The Wingnuts' two-week road trip can be considered a success since they escaped it with a winning record and their playoff hopes intact.
The trip could have gone even better, though. The Wingnuts won seven of the first 10 games before losing the final two to Lincoln.
That series raised questions about the stability of the pitching staff, particularly if Wichita reaches the postseason.
Wichita allowed nine home runs during the three-game series against Lincoln and with the recent losses of Nick Singleton and Justin Dowdy, the Wingnuts are without aces in the rotation and the bullpen.
"When you lose a guy like that and a closer like that, someone's got to go out there and take the mound," Wingnuts manager Kevin Hooper said. "Whoever that is needs to void that gap as much as we can. But you can't replace Singleton, there's no doubt about that."
If the Wingnuts ever needed productive pitching, it's in the three games against Sioux Falls starting tonight at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium. Wichita trails Sioux Falls by three games for the North division lead.
The Canaries are playing better than the pace they set in the first half, when they finished 32-16 and won the half by three games over Lincoln.
Sioux Falls is 22-10 since the midway point and leads the league in most offensive categories. The Canaries have a 10-7 advantage over Wichita in the season series.
"We're going to know pretty much where we stand at the end of these three games," Hooper said. "There's really nothing to say — I think everybody knows that we're three games back with three games against them. It's a chance to gain some ground."
Two days off since concluding the series at Lincoln on Wednesday have allowed Hooper to adjust the rotation for the Sioux Falls series.
The Wingnuts will send Bubba O'Donnell to the mound for the opener, followed by Gabe Medina and Sean Teague.
Hooper is still looking for ways to upgrade the pitching staff, and the days are numbered for American Association teams to make personnel changes.
The Wingnuts signed left-hander Kevin Angelle this week. Angelle, 22, had a 1.36 ERA in Class A for the Philadelphia Phillies this season but was recently released for disciplinary reasons.
In his first start for the Wingnuts, Angelle allowed eight hits and six earned runs in 4 2/3 innings against Lincoln. His arrival sent Jae Jung to the bullpen, where he joined another former starter, Luke Massetti.
"I like having a lefty in the rotation," Hooper said. "Real good stuff. Those numbers don't lie; those are pretty solid numbers in affiliated ball. But he's going to face better hitters in this league than where he's been."
The Wingnuts' offense is without the questions of the pitching staff.
Relatively new acquisitions Jorge Delgado and Cesar Suarez paced Wichita during the road trip — Delgado had 22 hits in 46 at-bats and Suarez was 14 for 39.
Outfielder Jorge Cortes didn't hit for a high average in 51 at-bats but made his 13 hits count, collecting six doubles, three homers and 15 RBIs. Ryan Patterson hit three homers and drove in nine during the trip.