Don’t Call It A Comeback

Oklahoma City, OK
(AP)After an abysmal start to the 1997 season, mired by both poor play and significant injury woes, the Oklahoma Scissor Tails had enough and decided to get aggressive. A major shakeup was underway, as Oklahoma sought to save their quickly deteriorating playoff chances, as they toiled at an 11-21 mark nearly halfway through the season. On Tuesday night, on the heels on another series victory after finishing off the Toronto Titans, the revamped Scissor Tails now sit at a 26-26 record, the first time they’ve reached .500 since opening day.”Things weren’t looking good for us” said Jamie Millard, who has been the catalyst in Oklahoma all year. “Management felt that it was time for a big change. Obviously when you see a guy like Rich Stines leave, it’s tough, but these new guys have been great, and we’re back in contention.” Stines was shipped out following the team’s disastrous series against KC, a series Oklahoma felt they should have handled. Nicholas Brown was the centerpiece coming back, but the talented young outfielder struggled mightily upon arriving down south, despite his team’s success. Instead, it was Isaiah Haynes who stole the show. Added as a throw-in, Haynes was promoted to the big club and has pitched terrifically in his 5 starts, posting a 3-1 record, not including an 11 inning outing. Oklahoma’s other pitching acquisition, Takahashi Morita, has also been great, going 2-1 in his 3 starts, with an ERA of just 2.53. Morita was acquired for former #1 overall draft pick Daniel Drake, who struggled mightily in his time with the franchise.
Not only have the trades helped galvanize the team, but Oklahoma also delved into uncharted territory, making several ABA signings. First, the team signed Eric Lindsey after finally cutting ties with catcher Jami Hanilla. Lindsey has immediately contributed to the team’s winning ways, having already hit 3 HR on the power starved team. Next, the Scissor Tails signed Yvan Barbiusa, who has helped to sure of the once notoriously shaky bullpen. In 6 appearances, Barbiusa has allowed only 1 run, posting a 1-0 record. Outside of the ABA purchases, internal transactions have also paid dividends. After a long stint in the minors, Pat Wilson was promoted to Oklahoma and given the closr’s role after Jorge Looez was lost for the year and a reliable reliever didn’t emerge. In his first 10 TBC appearances, Wilson is 1-0 with 7 saves and a 2.61 ERA, not yet allowing a home run.Now, with 36 games remaining, the Scissor Tails are in the hunt for the playoffs, something that seeemed impossible a month ago, before this 15-5 run. The team also hopes to get their ace, Willie Silva, back in the next two weeks, and rumors have been swirling that the team will try to make additional moves, most likely at second base and in the bullpen. For now, the team sits just 2 games back of the 4th playoff spot, with a pivotal series against the San Francisco Peanuts, a team that sits in 3rd place in Senior Circuit, now just 3 games ahead of the Scissor Tails. Plenty of work still needs to be done, but Oklahoma now has something to play for.

Author GM Jon Hilowitz

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