Cyclones safe at home after brutal trip
Brooklyn Powers Past Hudson Valley To Grab Top Spot in McNamara Race
Second-year manager Tom Gamboa called his Brooklyn Cyclones arguably the worst hitting team in all of professional baseball.
And that was after Jeff Diehl and Tucker Tharp homered to power the Baby Bums to a 6-3 victory over visiting Hudson Valley in front of 7,382 sweat-soaked Brooklyn baseball fanatics at Coney Island’s MCU Park on Wednesday night.
Returning from a brutal 1-6 road trip that featured Gamboa earning a rare ejection for disputing balls and strikes, and the Cyclones losing a game on a catcher’s interference call the night before in Hudson Valley, it was safe to say Gamboa’s squad was desperate for a win.
Michael Bernal’s two-run triple sparked a three-run opening frame and the long balls from Tharp and Diehl made life a bit easier for left-hander Kevin Canelon (3-2), who struck out seven over six strong innings to help Brooklyn move into sole possession of first place in the McNamara Division.
“It’s amazing that we have a winning record when we have the lowest runs scored and lowest batting average in the entire league,” noted Gamboa, who watched his beleaguered squad manage three runs or fewer in all but 12 of its first 36 contests.
“We didn’t have anybody hit the whole road trip,” he added. “[Thursday] we’re going to be halfway through the season. We believe the guys are capable of hitting better than they’ve done, but the statistics don’t lie. We’re arguably the worst hitting team in all of professional baseball. The road trip couldn’t have possibly been worse.”
But the homecoming was sweet, and very necessary for a team that opened the season 14-5 and has gone a disheartening 6-12 since.
“I think we were a little flat,” Diehl admitted after going 2-for-3, including a two-run shot in the eighth inning that gave Brooklyn a seemingly comfortable 6-1 cushion.
“It wasn’t a tough road trip, it was just the energy wasn’t there. Hopefully we’ll keep it and get on a roll.”
Tharp finished 2-for-4 with two runs scored, but it was his unexpected blast over the left-field fence in the bottom of the fifth that gave Brooklyn an extra boost as it clung to a then-tenuous 3-0 lead.
“It took a lot longer than I thought it was going to take,” Tharp said of his first homer of the summer. “Fortunately I got a ball lifted and I was fortunate to get a good pitch with two strikes.”
Despite their putrid, league-worst .220 batting average, the Cyclones (20-17) are somehow one game in front of Staten Island, Hudson Valley and Aberdeen (all tied at 19-18) for the division’s top spot midway through the grueling 76-game campaign.
That is no doubt due to a pitching staff that has combined for a league-best 2.75 ERA thus far this season.
“It’s huge from a confidence standpoint,” Diehl said of Wednesday’s win. “The whole year our pitching has been lights out, our bullpen has been lights out. We have a really good hitting team, but we haven’t showed it. We had a tough road trip so we’ve been grinding a lot. We didn’t win very many games.”
Brooklyn improved to 12-2 in games that it has scored at least four runs this year, but not without some tense moments in the ninth.
Following Canelon’s exit after the southpaw yielded just one run on four hits, Luis Mateo and Carlos Valdez each tossed a scoreless frame.
But Ruben Reyes, who started the ninth in a non-save situation, retired the first batter he faced before issuing three straight walks, raising the ire of Gamboa and creating a save opportunity for Alex Palsha, who picked up his eighth of the year by getting the final two outs.
“If you’re not focused when you go out there, you can be embarrassed,” Gamboa said of Reyes, who was charged with two runs during his brief stint. “He’s better than that. That’s a complete lack of concentration. He embarrassed himself tonight.”
Strong words from a 40-year baseball sage who appears to be growing a bit tired of watching his team under-perform. Even if it somehow is still the team to beat in the McNamara Division.
“It’s good to win a game for a change,” Gamboa said.
This, That and the Other Thing: The Cyclones were still buzzing about the bizarre ending to Tuesday night’s trip-ending 4-3 loss at Hudson Valley. Depending on whom you spoke to, no one was quite sure how home-plate umpire Greg Roemer, who also worked the bases in Brooklyn Wednesday night, called C Brandon Brosher for interference on the game’s final play. With the bases loaded and one out in the bottom of the 10th, Matt Dacey lifted a fly ball to right fielder Bernal, who uncorked a throw to the plate that appeared to have Dacey beat. Roemer called Jake Cronenworth, who was charging home from third, safe, but it was later learned that he only did so because he believed Brosher had obstructed the base runner’s ability to touch home plate. The Cyclones were miffed by the call since Brosher had to leave his feet to catch Bernal’s throw and only appeared to get in front of the plate when he actually had the ball in his mitt. … The Cyclones will begin the second half of their season Friday night when they kick off a three-game homestand against Batavia.
Leave a Comment
Leave a Comment