Feel that breeze at MCU park? It’s coming from the Cyclones bats.
The Clones’ innate ability to swing and miss is keeping the team with the league’s most dominant pitching out of first place.
Cyclones batters aren’t putting the ball in play, and manager Tom Gamboa knows playing conditions at the tough-to-hit-at MCU Park, where the wind off the Atlantic wreaks havoc on fly balls and line drives alike, is not an acceptable excuse.
That is especially true on the rare occasion that the Coney Island breeze is blowing in the hitters’ favor — like it was during the Fourth of July loss to Aberdeen.
“Today, the wind was blowing straight out and we were struggling to get a guy on base,” Gamboa said. “We’re going to play 36 games here, and you have to find ways to win.”
For starters, the Mini-Mets are going to need to actually connect with the baseball. Cyclone batters have struck out 10 or more times in 11 games this season, including four of six games last week, and they lead the New York-Penn League with a whopping 234 strikeouts in just 24 games — that’s 25 more whiffs than the team’s nearest competition, the Aberdeen Ironbirds, with 219. If you do the math, that adds up to losses, no matter how well you pitch.
So Gamboa says he has done what every manager should do in situations like this one: get mad.
“We had a team meeting on it where I got very loud and my frustration level showed,” said Gamboa. “I know our talent level is better than this. It’s just a matter of these guys appealing to their own pride and professionalism.”
Of course, some players didn’t need to get the memo.
Take Jhoan Urena, who extended his hitting streak to 11 games that night. And Jeff Diehl is hitting a rock-solid .400 at home.
So far this season, it’s been the Cyclones pitching that has kept the team competitive. Clones hurlers have racked up more than 200 strikeouts of their own and, while it has crept up some, the team earned-run average is still an excellent 2.98.
The bottom line is the Cyclones have to start making contact and hope for the best, no matter which way the wind blows.
Then maybe fans can bring their own fans to the games to keep cool, instead of relying on their favorite players’ bats.