The Defense Rests ...
Playing off the shores of scenic Lake Champlain, the Cyclones couldn't have scripted a better start to Sunday's series opener. Leading off the game, Ross Adolph introduces himself to Monster starting pitcher Jose Mora with a home run to left. Four hits, three walks, and a sacrifice fly later, the Cyclones stake their ace Jaison Vilera to a commanding 6-0 lead before Vermont ever steps to the plate.
Very shortly thereafter, however, everything that could go wrong for Brooklyn, did.
A throwing error in the second by Brooklyn left fielder Wagner Lagrange leads to Vermont's first unearned run. Two innings later, an error by center fielder Anthony Dirocie results in another pair of unearned runs.
Brooklyn is reinforced by second baseman Carlos Cortes' two-run home run midway through the sixth, giving the Cyclones an 8-3 lead.
But that did little to tidy their sloppy play in the field. Shortstop Manny Rodriguez' two-base error opening the bottom half of the sixth would eventually lead to Monster first baseman Aaron Arruda' two-out, three-run home run off Jaison Vilera. But their poor play doesn't stop there. Carlos Cortes' seventh inning error would pave the way for yet another unearned Vermont run. Then in the bottom of the ninth, with runners on the corners and just one out, Cyclones reliever Ezequiel Zabaleta balks home the game tying run.
Into extra innings they go, as the teams trade runs in the tenth.
Coney Island's final undoing would come in the home twelfth when Brooklyn left fielder Wagner Lagrange and center fielder Anthony Dirocie suffer a miscommunication on a playable flare to shallow left/center. Both allow the ball to drop in between them, and thus allow the winning run to score from second base.
Jaison Vilera makes his twelfth start of the regular season, but walks off with a no decision. His record remains at 5-1 with a league leading 1.72 ERA. He allows six runs (just two earned) on seven hits and a walk, with six strikeouts.
IS JAISON VILERA RUNNING OUT OF GAS?
However, his seven hits allowed are a season high. In his first eight starts, Jaison surrendered just 23 hits through 46 innings pitched, for a stellar 4.5 H/9 average. In his last four starts since, Jaison has surrendered 24 hits in just 22 innings for an inflated 9.8 H/9 average. In turn, his falling rate of strikeouts is perhaps confirmation of potential tiring on behalf of the Cyclones ace pitcher. Vilera posted a 10.9 K/9 average through his first eight starts, but owns a reduced 6.5 K/9 average through four starts since.
SUNDAY CRUMMY SUNDAY
Sunday's loss to the Lake Monsters now places Brooklyn four full games behind the McNamara Division leading Hudson Valley Renegades. The Cyclones have eight games remaining in the season which includes their upcoming three game series against the Renegades later this week at Coney Island.
In the Wild Card, Coney Island holds a half-game lead over the Auburn Doubledays, and a full game lead over Staten Island, whom lost to Hudson Valley in Sunday action. Meanwhile, the Vermont Lake Monsters, now winners of five in a row, close to within 2.5 games of the Cyclones.