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Still reeling, Cyclones’ slump continues in 10-4 loss

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The Cyclones have found different ways to lose in their recent slump – from blowing leads to failing in the clutch to receiving poor pitching performances.

Tuesday evening’s disheartening, 10-4 loss to Williamsport, Brooklyn’s sixth setback in its last seven games, had a little of everything.

“The one,” manager Pedro Lopez said, “that hurts the most by far.”

Left-hander Darin Gorski was staked to an early 3-0 lead, but gave it all back by the fifth. Gorski, Wes Wrenn and Mike Lynn combined to throw five wild pitches and issued four walks. The offense went to sleep after the quick start, continuing a concerning habit of struggling in clutch situations. They left eight runners on base altogether, going 1-for-10 with men aboard.

The Cyclones’ McNamara division lead, once an eight-game bulge, is now down to 3 ½ over surging Hudson Valley.

Brooklyn (17-8) talked a good game afterward, citing the natural ups and down of a season. But it’s clear they aren’t playing with much confidence lately. Of course, injuries and roster reshuffling hasn’t helped.

Infielder Matt Bouchard, who was leading the team in hitting, batting .408 out of the No. 2 spot, is out for the season with a hip impingement. First baseman Sam Honeck, who is at .324, hasn’t played since Friday, suffering from a minor groin strain. And infielder Nick Giarraputo, the cleanup hitter until just recently, is in the middle of an extended slump, now hitting .188.

When asked if there was determining factor in the recent slide, catcher Doc Doyle said flatly: “I really don’t know.”

“Maybe,” he later said, “it brought us down to reality.”

Brooklyn got off to a fast start Tuesday night. Luis Rivera, one of the few hot bats at Lopez’s disposal, plated Angel Berroa, the veteran major leaguer just passing through Brooklyn, with an opposite-field double. He later scored on a wild pitch. In the second, John Servidio drove in Alex Gregory with a two-out single, one of the few clutch hits the Cyclones would muster.

By the fifth, the lead was gone. Gorski was touched up for a homer by Sebastian Valle, his first of two long balls, in the fourth and four more runs in the fifth. He gave up four consecutive hits at one point. Brooklyn did get the first two runners on in the eighth and ninth, but could just push across one run, on Gregory’s RBI groundout.

“We got to score runs like we did early on,” Doyle said.

Lopez has remained confident. In fact, he thinks it’s a fine lesson his young players are learning, about themselves and the game of professional baseball – its level of difficulty – on the whole. He spoke with his players on Saturday about not pressing. He hoped the day off would cleanse them, although it didn’t work out that way.

“We’re not going to do any pouting or crying,” Lopez promised. “I know I have a good team and hopefully my guys will bounce back.”  

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