. This would be followed by a 1-0 loss, in ten innings, on Wednesday. Then, on Thursday, a 2-1 loss, in eleven innings. These three losses were a rough start to the series in the hole. 

This would be followed by a close loss, 4-3, on Friday, and a blowout loss, 12-0, on Saturday to get to the final game, on Sunday, to end the series. In the last game, the Naturals would get “Drilled” by Tulsa in a loss, 4-1, to complete the sweep. With this series behind them, let’s look at what is next. 

What’s Next?

In their next series, which begins Tuesday, and will conclude on Sunday, the Naturals will face the Corpus Christi Hooks. As a fellow member of the Texas League the Hooks and Naturals will meet in their first of two meetings in NWA this season. First, let’s take a look and see who the Hooks are. Then, we will analyze what type of team they have been statistically, and some players to watch for on the roster. Finally, we will learn how to tune in to the series. 

Corpus Christi Hooks

Who Are The Hooks?

The Hooks are the Double-A affiliate of the Houston Astros and are stacked full of young talent. To further this point, the Hooks currently have four of the top ten prospects on their roster and ten of the top thirty in the Astros minor league system. Two outfielders, and their current number one prospect, Drew Gilbert, and number three prospect, Colin Barber, The Hooks also house the number eight prospect and left-handed pitcher, Colton Gordon. In a quirky yet fun fact about the Hooks, their Hooks’ home stadium, Whataburger Field, features a pool for fans to lounge, in the right field, during games. 

Where do they rank? 

Coming into this series, the Hooks have a 21-24 record including a 6-4 record in their last 10 games. The Hooks currently sit in third place in the Texas League South and are just three games back of leading Midland. In the Texas League, the Hooks are in fifth place and nine games back of league-best Tulsa.

 In 2023, the Hooks are 13-14 while at home and 8-10 when on the road. The Hooks are currently on a two-game winning streak. With the Naturals losing their last eight games this will be a tale of two tales as this series starts. Because of this, we think this will be an interesting matchup between these two ball clubs this week. 

Let’s get hooked on the Corpus Christi stats. 

Stats On The Hooks

As a team, from the plate, Corpus Christi has had a productive young season. Thus far they have scored 213 runs, which is 8th in the league, while collecting 349 hits, which is also 8th in the league, from the plate. Their 48 home runs, 3rd best in the league, is something the Naturals pitching staff has taken notice of immediately when looking over their stats. The team’s batting average of .240, 7th best in the league, is something that will be key to watch this series. 

From the plate this season there is one player leading the way, Shortstop, Shay Whitcomb, a product of UC San Diego, who is the leader in most all categories from the plate. To further this point, the former fifth-round draft pick leads the team in hits, with 41, doubles, with 12, and home runs with 11. Whitcomb in the month of May has been incredible. He has a .224 batting average with 19 hits, 5 2B, 5 Hrs, 11 BB, and 13 runs scored. This, combined with 3 stolen bases, a .309 OBP, and a .459 slugging percentage makes him someone to watch this series.

On the mound, as a team, the Hooks have been pedestrian. With a team ERA of 4.84 combined with 414 Ks, this team has power. To back this statement up this team averages 9.44 Ks per game. The Hooks have allowed a batting average of .244 in 386.2 innings pitched. 

The Hooks have arms of talent on each side of the mound. Leading the Hooks in strikeouts is the above-mentioned, top prospect, Gordon. Right-hander, Spencer Arrighetti, leads the teams in wins, with four on the season. Arrighetti also leads the team, in hit batsman, with 6 on the season. The Naturals will look to slow both of these arms down in this series. 

Where And How To Watch? 

As we discussed, this six-game series, from Arvest Ballpark, and is scheduled to have a first pitch of 7:05 local central time. The starters for this game have not been announced as of yet but once they are we will make you, the fans, aware. To listen to the game, you can tune into the Naturals website, www.milb.com/northwest-Arkansas, and also to watch you can tune in on the MiLB First Pitch App. 

Further reading

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