Monday, July 27, 2015

BK Cyclones: McNamara Division Proving Difficult to Conquer

From the desk of:  THE CONEY ISLAND NINE

McNamara Division:
1) Brooklyn          19-16  .543
2) Staten Island    19-16  .543
3) Aberdeen          18-17  .514
4) Hudson Valley  18-17  .514

BROOKLYN CYCLONES: Division race following same twisting, and looping track as neighboring Thunderbolt roller coaster.

The tourniquet constricting the McNamara Division continues to tighten.  All four teams are playing above .500, while just one game separates the last place club from first.

The light hitting Brooklyn Cyclones remain locked in a tie for 1st place with Staten Island, largely due to the Yankees' current 3-game losing streak.  Meanwhile, both the Aberdeen Ironbirds and Hudson Valley Renegades are tied, just a game behind.

The Cyclones now have 35 games in the books, as the NYPL arrives at their season's mid-point this week.  At this rate of play, the 2015 Wild Card winner could very well come out of the McNamara Division.

That remains to be seen, but the Cyclones had better improve at the plate.  It's clear they're operating with little room for error.  Despite their present standing, the Surf Avenue Sluggers have failed to live up that moniker this season.

They are last in the 14-team circuit in hits, and a .220 batting average, and rank 13th in runs scored, runs batted in, OBP, and slugging.

The Yankees haven't fared much better.  They're 5th worst in the league with a .244 team average.   For the moment, however, parity rules the day.  The Aberdeen Ironbirds are last in runs scored, OBP, slugging, and 13th in hits and home runs, yet, as noted, reside just a game out of first place with a .500 record to boot.

Brooklyn's Vinny Siena leads the McNamara Division with a .313 batting average.  Power wise, Michael Bernal, Brandon Brosher, and Jeff Diehl all rank in the league's top ten with 3 home runs apiece.

Staten Island's Jhalan Jackson is 2nd in the league with a .511 slugging average, while Brooklyn's Michael Bernal is 5th with a .465 mark.

Jhalan also leads the division with 4 home runs, while team mate Drew Bridges ranks in the league's top-10 with 3 homers as well.  Both Jhalan Jackson and team mate Brad Valera additionally rate in the league's top-10 with 18 RBI apiece.

This season, the Cyclones are getting by on pitching.  They lead the league with a 2.74 ERA.  The Yankees trail in 4th place with a 3.25 mark.  The Hudson Valley Renegades are making their mark in 3rd place with a 3.14 ERA.

Brooklyn pitchers have additionally surrendered the least number of hits, home runs, posted the best WHiP, and have fanned the second most batters in the league, while Renegades and Yankees pitchers have issued the least walks.

In fact, 4 of the top 6 teams in WHiP come from the McNamara Division.  In other words, the combined mound work of each club has created a too-tough-to-gauge divisional race with roughly 40 games left in the regular season.

The Cyclones fared poorly during their most recent road trip, getting clawed by the newly minted West Virginia Black Bears, then playing pedestrian baseball against Mahoning Valley.

Brooklyn is now 4-6 in their last 10 games, as is Staten Island.

Hudson Valley Renegades
Dutchess Stadium

After Monday's NYPL scheduled day off, the Cyclones will open a home-and-home series in Hudson Valley against the Renegades with clear first place implications.  The Yankees will host an out of division series against the Batavia Muckdogs.

The rivalry between Brooklyn and the Renegades has intensified over the last three years.

In 2012, the Renegades edged out the Cyclones for the division flag.  Brooklyn gained a Wild Card berth, however, only to get eliminated by Hudson Valley in the first round of the post-season.  Then last season, Hudson Valley outpaced the Cyclones by 4 games en route to another division flag.

Hudson Valley recently enjoyed a brief taste of first place as well.  They're the league's 5th highest slugging team, and lead the league in stolen bases.  On the mound, the Renegades are 3rd in the league with a 3.14 ERA.  They've additionally issued the least walks and are 5th in the circuit in team WHiP.


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