Saturday, August 04, 2012

BKN Cyclones ~ Brandon Nimmo Thriving in Lead-Off Spot

From the desk of:   THE SURF AVENUE SLUGGERS

BROOKLYN CYCLONES:  Coney Island Nine Take Opening Game Versus Auburn Doubledays.  Remain Two Games Behind Hudson Valley Renegades.  Johan Santana Scheduled to Make Rehab Appearance Sunday.

The Cyclones started this home stand by taking two of three games from the Connecticut Tigers.  They took the rubber game Friday evening led by the pitching of starter Luis Cessa, and relievers, Matthew Bowman, and John Mincone.  The three combined on nine innings, and allowed two hits all game.  Luis Cessa surrendered those two hits.  He pitched five full, walked none and struck out four before leaving the game on the winning side of a 3-0 lead.  Matthew Bowman then pitched three masterful innings in relief, allowing no hits, issuing no walks, while striking out three batters.  John Mincone tossed a scoreless ninth for his fourth save of the season.

The Cyclones scored all their three runs in the first inning.  Brandon Nimmo and Phillip Evans led off with back to back doubles to open the scoring.  Then with two outs, Stefan Sabol smashed his third home run of the season to give Brooklyn their 3-0 lead, and eventual final.

On Saturday, Brooklyn welcomed the Auburn Doubledays to the park at Coney Island and continued right along with their strong pitching.  Hansel Robles was the night's starter and gained his third victory of the season against just one loss.  For seven full innings, Hansel pitched three hit baseball, while allowing Auburn just one unearned run set up by a Dimas Ponce error in the sixth inning.  Otherwise, Brooklyn's starting pitcher was superb in issuing no walks and striking out eight batters.

Paul Sewald pitched the eighth inning and got touched for two hits, but nothing more.  Tyler Vanderheiden pitched the ninth inning to notch his eighth save of the season.

Brooklyn scored a run in the first, and the game stayed that way through the next four innings.  Brandon Nimmo led off Brooklyn's first at-bat with a double, and later came around to score on a passed ball, to give Coney Island a 1-0 lead.

Auburn tied the game in the sixth, but after a good stretch, Brooklyn came back with three runs in the seventh inning.  After Dimas Ponce led off the inning with a double, three straight walks gave the Cyclones a 2-1 lead.  With the bases still loaded and one out, Brandon Nimmo scored on a sac-fly off the bat of Kevin Plawecki.  Then Alexander Sanchez singled to drive in the third run of the inning.

And that's how this one ended, with a 4-1 final score.

Brandon Nimmo continues to excel in the lead-off spot.  In Saturday's game, he was 2 for 4, with two doubles, and two runs scored.  He now has five hits in eleven at-bats during the home stand.  And since being inserted into the lead-off spot ten games ago, Brandon Nimmo is seventeen of forty-one; good for a .415 batting average.  He has now elevated his season batting average to a .271 mark.  That's significant considering on July 25th, after game one of this last ten game stretch, he took a .229 batting average home with him.

The Cyclones (28-17) are 7-3 in their last ten games.  But so is Hudson Valley.  The first place Renegades (30-16) continue to set the pace while Brooklyn remains two games behind in the McNamara Division standings.

On Sunday, Johan Santana is scheduled to make a short rehab appearance in Coney Island for the Cyclones, as he works towards taking the mound again for the Mets by next Thursday or Friday.


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