Sunday, July 22, 2018

L.I. Ducks: Second Half Pennant or Bust

From the desk of:  THE WEBBED SPIKES NINE

Somerset leads series 2-0
I - SOM 8; LID 3
II - SOM 6; LID 4

Somerset Patriots
Long Island Ducks
Bethpage Ballbark

Long Island Ducks: Somerset Pitching Winning Out Over Flock Hitting.

Now 35-years young, starter John Brownell continues to struggle in this, his seventh season with the Long Island Ducks.

The Flock's all-time starting pitcher has never finished a full Ducks season with an ERA above four (in 2012, his first season with the Ducks, he posted a 6.61 ERA in only four appearances).  Although his rate of strikeouts is up, he presently owns a 4.25 ERA and a 1.382 WHiP, both well above his Duck career averages to date.

Coming off consecutive wins over Sugar Land and York, Brownell faced the rival Somerset Patriots on Friday at Bethpage Ballpark, allowing four earned runs on eleven hits, no walks, and striking out six through six innings pitched.  Trailing by three, the Ducks closed to within 4-3 of the Patriots in the bottom of the sixth on a pair of Jordany Valdespin RBI.  However, the bullpen would not hold.  Somerset scored twice in the seventh and posted another pair in the ninth en route to an 8-3 series opening victory.

Now trailing the Somerset Patriots by two games in the Liberty Division standings, Tyler Badamo climbs the bump at Bethpage Park for game two against Somerset's Cory Riordan.  Badamo enters Saturday's game with a 2.41 ERA in 18.2 innings over three previous starts since coming over to the Ducks from the New Britain Bees in June.

After trading runs in the first, Long Island takes a 3-1 lead on RBI hits by Taylor Ard and Ramon Cabrera.  The Patriots claw back with three hits and a run in the top of the fifth.  However, Travis Snider answers right back in the bottom of the frame with his team leading eleventh home run of the season.

With one out and runners on first and second in the top of the sixth, Coach Baez pulls Tyler Badamo in favor of reliever Ashur Tolliver.  With two out and the bases loaded, an E-6 allows two base runners home.  All runs are charged to Badamo, who surrenders ten hits but just two earned runs in 5.1 innings of work, walks one and strikes out four.

Coach Baez brings in Carlos Pimentel to pitch the seventh, who promptly surrenders a lead-off home run to Patriots shortstop Alfredo Rodriguez.  Three hits and a fielder's choice later Somerset leads by two.

Long Island fails to score in the their final two at-bats, and drop their second straight to the Patriots, this time by a 6-4 final.

If the Ducks are to meet the Somerset Patriots in the Liberty Division finals for a fourth consecutive season, they must first win the second half title.  Somerset already did their part by winning the first half title, five games ahead of the Ducks whom finished below par with a 30-33 record.  With regards to the season as a whole, Long Island owns a clear offensive edge over the the Patriots.  However, Somerset owns a distinct pitching advantage over the Ducks.  So far, the results speak for themselves.  Entering Sunday's series finale, the Ducks are just 3-8 this season against the Patriots.

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