To paraphrase the lyrics from “September Song,” it’s a short, short way from June to September, and now the days of the season have dwindled to a precious few.
The Cyclones put together a nine-game winning streak that started on Aug. 24 with a win at Tri-City and continued until their loss at Aberdeen on Sept. 2 (see BrooklynPaper.com for all Cyclone game summaries).
That streak put them right in the thick of things for post-season play.
There’s almost no chance — at press time! — that the Cyclones will catch the McNamara Division–leading Staten Island Yankees, whose three game lead with three to play appears insurmountable. (Of course, if the Brooks do manage to tie the Yankees, they’ll be awarded first place because the Cyclones took the season series 8–6.)
The New York–Penn League’s lone wildcard slot seems to be the Cyclones’ best hope of playing beyond Saturday. At press time, the Clones hold a half-game lead over the Jamestown Jammers.
Jamestown has four remaining games, including a twi-night double-header at home on Sept. 5 against Williamsport.
If the Cyclones and Jamestown finish with identical records on the season, Jamestown will make the playoffs because they won all three of the games played in the season with Brooklyn.
Now let’s look at the Cyclones’ line-up down the stretch.
They are well-fixed for pitching.
The Brooks throw three hot pitchers to end the season.
Chris Schwinden, at 3–1 with an ERA of 1.91 (with not enough innings to be ranked in the league’s leaders) throws against Hudson Valley on Thursday, Sept. 4.
Then Scott Shaw, with a record of 6–3, and sixth in the league at ERA with 2.70, pitches against Aberdeen on Friday, followed by ace Brad Holt, 5–3 and fourth in league ERA at 1.87, in the season finale on Saturday.
While Brooklyn’s pitching has carried the team all year, during the streak the hitters started to exhibit more of their potential.
First baseman Ike Davis appears to finally be out of a two-month hitting slump.
“Davis is finally coming around,” said manager Edgar Alfonzo of the Mets’ first-round draft choice. “He’s adjusting and keeping his weight back instead of getting the weight on his front foot and losing his power.”
Davis has yet to hit his first home run, but his average is up to .245, and he’s making much harder contact than during most of the season.
Switch-hitting catcher Jordan Abruzzo hit homers from each side of the plate against Hudson Valley on Aug. 31. Abruzzo has been doing an outstanding job handling the league’s best pitching staff, although he did have a little trouble with Hudson Valley’s speedy stealers.
“It feels like we can’t lose,” said Abruzzo during the streak, and Alfonzo is encouraging that kind of confidence.
“We worked hard all season and had some bad times,” said the manager. “Now is when all the hard work is paying off and I want the team to have fun, just enjoy playing the game.”
The Cyclones seem to be following Alfonzo’s lead, as they hope their big three pitchers and their joy in playing the game leads to post-season baseball.
Channeling the Bard
The chips are on the table — now the fun.
The cards are dealt — the skipper looks to play.
He holds his hand and plays it run-by-run.
A bunt, a steal, a hit-and-run each day.
With Schwinden, Shaw, and Holt — each one an ace.
Alfonzo hides his glee behind his poker face.
Each week, Ed Shakespeare reverts to the form made popular by his Elizabethan ancestor and gives us verse in iambic pentameter. This week’s poem is titled, “The Chips Are on the Table”: