Brooklyn Boro

Lumber slumber killing Cyclones’ chances

Brooklyn Bats Remain Silent in 4-0 Loss to Visiting Hudson Valley

August 27, 2015 By John Torenli, Sports Editor Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The Cyclones, as evidenced by this photo, aren’t coming close to making contact at the plate. Brooklyn’s league-high strikeout total reached 577 following Wednesday’s 4-0 home loss to Hudson Valley. Eagle photo by Jeff Melnik
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The numbers remain staggering, and somewhat embarrassing.

The last-place Cyclones, by far the worst-hitting team in the New York-Penn League, and perhaps all of professional baseball, experienced another offensive meltdown at Coney Island’s MCU Park on Wednesday night, dropping a 4-0 decision to the Hudson Valley Renegades in front of 4,568 frustrated Brooklyn baseball fanatics.

While the McNamara Division title remains within reach — the Cyclones (30-33) are just three games behind first-place Staten Island with 13 games remaining in the regular season — Brooklyn’s dead bats don’t appear capable of providing the league’s best pitching staff with enough support for the Baby Bums to make a legitimate run at their first playoff spot in three years.

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In fact, the Cyclones, who are batting a league-worst .217 — that’s .017 lower than second-to-last Aberdeen, which will be in Brooklyn for a three-game set beginning Thursday night, have managed only 218 runs over their first 63 games.

And if Wednesday’s latest shutout loss was any indication, the NY-Penn’s annual attendance leaders will continue to put their loyal fans to sleep by failing to push across the runs they need to back their talented pitching staff.

All-Star right-hander Gaby Almonte (6-6) was the latest starter to be victimized by Brooklyn’s lack of offense against the Renegades Wednesday.

The 23-year-old Dominican held second-place Hudson Valley (32-31) at bay over the first four innings, but was reached for four big runs in the fifth.

Angel Moreno, Manny Sanchez and Alex Schmidt each pounded run-scoring extra-base hits off the Cyclones’ Opening Day starter, putting the onus on Brooklyn’s anemic offense to respond in kind.

Only the Baby Bums never got the wake-up call, continuing their summer-long offensive malaise managing just five hits, going a gruesome 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position and leaving eight runners on base en route to their seventh shutout loss of the year, five of which have come during this August swoon.

Brooklyn also struck out eight times during the loss, boosting its league-high season total to an eye-popping 577.

“It’s getting to be an instant replay,” frustrated Brooklyn manager Tom Gamboa recently said of his team’s nightly struggles at the plate.

“Our pitching, day in and day out, starting and relieving, is phenomenal. But until we come out of this offensive funk that we’re in … We’re almost 20 points below the 13th-worst team in hitting.”

Brooklyn had an opportunity to break out in front of the Renegades Wednesday, but stranded a pair of runners in both the third and fourth innings.

Things got worse in the sixth as the Cyclones had a chance to answer Hudson Valley’s four-run fifth, but Hengelbert Rojas grounded into an inning-ending double play with runners on first and second to kill Brooklyn’s last big threat.

Almonte left after six frames, having surrendered the four runs on 10 hits with two walks and five strikeouts.

Brandon Welch followed with three scoreless innings of one-hit ball, striking out four without issuing a walk, but the Cyclones didn’t come close to denting the scoreboard over the final three frames.

With the loss, their 28th defeat in 44 contests since jumping out to an early 14-5 start this summer, the Baby Bums dropped three full games behind first-place Staten Island (33-30), two back of the Renegades and 1 1/2 behind Aberdeen (32-32).

The NY-Penn wild-card spot, currently held by West Virginia (34-30), is 3 1/2 games out of Brooklyn’s reach as the season enters the final two weeks.

Through 63 games, the Cyclones have proven, unequivocally, that they are lost at the plate. Whether they find themselves in time to put forth a second straight late-summer run at a playoff spot is highly questionable.

But certainly not impossible, especially considering they are still within striking distance of the first-place Yanks, who will finish the regular season here in Coney Island from Sept. 5-7.

Gamboa, a baseball lifer who has seen it all across four decades of Major League-affiliate baseball, certainly isn’t giving up just yet.

“All we can do is be positive and patient and persistent with the program,” he noted.

This, That and the Other Thing: RHP Jose Celas (1-1) was slated to take the hill for Thursday’s series opener against Aberdeen. The 24-year-old Venezuelan has not gone more than 4 2/3 innings in any of his previous six appearances, including two starts, for Brooklyn. … 1B Zach Mathieu had the Cyclones’ only extra-base hit, a pop-up that turned into a double leading off the bottom of the ninth, during Wednesday’s loss. He is riding a modest five-game hitting streak, going 8-for-32 over that stretch.


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