Riding an amazing pitching staff and a shutdown bullpen to overcome a mediocre offense, the Brooklyn Cyclones looked like they were going to overcome a terrible start to the season to make the playoffs. Unfortunately, their biggest losing streak of the season couldn’t have come at a worse time as they lost four in a row over Labor Day weekend which was enough for the Aberdeen IronBirds to clinch the division.
FRIDAY (9-3 loss to Staten Island)
For a team that is going to finish nearly 10 games under .500, the SI Yanks have given the Cyclones problems this year and it happened again on Friday as they beat up on Robert Gsellman, who has had one of the best seasons of any starter in Cyclones history this year. The Baby Bombers scored four runs in just 2.2 innings off Gsellman en route to an easy 9-3 victory in Staten Island.
All of the damage against Gsellman came in the third inning as all four runs were scored with two outs including two runs on a Mike Ford double, and another run on a Yeicok Calderon double and a Kale Sumner single. Cristian Chivilli got the final out that inning, but Ricky Knapp didn’t offer any relief in the fourth as he gave up three runs, all coming again with two outs, on a three-run homer by Calderon. The Cyclones were down 7-1 at that point and did little to attempt a comeback.
SATURDAY (7-0 loss to Aberdeen)
After their loss Friday, the Cyclones were still half a game ahead in the McNamara Division and had a chance to nearly wrap things up with two game series against the second place Aberdeen IronBirds. Unfortunately things wouldn’t go their way as the bats were completely non-existent and the bullpen blew the game as the ‘Clones fell back down to second place after a 7-0 loss in Coney Island.
They had the right man on the mount to start the game as Akeel Morris held the IronBirds to just one run over five innings, but Kevin McGowan just didn’t have it as he came on in relief and immediately put them down 3-0 and it was 5-0 before he left. Not that the Cyclones exactly have enough bats to comeback from that, but after Cameron Griffin came in and promptly surrendered a couple of more runs there was no chance.
SUNDAY (5-4 loss to Aberdeen)
Sunday evening in Coney Island was the most important game of the season for the Cyclones and a must-win, but even though they made things interesting late, they fell short in their comeback attempt and lost 5-4 to fall to 1.5 games out of first place.
The two teams traded zeroes in this one until the Cyclones broke through to take a 1-0 lead in the seventh inning when Jared King scored on an Alex Sanchez RBI single. That wouldn’t last long as the IronBirds tied it at 1-1 in the top of the eighth on a Conor Bierfeldt homer.
Aberdeen then took the lead in the ninth inning when Mike Yastrzemski hit a bases clearing three-RBI double off of Cyclones reliever Paul Paez. Juan Urbina came in after him and uncorked a wild pitch that brought Yastrzemski in for a 5-1 lead.
In the bottom of the ninth, the Cyclones started out well, L.J. Mazzilli and Jared King led off with a couple of singles. Mazzilli scored when James Roche reached on an error and King scored on a groundout by Alex Sanchez. Then Tomas Nido made it 5-4 with a RBI single, but Aberdeen’s Donnie Hart retired the final two batters, Colton Plaia and Anthony Chavez, to end the game.
MONDAY (3-1 loss to Tri-City)
Getting swept by the IronBirds practically knocked the Cyclones out of the playoffs, but they still technically had a shot. That was until the Tri-City ValleyCats handed them their fourth straight loss, 3-1, to officially eliminate them from playoff contention on the road Monday night.
This loss wasn’t especially embarrassing, but it was a good representation of their season — no offense and if the pitching wasn’t perfect they lost the game.
The Cyclones scored first in this game when Jared King scored on a Juan Carlos Gamboa single to make it 1-0 in the second inning. That lead only lasted until the fourth inning though when back-to-back singles and a sac fly made it 1-1 off of Darwin Frias.
David Wynn did a great job in relief, but with other better and more rested relievers to choose from, the Cyclones went with Cristian Chivilli again and this time there was no gas left in the tank. Chivilli’s inning: a single, a wild pitch, a RBI double, a ground out, and then a sac fly. Those two runs were enough as Tomas Nido, Jonathan Clark, and Gavin Cecchini went down 1-2-3 in the ninth as the Cyclones were officially eliminated from the playoffs.
NEWS AND NOTES
• The Cyclones have finished above .500 every single year of the team’s existence, but that is still in jeopardy. With a 37-36 record and two games left to play, the ‘Clones have to at least split their final two games.
• Saturday’s shutout was the eighth of the season for Brooklyn, a new franchise record.
• The Mets promoted their third round pick from this year’s draft, Ivan Wilson, to Brooklyn before Sunday’s game, but he didn’t play in either game he was available for. Using the term promotion was only a technicality as he hit just .219/.321/.300 in the Gulf Coast League before moving up on Sunday.
• With a total of 227,037 fans in attendance this year, the Cyclones lead the New York-Penn League in attendance for the 13th year. However, this was, by far, the least attended season in the Cyclones’ history. 2011 was the previous low and this year there was nearly 25,000 fewer tickets sold than that year.
• Not a single Cyclone hit .300 this season with L.J. Mazzilli coming the closest. He finished at .286/.334/.391 and struggled big time when it counted most going 1-for-15 during the team’s final four games.
• Gavin Cecchini also had a good season despite a poor start and an ankle injury. He finished with a .274/.320/.316 line, but like Mazzilli struggled when it mattered most. He went just 3-for-22 during his final six games.
• Aside from those two, the best hitter on the Cyclones this season has been Jared King. King finished strong going 5-for-10 in his final at bats before elimination and had a solid .271/.373/.355 line on the season. Keep in mind that King started very slow and only turned it on after he was moved into the cleanup spot. He hit .291/.394/.382 during his final 48 games mostly batting cleanup.
• The Cyclones have no shot at the playoffs, but still have to play two more games, both against Tri-City, on Tuesday and Wednesday.