Brooklyn bats continue summer slumber
Cyclones manage one hit in shutout loss to visiting Aberdeen
Much like their Major League brethren, the Brooklyn Cyclones can’t hit a lick when it matters most thus far this summer.
The parent-club New York Mets owned the big leagues’ worst batting average with runners in scoring position at an anemic .208 following Tuesday night’s 7-1 Subway Series win over the Yankees.
The Cyclones, who have spent the first 44 games of their short-season schedule stranding runners in virtually every scenario imaginable, appear to be following suit after their latest shutout loss, a 2-0 blanking at the hands of the Aberdeen IronBirds Tuesday afternoon in front of 7,613 frustrated Brooklyn baseball fanatics at Coney Island’s MCU Park.
Brooklyn, which ranks second to last in the 14-team New York-Penn League with a brutal .211 team batting average, is also buried in 13th place with a paltry .293 on-base percentage.
There weren’t many base runners at all in Tuesday’s defeat, Brooklyn’s second shutout loss in three games against Aberdeen and fifth overall this summer.
Center fielder Desmond Lindsey helped the Baby Bums (21-21) avoid getting no-hit for the second time this season, drilling a one-out double in the bottom of the opening frame that appeared to give Brooklyn an early lead.
However, Michael Paez, who had walked earlier in the inning, was nailed at the plate on a perfect relay, leaving the Cyclones to spend the rest of the afternoon chasing hit No. 2.
It never came.
Brooklyn finished the day with three walks and Lindsey’s extra-base hit, a step down from the two hits it managed in Sunday’s series-opening 1-0 loss to the IronBirds, who sit in last place in the McNamara Division.
The Cyclones also struck out six times, giving them 359 for the season, the fourth-highest total in the league.
“In the big leagues, if you get down early, if your team is balanced, you need to have somebody who can hit a three-run homer to get you back in the game,” Cyclones manager Tom Gamboa lamented in a recent clubhouse interview.
“That [was] the number one downfall of our team a year ago,” he added. “I use [the importance of situational hitting] every single day, talking about last year’s failure of our offense here. If we just would have situational-hit, it would have reversed our record. The guys are trying but our strikeouts are way too high.”
Brooklyn’s limp bats made Aberdeen starter Matthias Dietz, the Orioles’ second-round pick in the MLB Draft this past June, look like Jim Palmer.
The right-hander yielded the lone Brooklyn hit over the first three frames before Daniel Ayers (1-1), Andrew Elliot and Jake Bray shut down the Cyclones the rest of the way.
The Baby Bums’ porous production cost starter Gabriel Llanes a win in by far his best outing of the season.
The 20-year-old hurler held the IronBirds to a run on five hits with no walks and two strikeouts over a season-high eight innings, but would up absorbing his fifth loss in seven starts, despite boasting a solid 3.18 ERA on the season.
The only reason Brooklyn is still relevant in the tightly packed McNamara race is its cumulative 3.18 team ERA, which has kept the Cyclones’ hopes of returning to the postseason for the first time since 2012 afloat along Surf Avenue.
Heralded right-hander Harol Gonzalez, who is 3-1 with a sparkling 2.02 ERA in eight starts this summer, was slated to try to get the Cyclones back on track Thursday night at Hudson Valley in the opener of a critical three-game set with the first-place Renegades.
Brooklyn enters the series just 3 ½ games back of Hudson Valley, with Staten Island one game off the pace with 32 regular-season contests remaining.
This, That and the Other Thing: Mets’ first-round draft pick Justin Dunn made his first start for the Cyclones last Saturday, striking out five in three scoreless innings during Brooklyn’s eventual 7-2 win over Aberdeen. The heralded Boston College alum is 1-1 with an 0.75 ERA in five appearances for Brooklyn since signing with the Mets. “The kid, I can list him as being the third man in a rotation for any team in the big leagues or even a back-end guy,” Cyclones pitching coach Billy Bryk told MiLB.com when asked about the progress of the 6-foot-2 Freeport, Long Island native. “I’m not saying now, but in the future that’s what I would list him as on a scouting report. He’s got three or four pitches he can throw for strikes and get guys out with. Then he can go in there for one or two innings with two plus pitches, with that mid-to-upper-90s fastball with his slider being up to 85 to 88 [mph] at times.” … The Cyclones announced this week that on Aug. 9, the first 2,000 fans in attendance at MCU Park will receive a Joe Torre Bobblehead, featuring the Hall of Famer in his Cadets Baseball uniform from his days growing up in Brooklyn. The former Mets and Yankees manager, who was also a Brooklyn Eagle delivery boy during his youth, will also be in attendance for the team’s pre-game Celebrity Softball Game to benefit his Safe at Home Foundation.
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