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Vacationers get drilled in Tulsa, drop 4 of six, however transfer into first place anyway

Over the past dozen years or so, I’ve been to Tulsa a handful of occasions, and I’ve typically discovered the place pleasant on every go to. Hell, I even acquired engaged there (to an Arkansan, don’t fear!) in June 2019, simply earlier than a Jason Isbell live performance!

However the Isbell live performance can be an awesome instance of the bounds of my prior Tulsa journeys. Each time I’ve visited the “Oil Capital of the World” previously, I’ve gone for some occasion, possibly checked out one bar afterward, spent the night time after which headed dwelling the following morning. I’ve by no means gone to Tulsa and simply tried to expertise Tulsa.

That’s, till this previous weekend.

Thursday, for my birthday, we hit the highway to Tulsa for an prolonged weekend journey. We arrived round lunch and had a fast burger and onion rings at Arnold’s Previous Normal Burgers, earlier than heading to The Gathering Place, a 66.5-acre park/inexperienced area close to the Arkansas River simply off of downtown Tulsa that opened in 2018. I don’t have enough area right here to elucidate simply superb the $464 million park is; suffice it to say the following a number of hours after we left the park had been spent speaking about how monumental one thing even remotely related can be in Little Rock.

Thursday night time, we went to OneOK Subject to look at the Vacationers play the Tulsa Drillers. It was an unpleasant recreation that Arkansas finally misplaced in further innings. We’ll come again to this in a second.

The remainder of the journey, which included all of Friday and most of Saturday, was eye-opening in terms of what Tulsa has to supply. There are a number of implausible dive bars and a legitimately good tiki bar, a wonderful aquarium (technically, it’s in Jenks, however the drive isn’t unhealthy in any respect), and an insane variety of distinctive and bizarre shops alongside outdated Route 66. Friday afternoon, we had deli sandwiches from Trencher’s Deli that had been so good, we went again for lunch Saturday. Friday night time at Mr. Kim’s, a Korean barbecue place, I had one of many two or three greatest meals of my life.

Tulsa is sneakily a cool metropolis, is my level. However, much more than that, Tulsa is cool as a result of it’s doing issues properly, which makes the entire expertise enjoyable for guests. And nowhere is that extra brightly on show than on the dwelling of the Tulsa Drillers.

OneOK Subject opened in 2010, a mere three years after Dickey-Stephens Park opened in North Little Rock, and but OneOK feels prefer it may have opened this season. I struggled to discover a method wherein it was not clearly, demonstrably higher than DSP, and I nonetheless can’t give you one. This doubtless deserves its personal article and is one thing to debate over the low season, however, man … watching a recreation there if you’re used to DSP is like borrowing a 2010 Ferrari Enzo if you’re used to driving a 2007 Jeep Compass.

There are TVs in all places, so somebody strolling within the concourse, buying within the group retailer or partaking in considered one of a number of actions across the ballpark isn’t pressured to overlook the sport he paid to look at. There are actions for folks of all ages, too, together with a 21-and-up bar on the third base aspect that has big video games of Join 4, outsized tic-tac-toe boards on the bottom, and a bunch of different bar video games, all on an astroturf floor with celebration lights, such as you’re hanging out in probably the most elaborate yard you may think about. There are a number of bars contained in the stadium from which you’ll simply see the sport. The concession stands on the outfield concourse are literally getting used, too, which is a novel idea if you happen to’re accustomed to Dickey-Stephens.

Briefly, about the one method my gameday expertise in Tulsa may have been improved in any significant method would have been if the Vacationers had received the sport. OneOK Subject was so good, nevertheless, that even that little element wasn’t sufficient to wreck anybody’s good time on Thursday night time.

Collection recap:

On Tuesday (6/11), righthander Jimmy Joyce, making his sixth begin of the season for Arkansas, had his second-best begin of the season, throwing 4 innings and permitting just one run, a first-inning homer from the Los Angeles Dodgers’ high prospect, catcher Dalton Dashing. Arkansas tied the sport within the third when designated hitter Harry Ford singled in shortstop Cole Younger, then they took the lead the next inning on left fielder Jared Oliva’s fifth huge fly of the 12 months. Logan Evans, persevering with to get expertise out of the bullpen, pitched an ideal fifth inning in aid. The Travs added two extra within the sixth on an RBI single from Younger that plated Hogan Windish and Jake Anchia, earlier than Travis Kuhn allowed Tulsa to get one again within the backside of the sixth. Going into the underside of the ninth, Arkansas led 4-2. Nearer Troy Taylor, who had been good by means of seven save probabilities on the season, surrendered three hits, a stroll and three runs, taking his first lack of the season with out recording a single out. Drillers 5, Vacationers 4.

Playoff implications: The Springfield Cardinals misplaced 7-4 to Northwest Arkansas on Tuesday, that means the Vacationers neither gained nor misplaced any floor and remained 0.5 video games behind Springfield.

Southpaw Reid VanScoter was on the bump for the Vacationers on Wednesday, squaring off in opposition to Drillers’ righthander Orlando Ortiz-Mayr. VanScoter entered the sport coming off his worst begin of the season (2.2 innings, 5 earned runs, 4 walks), whereas Ortiz-Mayr has struggled all 12 months, posting an 8.22 ERA and three losses in Could. So in fact Wednesday turned out to be a pitchers’ duel. VanScoter tossed 5.2 innings, permitting two runs and putting out seven; Ortiz-Mayr was higher, giving Tulsa 5.1 scoreless frames. The Vacationers managed solely three hits on the day — early singles from Younger and Windish, plus a pinch-hit double by Oliva within the seventh — and, although additionally they earned seven walks, had been unable to plate any runs. RBI doubles within the third and fourth had been greater than sufficient offense for Tulsa. Drillers 2, Vacationers 0.

Playoff implications: Sigh. The Naturals pounded the Cardinals 7-2 Wednesday afternoon. The Vacationers’ loss retains Arkansas a half recreation behind Springfield within the Texas League North. Additionally, don’t look now, however Tulsa is out of the blue solely 2.5 video games out of first.

As I do throughout most video games after I’m attending in particular person however not protecting rating, I made notes on my telephone for potential use on this column. Fairly than rehash a irritating, ugly recreation, I current a few of the notes that typically wouldn’t make it this piece: “[6:55 p.m.] They’ve a mascot. Hornsby. He’s a blue bull and a menace. Would dangle with him? Unclear to date. [7:32 p.m.] This beer tastes like I need to struggle Hornsby. The place is he? (I don’t respect him.) [8:33 p.m.] This stadium is like somebody noticed Dickey-Stephens Park and stated, ‘give me that, however make it higher in each conceivable method.’ Only a good minor league park. I’m wracked with stadium envy. [9:07 p.m.] We moved out by the bullpen. There’s a big LED board simply above the guests’ pen that appears to exist solely to wash opponents in a number of million candles value of coloured mild. Take pleasure in warming up in a Kenny Rogers’ Roasters’ ass glow, boys! [9:25 p.m.] Further innings. On this economic system? Drillers 1, Vacationers 0 (10 innings).

Playoff implications: Springfield, playing as the Cashew Chickens, dropped their fourth straight recreation Thursday night time. Arkansas remained a half recreation again, whereas Tulsa improved to just one.5 video games out of first within the North.

If future historians ever have cause to find a “prototypical 2024 Vacationers recreation,” Friday’s tilt can be a stable contender. Righthander Blas Castano bounced again from a tough begin his final day out and gave Arkansas 4.2 innings whereas permitting solely two runs. Veteran reliever Jake Haberer, making his first look of the season for Arkansas (and 127th profession look for the membership) acquired the ultimate out of the fifth inning, however allowed one inherited runner to attain to provide Tulsa a 2-0 lead. Within the high of the sixth, after Windish walked and Oliva singled, third baseman Morgan McCullough smashed his fourth four-bagger of the 12 months to take a 3-2 lead. Proper fielder Alberto Rodriguez made it 4-2 within the seventh inning with an RBI groundout, however righty reliever Luis Curvelo, who had thrown an ideal backside of the sixth, struggled within the seventh and allowed a two-run homer to Drillers shortstop Alex Freeland to tie the sport. Evans acquired the Travs out of the seventh, and up to date call-up Blake Rambusch drove in Oliva within the eighth to provide the lead again to the Travs for good. Vacationers 7, Drillers 4.

Playoff implications: Springfield is struggling, y’all. They misplaced their fifth consecutive contest Friday. The Travs’ win means Arkansas takes over first place by half a recreation over the Cardinals and will increase Arkansas’ lead over Tulsa to 2.5 video games.

Right here’s a enjoyable truth: lefty starter Danny Wirchansky has not allowed a run, earned or unearned, in June. After throwing 10 innings of scoreless ball throughout two begins in opposition to Springfield to begin the month, Wirchansky ran his scoreless-innings streak to 16 on Saturday, permitting solely two hits and one stroll over six frames. The bullpen was additionally lethal environment friendly, with Jarod Bayless, Kuhn and Taylor every throwing an ideal inning to wrap up the sport. On offense, the Travs scored one on an RBI stroll from Younger within the first, one on a Rodriguez homer within the second and one on a Ford single within the fifth. Vacationers 3, Drillers 0.

Playoff implications: One other loss introduced Springfield’s streak to 6 straight defeats and prolonged the Travs’ division result in 1.5 video games over the Cardinals and three.5 over Tulsa. Their fifth consecutive win over Springfield additionally noticed Northwest Arkansas enhance to solely 4.5 video games again.

The excellent news about Sunday’s recreation is Joyce had his greatest begin as a Traveler, throwing 4 scoreless innings, permitting solely three hits and one stroll and putting out 5 Drillers. The unhealthy information concerning the last recreation of the collection was just about the whole lot else. Reliever Raul Alcantara took the loss after permitting a run within the fifth, Reid Morgan allowed two runs in solely two-thirds of an inning within the sixth, and Haberer acquired hammered for 4 runs within the eighth. Arkansas’ offense labored the Drillers’ employees for six hits (all singles) and three walks, however went 0-6 with runners in scoring place. Drillers 7, Vacationers 0.

Playoff implications: If Springfield had performed even remotely respectable baseball this week, the Travs can be cooked. As an alternative, the Cardinals took their seventh straight loss, leaving Arkansas in first by 1.5 video games over Springfield, 2.5 over Tulsa and three.5 over Northwest Arkansas.

Ten lesser-known, superb songs that point out Tulsa:

  1. “The Chook Hunters,” Turnpike Troubadours. “And your time spent in Tulsa didn’t assist your capturing / And have a look at the grey in your hair”
  2. “Tulsa’s Final Magician,” Willi Carlisle. “Effectively Tulsa’s final magician acquired his begin at 4 / Pulled 1 / 4 from his personal ear and spun it on the ground”
  3. “Cling Me within the Tulsa County Stars,” John Moreland. “Meet me the place I land if I slip and fall too far / Cling me within the Tulsa County stars”
  4. “The Day that She Left Tulsa (In a Chevy),” Wade Hayes. “She by no means got here out and advised me that I used to be unsuitable / however impulsively, the sunshine got here on, the day that she left Tulsa”
  5. “You’re the Purpose God Made Oklahoma,” David Frizzell & Shelley West. “There’s a full moon over Tulsa / I hope that it’s shining on you”
  6. “Again to Me,” Flatland Cavalry. “Inform me, how’s the climate in Tulsa? / Inform me, how’s your Grandma Jean?”
  7. “The Alabama Moon,” Drayton Farley. “And Tulsa ain’t so unhealthy as they made Tulsa out to be / My downside right here in Tulsa is that she ain’t mine to maintain”
  8. “Wild Nights in Tulsa,” Rick Nelson & The Stone Canyon Band. “Dreamin’ of untamed nights in Tulsa / Tulsa received’t let me down”
  9. “Anchors,” Will Hoge. “We hit Tulsa, Oklahoma on the third day of July / Received an affordable condominium to attend for firecracker skies”
  10. “Greetings from Tulsa, Oklahoma,” Evan Honer. “​​Effectively greetings from Tulsa, Oklahoma / I do know we’re not talking, however you missed the present in Arizona”

Ah, heck. Let’s make it simple. Right here’s a playlist with all ten:

Vacationers’ present document:

34-28. First place in the Texas League North, 1.5 video games forward of second-place Springfield, who’ve misplaced seven straight video games.

Three issues to be optimistic about:

  1. Danny Wirchansky. With Logan Evans transferring to the bullpen just lately on the route of the Mariners, the Vacationers have been in search of a brand new primary starter. All of the 26-year-old lefty has executed to make his argument for taking up that function is throw 16 consecutive scoreless innings and maintain opposing hitters to a .094 batting common in opposition to him.
  2. The schedule. To make the 2024 Texas League Playoffs, the Vacationers must put up the perfect document within the North division in both the first- or second-half of the season. The one factor between them and punching their ticket this week with a first-half division win is six video games in opposition to the Wichita Wind Surge, who occur to be in final place within the division, are six video games underneath .500 on the highway this season and are 16-23 on the 12 months in opposition to groups which are over .500. The Travs management their very own future — win all six, and so they’re within the playoffs it doesn’t matter what every other group does this week. (Lose a number of and so they’ll be scoreboard watching to see how Springfield fares in opposition to Corpus Christi.)
  3. Victor Labrada and Brock Rodden. As a corporation, the Mariners will be sluggish to advertise youthful gamers to Arkansas mid-season. With the Vacationers’ offense languishing since Tyler Locklear and Spencer Pacakard had been promoted, nevertheless, the group won’t have the ability to wait an excessive amount of longer to provide Arkansas some assist. The speedy Labrada (.963 OPS, 20 steals in 40 video games) would give the Travs one other left-handed bat and will play heart subject and left subject, whereas Rodden, a switch-hitting infielder (.885 OPS, 73 hits in 60 video games) may doubtlessly shore up a number of points within the infield. Each gamers are at present at high-A Everett, and every is 24 years outdated.

Present space(s) of concern:

  1. Ben Ramirez. There’s a lot to love about Ramirez. He can play first and third. He has an absolute cannon for an arm. And, man, he appears like a ballplayer in the identical method Dallas McPherson did in a Travs uniform 20 years in the past. However Ramirez is struggling mightily on the plate. After a good Could, he’s been ice chilly in June, placing up a brutal .167/.235/.200 this month. He may nonetheless have an excellent profession and none of that is unfixable, but when Windish or Rambusch begin hitting in any respect, or if somebody known as up from Everett, it will likely be onerous to justify a ton of at-bats for Ramirez till he exhibits some enchancment.
  2. Lineup holes. Considerably associated to Ramirez’s struggles, the Vacationers’ roster at present sports activities eight hitters with an OPS underneath .700 versus solely 4 above that mark. They had been shutout thrice in the latest collection, after being shut out solely thrice complete previous to going to Tulsa. (The Drillers had beforehand tossed solely two shutouts this season.) Throughout the final collection, the 6, 7, 8 and 9 hitters within the Vacationers’ lineup mixed to go 13-79 (.165) with 10 walks, 25 strikeouts, and solely three extra-base hits.

Has Jake Anchia drawn a stroll but this 12 months?:

Sure! Final Tuesday, mere hours after the previous Travs’ round-up post went reside, Anchia drew a stroll off of Drillers reliever Michael Hobbs. Anchia is now simply 41 walks behind fellow catcher Harry Ford for the group lead.

Arkansas Instances Participant of the Week:

When your offense manages solely 14 runs in six video games, choosing a participant of the week requires wanting on the pitching employees. Fairly than single out considered one of them, nevertheless, this week’s award goes collectively to starters Jimmy Joyce, Juan Mercedes and Danny Wirchansky. The trio mixed to throw 22 innings in 4 begins in opposition to Tulsa, permitting just one run and 11 hits, putting out 16. That’s a powerful displaying irrespective of the way you slice it. (Too unhealthy a lot of it was wasted by the offense….)

Up Subsequent:

The Vacationers return dwelling to tackle the Wichita Wind Surge (27-36) in six video games at Dickey-Stephens Park. Tuesday’s matchup begins at 12:05 as a part of the group’s Summer Camp Day promotion. Wednesday and Thursday’s video games are scheduled for six:35 p.m. begins, Friday’s recreation will get began at 7:05 p.m. and Saturday’s kicks off at 6:05 p.m. The primary half of the Travs’ 2024 Texas League season wraps up with a 1:35 p.m. first pitch on Sunday.

All video games can be found on radio in Central Arkansas on 106.7 Buz2.

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