During Sunday’s media day, southpaw Jake Simon remarked that Brooklyn looked and felt completely different than his hometown of Galveston, Texas. What Simon — and soon after him, Joe Napolitano — found out during Tuesday’s season opener, was that the New York-Penn League is a lot different than the Appalachian League as well.
Both pitchers combined to allow seven runs in six innings, allowing the Staten Island Yankees to take the first game of the campaign from the Brooklyn Cyclones by a final score of 7-4 in front of a sold out crowd at MCU Park.
The 20-year-old Simon, making his Cyclones debut, worked the first four innings and surrendered only two hits, although he walked four, hit two, and allowed three to score. Reaching 81 pitches after 18 batters faced, Simon gave way to Napolitano, who worked the middle innings.
The Cyclones’ downfall in 2016 was their inability to string together hits when they needed them most, leading to a league-worst .216 average and only 284 runs scored in 76 games; a number the team was not pleased with. This year’s squad attempted to reverse that trend, putting together a rally in the home half of the fourth inning to knot the score at three.
Jacob Zanon and Leon Byrd lead off the frame with walks, and the bases were eventually loaded on a Reed Gamache single. Carlos Sanchez — who had a forgettable night behind the dish, committing three passed balls — then stepped up and ripped a double off the wall in left field, bringing home two.
Walter Rasquin also picked up an RBI in the inning.
Fresh off the rally, Napolitano failed to keep the momentum going. In the top of the fifth inning, the 25-year-old allowed four runs to score, putting the game, for all intents and purposes, out of reach for the Cyclones.
The team would have another golden opportunity to put runs on the board, but in the sixth inning, they were only able to muster one run, despite loading the bases with one out. Ian Strom was hit by a pitch for the second time in the contest to force in one, but Jose Maria ended the threat by grounding into a 1-2-3 double play, his third twin-killing of the night.
The Cyclones hit the road for their first series away from home on Wednesday, when they travel to Burlington, Vermont to face the Lake Monsters. Thomas McIlraith, on rehab from the St. Lucie Mets, is scheduled to start for Brooklyn in the contest that begins at 7:05.
- RHP Keaton Aldridge pitched a perfect ninth inning on Tuesday. It was his first appearance since July 10, 2015 which was also the date of his professional debut. Aldridge blew out his elbow in that game and needed Tommy John surgery, knocking him out for all of 2016.
- The Mets purchased the contract of LHP Gunnar Kines from the independent Schaumburg Boomers of the Frontier League on Tuesday, and assigned him to Brooklyn. Kines will make his organizational debut on Saturday against Hudson Valley, after the Cyclones cycle through their rotation of McIlraith, Trent Johnson, and Darwin Ramos.
- The Cyclones announced that 2017 draft picks Marcel Renteria (sixth round), Conner O’Neil (seventh round), Trey Cobb (eighth round), Cannon Chadwick (ninth round), Dylan Snypes (15th round), and Carl Stajduhar (18th round) will all report to Brooklyn to begin their careers.