Rare bullpen failure costs Cyclones
Brooklyn Relievers Falter in 5-3 Loss at West Virginia
A three-run lead heading into the bottom of the sixth inning is normally a recipe for an easy Cyclones victory.
Especially when considering that Brooklyn has had the stingiest bullpen in the New York-Penn League this summer, yielding just six earned runs over 61 innings through the first three weeks of July.
But it was an epic bullpen collapse that cost the Baby Bums dearly in a 5-3 loss at West Virginia on Tuesday night in front of 1,958 fans at Monongalia County Ballpark.
After Blake Taylor, who left the game after two innings with left-arm soreness, and Ruben Reyes helped hold the Black Bears at bay over the first four frames, Chris Flexen (0-1) and Johnny Magliozzi were unable to follow suit.
Flexen, who hadn’t allowed an earned run in his first four appearances for Brooklyn this year, worked around a lead-off single in the fifth before surrendering the Cyclones’ seemingly comfortable advantage in the sixth.
The 21-year-old right-hander gave up a pair of RBI singles during West Virginia’s game-tying three-run frame, and was also responsible for the first of two runs that scored in the eighth.
Magliozzi entered with the game deadlocked at 3-3 and the go-ahead run at second and one out in the eighth. He immediately surrendered an RBI single to Albert Baur, and another one later in the eighth to Maximo Rivera that capped the scoring for the evening.
Despite the defeat, the Cyclones (18-12) remained tied atop the McNamara Division with Staten Island after the Yankees suffered a 5-4, 10-inning loss at Mahoning Valley on Tuesday.
Also, Hudson Valley outlasted Williamsport, 7-6, in 12 innings to pull within a game of both Brooklyn and Staten Island in the ever-tightening McNamara race.
The Cyclones, who have now lost six of their last nine contests, were slated to continue a season-high seven-day road trip in West Virginia on Wednesday night with right-hander Matt Blackham on the mound.
Brooklyn appeared ready to grasp sole possession of first place against the Black Bears after a run-scoring double by Tucker Tharp in the third, a solo homer from David Thompson leading off the fifth and 2014 New York-Penn League All-Star Michael Bernal’s RBI two-bagger in the sixth.
But a 3-0 lead just wasn’t enough on this rare occasion when Brooklyn’s biggest strength proved to be an unexpected weakness.
This, That and the Other Thing: Thompson, the Mets’ fourth-round pick out of the University of Miami in the June MLB Draft, led the nation in homers during his senior season with the Hurricanes, but hadn’t gone deep in his first 22 games with Brooklyn until Tuesday night. He lined an offering from Black Bears starter Bret Helton over the left-field fence, giving the Cyclones a 2-0 lead. It was his 80th professional at-bat. … Despite the bullpen implosion, Brooklyn still paces the NY-Penn with a 2.53 team ERA. … The Cyclones will return from their long trip on July 29, and will celebrate their arrival by greeting the first 2,500 fans to walk through the gates of MCU Park that evening with a Juan Lagares Golden BobbleGloves Doll, courtesy of NYU Lutheran. It will also be WayBack Wednesday on Coney Island, meaning all tickets are just $10.
In other local pro sports news, Brooklyn Nets General Manager Billy King announced this week that Steve Jones has been elevated to assistant coach for player development, Mike Jones to manager of video operations, Nick Resavy to video coordinator and Trevor St. Agathe to strength and conditioning coach/nutritional director.
In addition, the Nets have named Brett Levy as video assistant.
Steve Jones will begin his second season with the Nets and first as an assistant coach for player development after serving as the team’s manager of video operations during the 2014-15 season.
Mike Jones enters his second season with the Nets and first as manager of video operations after serving as the team’s video coordinator during the 2014-15 season.
St. Agathe, a Bed-Stuy native, joined the Nets as a strength and conditioning intern for the team’s inaugural season in Brooklyn in 2012-13 and was elevated to the role of assistant strength and conditioning coach in 2013-14 before landing his current role as strength and conditioning coach/nutritional director.
Resavy enters his new role of video coordinator after serving as the team’s video assistant during the 2014-15 season.
Levy enters his first season as a video assistant for the Nets.
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