At the midpoint of their 76-game season, the Cyclones’ record stood at a weak 18–20 and the team was in last place in the McNamara Division. Last week, I gave the starters their first-half grades. Now, it’s time to look at the pitching staff. Make no mistake — I’ve got out my ruler!
• Brad Holt, starting pitcher: Selected in between the first and second rounds this year, Holt got off to a shaky start, but has been amazing of late, raising his record to 3–2 and lowering his ERA to 1.57 by the midpoint.
“He throws hard, and now he’s learning to use his curve and change more often,” said Cyclones’ pitching coach Hector Berrios. In his last start before the midpoint, he struck out 14 Vermont Lake Monsters in just six innings.
Since then, he’s had one off-game (a no-decision in which he gave up three earned runs in 3-1/3 innings) and one great game (a six-inning no decision against the hated Staten Island Yankees on Sunday). Grade: A+.
• Pedro “No relation” Martinez, starting pitcher: Martinez has been much better than his 0-2 first-half record suggests, though he must learn to keep the ball down when pitching with runners on base, as his 3.24 midway ERA suggests.
Since the break, he’s pitched twice: a 2-2/3-inning debacle in which he gave up three earned runs, and a six-inning gem. Grade: B+.
• Scott Shaw, starting pitcher: “He has the best command among our starters,” said Berrios, though that command has been hit or miss this season. Shaw’s 2-2 first-half record does not include an amazing performance last week in Staten Island (5 IP, 1 ER, 8 Ks), but it also doesn’t include a complete shellacking by the same team on Saturday night (1-2/3 innings, six earned runs). Grade: B+.
• Jenry Mejia, starting pitcher: Only 18-years-old, he’s had control problems, walking 11 batters in 18 innings. He was 2–1 with a 5.00 ERA at the midpoint, and his last outings were mixed: one was a five-inning, one-earned-run no-decision, while the other was a six-inning, two-earned-run outing. Grade: C+.
• Tim Stronach, starting pitcher: Here’s a guy who can throw 93 miles per hour, yet had a 2–4 record and a 2.73 ERA at the midpoint. Berrios says he needs to learn to be a bulldog. That much is clear: His first outing after the break was more like a poodle. In a key July 27 game against the Staten Island Yankees, Stronach was lousy, giving up five earned runs in just 1/3 innings. The loss put him back at 2–5 with a 4.05 ERA. Grade: C–.
• Steve Clyne, reliever: The closer has struggled with an 0–1 record and troubles finishing off games in the first half of the season. “He has a tendency to try too hard,” said Berrios. But something is finally working for him; his four post-midpoint appearances have been impressive. He’s only earned one save, but he’s only given up one earned run in 6-2/3 innings. Grade: B.
• Jimmy Johnson, reliever: Had a spell of control problems, but seems over it, improving his record to 3–0 at the midpoint with a 1.76 ERA. In his two outings since, he’s 1–0, giving up no earned runs in 4-1/3 innings. Grade: B+.
• Roy Merritt, reliever: Merritt attacks the strike zone like a fighter pilot, compiling a 1–0 record with an impressive 0.96 ERA by the midpoint. He’s given up single earned runs in two post-midpoint appearances, and nothing in a third outing to raise that ERA to 1.48. Grade: A.
Other notables: Reliever Wendy Rosa has been impressive all year long and now has a 0–1 record with a 2.74 ERA. And he has 34 Ks in just 23 innings with 18 walks. Closer Yury Santana, whose nine saves put him fourth in the league, has been inconsistent, with an ERA sailing up to 4.00 over his last 10 games. Overall, though, Santana has been great, racking up a 2–1 record with a 3.52 ERA.
In this edition, the Bard of Brooklyn Baseball congratulates the New York Mets on calling up former Cyclone legends Eddie Kunz and Dan Murphy.
What’s this? Can’t be! The Mets have changed their ways.
The team has plucked a former Cyclones’ crowd.
As Kunz and Murphy — Brooks from farmhand days?
Join Evans, Smith, Muniz — how Brooklyn proud!