The Wingnuts are back home after sweeping road series against Fargo and Gary. Both those teams have hyphenated names, but I’m not going to waste time typing Southshore and Morehead. Wait, I just did. Dang it. Anyway, Wichita has won eight straight overall and it returns home to the kind of weather it experienced in Fargo but without the comfort of having the likes of William H. Macy and Steve Buscemi attend games. I had to look up who was in the movie “Fargo” because I shamefully have never seen it.
Wichita also comes back to Lawrence-Dumont Stadium with a new look, having made several roster moves on Thursday. Gone are Jared McDonald, Josh Dew and Salomon Manriquez; in are Juan Richardson, Robert Roth and…that’s it. No backup catcher for now, but the Wingnuts are confident they’ll find one quickly. Taylor Freeman is the starter.
I’m saving a lot of info and Hooper quotes about the roster moves for my Sunday notes, but adding Juan Richardson, even in the midst of an eight-game winning streak, is an easy decision. Richardson hit .360 for the Wingnuts last season with 86 RBIs. He gives Wichita another accomplished hitter in the middle of the lineup, to go with former MLB’er John Rodriguez.
Tonight, Wichita begins a series against defending American Association champion Grand Prairie. The Air Hogs dispatched the Wingnuts in four games in the playoffs last season, a disappointing end to Wichita’s inconsistent season. Right-hander Jose Perez starts for Wichita tonight. He’s 1-0 with a 2.53 ERA, coming off a strong start at Gary this week. Here’s what Hooper had to say about Perez:
“He’s had really good minor-leauge numbers, most of it out of the bullpen. But he wanted to come here to start. I like those guys, giving those relievers a chance to start and maybe jump-start their career again. Kind of like (former Wingnuts pitcher Will) Savage. He competes. If he can throw his fastball like he did in Gary, for strike one, he’s going to be very successful because that slider is very good. He doesn’t get fazed. He goes out there and he has the same demeanor no matter what’s going on.