All it took was one inning last night at the Richmond County Bank Ballpark in St. George for the Staten Island Yankees to have their playoff hopes severely damaged. In the top of the third inning, the Brooklyn Cyclones sent ten men to the plate, scoring five runs against Staten Island starter Jordan Cote en route to a 8-2 victory. With the loss, Staten Island is now 3.5 games behind Brooklyn for the Wild Card with six games remaining in the season. The tragic number in terms of the team being eliminated from playoff contention is three.
Cote was making his second appearance against Brooklyn this year and had retired the first six Cyclones, including striking out Mets’ 2014 first round pick Michael Conforto looking on three pitches in the first inning. Then, it all came unglued for the Baby Bombers’ pitcher.
In the third inning, the Cyclones got back-to-back singles by Michael Bernal and Tucker Tharp. Then, shortstop Alfredo Reyes hit a bloop single to center field to score Bernal and put the Cyclones on the board. After an Adrian Abreu RBI groundout made it 2-0, designated hitter Ahmad Rosario would line a single to center to make it 3-0.
Later in the inning, third baseman Jhoan Urena, who was tossed at the beginning of Monday night’s game for a delay of game violation when he had a stand-off with the Staten Island bench, lined a single to right field to make it 4-0. He would later make it 5-0 when he would come around to score two batters later on a Renzo Martini throwing error. Cote would throw three innings, give up five runs (four earned runs on seven hits), and strike out two batters in his outing.
“They had some momentum going and we didn’t help him [Cote] out defensively,” said manager Mario Garza. “It’s one thing to be down one or two, but when you start getting those big numbers, its tough to come back from.”
Those five runs were all the Cyclones would need with their starting pitcher, 2013 third round pick, Casey Meisner on the mound. The only trouble Meisner got into tonight was in the fourth inning. After a Connor Spencer double and Christopher Breen walk, second baseman Ty McFarland lined a double to right center field that scored Spencer and put the Baby Bombers on the board.
However, Meisner would strike out Isaias Tejeda and Luis Torrens with runners on second and third with one out to end the threat. The Brooklyn pitcher went six innings, giving up one run on four hits,walking one and striking out ten. This is the second straight start that Misener has struck out ten batters in a game.
I asked Garza after the game about what he saw from the Cyclones’ pitcher and whether or not it was the best stuff he had seen from an opposing starter this year:
“He was good. He had excellent fastball command, threw his breaking stuff whenever he wanted to and had a really good feel of his slider,” replied Garza. “That’s tough, especially at this level. If you can do that, there’s a good chance you are going to be successful.”
Brooklyn would tack on two more runs against Sean Carley in the top of the fifth inning. After a single from Conforto, Urena would hit a triple to left field to make it 6-1. He would come around to score after a Jose Javier error on the following batter. With the score 7-1 in the top of the eighth inning, Rosario would add on to the offensive night with his second RBI single of the night, this time off of Ethan Carnes, to score Reyes and make it 8-1.
Even though Staten Island got a run back in the bottom of the eighth inning on a RBI single from Breen, it was not enough in the end. First baseman Connor Spencer went 3-for-4 with a double in the loss, improving his batting average to .358 on the season.
Meisner (4-3, 4.08) picked up the win while Cote (3-4, 6.51) took the loss in the last of the two games in Staten Island during this three-game series. The two teams will finish their series with one game at MCU Park in Brooklyn tonight at 7:05 PM ET. Dillon McNamara (1-2, 3.12) will be on the mound for Staten Island against Brooklyn’s Scarlyn Reyes (2-3, 2.57).