Brooklyn Boro

Cyclones’ summer swoon continues

Commit Franchise Record-Tying Five Errors in Latest Loss

July 23, 2015 By John Torenli, Sports Editor Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Jeff Diehl’s third homer of the summer was one of the few bright spots in slumping Brooklyn’s ugly 8-1 loss at West Virginia on Wednesday night. Photo provided by the Brooklyn Cyclones
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The Brooklyn Cyclones have let a once-comfortable spot atop the McNamara Division standings slip through their fingers … literally. 

When they burst out of the gate with a red-hot 14-5 start, the Baby Bums appeared on their way to grabbing the division race by the throat and perhaps even running away from Staten Island, Hudson Valley and Aberdeen.

Instead, the Cyclones (18-13) are deadlocked for first with the arch-rival Yankees and Renegades, while the IronBirds (16-15) are only two games back of the pack in the suddenly hotly contested division.

Brooklyn’s summer slide continued Wednesday night as it matched a franchise record with five errors, marking the second time in 10 days the Cyclones have achieved that dubious feat, in an ugly 8-1 loss to the West Virginia Blackbears in front of 2,029 fans at Monongalia County Ballpark. 

The Bums’ seventh loss in 10 games dropped them to 0-2 on their ongoing seven-game road trip, and their continued poor play could see them drop to the bottom of the division by the time they return to MCU Park next Wednesday night.

After suffering a 5-3 loss to West Virginia in Tuesday’s series opener, the Cyclones never really gave themselves much of a chance Wednesday.

Brooklyn starter Matt Blackham (2-2), one of the team’s stalwarts through his first five outings, couldn’t make it out of the second inning, surrendering six runs – four earned – on seven hits while retiring just four batters.

The Blackbears took advantage of Brooklyn’s porous defense early and often, using a throwing error by catcher Brandon Brosher to open the scoring in the bottom of the first. They tacked on five runs in the second, an inning that began with second baseman William Fullmer booting a ground ball. 

Blackham gave up six singles, and unleashed a pair of wild pitches, as the frame continued before manager Tom Gamboa mercifully pulled him with one out in the second and the Cyclones already down, 6-0.

By then, West Virginia starter Dario Agrazal (4-1) had all the offense he’d need. After surrendering a second-inning solo homer to Jeff Diehl, his third of the summer, Agrazal finished strong, yielding just the lone run on five hits with six strikeouts over five innings.

Brooklyn maintained a share of first place thanks to the Yankees’ 2-1, 12-inning loss at Mahoning Valley. But Hudson Valley jumped into the top-spot fray by beating Williamsport, 5-3, and Aberdeen announced its arrival in the hunt by besting State College, 2-1.

Though the 76-game grind of the short-season schedule has yet to reach its midway point, the Cyclones have already played a pair of campaigns through their first 31 contests.

After their torrid 14-5 start, they have gone a paltry 4-8.

Brooklyn has yielded a league-low 99 runs thus far this season, only 81 of which have been earned, but haven’t taken full advantage of one of the best starting staffs and the top bullpen on the circuit due to shoddy defense and wildly inconsistent hitting.

The Cyclones’ .227 team batting average remains in the worst in the league, and Brooklyn is averaging well over an error per contest with 42 through the first 31 games.

The bright side is they are still in position to earn a playoff spot as left-hander Kevin Canelon was due to start Thursday’s series finale in Morgantown, WV.

This, That and the Other Thing: RHP Luis Mateo, who previously had stints with Brooklyn in 2012 and 2014, made his 2015 Cyclones debut on Wednesday against the Blackbears. He tossed three scoreless innings of one-hit ball with three strikeouts and no walks, and should further enhance Brooklyn’s already dominant stable of relievers, if he doesn’t wind up joining the rotation at some point this summer. Combined with his outings for the GCL Mets thus far this year, Mateo has tossed eight scoreless frames while allowing only three hits. He has struck out nine and walked one. … Despite the two losses to open their longest road trip of the summer, the Cyclones are 7-6 overall away from MCU Park this season. They are 11-7 at home. … After finishing up their series with the Blackbears, the Cyclones are headed to Mahoning Valley for three games before opening a crucial three-game series against Hudson Valley at Dutchess Stadium.

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