— Brooklyn Cyclones (@BKCyclones) July 2, 2017
Behind strong relief work and a big day from Jose Miguel Medina, the Brooklyn Cyclones split their doubleheader with the Connecticut Tigers.
BROOKLYN — Jose Miguel Medina and a resurgent bullpen helped the Brooklyn Cyclones overcome their fielding woes on Sunday afternoon.
Medina went 2-for-3 with a home run and the Clones’ pen allowed just one blemish over eight innings as Brooklyn (3-9) won the first game of their doubleheader, 7-6. Meanwhile, in the second game of the day (a 3-2 loss), “JMM” grounded into two force outs — both of which translated into runs.
Manager Edgardo Alfonzo, clearly pleased with his team’s efforts in the first game, praised them for “bouncing back.”
“It was great for them,” he said. “They showed us a motivation to play, they did a better job putting stuff together, and Ingram, Cobb and Estevez did a tremendous job to finish the first game.”
The Tigers (8-4) dropped to 23-21 all time against Brooklyn. In Game One, Matt Manning left with a 5-2 lead in the second after giving up two hits, including a double by Walter Rasquin. He was replaced by John Hayes, who stifled Brooklyn’s bats over two innings of work.
In the bottom of the fifth inning, with the game knotted at five and Matt Winaker at first base, Medina tripled to left field, putting the Clones ahead 6-5. It would be a lead the Clones wouldn’t relinquish, with Medina adding a solo dinger in the ninth for good measure.
Meanwhile, after Jake Simon lasted less than one inning before getting knocked out by the Tigers’ bats (his final line was 0.2 IP, 4 hits, 4 runs and 2 strikeouts), the Clones’ bullpen surrendered just one run over the remainder of the game.
After Joe Napolitano allowed a score in the second, the rest of the ‘pen — Chase Ingram (W, 1-0), Trey Cobb and Gregorix Estevez — didn’t give up a single blemish. Said Alfonzo, “They did what we expect them to. I mean, these guys did a tremendous job coming out of the bullpen.
“And Cobb, he’s been tremendous for us lately.”
In the second game of the doubleheader, Jose C. Medina pitched seven stellar innings (per MiLB rules, the second game of doubleheaders are only seven innings because of fans needing to get home), allowing three runs, two via the long ball.
But the offense couldn’t come through when it needed to, despite chances to break the game open in the later innings. If Brooklyn plans on making a push for the playoffs, they’re going to have to do better than their paltry
.175 batting average with runners in scoring position (again, entering the day).
The Cyclones’ win in the first game of the doubleheader — which nearly doubles their win total to three this season — masks an alarming problem in Brooklyn: the team’s horrid fielding.
Entering Sunday’s contests, the team ranked 13th in the New York-Penn League with a .948 fielding percentage. The team had made 20 errors in 387 total chances, something Alfonzo has said is “just not good.”
His team made a pair of costly errors again on Sunday, with three of the six early-game runs appearing on the scorecard as unearned. The Clones need to be better on the diamond if they wish to repeat the first game’s verdict.
The Cyclones and Tigers were originally supposed to battle on Saturday night, but inclement weather forced it to be suspended. The two teams picked up where they left off — in the bottom of the second inning and a runner on third base for the ‘Clones — and it was as if Brooklyn was a totally different team.
For the first time in its history, MCU Park added additional protective netting from Section 15 on the third base side to Section 16 on the first base side. The move comes after the New York Mets — the team’s big-league club — announced that all of their minor-league affiliates would be installing this new system.
Cyclones: RHP Trent Johnson (1-1, 2.45 ERA) makes his third start of the season against Connecticut in the series finale on Monday. He allowed five hits and walked two in 6.0 innings at Aberdeen his last time out.
Tigers: RHP Jhonny Mateo (0-1, 9.53 ERA) makes his third start of the season against Brooklyn in the series finale on Monday. He allowed four hits and walked one in 3.0 innings against Tri-City his last time out.