Through the 10-game winning streak and franchise-best 16-2 start, the Cyclones excelled in areas that didn’t show up in the box score. They took the extra base, advanced runners along and made the pivotal pitch.
If there was a play that needed to be made, they successfully executed.
Brooklyn isn’t succeeding in that vein anymore, at least not recently. Sunday’s 5-3 loss to the Staten Island Yankees was the club’s fifth loss in the last six days.
The ‘Clones stranded six runners on base, going 1-for-7 with men in scoring position. Outfielder Nick Santomauro struck out with Dock Doyle on third and one out in the seventh, failing to get the game even. And in the bottom half of the frame, perhaps the most glaring mistake was catcher Ralph Henriquez’s error. With DeAngelo Mack trapped between third and home, he dropped third baseman Joseph Monfe’s throw to the plate.
“When plays aren’t going your way stuff like that happens,” said manager Pedro Lopez, who gave Henriquez a pass, claiming his view was obstructed by the onrushing Mack. “The little things are the things that are going to help us win games.”
Lopez met with the team after Saturday’s 6-0 loss to the Baby Bombers to reassure them. He felt they had started pressing, forcing the issue instead of letting the game come to them.
“I told them, ‘I’m not going to press the panic button. I’m in your corner. I’m not going to second-guess you,’ ” Lopez said.
Monday’s off day should help. As the result of injuries to regulars such as first baseman Sam Honeck (groin), second baseman James Ewing (knee) and infielder Matt Bouchard (groin), Brooklyn has grown weary.
Lopez, in fact, blamed the recent offensive woes on guys being overworked. Until the addition of infielders Andy Green and Bonfe on Saturday, he had just two extra position players to work with. With two extra-inning losses coupled with Friday’s seven-inning doubleheader, the Cyclones played 42 innings in three days.
Obviously, an entire day devoid of baseball activities is a welcome sight.
“I’m going to relax and watch the [MLB] Home Run Derby,” said centerfielder John Servidio, who has been in the lineup virtually every day, rarely missing as inning. “It will be nice to take a deep breath and forget about (our struggles).”
Brooklyn (17-7) stressed that the last six days won’t erase the first three sterling weeks of the season. The Cyclones are still getting solid, if unspectacular, starting pitching. Mark Cohoon, who leads the staff with four wins, allowed four earned runs in seven solid innings of work. They are still in first place, 4 ½ games ahead of Hudson Valley atop the McNamara division.
Lopez expects to see a different team after the day off. Or, more precisely, the team he had gotten to know before this misstep.
“I can guarantee,” he said, “we’ll learn from this. It’s a game of adjustments.”
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