Two weeks ago, the Brooklyn Cyclones were sitting pretty on top of the New York Penn League McNamara Division. 4.5 games ahead of second-place Staten Island, the Cyclones were a perfect blend of timely hitting and great pitching.
Then, with everything looking rosy, the Yankees caught fire, winning 12 in a row while the Cyclones sputtered to 4-6 finish. The end result had the Cyclones looking remarkable like their big-league counterparts, as Brooklyn fell out of first place during the final week.
Unlike the Mets, Brooklyn will see playoff action. The Cyclones had already clinched a playoff berth before the collapse began, but will now enter the playoffs (which started Tuesday night in Brooklyn- too late to make this edition of the newspaper) as the wild-card, which means they won’t have home-field advantage. Worse still, the Cyclones will have to face top-seeded Mahoning Valley.
So what happened?
For one, Brooklyn’s timing hitting went south. The Cyclones failed to score six runs even once during their final eight games- a feat the accomplished seven times during the month of July alone.
Second, when they scored runs, their bullpen has given them back. The Cyclones bullpen has been especially leak in September, with three of their final six losses being decided in the final third.
Quite simply, if you don’t hit and you don’t pitch, you don’t win games.
Brooklyn’s pitching problems are less worrisome, as the arms ward led by starter Mark Cohoon and backed by closer Michael Powers will settle itself out. It’s the lack of offense that will be more worrisome against a Mahoning Valley pitching staff that’s 3.03 ERA ranks third in the New York Penn League.
Brooklyn can take some confidence from their only meeting of the year with the Scrappers back in August: Brooklyn took series 2-1. However, August seems like a lifetime ago.
The Cyclones limped into the playoffs, and unless they find their stride quickly, they’ll be ushered out.