It wasn’t even a month ago when the Brooklyn Cyclones were in the midst of an eight-game losing streak and looked like it was going to be another “we’ll get ‘em next year” seasons. However, they have made some changes and suddenly the team is leading the wild-card race and looking like it will get back to the playoffs for the first time since 2011.
Our own John Torenli has the story:
Though it may have sounded like wishful thinking, if not outright lunacy, to suggest several weeks ago that this club had what it took to challenge for the franchise’s first league title since 2001, the Cyclones could be primed to do just that.
Brooklyn boasts the top starting staff on the 15-team circuit, spearheaded by the likes of Marcos Molina (5-1, 1.27 ERA), Corey Oswalt (4-1, 2.68) and Octavio Acosta (3-3, 2.80) – all three of whom rank in the top 10 in the NY-Penn in ERA.
All three are also candidates to earn spots in the upcoming NY-Penn All-Star Game, which will take place at MCU Park on Aug. 19.
“[The pitching has been] great,” said Conforto, who took just his second collar in 18 games as a professional Wednesday night, finishing 0-for-5 with a strikeout, as his average dropped to a still-sizzling .328.
“It takes a little bit of pressure off where we don’t feel that we need to do too much out there,” the bonus-baby slugger from Oregon State added. “It gives us a couple of innings to settle in and that does a lot for an offense.”
The Cyclones’ bullpen has also been up to the task when the starters run out of fuel, thanks mostly to the late-game contributions of closer Shane Bay.
The 22-year-old left-hander from Tulsa, Okla., has converted 10 consecutive save opportunities, ranking second overall in the league in that category, escaping numerous jams that threatened to derail Brooklyn’s late-season resurgence in the standings.
“He’s just been cool as a cucumber when he comes in out of the bullpen,” Gamboa said of his trusted southpaw after he closed out Monday night’s 4-3 triumph over the wild-card rival Tigers. “He’s done it 10 times in a row.”