Aberdeen's Staff uses Super Powers Against Clones in 4-1 Loss
by: Patrick Hickey, Jr. | Senior Writer - NY Sports Day | Sunday, June 29, 2008
BROOKLYN, NY - A 90-minute rain delay spoiled the pregame festivities on Super Hero day at Keyspan Park and just like the weather, the Brooklyn Cyclones offense couldn't find a way to use their super powers in a 4-1 loss to the Aberdeen IronBirds.
“We couldn't put anything together offensively,” said Cyclones skipper Edgar Alfonzo. “I had a meeting with my guys today and I told them they have to make adjustments and start hitting with runners on base. We're taking too many fastballs with runners on base and are swinging at too many breaking balls. We're hitting backwards right now. We had opportunities, but we struck out or hit fly balls or ground balls. We need to do a better job.”
Giving up three earned runs in 4.2 innings against Hudson Valley on June 23, Brooklyn starter Tim Stronach was looking to pitch into the sixth inning for the first time this season. Things didn't start out the way he would have liked however, as the righty surrendered two runs on two hits in the first, giving the IronBirds an early 2-0 lead.
“I came out flat in the first,” said Stronach. “It wasn't until after that I got mentally prepared and started to locate my pitches better.”
Despite calming down and keeping the game at 2-0 through the fifth, Stronach had barely any offensive support. Striking out six Clones in five innings of work, Aberdeen starter Chris Salberg was sharp from the get go. In his first three innings pitched, Salberg gave up only a Will Vogl bloop single, effectively keeping Mets Single-A affiliate off the scoreboard.
“They pitched well and we didn't make adjustments,” said Vogl, who had three hits on the night. “They were hitting their spots well and using both sides of the plate.”
The Brooklyn offense did wake up a tad in the fifth though, as Vogl notched a two-out triple for his second hit of the night. The next hitter, Matt Bouchard, took Salberg to a full count and drew a walk. Following Bouchard was Daniel Murphy, in the second game of a rehab assignment with Double-A Binghamton, who scorched an RBI single and got the Clones within one.
After twirling four shutout innings, Stronach was replaced by in the sixth by Jeff Kaplan, who made his pro debut and responded by hurling a scoreless sixth. He wasn't as effective in the seventh however, as another run crossed the plate, courtesy of a Paul Chmiel ground out, giving Aberdeen it's two-run lead back.
With the score 3-1 in the eighth, Montero Cruz replaced Kaplan and gave up a lead off double off the bat of Lee Ellis. Cruz, like Kaplan, was unable to escape the power of the Aberdeen offense, as a Caleb Joseph RBI single gave the IronBirds a 4-1 lead.
Joe Esposito then came in to pitch the eighth for the IronBirds and gave up only a Zach Lutz single. Closer Fredy Deza came into the game in the ninth and kept Brooklyn's bats off the board, despite getting in a bases loaded, two-out jam, sealing a 4-1 Aberdeen win.
“We had men in the right spot there,” said Alfonzo. “We were one double away from winning the game. I know we only had eight hits, but we battled.”
Now 6-6 through 12 games, the Cyclones have won two out the four series they've played and look to get more consistent. Mustering eight hits, the offense will definitely be a focal point when the Renegades come to Keyspan on Sunday for the start of a three-game series.
“I know these guys can hit,” said Alfonzo. “We just have to get a steady lineup together. Once that happens, I know these guys will produce.”
Former big leaguer Tim Spooneybarger pitched for Aberdeen in sixth and seventh. The former Atlanta Brave and Florida Marlin hasn't pitched in the Major Leagues since 2003 after undergoing Tommy John surgery.
Mets first round pick Ike Davis collected a single tonight, putting his batting average at .250 through three games.
The team also expects fourth round pick Sean Ratliff to join the team tomorrow and barring any problems, Alfonzo sees him as the team's new starting left fielder.
“He's here, he's signed and he's ready to go,” said Alfonzo. “Tomorrow he's going to take BP and if he's ready to go, he's going to play. I don't know where he's going to hit, but I'll worry about that tomorrow.”
Before the game, the Cyclones participated in the Take Your Base Walk in Coney Island and helped raise over $20,000 for the American Cancer Society.