SI Yankees Swept by Brooklyn in Doubleheader; Fall Out of First Place

Drew Bridges had 3 hits in the double header (Robert M. Pimpsner)

BROOKLYN, NY – MCU Park was once the site of some of the Staten Island Yankees’ most memorable triumphs. Their twi-night doubleheader on Tuesday against the Brooklyn Cyclones was equally notable for successive one-run defeats and a sweep which leaves them trailing in the McNamara Division for the first time this season.

The first game of the twin bill began fortuitously for Staten Island with Taylor Widener striking out the side in the first inning. Widener, a 12th round pick by the Yankees out of South Carolina, struck out five in three scoreless innings in his first start of the season, using a mix of fastballs and sliders to keep Cyclones’ hitters off balance.

“The gameplan is always to keep these hitters off balance. If you go out there and throw the same pitches, these hitters will always adjust. I will never back down against anybody and give my best stuff,” Widener said.

In addition to his fastball and slider, Staten Island manager Dave Bialas believes Widener’s deception is key to his approach. “Widener has deception and his ball moves well. He has a good slider and he is working on a changeup, but a solid performance for him and he did a good job.”

The Baby Bombers supplied Widener with their lone run in the second on a sacrifice fly from Kendall Coleman. The Cyclones evened the ledger in the fourth on a Colby Woodmansee sac fly of his own against reliever Brian Trieglaff.

Facing Cyclones starter Erik Manoah (4-1), the Baby Bombers were held to six hits and one run in six innings and went 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position. Woodmansee’s RBI double in the sixth inning off David Sosebee (0-1) gave Brooklyn a 2-1 lead and the Game 1 victory.

The Cyclones continued their success against Staten Island in the nightcap as Nick Sergakis knocked home Blake Tiberi on an RBI double to open the scoring against starter Jonathan Padilla, who allowed three hits and one run in five innings of work.

After scoring 23 runs in their previous series against the Tri-City ValleyCats, the Baby Bombers were held in check offensively against Raul Jacobson and had a stretch of 17 consecutive batters retired until Drew Bridges blooped a single to left field with one out in seventh inning.

“Their (Brooklyn’s) pitchers throw a lot of strikes. Their offspeed pitches are real good. Whenever you face multiple pitchers like that, it is hard to hit. I tried to stick my approach and put some extra work in and it helped out,” Bridges said.

Jacobson allowed just two hits in five shutout innings before Staten Island took the lead against reliever Gabriel Llamas (2-4) in the seventh on a triple by Timmy Robinson and a single from Dom Thompson-Williams.

The Baby Bombers were one out away from victory but allowed Brooklyn to tie the game after Angel Aguilar threw errantly to first base for their second error of the game. Peter Alonso completed the Brooklyn sweep in the eighth inning on a walk-off sacrifice fly off Brooks Kriske (0-2) for a 3-2 Brooklyn win.

With a record of 21-17, the Staten Island Yankees reach the halfway point of the New York-Penn League season trailing the Hudson Valley Renegades by one game in the McNamara Division. Although the Baby Bombers have struggled of late, they remain confident that they can revert to their early season dominance.

“These guys are battlers. We busted our butts all year long and we have just gone through a few spells where we haven’t swung the bats well. We have to be more consistent with the bats and the pitching has kept us in every game. That’s just baseball,” Bialas said.

Following an off-day on Wednesday, the Baby Bombers will begin a three-game series against the Renegades in Wappingers Falls with an opportunity to reclaim first place and overcome their recent miscues.


Who is Rashad Crawford?

Rashad Crawford is one of the newest group of the Yankees prospects. (Larry Kave/Myrtle Beach Pelicans)

Today it was announced official that the Yankees would be sending Aroldis Chapman to the Chicago Cubs in return for Gleyber Torres, outfielder Billy McKinney, (former) Yankees pitcher Adam Warren, and outfielder Rashad Crawford.

Torres was the Cub’s top prospect and McKinney the Cubs fifth-ranked prospect by MLB Pipeline, but Crawford isn’t a familiar name to many. The 22-year-old (23 in October) was born in Atlanta, Georgia and drafted by the Cubs in the 11th round back in 2012. He’s a lefty at the plate, righty in the field and comes in at 6’3 185 pounds. He along with Torres was in High-A Myrtle Beach for the Cubs and though he isn’t a top prospect Crawford turned his season around in July and is currently riding a hot-streak. The outfielder is known most for his speed but has also been making needed changes at the plate. His strikeout ratio has slimmed and his walks have risen. Also, it goes without saying but he is a threat to steal anytime he’s on base. He currently has 22 stolen bags and has been caught six times. In 2015 he stole 20 and was caught five times.

At the start of July, he was hitting .232 and his OBP was .299. As of today, he is hitting for a .253 average with an OBP of .327. In the month of July, he has a .342/.422/.468 slash alone in 19 games. That includes 12 RBIs and 10 walks. When on base he also hasn’t been caught stealing since June 10th. As for the field, Crawford has shown great efforts on plays to make outstanding catches out in the field. His speed gives him the chance for nearly any ball and with that good judgement on where the ball will drop. Should he join High-A Tampa he should immediately be a threat for a starting spot as the Tampa Yankees outfield group has not been the best throughout the season.

Crawford is the final part of this 4-1 trade, but he too can be a good piece in the Yankees system and someone to watch out for moving forward. He’s been noted as an under-the-radar type of guy with decent assets to improve on.

RailRiders Wrangle Bulls for Series Win

Tyler Austin  (Photo by Martin Griff)

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Jhalan Jackson  (Jerry Coli)

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SI Yankees Fall to Cyclones in Brooklyn for First Time Since 2014

Staten Island Yankees left fielder Kendall Coleman had 2 hits in the game against the Brooklyn Cyclones at MCU Park on Sunday, July 24, 2016. (Robert M. Pimpsner/RMP Sports Media, Inc.)

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Timmy Robinson’s Two HR Night Powers Staten Island to Victory

Staten Island Yankees outfielder Timmy Robinson watches as the ball he hits goes over the fence for a homerun in the first inning of the game against the Tri-City Valley Cats on July 21, 2016. (Robert M. Pimpsner/RMP Sports Media, Inc.)

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Three-Run Sixth Inning Snaps SI Yanks Skid

Staten Island Yankees starting pitcher Adonis Rosa  (Robert M. Pimpsner/RMP Sports Media, Inc.)

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Mike Ford To Start Rehab Assignment In Staten Island Tonight

Mike Ford (Bryan Green)

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Cyclones Defeated by Spinners in Heartbreaking Fashion

BROOKLYN, NY – As Major League Baseball continues its All-Star break, its fans can turn their attention to the minor leagues as the Brooklyn Cyclones were in the midst of a four-game winning streak entering Thursday’s play. With recent additions Justin Dunn, Peter Alonso, and Michael Paez joining the fold, the Cyclones are playing inspired baseball and looked to climb above the .500 plateau for the first them this season. Facing the Lowell Spinners at MCU Park, the Cyclones had their chances at the plate failed to push across a run in a 1-0 defeat, to snap a season-best four game winning streak.
The Spinners and Cyclones combined for 13 runs in separate runs on Wednesday, but offense proved hard to come by in their first meeting against each other this season. Facing Red Sox top southpaw pitching prospect Brian Johnson on a rehab assignment, the Cyclones were kept off the scoreboard for five innings. “My gameplan was to attack both sides of the plate and mix in my cutter and my slider. In my second time through the order, I got a little more aggressive and mixed in my other pitchers more,” Johnson said.

The Cyclones appeared poised to get the game’s first run in the third inning, but a 7-6-2 relay to home plate retired Arnaldo Berrios after a double by Michael Paez in his home debut. Using both sides of the plate, Johnson kept Cyclones hitters off balance, pitching five scoreless innings, allowing just four hits and striking out five, including Colby Woodmansee in his first two at-bats. “We faced a major league pitcher who was on rehab assignment and he carved through our lineup pretty good,” Cyclones manager Tom Gamboa said. “His Triple-A experience showed to our hitters.”

As Johnson was gaining confidence in his rehab outing, his opposite number Harol Gonzalez had a no-hitter through six innings, surrendering just a walk and a hit by pitch to leadoff hitter Matt McLean. For much of the night it appeared Gonzalez would make history, but the Spinners collected their first hit when Ryan Scott opened the seventh inning with a single to right field. Gonzalez would keep the game scoreless, lasting 6.2 innings with just one hit on the ledger. “Gonzalez completely overmatched their guys. It was a great game for the fans to watch. You want to come out on top, but it just wasn’t meant to be tonight.”

The Spinners, who had difficulty garnering a hit for six innings, broke the stalemate in the eighth inning against reliever Taylor Henry. With Victor Acosta at third base, Paez threw a ground ball errantly to first base to score the run and give the Spinners a 1-0 advantage.

Down to their final three outs in the ninth inning, the Cyclones appeared to show life with the bats and had runners at the corners with one out as Jay Jabs stepped to the plate against reliever Dioscar Romero. As Jabs lofted a short fly ball beyond the first base line in foul territory, Woodmansee tagged from third base and the throw by Chris Madera beat him to the plate to secure a victory for the Spinners and a heartbreaking defeat for Brooklyn.

“My whole career I preached that when you are in doubt you have to be aggressive. The moment the ball went up if I were coaching third I would have been screaming to tag. With the second baseman with his back turned and our ninth place hitter due up, you are down to one out. If I don’t send him I would be up all night second guessing myself,” Gamboa explains.

In defeat, the Cyclones have lost 11 of 18 games decided by two runs or less and are 7-7 in games decided by one run. Brooklyn’s 14th one-run game is the most in the New York-Penn League this season. On Friday the Cyclones will send Merandy Gonzalez to the mound, looking to return to the .500 mark and put them in a position to potentially finish above that position for the first time since August 6, 2015. Darwinzon Hernandez, initially scheduled to face the Cyclones before the Red Sox assigned Johnson to Lowell, will start for the Spinners, who now sit one game behind the Connecticut Tigers in the Stedler Division.