Brooklyn to Host Late-Summer Classic at MCU Park next Tuesday
By John Torenli, Sports Editor
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Locked in a grueling and ever-tightening race for a Wild Card playoff spot, the surging Cyclones will have six of their players represent the South Division in next Tuesday night’s New York-Penn League All-Star Game at MCU Park.
Third baseman Jhoan Urena, shortstop Amed Rosario, right fielder Michael Bernal and starters Marcos Molina and Corey Oswalt will be joined by closer Shane Bay as Brooklyn hosts the annual late-summer classic on Surf Avenue.
The Cyclones (30-27) stood just one game behind wild card-leading Connecticut (31-26) with 19 contests remaining on the summer slate entering Thursday evening’s doubleheader against Lowell.
They will get a brief reprieve from the ongoing scoreboard watching Tuesday as the best players from the 15-team circuit show off their wares in a North vs. South battle for NY-Penn supremacy.
Urena’s selection at the hot corner was a no-brainer as the 19-year-old Dominican has been Brooklyn’s most consistent player throughout the campaign.
The switch-hitting infielder is batting a rock-solid .289 – best among Cyclones regulars with enough at-bats to qualify – with a team-high 16 doubles and is tied with Bernal for the Cyclones’ lead in RBIs with 30. He is also the only Brooklyn player who has participated in each and every one of the team’s first 57 contests.
Bernal paces Brooklyn with five homers, 10 stolen bases and the aforementioned 30 RBIs while scoring 25 runs in 54 contests. He also has six doubles and three triples, and has contributed several key assists from the outfield to thwart rallies by the opposition.
Rosario, who is hitting .282 with a team-best 31 runs scored in 54 games, is thriving in his second season as a professional.
The 18-year-old Dominican is tied for the league lead in triples with five and his .722 on-base-plus-slugging percentage is third among NY-Penn shortstops.
Currently ranked seventh overall among Mets’ prospects, Rosario is climbing through the system on the strength of his plus-arm and speed on the bases, but has shown great improvement at the plate thus far this summer.
Brooklyn’s pitching staff, which features three starters among the league’s top-10 in ERA, will have three hurlers on the South staff.
Molina, 19, leads the league with a 1.27 ERA and 0.85 WHIP over eight starts, having struck out 50 batters over 49 2/3 innings while limiting opponents to a .173 batting average. His record stands at 5-2.
Oswalt boasts a 5-1 mark and 2.54 ERA through nine outings, fanning 46 over 49 2/3 frames.
Bay (0-1, 2.04) has been the anchorman of the bullpen, converting all 12 of his save opportunities since first-year manager Tom Gamboa tabbed him as the team’s full-time closer.
Notable in his absence from the All-Star squad was left fielder Michael Conforto. The Oregon State slugger is batting .307 with two homers and 12 RBIs in only 23 games at Brooklyn after being signed to a reported $2.97 million signing bonus by the parent-club Mets as their first-round pick in this year’s MLB Draft.
Conforto’s arrival in Brooklyn last month coincided with the team’s resurgence in the wild-card race after they struggled through a season-high eight-game losing streak in early July.
Two Cyclones who did receive accolades this week were newly arrived starter Martires Arias, who will try to fill in for the recently promoted Octavio Acosta, and center fielder John Mora.
Arias was named the NY-Penn’s Pitcher of the Week after limiting Mahoning Valley to two hits over six scoreless frames with six strikeouts last Thursday night en route to his first win.
Mora received the Cyclones’ Player of the Week honor after batting .348 with eight hits, including three for extra bases, and driving in a run during his first full week with Brooklyn.
The speedy outfielder has an Ichiro Suzuki-like approach at the plate, using a quick-step to time the pitcher while oftentimes trying to slap the ball to the opposite field.
Gamboa’s new leadoff man has been getting Brooklyn off to fast starts, hitting .375 in the first inning and .357 when leading off a frame.
This, That and the Other Thing: Tickets are still available for next Tuesday night’s All-Star Game. They can be purchased by calling 718 - 507 - TIXX, in person at the MCU Park Box Office or by visiting www.brooklyncyclones.com. Ticket prices will remain constant with Brooklyn Cyclones game pricing, ranging from $10-$16 with an increase in ticket prices on the day of the game. … Weather permitting, Mets RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka was likely to make a rehab appearance with the Cyclones Thursday as he continues to work his way back to Citi Field following an elbow injury.