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Winning by losing

for The Brooklyn Paper

Brooklyn is headed for the playoffs! But while Tuesday night’s 4–1 win over the Lowell Spinners locked-up a wild card berth, the Li’l Amazin’s collapsed and fell to second place behind the surging — and hated — Staten Island Yankees.

But that not necessarily a bad thing.

The Evil Empire of the New York–Penn League has won its last 14 games, overtaking our beloved Clones by two and a half games.

But sneaking into the post-season as a wild card could be an easier route to a championship — even if it means the Clones give up their season-long stranglehold on first place.

As the wild card, Brooklyn would take on the team with the best record, presently the Mahoning Valley Scrappers, which it beat in two of three games earlier this month. If Cyclones manager Pedro Lopez chooses to write off the division, he could rest aces Mark Cohoon, Brandon Moore and Collin McHugh and line up all three of them for first-round starts. That way, pitchers like Darin Gorski, who took the lone loss in that series, can be skipped in the playoffs.

The Clones big trio has gone 3–0 with a combined 0.69 ERA over the last nine games while starters Wes Wrenn and Gorski combined for a 10.32 ERA during the same stretch. The fill-ins definitely can’t match Moore’s slider or McHugh’s fastball, and they don’t seem to be able to get New York–Penn League batters out.

Either way, Brooklyn could have some reinforcements, even if Mets slugger Carlos Beltran — at Keyspan for a rehab start on Wednesday — doesn’t stick around. Third baseman Tyler Vaughn (concussion), outfielder Justin Garber (wrist), slugger Scott Grimes (ankle), and All-Star lefty Jim Fuller (sore arm) should all be ready to play when the post-season bell rings.

“Most of them should be healed by the time the playoffs roll around,” said Nick Santomauro. “When we get there, we’ll be ready. The championship is right in front of us.”

All these points raise the question: Why did Lopez start Gorski (five runs on eight hits in three innings) in Monday’s 8–5 loss to the Spinners when McHugh was rested?

Maybe because he didn’t know his club was on the verge of clinching a playoff spot.

“Really?” Lopez asked when I told him before Monday’s game. “That’s great.”

I guess what he doesn’t know won’t hurt him.

The Faux Hole

Tickets are on sale now for the first two potential playoff games at Keyspan Park. Only the first game is guaranteed to be played if the Clones get in as the wild card. ... The Spinners tried to rattle outfielder John Servidio by playing “Video Killed the Radio Star” over the PA system before each of his at-bats over the weekend. It seemed to work — he went 0-for-4 and struck out twice. But then again, he’s batting .181 overall. ... Michael Powers set a Cyclones record with his 16th save on Aug. 27. The previous record-holder, Robert Paulk (15 saves in 2003), hung up his spikes last season after making it to Triple-A. ... Outfielder R.J. Harris and lefty reliever Thomas Chism were called up to Brooklyn from Kingsport on Monday. ... Shortstop Robbie Shields was ejected from Sunday’s game in Lowell for arguing that he had thrown out a runner called safe at first.

Zeke Faux has been covering the Cyclones for The Brooklyn Paper all season long! His last name is pronounced “Fox.”

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Reader Feedback

Sammy Cyclones from Sheepshead Bay says:
Sorry, Mr. Faux, but Robert Paulk is not quite done yet. Last I heard, he was playing for the Long Island Ducks this season.....
Sept. 5, 2009, 12:41 pm
siyanks4eva from shaolin says:
When the Cyclones are ready to get the apple out of their throats choking like the big club come over to SI to get swept in the finals
Sept. 5, 2009, 10:51 pm

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