Brooklyn Boro

No boost in sight for fading Brooklyn Cyclones

Brooklyn Slipping Out of Contention in Tightly Packed McNamara

September 1, 2015 By John Torenli, Sports Editor Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Shortstop Alfredo Reyes is one of the few Brooklyn Cyclones who had a hot-hitting August, boosting his batting average from .149 to .230 during the franchise’s worst month ever. Photo courtesy of Brooklyn Cyclones
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The cavalry is not coming.

There is no hero on a white horse arriving to rescue what is now almost certain to be a lost 15th season for the Brooklyn Cyclones.

Following their latest excruciating defeat, a 4-2 setback at Tri-City in front of 4,778 fans at Joseph L. Bruno Stadium on Monday night, the Baby Bums slipped a season-high five games out of first place in the McNamara Division behind Hudson Valley, Staten Island and Aberdeen with only eight games to play.

In other words, all they need is a miracle … or two before the arch rival Yankees, who are deadlocked with the Renegades for the division’s top spot, show up at MCU Park in Coney Island next week for a regular season-ending three-game set.

Last summer, the Cyclones got a much-needed mid-season boost from Michael Conforto, the Mets’ first-round pick in the 2014 MLB Draft who is currently helping to drive the parent club to its first NL East title since 2006.

The hot-hitting outfielder, fresh out of Oregon State, batted a sizzling .331 over the campaign’s final 42 games, pushing Brooklyn into a deadlock with Connecticut for the New York-Penn League’s wild-card spot on the season’s final day.

Unfortunately, the Cyclones lost a head-to-head tiebreaker to the Tigers, leaving Surf Avenue without playoff baseball for a second consecutive summer.

You can make that three years in row in a few days if Brooklyn doesn’t find a way to win at least six or, more realistically, seven of its final eight games, including the final three against the Yankees from Sept. 5-7.

But second-year manager Tom Gamboa openly admitted to the media gathered in his office following last Friday night’s 5-2 loss to visiting Aberdeen, just one of the five putrid offensive efforts the Cyclones have put together over their last six games, that Brooklyn’s bats don’t appear ready to heat up anytime soon.

“We just make everybody look like a world-beater when they throw against us,” Gamboa admitted as his league-worst offense’s batting average dipped to an embarrassing .220 with a NY-Penn-high 617 strikeouts.

“It’s an uphill climb every night,” added Gamboa, a baseball lifer who has grown more and more frustrated with his team’s inability to back what is shaping up as one of the best pitching staffs in Cyclones history.

The skipper even revealed some of the tactics he and his coaches have used to get the team going at the plate.

“[We’ve tried to get them to] choke up on the bat, try to go the other way,” Gamboa said. “We’re more than 100 strikeouts ahead of all but one or two of the other teams in the league.

“We have some guys on the team that have topped out in ability level,” he added. “With some of them, we’ve got a few guys that are so stubborn that they don’t want to make adjustments for instruction, which is tantamount to beating your head against the wall and expecting a different result.”

On Monday night, the Cyclones actually showed some signs of life at the dish, pounding out 11 hits and staking starter Gaby Almonte (6-7) to an early lead on Jeff Diehl’s RBI single in the opening frame.

But Brooklyn finished 2-for-8 with runners in scoring position, stranded nine runners on base and struck out 10 times as the ValleyCats rallied past them with a three-run sixth-inning outburst against Almonte and reliever Johnny Magliozzi, who absorbed his fourth blown save of the summer.

Brooklyn was slated to finish its three-game set at Tri-City Tuesday night before heading to Connecticut for four games beginning Wednesday.

It is how they perform over the next week that will dictate whether their season-ending series with Staten Island will be meaningful at all beyond trying to derail the Yankees’ division-title hopes.

“We’re just trying to be spoiler now,” Gamboa ceded. “That’s really all we can do. Come out and keep trying. It’s really discouraging when we can’t muster any offense. One or two (runs) we can match, but beyond that it’s a struggle.”

It has been all summer on Coney Island for the 2015 Cyclones.

This, That and the Other Thing: The Cyclones went a dismal 9-20 in August, their worst record ever in a full calendar month since arriving in Brooklyn for the inaugural 2001 campaign. … SS Alfredo Reyes, one of the few Cyclones who have actually taken heed of the instruction provided by hitting coach Yunir Garcia and third-base coach Edgardo Alfonzo, went 3-for-3 with a run scored and a walk in Monday night’s loss. The 21-year-old Dominican is batting .326 over his last 10 contests with four RBIs and four runs scored. Reyes ended July hitting .149 and enters September at a much more respectable .230 clip for the season.


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