BY JIM DOLAN
Unable to put a string of wins together, the Cyclones have sole possession of the cellar in the New York Penn League’s four team McNamara Division.
“We’re losing a lot of close games,” declared Cyclone Manager Rich Donnelly. “There’s only a ‘W’ and ‘L’ column in baseball, no ‘AW’ column for almost won. Right now we’re a bad team and we have to correct that!”
Noting that improvement can only occur with hard work, Donnelly added, “We’re going to work our butts off each day. Just like my previous years here, we’ll work to get better. A lot of young players are still what I call freshmen, but by mid-August they should be playing like sophomores.”
Even though the team’s offense lags behind, Brooklyn pitching has been a bright spot this season as seen during the Cyclones 2-0 home loss to Mahoning Valley this past Friday night.
In the 90° evening heat, right-handed pitcher Robert Gsellman kept the Cyclones in the game for a shutout over seven innings until Jared King misplayed a ball at the left field fence for a two-run RBI double. Even the Mets rehabbing Justin Turner noted that Gsellman has some “major league stuff.”
Turning 20 years old just last year week, Gsellman has shown the poise of a major league pitcher. “Just check the record book,” said Donnelly. “He shut out one of the best minor league teams in baseball, the Twins Fort Meyers Miracle team at the High-A level. He pitches like he’s 25 and if he keeps that up he wouldn’t be around here much longer.”
Playing in the same game in which Gsellman starred on the mound, New York Met Justin Turner (left intercostal strain) made the first of his three rehab starts at MCU Park.
After going one for three with a walk, Turner said. “It’s been exciting to play for the fans in Brooklyn on the new turf field and the new lit-up Parachute Jump.”
Noting that he had made a previous visit to Brooklyn two years ago to see his Met teammate Dillon Gee’s number retired, Turner remembers that not too long ago that he was a minor leaguer in the Orioles organization back in 2006.
Sharing some advice with the Cyclone players, Turner said that he told them that it’s a long, hard road to the majors and to have fun while maintaining their passion for the game.
“I know at this level it’s a long grind, but you have to do your work on the field each day to be successful,” said the Mets utility infielder. As far as returning to the Mets, Turner stated, “My side feels great, I haven’t had any setbacks. I’m ready once I get the call.”
After Donnelly praised his pitching staff for keeping the team’s head above water, on the next evening right handed pitcher Miller Diaz turned in a stellar performance, going five innings with nine strikeouts for a 3-0 shutout win over the Batavia Muckdogs.
On the following night against Batavia, the Cyclones were drawn into their ninth extra-inning game, and managed to pull off a walk-off win as Julio Concepcion drilled a RBI single down the third base line to plate Justin Turner in the 10th inning for the 3-2 win.
With the offense beginning to support team pitching, the last two games may be the start of the Cyclones climb to a .500 record as the team record has improved to 15-18.