Hovering just above or below .500 all season, the Brooklyn Cyclones’ climb through the McNamara Division standings has been a long arduous process. But they indeed have risen from last place, albeit in a weak division. In what is now a three team race, Coney Island’s Kids are just a half game out of first place behind the Aberdeen Iron Birds, with the Hudson Valley Renegades close behind at 2.5 games back. The last place Staten Island Yankees fell out of contention some time ago.
The Cyclones are 34-31 and have ten games remaining in their regular season. For the moment, advancing to the 2013 New York-Penn League post-season via the Wild Card does not seem like an option, as the Pickney Division Jamestown Jammers (39-25) have a firm hold on the lone non-division clinching playoff opportunity. But they only trail the first place State College Spikes by two games. And so, the final push towards the NYPL playoffs is on.
Tonight, Brooklyn will host the Tri-City Valley Cats in the first of a three game series. Next, after the Cyclones conclude their Battle of the Boroughs series with a pair of home-and-home games against the Staten Island Yankees, the Aberdeen Iron Birds will touch down in Brooklyn for a two game showdown. Until then, it is incumbent upon the Cyclones to make those games relevant, as they will only have three games left at that point.
The Cyclones must continue to rely on the circuit’s second best 2.72 team ERA. They are number one in strikeouts and saves, and rank third in the NYPL in team WHIP with a 1.16 mark. Four Cyclones rank in the top ten in strikeouts and two rate in the top ten for ERA, with a 3rd at number 13th.
They are led by righty Robert Gsellman, 20, who is tied for second with a 1.60 ERA. In eleven starts, he boasts a 3-2 record, with 59 strikeouts in 67.1 innings pitched, and sports a stellar 0.92 WHIP. Right hander Miller Diaz, 21, is 5-3 with a 2.22 ERA. In 56.2 innings pitched, he has 73 strikeouts for an 11.6 K/9 average. John Gant, another right hander, just turned 21. He is also 5-3 with a 2.67 ERA. In 60.2 innings pitched, he is tied with Miller Diaz for he NYPL lead in strikeouts, and has a 10.8 K/9 average. In the bullpen, Johnny Magliozzi is tied for third in the circuit with seven saves, has a 1.59 ERA, and 11 strikeouts in 11.1 innings pitched.
Offensively, the Cyclones have been mediocre, and the next ten games will be no easy task to negotiate. They are batting .239 as a team – seventh in a 14 team league. With only a .325 team slugging percentage, they rank 10th in the league. They rank 11th in OBP and home runs. Second baseman L.J. Mazzilli is a bright spot. He leads the team and is 10th in the circuit with a .297 batting average and ranks 12th with 31 runs batted in. Outfielder James Roche leads the team with 14 doubles and five home runs. He’s second to Mazzilli with 26 RBI’s. Last year’s first round draft pick, Gavin Cecchini is batting .287 in 157 at-bats, with seven doubles and 11 runs batted in.
Working in the Cyclones’ favor, six of their final ten games are in Coney Island. Working against them, is the fact that the Cyclones wrap up the regular season on the road in Troy, N.Y. playing the Stedler Division leading Tri-City Valley Cats, one of only two teams in the league with 40 victories.
So for all you locals like our Rising Apple editor Danny Abriano and I, it is time to rally around your real team – the Brooklyn Cyclones.