Friday, June 29, 2012

BKN Nets ~ Billy King's Deals Left Brooklyn Quiet in the Night

From the desk of:   THE HOOPS OF FLATBUSH

BROOKLYN NETS:  Borough of Kings Wanders Silently  Through The NBA Draft.

Dwight Howard Demands a Trade to Brooklyn Nets Before the Draft

Sources: Deron Williams Only Interested in Signing With Brooklyn Nets or Dallas Mavericks

It doesn't really hit home, until it hits home.  And I'm not talking about the Barclays Center either.  Lack of a number one pick in Thursday's NBA Draft left a major void in the Brooklyn night.  It's a predicament I wasn't at all pleased the team created for themselves upon consummating that foolish deal for Gerald Wallace which eventually came back to kick Billy King in the ass.  I guess you can tell I'm no fan of that deal.  Nor am I big fan of GM Billy King.  I think I made that clear on day one.  I rue the day Rod Thorne ceased being this organization's overseer.  Worse, is the taste left in my mouth over Billy King and Thorne effectively flip-flopping positions and cities.  But I digress.

The Nets didn't pick until the second round, and number fifty-seven overall, because Billy King traded away what would have been the sixth overall pick to Portland.  Their number thirty-five overall pick was surrendered in 2010 to Golden State in the Troy Murphy deal.  Don't even talk to me about picking at number forty one either, or whatever.  And just for effect, don't forget the pick involved in the Derrick Favors deal.  Finally, with Brooklyn's first ever NBA draft opportunity, at 11:48pm they selected a Turkish forward named Ilkan Karaman.  There ya go.  Pop open the champagne and insert cheers here.  The Nets followed a rush on overseas players late in the second round.  And what else could they do?

I remember not too long ago, the Nets had a plethora of high picks, and vast amounts of salary cap space to work with.  So far, in the hands of Billy King, things go Poof!  He made a basket of picks disappear.  Now it's look out budget time.  With just five players under contract, Billy King needs to give Deron Williams his, should he decide to stay, then figure out the rest.  That now includes having to bring Gerald Wallace back at a higher price which is ponderous!  Jordan Farmar hasn't committed on his option yet, and Kris Humphries will also become a free agent.

Upon final agreement, the Nets will have Brook Lopez under contract.  He will join Marshon Brooks, Anthony Morrow, Jordan Williams, and Johan Petro.

The fact is, nothing in Brooklyn comes easy.  And I guess that goes for building NBA franchises now as well.  The trade Dwight Howard was demanding, then not demanding, then demanding again prior to the draft, never happened.  But the Magic are still in a bind, and are probably better served trading their center.  But what good is having Dwight Howard in a Nets uniform if Deron Williams isn't here to orchestrate the offense?  Deron has already exercised his right to opt out of his contract and  become a free agent.  That time is finally upon the Nets.  Their grace time is over.  Deron Williams, in a very quiet yet firm sort of way, has made it unofficially clear, Brooklyn will be where he stays, or Dallas will be where he goes.  Where that leaves Brooklyn right now, only D-Will knows.

To be fair, everything still lies ahead for Billy King.  His record here, is yet to be written.

And no, I'm not entertaining any Jason Kidd talk.

Barclays Center ~ June 2012


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

BKN Cyclones ~ Starting Pitching Continues to Shine

From the desk of:   THE SURF AVENUE SLUGGERS

BROOKLYN CYCLONES:  Kings County is No Place For a Raccoon.  Brooks Two-Hit Their Upstate Rivals.

After taking two of three games from the Iron Birds in Aberdeen, the Seaside Sluggers returned to Coney Island and hosted the Hudson Valley Renegades.  In an early season battle for first place, three Cyclones' pitchers hand-cuffed their upstate rivals.

Making his second start of the season, Luis Mateo pitched his second consecutive abbreviated 2-hitter.  In six full innings, he walked only one, while striking out seven batters.  Mateo lowered his ERA to 0.77, and collected his second win in as many starts.

In relief, Paul Sewald was first out of the pen for Brooklyn.  He pitched two innings of hitless, scoreless ball, and struck out three batters while issuing no walks.  Sewald was credited with his first hold.  Tyler Vanderheiden came in to pitch the ninth inning.  He walked one, and struck out two, in  recording his second save.

Hudson Valley's starting pitcher, Taylor Gerrieri, gave the Brooks a 1-0 lead in the second, when he balked home Cole Frenzel from third base.  Eudy Pina drove in two more Cyclones' runs in the eighth inning, on a bases loaded single to give Brooklyn a 3-0 lead, and an eventual final.

In eight games, Cyclones' pitching has limited their opponents to a .186 batting average, and have pitched to a combined 2.66 ERA.  They lead the lead in shutouts with two, and also lead the circuit with a stellar 0.96 WHIP.

The Cyclones are now making their second pass through the starting rotation.  In eight games, Coach Donnelly has used six starters.  The rotation shapes up like this:

1) - Gabriel Ynoa
2) - Luis Mateo
3) - Luis Cessa
4) - Hansel Robles
5) - Julian Hilario
6) - Rainy Lara

As a rotation, they are averaging 5.2 innings per appearance, while only allowing 3.4 hits per game.  They have yeilded a total of seven walks.  In 44.2 innings pitched, they have amassed forty-five strikeouts.  No starter has surrendered more than two runs in a start, and combined, the rotation sports a 1.42 ERA, allowing seven runs total so far.

The Cyclones are now 6-2, and lead the McNamara Division by a full game over the Renegades.  The series shifts to Peekskill, N.Y., for Game Two, before they return to Coney Island for Game Three on Wednesday.


Monday, June 25, 2012

N.Y. Mets ~ Resiliency Still No Equalizer Against Mets' Bullpen

From the desks of:   HEAD-BUTTING MR. MET  and   BLAME CARLOS MAY

I  -  NYM 6; NYY 4
II  -  NYY 4; NYM 3
III  -  NYY 6; NYM 5

NEW YORK METS:  Bullpen Situation Becoming Critical.

In the opening game of the Roosevelt Avenue showdown, the Mets jumped on Andy Pettitte early and often, then held on for a win.  But in Game Two, the bullpen faltered, and the Mets let one get away.  The feature match-up between C.C. Sabathia and R.A. Dickey would decide the Queens stop of the Subway Series on Sunday night.

R.A. Dickey retired the Yankees on nine pitches to begin the game.  C.C. Sabathia retired the first two batters, then surrendered a single to David Wright.  That extended Wright's hitting streak to fourteen games.  David then stole second base.  When the throw down to second got away, Wright to advance to third.  But C.C. struck out Scott Hairston to end the inning.  However, the Mets made the Yankees ace throw twenty-three pitches.

Then the night took on the feeling of one of those games.  Right on cue, the game got away from both starters and into the bullpen they went.  The Yankees pulled away.  Then the Mets scrapped back.  But in the eighth, Miguel Batista surrendered a go-ahead home run to Robinson Cano.  Series over.  The Yankees win two games to one.

Miguel Batista threw one bad pitch Sunday.  But with this bullpen, it is still one pitch too many.  The Mets just can't continue to blow games like this.  Not if they plan on being a legitimate contender.  And therein lies the tipping point amongst Mets fans.

Indeed, the Mets bullpen strikes again.  Realistically speaking, where will the help come from?  And what team won't be looking for relief pitching at the trade deadline?  Right now, the only solution available for the Mets is Jenrry Mejia, who continues to work out of the bullpen in Buffalo.  It's only a matter of time now, before he's on the big club for good.

Just to be clear, I am against bringing Jenrry Mejia up this season.  In 2012, I am more interested in development than contending for a Wild Card.  But I can't speak for all Met fans.  But truth is, Jenrry has the most experience out of the young pitchers under consideration for promotion, and seems the logical choice to join the Mets' pen.  Apparently, his promotion was always part of the plan anyway.  Even then, like many roster moves the Mets have made recently, injury, or bare bottom necessity, have hastened the Mets' decisions.  Repeated implosions by the bullpen, will hasten Jenrry's promotion as well.

This season is still fun.  The last two games haven't shattered that for me, but they have certainly highlighted the Mets two most major flaws, their bullpen and defense.  Buffalo can help with the former, but in a limited capacity.  The defensive lapses in Chicago Monday night were somewhat foreshadowed by Coach Terry.  So it's best if the Mets just move on, and try again tomorrow.


Sunday, June 24, 2012

BKN Cyclones ~ Brooks Halt Two Game Skid in Aberdeen

From the desk of:   THE CONEY ISLAND NINE

BROOKLYN CYCLONES:  Brooks Ground Iron Birds to Gain Series Split.  Rubber Game Today.

Game One; Cyclones' First Road Trip Starts With a Loss
Brooklyn Takes Three of Four From Defending Champs

Halt that losing streak at two please - Thank you.  The final score in Aberdeen was 7-1 in Game Two of a weekend series against the Iron Birds.

Rainy Lara continued a string of strong Cyclones' starting pitching to begin the season.  Brooklyn's hurler tossed five innings of two hit, scoreless, baseball.  He walked two and struck out four, before giving way to the bullpen.  Juan Urbina pitched the next three innings.  He allowed one earned run and three hits.  He walked one and struck out four.  David Wynn then pitched a scoreless ninth, in a non-save situation.

Brandon Nimmo and Kevin Plawecki both had two RBI each, and Phillip Evans hit his second home run in as many games.  Kevin Plawecki also connected with his first home run.  Five of the Cyclones' seven runs came on two out hits.

A packed house in Aberdeen watched Brooklyn gain a split in the series.  Game Three will be Sunday afternoon.


N.Y. Mets ~ Bombers' Bullpen Slams Door on Game Two

From the desks of:   HEAD-BUTTING MR. MET  and  BLAME CARLOS MAY

Roosevelt Avenue Showdown


I  -  NYM 6; NYY 4
II  -  NYY 4; NYM 3
III  -  Sunday Evening

NEW YORK METS:  Bomber Subs Dump On Chris Young's Effort.  Mets Strand Too Many Runners as Yankees' Bullpen Slams Door on Game Two.

Mike Pelfrey's replacement pitched scoreless baseball through five innings.  The Mets staked Chris Young to a two run lead.  Kirk Nieuwenhuis homered in the third inning off Ivan Nova, and Josh Thole's fielder's choice brought home Scott Hairston in the fourth.

In the sixth, Chris Young faced Alex Rodriguez with one out and Curtis Granderson on first.  Young induced a pop-up to short.  Granderson went on to steal second base.  Then Robinson Cano followed with an inning ending pop-up, this time to David Wright at third.  The Yankees remained scoreless.

In the home sixth, Daniel Murphy led off by lacing a double to left-center.  Scott Hairston did a great job laying off some nasty breaking balls, but struck out on an Ivan Nova fastball right down the middle.  Omar Quintanilla moved Murphy to third on a topper to Derek Jeter at short.  The Yankees then intentionally walked Josh Thole so as to face the pitcher, Chris Young, with two outs.  Coach Terry let his starter bat.  And the Mets' starter rewarded his manager by promptly serving Ivan Nova's first pitch; a fastball; very cleanly to right field, scoring Murphy from third.

With Chris Young helping his own cause, the Mets picked up their much needed insurance run and chased Ivan Nova from the game.  In came Clay Rapada from the Yankees' bullpen to face Kirk Nieuwenhuis.  Rapada got Nieuwenhuis swinging to end the Mets' threat, and hold the Mets to a 3-0 lead.

Out came Chris Young for the seventh inning.  He issued his third walk of the evening to Mark Teixiera leading off.  Nick Swisher then served a liner to right which Lucas Duda misplayed, but was backed up by Nieuwenhuis to keep runners at first and third.  With no move to the bullpen, Raul Ibanez then stepped up and hooked Chris Young's first pitch just inside the right field foul pole for a three run home run, and a tie game.

With Chris Young's night finished, Jon Rauch entered the game to face Russell Martin.  Rauch caught Martin looking.  Pinch hitting for Clay Rapada, Eric Chavez then drove a high fastball just inside the left field foul pole this time, for a go ahead home run.

Cody Eppley came in from the Yankees' pen to face the Mets in the home seventh.  Jodany Valdespin led off with a floater to left, where Raul Ibanez couldn't make a catch.  The ball got away some, and Valdespin made it safely to second.  David Wright moved Valdespin to third on a grounder to Cano.
Joe Girardi then opted to bring Boone Logan into the game to face Lucas Duda.  Lucas swung at a breaking ball, looked at a breaking ball, then swung at another breaking ball, before making his way back to the dugout.  Daniel Murphy followed, and struck out on three pitches as well.

Still leading 4-3 in the eighth, the Yankees turned the ball over to David Robertson.  After striking out Hairston, he walked Omar Quintanilla, and Josh Thole.  With one out, Justin Turner stepped in and looked at strike three on the inside corner.  With two on, Kirk Nieuwenhuis took his turn with two outs.  After Robertson blew a couple of fastballs by him, the teams headed into the ninth.

Jeremy Hefner pitched a scoreless frame, setting up the Mets' last licks against Rafael Soriano in the home ninth.  Jodany Valdespin swung through a strike three fastball for out number one.  David Wright finally punched through with a single; his first hit of the game.  Lucas Duda then stepped in with one out and struck out on a series of nasty breaking balls.  Daniel Murphy came up and lofted a long, hopeful fly to the right field corner.  But it wasn't enough.  Nick Swisher made the catch, and whooped it up in the corner with a Yankee fan.  Game over.  Thuuugh Yankees win.

Ponderous!  There is nothing to be happy about when you lose to Raul Ibanez and Eric Chavez.  The largest crowd in Citi Field's brief history watched the Mets knock Ivan Nova out of the box, then let one get away.  And what a shame Chris Young's effort went down the toilet.  He was cruising along until the 7-train got derailed with four runs in the seventh.  Overall, the Mets left eleven men on base, and batted 1 for 14 with runners in scoring position. So it's not like the Mets weren't without chances. They had plenty.

On the other side, what a job the Yankees' bullpen turned in.  In 3.1 innings, five relivers combined to allow two hits, no runs, they walked two, and struck out eight Mets.  It was quite a formidible display.

The Mets suffered their first loss in their last five games.  The Yankees snapped their three game losing streak.  Sunday night will be the Roosevelt Avenue showdown everyone has been waiting for; C.C. Sabathia versus R.A. Dickey in the rubber game.


Saturday, June 23, 2012

BKN Cyclones ~ First Road Trip Starts With a Loss

From the desk of:   THE CONEY ISLAND NINE

BROOKLYN CYCLONES:  Welcome, to the First Losing Streak of the Season.

That's right, the Brooks have lost two in a row.  Making their first trip out of New York City, the Cyclones were reduced to a little swirl down in Aberdeen Friday night.

The rain came, delayed the start of the game, then left.  And after two innings, things were looking decently enough for Brooklyn after they jumped out to a 1-0 lead.  Alex Sanchez led off the second with a double, then advanced to third base on a passed ball.  He scored when Kevin Plawecki grounded into a fielder's choice.

In the third inning, Brandon Nimmo hit his second double of the season.  Unfortunately, that would be Brooklyn's last hit of the night.  Three Aberdeen pitchers combined on a two-hitter.

Aberdeen tied the game in the sixth inning off Cyclones' starter, Julian Hilario.  The Brooklyn starter pitched admirably.  In six full innings, he allowed five hits and one earned run.  He walked one batter and struck out six.

Aberdeen scored four times off Darwin Frias in the seventh to secure a Game One win.  The Iron Birds scored one more time in the eighth off John Mincone, for a 6-1 final.

This was the Cyclones' second consecutive loss, after having dropped the final game in their series against the Yankees on Thursday.

In tonight's game, Brooklyn will throw Rainy Lara at the Iron Birds.  Aberdeen will go with Cameron Coffey in the mound.


Subway Series ~ Roosevelt Avenue Showdown

From the desks of:   HEAD-BUTTING MR. MET  and  BLAME CARLOS MAY


Roosevelt Avenue Showdown

Mets Lead Series 1-0
I  -  NYM 6; NYY 4


New York Yankees
Flushing, Queens

NEW YORK METS:  "It's Seven O'clock and I Wanna Rock; Get a Belly Full of Beer  -  Saturday Night is Alright For Fightin', Get A Little Action In."

What happened in the Bronx, stays in the Bronx.  But even then, Terry's Kids looked undaunted by the Yankees last series.  Since these teams last played, life has quite literally been a world of sweep, or be swept for the Mets.  In the process however, they've proven they can take a punch, and still continue forward with a good fight.  Teams find that quality disturbing about their opponents.  It raises the volume of the voices talking inside their heads.  Even the Yankees; and Joe Girardi.  There is no page in his Blue Binder to demystify how the Mets win games.

...And you did Joe.  Your team did hit three home runs, and still lost.  After yesterday's game, Joe Girardi wasn't intimating the Bombers needed another clutch home run...was he?  Is that what his binder says?

Yeah.., that's New York.  Never satisfied.  And so, he we go again.  But for the first time, in let's say June, the Mets finally seized upon a Game One.  Doesn't winning Game One change the whole complexion of a series, or at least our perceptions?  After failing to do so against the Phils, Nats, Yanks, and Reds, this win finally came against the Yankees in the rematch series.  Not that it matters.  The Mets are just trying to win games.  But if you're striving to be somebody at the trade deadline, then Jon Niese winning Game One, especially on a night Andy Pettitte faltered, should be viewed as important.  So, yes, this is about finally seizing the moment; about stepping up if you're Jon Niese, and delivering in a big moment.  His wasn't a exactly a superlative start, but it was a winning start; his fifth.  At this point, I'm more concerned with taking a sizable step forward.  Winning Game Ones will help that along.  And from Jon Niese, it's what we needed.

Mets fans.., we won that game on Karma; good Karma.  As alien as that sounds to us; believe it.  A stunt like calling the Yankees a bunch of "chickens" would have gone over like passing gas in a space suit a few years ago; which is to say not very well.  Additionally, the Media would have been pounding this team for being woefully streaky, or worse, inconsistent.  But they, the media, are not.  Instead, the Mets have their attention, and are now starting to get the benefit of the doubt.

Think about it, the Mets haven't been pelted by asteroids smashing into the front office and managers, and the cries of a disenchanted fan base calling for the owner's head have effectively been muted.  And Ike Davis hits a Nick Swisher assisted home run?  The credit goes directly Terry Collins, and his team for making us forget a great many things.  It's AMAZIN' what winning just a few more games than you lose can do.

Tonight, the Mets and Yankees will play Game Two in the Roosevelt Avenue stop on the Subway Series.  Chris Young will oppose Ivan Nova.  The Mets will be able to reload their line up with the usual assortment of lefty bats.  So, I'm feeling good about the Mets chances again tonight.

Let's Go Mets!


Friday, June 22, 2012

BKN Cyclones ~ Take Three of Four from Defending Champs

From the desk of:   THE SURF AVENUE SLUGGERS


Brooklyn Wins Series 3-1
I  -  BK 2; SI 0
II  -  BK 4; SI 1
III  -  BK 7; SI 2
IV  -  SI 8; BK 1

BROOKLYN CYCLONES:  Brooks Win Opening Series 3-1.  Staten Island Wins First Game in Final Try.

Kids of Summer Outlast Yanks on Opening Day
Brooks Dump On Staten Island's Home Opener

After the Brooklyn Cyclones denied the Baby Bombers their first home victory in two tries, the Staten Island Yankees avoided an Opening Day four game series sweep by taking Thursday evening's final game in Coney Island.  Brooklyn outscored the Yanks by a 13-3 margin over the first three games.  But Staten Island unloaded against the Brooks for an 8-1 win; their first of the season.

Hansel Robles started on the mound for Brooklyn, and pitched rather brilliantly. Over five full innings, he allowed one earned run on four hits.  He walked one and struck out seven.  Once out of the game, the Yanks started to make their way against Richard Ruff.  The first man out of the 'Clones' pen walked three and allowed a run in one inning of work.  Coach Donnelly then called on Beck Wheeler.  He fared worse.  Wheeler surrendered four earned runs while unable to complete a full inning.

The Cyclones' lone run came in the seventh, on Phillip Evans' first home run of the season.

Brooklyn visits the Aberdeen Iron Birds this weekend.


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

N.Y. Mets ~ Amazins Pass a Major Test

From the desk of:   HEAD-BUTTING MR. MET

NEW YORK METS:  Starting Pitchers Continue to Dominate June.   End Tough Nineteen Game Stretch on Amazin' Note.

Dillon Gee took his place in the Mets' arms race tonight.  The sophomore righty contributed yet another splendidly pitched game by the Mets in the month of June.  He only gave up three hits on the night in 7.1 innings pitched.  He evened his season record to 5-5, and also lowered his ERA from 4.43, to a 4.27 mark.

Gee started out allowing just one hit through seven complete innings.  He only walked one, while striking out eight Orioles, and had only thrown eighty-two pitches to that point.  So the thought was he still had gas left in the tank.  He was working on the Mets' third consecutive shutout.

In the eighth inning, Dillon Gee set his new career high for strikeouts with number nine, but not before surrendering a two run home run to Wilsonn Betemit to make it a 4-2 game.  Then after issuing his second walk of the evening, Coach Terry went to the mound and removed his starter.  Dillon Gee walked off the field to a rousing ovation.

Then in came Bobby Parnell with a runner on first and one out.  He made it interesting by allowing the next batter to hit safely.  But Bobby got the Mets out of the inning without incurring further damage, and kept Dillon Gee's effort on the winning side.

Coach Terry went with his closer, Frank Francisco, in the ninth, who promptly loaded the bases with two outs.  Francisco proceeded to walk in a run, making it a 4-3 game.  Then up came Brian Roberts for the Orioles.  A ground ball to Jordany Valdespin at second base ended this game that almost started to go south on the Mets.  But with the 4-3 final, the Amazins completed their sweep of the Baltimore Orioles.

It was a roller coaster finish, but the Mets have arrived at their off day having gone 10-9 over a stretch of nineteen games against teams with better than .500 records.  They got swept by the Yankees in the Bronx, then swept the Rays in Tampa.  They returned to Flushing and got swept by the Reds, and now, they sweep the Orioles.  For the moment, that's Mets' Baseball.  And we'll take it.

Enjoy your day off guys.  After recovering to improve your record to 38-32,  you've all earned a well deserved day off.  All that's left is to read, and listen tomorrow, to what all the Mets' media naysayers will have to say regarding the club now.  So come hungry boys.  There's plenty of crow for every one of you to eat.


Newark Bears ~ New Jersey Jackals Put a Lickin' on Bears

From the desk of:   THE BRICK CITY NINE

NEWARK BEARS:   New Jersey Jackals' Push For First Place Coming at Bears' Expense.

When it rains, it pours.  The Bears dropped their second straight to the Jackals, and have now lost ten of their last twelve games, as well as their last five in a row.

Jorge Vasquez pitched a dandy ninth inning for the Bears.  But the same can't be said for the five Newark pitchers which preceded him in Tuesday's Game Two versus the New Jersey Jackals.  Because by that time, New Jersey was leading 16-4, and fresh off scoring seven runs in the eighth inning.

Starting pitcher, Pedro Rivera, by far suffered his worst outing of the season.  He only lasted 2.2 innings, walking one, surrendering seven hits, and allowing six runs; five coming in the third.  In the eighth inning, Anthony Pluta got roughed up pretty badly as well.  He failed to record an out, and allowed six runs on just one hit, and four walks.  An E-4 by Juan Martinez opened the door for four unearned runs to score.

Daryle Ward, Eric McGee, Bryce Lane, and Juan Martinez each drove in a run for Newark.

In the second inning, New Jersey's 3B-Nick Giarraputo, was hit by a pitch and left the game.  At the moment, he is the CanAm League's offensive Triple Crown Leader.  He leads the circuit in batting average with a .406 mark.  He is number one in home runs with eleven.  And tops the circuit in RBI with thirty-three.

New Jersey's starting pitcher, Steve Fox, leads in two of three pitching categories.  He leads the CanAm League in wins with five, and in ERA with a 1.91 mark.  He was recently named CanAm Pitcher of the Week.

Wednesday is matinee day.  The Bears and Jackals will go at it again in Game Three, then conclude this four game series Thursday.

The Jackals gained a game on Quebec, who lost to the Worcester Tornadoes Tuesday.  New Jersey now sits just a half game out of first place.  After tonight's loss, Newark owns last place to themselves, with Worcester only one game better.

INF-Courtney Billingslea was released.


BKN Cyclones ~ Brooks Dump on Staten Island's Home Opener

From the desk of:   THE CONEY ISLAND NINE



Brooklyn Cyclones        4
Staten Island Yankees   1

Brooklyn Leads The Battle 2-0

BROOKLYN CYCLONES:   Baby Bombers' Opening Day Foiled By Cole Frenzel, and Coney Island's Pitching.

With more stingy pitching, the Boardwalk Bums took another cue from their big brothers in Flushing by limiting the Staten Island Yankees to two hits, in the second game of their home-and-home 2012 Season Openers.  Having secured their Opening Day victory Monday night in Coney Island with a 2-0 victory over the Yankees, the Cyclones took the trip over the Verrazano Bridge Tuesday and secured a second victory in Staten Island's Home Opener.

Luis Mateo started for Brooklyn, and pitched 5.2 innings of two hit ball.  He served up one solo home run to DH-Saxon Butler.  Otherwise, Luis walked just one batter, and whiffed nine of the twenty-one Baby Bombers he faced.  John Mincone took over with two outs, and finished the sixth inning for Mateo.  John was credited with a hold after pitching two more innings and posting zeroes, with one strikeout.  Jeremy Gould was then given a crack at his first save opportunity in the ninth and struck out the side.

As a returning player from 2011, Cole Frenzel exerted some offensive leadership.  In the second inning, Kevin Plawecki was hit by a pitch.  After Cole Frenzel followed with a single, Plawecki scored on an E-5 off the bat of Stefan Sabol.  Frenzel later came around to score on Jonathan Clark's sac-fly, for a 2-0 Brooklyn lead.

In the third, the Yankees cut the lead by one.  But the Cyclones regained their two run lead in their next at-bat.  Cole Frenzel scored again on a fielder's choice.  In the seventh, the Brooks scored their fourth and final run.  Brandon Nimmo scored on Cole Frenzel's RBI single.  Cole finished the night batting 3 for 5, with two runs scored.

Brandon Nimmo recorded his first hit as a Cyclone in the third inning, and finished the night 1 for 3, with two walks and a run scored.  The Cyclones had numerous opportunities to blow the game open.  They left eleven runners on base, and batted 1 for 13 with RISP.

They'll play game three of this four game series in Staten Island again Wednesday, before the series moves back to Coney Island on Thursday.


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

N.Y. Mets ~ One Amazin' Win Away From Silencing Doubters

From the desk of:   HEAD-BUTTING MR. MET

NEW YORK METS:  Pitching Continues to be Amazin!

Mets One Game Away From Proving Their Nay-Sayers Wrong

It took R.A. Dickey all of two hours and seven minutes to dispatch the Orioles.  Monday's game was his ninth straight win, and eleventh of the season, which leads the Major Leagues. Overall this season, the Mets' starter is pitching at historic levels; not just by Mets standards, but in Major League history.  Back-to-back one hitters isn't exactly Johnny Vander Meer like.  But R.A. Dickey's last two efforts are about as close as we'll get in my, or our, lifetime, to accomplishing that age old feat.

In his last two starts, he has thrown eighteen innings, allowed two hits, walked two, and struck out twenty-five batters.  Monday night, he struck out thirteen Orioles to set a new career best.  Monday marked the fourth time this season R.A. has stuck out double digit batters.  He now leads the National League with 103 K's.  R.A. also leads the National League with an even 2.00 ERA.

In his last nine starts, he failed to pitch beyond the sixth inning only twice.  And the most remarkable statistic during R.A. Dickey's stretch, would be his 42.2 consecutive innings pitched without allowing an earned run.  Since breaking Jerry Koosman's club mark earlier this month, only one unearned run has been scored against him.

This pitching run is being spoken about in the same conversations, not only along with the previously mentioned Johnny Vander Meer, but along with the Mets' very own Dwight Gooden of 1985, Fernando Valenzuela of 1981, and Mark Fydrich's 1976 season.  I've witnessed all three of those seasons.  And so far, R.A. Dickey's run most definitely compares favorably with those.  What makes Dickey's campaign even more remarkable, is that he is a knuckle ball specialist, who throws his  specialty pitch with control, and with a certain degree of power.  In that respect, he's one of the most unique knuckle ball pitchers in history.

As far as the game itself, Monday's game was won on the strength of Dickey's arm, but more importantly, victory came off the bat of Ike Davis, who connected on the first grand slam home run of his career.

In Tuesday's affair, Lucas Duda supplied the power.  His two run home run in the sixth inning was Duda's eleventh, which came along with his forty-first, and forty-second, RBI of the season.  Jordany Valdespin had himself a nice game, going 2 for 4, with two RBI.

Johan Santana pitched six innings and earned his fifth win of the season.  He allowed four hits, walked two, while striking out five.  Of greater noting, Johan, Bobby Parnell, Miguel Batista, and Jon Rauch, combined on the Mets' eighth shut-out of the season, which leads Baseball.

More important than just the last two games, Johan Santana and R.A. Dickey have established themselves as the most lethal starting duo in the division; if not the National League.  That's not a stretch considering the Washington Nationals have let it be known, they will be shutting down Stephen Strasburg at some point this season.  In the mean time, between them, R.A. and Johan have pitched four complete game shutouts this month, while accumulating six wins.

Johan Santana and R.A. Dickey have now provided an answer to getting swept by the Reds.  The Mets are now 9-9 over this stretch against above .500 teams which started back against the Cardinals; the series in which Johan Santana authored the Club's first no-hitter in history.  Wednesday, the Mets will attempt to sweep the Birds with Dillon Gee, and improve their record to a game over .500 for the stretch.  It might just be the difference of one game, but should they pull off a victory in game three of this series, the narrative on the New York Mets' season deserves to change dramatically, for they continue to AMAZE.  If you remember, this was the stretch many in the media said the Mets would be lucky to end with a .500 record.


Monday, June 18, 2012

BKN Cyclones ~ The Kids of Summer Outlast Yanks on Opening Day

From the desk of:   THE SURF AVENUE SLUGGERS

BROOKLYN CYCLONES:  Opening Day Turns Into a Pitcher's Duel.  Brandon Nimmo Scores First Run of Cyclones Season.  The Coney Island Nine Gain Their First Victory of Summer.

Game One in the Battle of the Boroughs, and of the 2012 regular season, goes to the Borough of Kings.

Right away, Brooklyn fans were in for a treat.  Opening Day in Coney Island turned into a classic pitcher's duel.  Through the first seven innings, the Baby Bombers and the Surf Avenue Sluggers remained scoreless.

For the Cyclones, starting pitcher, Ynoa Gabriel, pitched six innings of superb ball.  He allowed three hits, no runs, walked none, and struck out four.  For the Baby Bombers, Taylor Morton, equalled Gabriel's effort with six shut-out innings of his own.  He allowed four hits, walked one, and struck out a pair.

Both teams turned to their bullpens in the seventh.  For the Yankees, Conner Mullee was summoned.  And for the Cyclones, Coach Donnelly charged Dawrin Fias with Brooklyn's initial relief outing of the season.  Both pitchers kept the game scoreless for another frame.  Dawrin Frias pitched the eighth as well, and again kept the Yankees off the board.

In the home eighth, the Yankees handed the ball off to James Pazos.  With one out, Brandon Nimmo worked out a walk against Pazos.  He advanced to second base when Phillip Evans drew a second consecutive walk.  Alexander Sanchez then reached safely on an infield hit to load the bases.  When Stephan Sabol drew yet another base on balls, Brandon Nimmo crossed home plate with the first Cyclones' run of the game, and of the 2012 season.  A sac-fly by Cole Frenzel drove in Phillip Evans from third to give Brooklyn a 2-0 lead.

That's the way it stayed.  Tyler Vanderheiden was called in to close the game for Brooklyn.  And he did not disappoint.  He retired Staten Island in order, striking out the last two batters swinging, for his first save of the season.  For Ynoa Gabriel, his effort earned him his first win , and Dawrin Frias gets credit for a hold.  The three Cyclone pitchers combined to limit the Yankees to four hits all game.

The thrills and chills of Coney Island are officially back.  Let the Summer begin!

Let's Go Cyclones!


Newark Bears ~ Brick City Finding Few Wins To Feed On

From the desk of:   THE BRICK CITY NINE

NEWARK BEARS:  Back Home After a Rough Road Trip, New Jersey Visited The Den and Made Matters Worse.

The Midwest seemed like no place for Bears.  In their first foray into American Association territory, all the Brick City Nine could muster were two victories in ten tries.  They lost two of three games from the Gary SouthShore RailCats to begin the trip.  In Kansas City against the T-Bones, the Bears avoided a sweep by winning game three of that series.  And in the last stop of their westward swing, they played a double-header against the Grand Prairie Air Dogs, and a third game last Friday evening, and lost them all.  The road trip was most definitely a setback, and drops the Bears' season record to 10-19, and a fourth place standing.

After a two day break, the Bears were back in the comfort of The Den Monday evening, where they opened up a three game series against their second place rivals, and Garden State neighbor, the New Jersey Jackals.  But the game didn't go as Newark might have hoped.

The Jackals struck for six runs, five earned, in the second inning off Newark's starter, Caleb Cuevas.  But outside of that second inning, Caleb pitched well.  Aside of four hits in the second, he allowed but two over the rest of his 7.1 inning start.  He walked two and struck out eight.

The Bears however could do little against Jackals' pitching.  New Jersey starter Steve Fox, pitched six strong innings; allowing three hits and no runs.  He walked one and struck out seven.  Daryl Ward drove in the Bears' lone run off the Jackals' bullpen with an RBI single in the eighth.

The Jackals improved to 19-11 for the season, and remain one game behind the first place Quebec Capitales.  Newark however, dropped to 10-20 on the year; 8.5 games behind the Jackals.  They are now in last place, with the Worcester Tornadoes ahead of them by one-half game.

Thirty percent of the Bears season is now complete.


BKN Cyclones ~ Opening Day; Battle of the Boroughs - I

From the deskk of:   THE SURF AVENUE SLUGGERS


Battle of the Boroughs

Staten Island Yankees
Surf Avenue, Coney Island

BROOKLYN CYCLONES:  Let the Battle of the Boroughs Begin!  The Twelfth Cyclones Season by the Seashore Starts, Now!

We pick up this series where we left off.  Last September, the Baby Bombers eliminated the Coney Island Nine from the semi-final round of the playoffs.  The Staten Island Yankees went on to win their sixth NY-PL championship since the club's 1999 start.  Nine months later, the Cyclones finally get their chance to beat the Yankees on the field again on Opening Day.


Saturday, June 16, 2012

Brooklyn Cyclones ~ The Boardwalk Bums Are Back

From the desk of:   THE SURF AVENUE SLUGGERS

12th Season of Baseball By The Sea Shore.

...But, we start this season without our beloved and legendary Voice of Summer.  The most esteemed occupant of The Catbird Seat; Mr. Warner Fusselle; has passed away at the age of sixty-eight.  The only radio broadcaster the Cyclones ever had, now calls games in a better place.

I live/lived within listening distance of the Cyclone's previous broadcasts out of Kingsborough Community College.  And therefore, Warner Fusselle's voice was a big part of my summer, as I was always tuned into the games, if I wasn't there in person, that is.  And so, Mr. Fusselle will sorely be missed, not just by me, but by my whole generation of baseball fans.  He became known to me as the voice of This Week In Baseball, after taking over for Mel Allen.

Having Warner Fusselle call games on behalf of the Borough of Kings, has been nothing short of, Classic.

The radio broadcasts will continue, but from a new, more powerful signal and home at Seton Hall University Radio.  With far more reach than their previous, limited signal emanating off the shores of Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn Cyclones fans throughout the greater New York City area will now be able to listen to games on WSOU 89.5 FM.

The Cyclones have revealed their Preliminary Roster for the upcoming season which begins Monday evening in Coney Island, against the rival Staten Island Yankees.  Included on the roster, and making his Brooklyn debut, will be Team Sandy's 2011 thirteenth overall pick in the First-Year Player Draft; outfielder, Brandon Nimmo.

Welcome to Brooklyn Brandon!  See you at the park.

Rich Donnelly is returning for a second season as Cyclones' skipper.  After nearly guiding us to a championship last season, he will be a welcome sight calling signals from the third base box again.  Marc Valdez takes over for Frank Viola as Pitching Coach.  He's coached in the Mets system since 2007; most recently in Binghampton.  Former Cyclones' player, Bobby Malek, returns for a second season as hitting coach.


Friday, June 15, 2012

N.J. Devils ~ Flame Out

From the desk of:   The Brick City Demons

NEW JERSEY DEVILS:  The Kings Put Martin Brodeur Under Siege.

The Devils' Best Chance at Returning to the Finals Lies With Resigning Zach Parise.

The first ten minutes of Game Six looked like it was going to be another classic grinder.  But apparently, no one forwarded the memo to Steve Bernier, who went for the pulverization method instead.  What a shame too.  The Devils had something going there.

But a five minute major and a game misconduct, effectively took two Devils off the ice, as Petr Sakora sat the penalty, while Bernier was off to the showers; done for the night.  It ended the Devils' trip to the City of Angels, and brought New Jersey's season to a most ruinous close.  Three Kings' goals in the ensuing five minute power play exorcised the Devils' remaining hopes for a fourth Stanley Cup championship.  It would not be.  The power of the Kings compelled them.

The final score was 6-1, and to Martin Brodeur, I'm sure he was just as embarrassed as the meltdown actually looked.

The Devils were no fluke.  I'll say that right now.  I can't help but think how they stormed back last season, and just missed the playoffs.  And I think that team, and this year's team, was more representative of the Devils than the team which played under John MacLean.

So where do the Devils go from here?  Zach Parise is no doubt priority number one.  The soon to be free agent apparently wants to stay with the Devils.  But truth be told, the organization's finances are in shambles.  If they do manage to resign him, look out Atlantic Division, as he's heading into his prime.


Thursday, June 14, 2012

N.Y. Mets ~ Terry's Kids Tearing Up Tampa

From the desk of:   HEAD-BUTTING MR. MET

NEW YORK METS:  R.A. Dickey Tops Jerry Koosman; Pitches 32.2 Consecutive Scoreless Innings
Setting a New Club Record.

Dickey Pitches the Amazins 36th One-Hitter in Club History.

That's another team in which the Mets left a bewildered look on their manager's face.  The Mets' two game offensive assault unleashed upon Tampa pitching so far has been something bordering Amazin', because of the unconventional manner in which they continue to string rallies together.

This has been Mets Baseball:

They lead the National League in striking out, yet remain number two in walks.  They do not have any team speed, ranking fifteenth in stolen bases.  And their lack of power has already been well documented.  They are still thirteenth in the circuit in home runs.

In these last two games versus the Rays, the Mets have scored twenty runs, and have amassed twenty-eight hits, and the only home run came of Ike Davis' bat in Game One.  But these Mets sure can hit doubles though!  They rank number one in the National League in two-baggers.  That has managed to help them score the fourth most runs in the circuit.  Ike Davis doubled Wednesday night.  And it was the second consecutive game he hit a pea to right.  Perhaps better days for him are finally arriving.


Wednesday night, they knocked Tampa's David Price out of the box.  So there's the legitimacy needed to qualify what they are doing.  As a matter of fact, the Mets have outlasted, or beat, most of the top flight starters they've faced this season.  But that would inevitably lead me into a conversation about the bullpen..., and that's not what this post is about.

Six different Mets drove in runs Wednesday night.  And it is a cornucopia of inexperienced players which continue to make these wins happen at a rate of fifty-four percent.  That's not great.  But it's certainly not too shabby.  And what is truly Amazin' is the stat SNY flashed during the game.  Half the runs the Mets have scored this season have come with two outs.

You can't ask for a better response after getting swept in the Bronx last weekend.  But Met fans got one in R.A. Dickey's one-hitter anyway.

If what the Mets are doing with their bats is Amazin, then what R.A. Dickey is doing is flat out Mets' Magic.  I'm not really interested about the questionable official scoring on the ball hit to David Wright, which in the end, marred what could have been the Mets' second no-hitter of the month and not the club's thirty-sixth one-hitter in history.  Instead, there is too much to be happy about with regards to R.A. Dickey's performance this season.

In the course of R.A. Dickey's second career one-hitter, he pitched 32.2 consecutive scoreless innings to break Jerry Koosman's club record which stood since the 1973 season.  Wednesday night was also R.A's eighth consecutive win, and his tenth this season, which ties him for the MLB lead.  In his last five games, he has an 0.23 ERA, and his season ERA of 2.20, is down from 3.75 back on May 17th.

The Mets will try and complete a series sweep of the Rays on Thursday.

Let's Go Mets!


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Newark Bears ~ Defeat Kansas City T-Bones in Matinee

From the desk of:   THE BRICK CITY NINE

NEWARK BEARS:  Outlast Kansas City Pitching for Tenth Inning Win in Series Finale.  Next Stop on the American Association Tour; the Grand Prairie Air Dogs.

Bears Drop Opening Game to Kansas City T-Bones

Wednesday Final:  10 innings
Newark   2
Kansas City  1

The Brick City Grizzlies salvaged the final game of a three game series in Kansas City with an extra inning effort in Wednesday's matinee game against the T-Bones.

Kansas City's Josh Rainwater pitched nine superb full innings.  He allowed eight hits, and one earned run.  He walked none and struck out eight.  Newark scored first in the opening inning.  Alex Bardeguez led off the game with a triple and scored the Bears first run when Juan Martinez bounced into a 4-3 put-out.  Rainwater then kept the Bears quiet over his next eight innings of work.  The T-Bones got Rainwater off the losing side of the ledger when they scored in the sixth inning to tie the game at one each.

Mike Ness made the start for Newark, and pitched six full innings.  Ness was on the winning side of this game until he surrendered a lead-off home run to Trevor Coleman in the sixth.  Mike Ness walked two and struck out five before giving way to Matt Lyons and the bullpen.

Both starters wound up pitching no-decisions.

Matt Lyons and Anthony Pluta turned in two innings of scoreless relief.  While Jorge Vasquez kept the T-Bones off the board in the ninth.  Then into the tenth inning they went.

Kansas City turned the ball over to the bullpen, calling upon Jacob Wiley.  An E-6 allowed Billy Alvino to reach safely.  Three batters later, Juan Martinez drove him in with a go-ahead single.  In the bottom of the ninth, Jorge Vasquez retired the T-Bones in order, striking out the last two batters swinging to earn the win.

Tuesday Final:
Kansas City  8
Newark         1

In the middle game of the series against Kansas City, the T-Bones' Shaun Garceau held Newark scoreless over six innings, while allowing three scattered hits.  The bullpen covered the rest and allowed the Bears their only run in the ninth inning.

Offensively, the T-Bones tenderized Newark's pitching with eleven hits, and eight runs.  In his fifth start, the Bears' Pedro Rivera pitched six innings and allowed three earned runs en route to suffering his third loss of the season.  Most of Kansas City's damage however, came against reliever Luis Garcia.  In only one inning pitched, he allowed five earned runs on three hits and two walks.

The Bears will continue their American Association tour against the 2011 American Association defending champions; the Grand Prairie Air Dogs; starting with a double-header on Thursday.


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Newark Bears ~ Drop Opening Game to Kansas City T-Bones

From the desk of:   THE BRICK CITY NINE

NEWARK BEARS:  American Association Territory Proving Hazardous For Bears.

In Sunday's series finale, the Gary SouthShore RailCats outlasted Bears' starter, Brian Parker.  The home team rallied in the sixth inning to score the tying, and go ahead runs.  Gary starter, Kyle Wilson was strong over seven innings, and could have benefited from better defensive play.  Three of the four runs he allowed came unearned.  The RailCats' bullpen kept the Bears quiet the rest of the way.  The game ended in a 5-4 final score.  The Bears wound up dropping three of four games in their first trip to Gary, Indiana.

Next stop - Kansas City..., "Kansas City, Here I Come...,"  - to take on the T-Bones.

Kansas City T-Bones
Community America Ballpark
Gary, Indiana

Caleb Cuevas was making his second start for the Bears, and Brian Grening was on the hill for BBQ Nation.  And Kansas City waisted no time putting Newark on the grill.  After scoring two quick runs in the first, the T-Bones slow cooked and smoked the Bears; adding another run in the fourth for taste.

Brian Grening was excellent through six innings, allowing three hits, no runs, no walks, and striking out six.  For Newark, as has been Coach Oberkfell's desire this season, he's determined to make his starting pitchers be accountable for six innings, no matter the situation.  And so he let Cuevas struggle through seven walks, and three runs on four hits, in 5.2 innings, before finally getting lifted for Matt Lyons.  To his credit, Cuevas struck out five.

Thanks to three unearned runs, Newark finally posted a total four runs in the seventh to take a 4-3 lead.  But Matt Lyons gave two back in the bottom of the seventh, and Anthony Pluta gave Kansas City two more in the eighth for an 7-4 final score.

Kansas City's Brian Grening pitched eight full ininngs for the win.  Jacob Wiley picked up the save

The Bears have now lost four of five games during this swing through the American Association.


Monday, June 11, 2012

BKN Cyclones ~ Broadcast Legend Warner Fusselle Has Passed



The Cat Bird Seat will never be the same.  Brooklyn's Voice of Summer has passed.  A man who my generation met through This Week In Baseball, calls games for another team now.  The great Warner Fusselle, radio broadcaster of the Brooklyn Cyclones since 2001, has left us at the age of sixty-eight.

Warner Fusselle
1944 - 2012


Sunday, June 10, 2012

N.Y. Mets ~ Subway Series; A Bronx Fail

From the desks of:


Old School Mural ~ Williamsburg

I  -  NYY 9; NYM 1
II  -  NYY 4; NYM 3
III  -  NYY 5; NYM 4

Mets Suffer A Bronx Beat-Down

"The Yankees draw Johan Santana tonight in his first game since tossing a no-hitter at Citi Field. Johan has now tossed two consecutive complete game victories. After tossing 134 pitches during his no-no, tonight we'll see the effects of him either over extending himself last time out, or whether giving Johan extra time off between starts was beneficial, or leaves him flat."  -  That's what I said Friday prior to Game One.

If I didn't come right out and say it, I certainly sensed it.  Johan Santana's start was going to be a bomb.  We all know what happened FRIDAY.  I'm not saying I'm smart.  I'm just saying, that's Baseball.  That's the way pitchers go in the modern age.  There is a very fine line to walk between managing muscle recovery, and foiling muscle memory.  The Mets toyed with both, but are not to be blamed.  Throwing no-hittters are an exception to the rule of traditional in-game management.  Post game management, in this case, the decision to give Johan extra rest, was probably necessary, but it's also called biting the bullet for such occasions as Johan's 134 pitch gem.  In Game One, he only walked one, and struck out five Yankees.  So control wasn't the issue.  He was flat, and hittable, as evidenced by six hits, but four home runs allowed, in five innings.  Three of those came back, to back, to back.  As Mets fans, it is just a game we have to ignore.

What I'm not OK with, was the offensive rigamortis that set in against Hiroki Kuroda.  Thank you Omar Quintanilla for breaking up a potential no-hitter in the sixth.  Kuroda struck out seven Mets in the process.  Only Lucas Duda continued his steady hitting, finally connecting for a double in the ninth to score Quintanilla, and ruining the Yankees' shut-out.  But that's all the Mets would get; two hits and one run.

The other point of contention would be the performance of Elvin Ramirez.  All three of his appearances so far, have gone very wrong since his call-up from Buffalo.  He dazzled in eight appearances in Binghampton, and then ten more with the Bisons this season before Sandy Alderson summoned him up to the big club.  Since arriving, the twenty-four year old has fizzled miserably.

SATURDAY'S GAME was lost on two pitches.  Dillon Gee served-up a home run pitch to Mark Teixeira; a little payback for getting plunked by Gee in the first; and Bobby Parnell issued one to Curtis Grandrson.  As number four starters go, Gee and Phil Hughes actually engaged in a nice pitching duel through the first five innings.  But Hughes had a better sixth inning.  And well, there ya go.  Game Two went to the Yankees again.

The Mets actually out-hit the Yankees eight to six.  And David Wright and Omar Quintanilla both homered for the Amazins.  But when you cancel out the four combined home runs hit in this game, Alex Rodriguez' RBI single to drive in Derek Jeter was the difference.  It gave the Yankees a first inning lead that had strong enough legs to allow the Bomber's bullpen a chance at finishing off the Mets over the final 2.2 innings.

Saturday's was a decent start for Dillon Gee, and as with several of his other previous starts, he certainly could have used more help.

SUNDAY, the Mets set about trying to gain victory in the final game of this series by scoring early off Andy Pettitte.  Vinny Rottino had an RBI single, and Jordany Valdespin doubled home two more, for a three run second inning.  The Mets left the bases loaded however, as Andy struck out Jason Bay and David Wright consecutively, to end the Amazin's threat.

Jon Niese cruised through the first five innings.  In the sixth he got into trouble.  Derek Jeter led off by beating out an infield hit, and Granderson followed with a single.  Teixeira then grounded into a fielder's choice, on a nice play by Valdespin at short.  With runners now on first and third, and one out, up came Alex Rodriguez to face Jon Niese.  The Mets' starter escaped the inning when he got A-Rod to ground into an inning ending double play.

Andy Pettitte fielded a come-backer in the sixth with his bare pitching hand, but stayed in and completed the frame.  However, he did not return to the mound for the seventh.  Andy was clearly feeling discomfort in his hand, and gave way to Pinstripe neophyte, Clay Rapada.

Jon Niese came out for his half of the seventh, and immediately gave up a lead-off single to Robinson Cano.  The Mets then went around the horn on Nick Swisher's grounder to Wright, and turned their second double-play in two innings for a quick two outs.  An E-5 allowed Andrew Jones to reach first when Vinny Rottino, playing first base for Ike Davis, couldn't dig a ball out of the dirt.  So naturally, with two outs, Russell Martin lined a short Yankee-Porch home run to right to bring the Yankees within a run.

After getting the third out, Jon Niese's afternoon was through.  He pitched seven full innings, gave up seven hits and one walk.  He allowed two runs, but both were unearned.  Jon struck out six and threw exactly 100 pitches.

In came Bobby Parnell for the eighth.  His first batter was Derek Jeter, who topped a bouncer to short. Quintanilla misplayed the hop, and Derek Jeter advanced to second as the ball dribbled away.  Curtis Granderson singled to left and Jeter got held up at third.  Up came Teixeira, who singled in Jeter to tie the game at three.  And there went Jon Niese's start.

Alex Rodriguez took his turn against Parnell and popped a ball up that fell between Ike Davis (in as a defensive replacement), Jordany Valdespin from second base, and Scott Hairston coming from right.  Granderson scored.  There went the Mets' lead, and off went Bobby Parnell to the showers, without so much as retiring a batter.

Tim Byrdak was summoned, and set down the next two Yankees in order.  Then Coach Collins made another move for Jon Rauch, who struck out Raul Ibanez to end the inning.

In the Mets' ninth, they faced de-facto closer, Rafael Soriano.  Lucas Duda led off, and unleashed a laser to center and over Granderson's head for a double.  Then up came Ike Davis for the first time in the game, and promptly mashed a double to right center, delivering Duda for a tie game.  Quintanilla hit a grounder to short, that Ike Davis tried advancing to third on, and was thrown out.

Daniel Murphy batted with Quintanilla on first.  On a 3-2 pitch, Murphy pulled a pitch between first and second, putting Quintanilla on third, which spelled the end of Rafael Soriano's day.  Joe Girardi then called upon his fourth reliever of the afternoon, Boone Logan to put a stop to the Mets' rally.  He'd face Josh Thole, who was sent up as a pinch-hitter with one out, and the go ahead runner at third. In a little catcher-on-catcher crime, Josh fouled one off Russell Martin's mask, then got JOBBED on a called strike three a few pitches later!  Rookie Kirk Nieuwenhuis then stepped up and grounded out to Cano for the third out.

In the bottom of the ninth, lead-off batter, Russell Martin, launched a Jon Rauch slider deep, about eight rows back into the left field seats, for his second home run of the afternoon, a walk-off win, and a Yankees' sweep of the Mets in the Bronx.

Thuugh Mets lose.  Thuu-uugh, Mets Lose.  Why you ask?  An E-5 and an E-6 will go down as the Mets' ruin in Game Three.

The Mets lost this series in a near no-hitter/slash/blow-out, two ill-fated pitches in Game Two, and two killer errors.  Everything else is academic. All except the prodigious number of home runs the Yankees hit, compared to the Mets, that is.  For every home run the Mets hit this series, the Yankees hit four.  More about that..., later.

Drive safely.  Pay attention to the signs on your way home.

*Grand St. Graffiti - Old School Mural - W'burg, B'klyn