Clones Bitten by Lake Monsters in 6-1 Loss
by: Patrick Hickey, Jr. | Senior Writer - NY Sports Day | Wednesday, July 23, 2008
BROOKLYN, NY - After two consecutive wins against their cross-town rivals, the Staten Island Yankees, the Brooklyn Cyclones looked primed for a repeat performance against the Vermont Lake Monsters on Tuesday.
However, the Washington Nationals Single-A affiliate had their own agenda last night, stifling the supposedly surging Brooklyn offense and limiting them to only six hits in a 6-1 Cyclones loss.
Now four games under .500, the Baby Bums know that even without offensive stars Zach Lutz and Reese Havens, both of whom are still nursing injuries and will be out for at least a month, the team needs to be able to offensively support the solid starting pitching they've gotten so far this season.
“We can't make any excuses,” said catcher Jordan Abruzzo. “We have to just keep plugging and have the confidence in the people we have. I know we do. Today, we came out flat and tomorrow we know we have to come out with the intensity we had in Staten Island. We know what we have to do.”
Tuesday's starter, Jeff Kaplan [1-0, 2.70 ERA in four appearances] has been solid the majority of the season, but wasn't on his game tonight, giving up four hits and three runs through his first two innings pitched.
But before he could settle down, Kaplan was yanked in favor of righty groundball specialist Tim Stronach, who hurled two scoreless innings before giving up a bases-loaded double in the fifth that doubled the Lake Monsters lead to 6-0.
“He had good stuff, but in that inning, he was aiming the ball instead of throwing,” said Alfonzo. “He got in trouble because of that.”
Over their past two games, the Mets Single-A affiliate has scored 11 runs, making it appear like the offense had finally bounced back after a string of mediocre performances last week in Oneonta. Vermont starter Pat McCoy [1-2, 4.88 ERA in five starts] was sharp however and limited Brooklyn to only three hits in 4.1 innings of work.
The Baby Bums did have offensive chances in the game however, chasing McCoy out of the game in the fifth with a bases-loaded opportunity with only one out against Vermont reliever Randy Matias. However, like most of the season, the Cyclones were unable to cash in with runners in scoring position, as a John Servidio strikeout and Ike Davis foul out kept Brooklyn down 6-0.
After a shaky fifth, Stronach then redeemed himself by throwing a scoreless sixth and seventh. Erik Turgeon came into the game in eighth and kept Vermont scoreless the rest of the game, but the offense failed to come up with any real support.
With the bases loaded and one out in the eighth, Brooklyn cashed in, but it wasn't enough. It wasn't pretty either, as a Jake Eigsti walk with the bases juiced finally got the Cyclones on the board. That was the only offense the team could muster however, going silent in the ninth in a 6-1 loss.
Just two days after one of their best offensive performances at home this season, Brooklyn still seems unable to produce at Keyspan Park on a consistent basis. Slowly beginning to understand that every game at home is becoming increasingly important, the Clones admit they are running out of excuses.
“They had plenty of opportunities to score a lot of runs tonight,” said Alfonzo. “I was disappointed in their effort.”
According to Alfonzo, both Reese Havens and Zach Lutz will be out for at least a month, nursing a pulled groin and a strained quad respectively.
Before the game, Lutz said he'd be out a week and wasn't available after the game to comment on his updated status.