Coney Island

Almonte, Palsha shine in All-Star roles

Cyclones Hurlers Combine for Two Scoreless Frames in 4-2 Loss

August 19, 2015 By John Torenli, Sports Editor Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The celebrations have been lacking on Coney Island lately as Brooklyn has dropped a franchise-record seven straight home games. Photo courtesy of the Brooklyn Cyclones.
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Gaby Almonte didn’t get to start and Alex Palsha wasn’t permitted the opportunity to finish.

But both Brooklyn Cyclones hurlers tossed a perfect inning Tuesday night for the South squad during a 4-2 loss to the North in the New York-Penn League All-Star Game in front of a crowd of 3,622 at Aberdeen’s Ripken Stadium.

Almonte, who has been Brooklyn’s staff ace throughout the summer with a 6-4 record and 3.41 ERA in 11 outings, pitched a perfect second inning, inducing three consecutive groundouts after Williamsport’s Mitch Gueller (7-1, 1.84) was knocked around for three runs in the opening frame.

Palsha (0-0, 0.44), fresh off surrendering his first earned run of the summer in Sunday’s 3-2, 11-inning home loss to Hudson Valley, quickly snapped back into dominant form during the league’s annual late-summer classic.

The 23-year-old Sacramento State alum, who has converted all but one of his 12 save opportunities, got a pair of soft ground outs and a fly ball to center field in the top of the eighth.

Neither of the Brooklyn right-handers received a decision in the contest, which was limited to 8 1/2 innings rather than the full nine due to recent injuries and promotions of players to higher levels across the league.

Cyclones second baseman Vinny Siena, Brooklyn’s lone position player selected to the South team, grounded out to second in the fifth inning and did the same in the seventh.

All three players were scheduled to be back with the team for Wednesday night’s key tilt at MCU Park against Lowell as the Cyclones (25-30) try to snap a season-high six-game losing streak and franchise-record seven-game home slide.

Since opening the campaign with a dazzling 14-5 mark, Brooklyn has steadily declined, going an unseemly 11-25 over the past month and a half to drop into last place in the McNamara Division, 3 1/2 games behind first-place Staten Island.

Siena, Brooklyn’s top hitter with a .285 average to go with 13 RBIs and 26 runs scored after the Mets selected him in the 14th round of the June MLB Draft out of the University of Connecticut, has also slumped as of late.

He is batting just .216 over his last 10 games, dropping him from the ranks of the NY-Penn’s batting average leaders. But that certainly hasn’t deterred him from enjoying his first full season in professional baseball.

“I was very happy for my family to be able to come to my games,” Siena said of the proximity of MCU Park to his family’s home in Woodbridge, Connecticut.

“I’m just making sure I stay with my approach,” he added. “You’re going to have struggles here. You’re going to have struggles everywhere. I just have to stick to the player I know I am. I’m just trying to get better every day and become a better player.”

Overall, Brooklyn ranks dead last in the league in batting average, hitting at a paltry .216 clip, or .015 lower than second-to-last Aberdeen in the team rankings.

The Cyclones have remained on the fringes of the McNamara race thanks mostly to a consistent starting staff and dominant bullpen, which has combined for a 3.05 ERA, ranking second to Hudson Valley’s 3.03 mark.

“We’ve had a pretty good year,” Cyclones pitching coach Dave LaRoche noted. “I suppose the two [pitchers] that have been the biggest prizes might be Almonte and [Kevin] Canelon. We were unsure how they would be at this level.

“In my opinion [Palsha’s] got three plus-pitches, meaning big-league pitches,” LaRoche added of his All-Star closer. “He has an outstanding fastball with late life, a great curve and his most underrated pitch is his changeup.”

With 21 games remaining in its 15th Anniversary Season, Brooklyn is in danger of missing the postseason for a franchise-record third consecutive season.

But the Cyclones hope to complete the campaign on the same torrid pace in which they began it, similar to last year’s red-hot finish when they tied Connecticut for the final NY-Penn playoff spot on the season’s final day, only to lose out on the postseason berth due to a head-to-head tiebreaker.

This, That and the Other Thing: On Thursday, the Cyclones will celebrate Frank Sinatra’s 100th Birthday on a very special Jersday Thursday. They’ll do everything His Way in honor of the man who would have turned 100 in December. The first 3,000 fans in attendance will receive a pullover pinstripe jersey. This is the only Sinatra-family approved celebration in all of Minor League Baseball.


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