Cyclones finally have something to celebrate
Brooklyn Puts Together Three-Game Win Streak After Epic Slide
At approximately 8:23 p.m. EDT on Saturday night, the Brooklyn Cyclones finally ended the longest losing streak in the modern history of the New York-Penn League.
The league-worst Baby Bums, who had dropped 14 consecutive games, the longest NY-Penn skid on record since 2005, finally could breathe a sigh of relief when Jeremy Vazquez came scampering home on Scott Manea’s walk-off sacrifice fly to right field, resulting in a 3-2 Brooklyn victory over arch rival Staten Island.
The crowd of 6,875 that had sat through the brisk two-hour, 20-minute affair rose as one to salute a club that has endured the worst summer in the history of the Mets’ Class A short-season franchise by the sea.
Beleaguered first-year manager Edgardo Alfonzo’s crew gathered at home plate and lifted Manea to the heavens as if he had just delivered a walk-off homer to clinch a NY-Penn championship.
What he did help accomplish was the team’s first victory since Aug. 9 at West Virginia, and first win here in Brooklyn since Aug. 2 versus Tri-City.
After dodging the embarrassment of having just as many losses on their epic slide (15) as total wins for the season, the Cyclones (18-47) appear to have embraced that winning feeling.
Brooklyn has reeled off three consecutive victories for just the second time this year, and had an opportunity to match its season-high four-game run from July 18-21 with a victory Tuesday night against Vermont here on Coney Island.
The Baby Bums followed Saturday’s dramatic triumph by cruising to a 6-0 blanking of the Yankees on Sunday behind a nine-hitter by a combined four pitchers, including starter Jake Simon.
NY-Penn All-Star Walter Rasquin went 3-for-4 with a double, two runs scored and an RBI to fuel Brooklyn’s 10-hit attack as the Baby Bums won back-to-back games for the first time since July 20-21.
On Monday, the Cyclones eked out a 2-1 victory over Vermont when Rasquin led off the bottom of the eighth inning by reaching on a wild pitch after a strikeout, and circled the bases on a stolen base and two more wild pitches to snap a deadlock.
The recent reversal of fortune should hearten the Cyclones as they try to close out the campaign on a high note.
Brooklyn has 11 games remaining on its grueling summer slate, and winning a handful of them would be a feather in Alfonzo’s cap after the Mets icon came into this campaign hoping to return the team to the playoffs for the first time since the summer of 2012.
Instead, the Baby Bums bottomed out early, dipping 10 games below .500 for the first time in franchise history in July, and sinking ever lower since.
Pitching has been the source of Brooklyn’s mini resurgence.
The Cyclones have yielded three runs or fewer in four of their last six games, including a dominant outing by 6-foot-5 right-hander Trent Johnson on Tuesday.
The 21-year-old Winston, Florida native scattered five hits over 6 1/3 scoreless frames, walking one and striking out two while throwing 58 of his 87 pitches for strikes.
Johnson, a 16th-round pick in the 2016 MLB Draft, had been bombed for 12 runs — all earned — on 14 hits over 6 1/3 innings in his previous two starts, making his turnaround Tuesday just as startling as the Cyclones’ modest win streak.
And even more surprising is the fact that Brooklyn will likely lead the NY-Penn in attendance for the 17th consecutive summer since moving into their Coney Island digs in 2001.
This, That and the Other Thing: RHP Marcel Renteria picked up his first professional save to close out Tuesday’s win, striking out the side … Despite its startlingly bad season, Brooklyn can boast about splitting its first 10 meetings with McNamara Division-leading Staten Island thus far this summer. The Cyclones and Baby Bombers will meet two more times, closing out the regular season with a home-and-home set Sept. 6 in Staten Island and Sept. 7 on Coney Island … 2B Rasquin has risen to seventh in the NY-Penn batting race, boosting his average to .303 by hitting safely in his last 10 games. The 21-year-old Venezuelan has 14 hits during the recent hot stretch, half of which have been doubles … On Thursday, the Cyclones will celebrate Christmas in August as the first 5,000 fans to walk through the gates for the scheduled game against Lowell will receive a Brooklyn Bridge Ski Cap. Gates open at 5:30 p.m. and game time is 7 p.m.
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