Brooklyn Bashes Bombers, 8-2, Moves Closer to Playoffs
By John Torenli, Sports Editor
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Casey Meisner’s summer in Brooklyn has mirrored the Cyclones’ wild ride through the 2014 short-season campaign.
He went winless in his first seven starts, but has since earned victories in each of his last four decisions, including a critical 8-2 triumph at Staten Island on Tuesday night that moved the resurgent Baby Bums closer to their goal of a New York-Penn League Wild-Card spot.
"Meisner started off the year 0-3. Now, he's 4-3," first-year Brooklyn manager Tom Gamboa told the Staten Island Advance after Meisner continued his hot streak by limiting the playoff-hopeful Yankees to one run on four hits with a season-high 11 strikeouts over six brilliant innings.
A third-round pick in the 2013 MLB Draft out of Cypress Woods High School, Meisner went 1-3 with a 3.06 ERA in 10 outings, including four starts, for the Mets’ Gulf Coast League Rookie-level affiliate last year.
He began this season much like the rest of his teammates, with a series of uneven performances that kept him out of the win column until a victory at Lowell on July 29, the first of four triumphs in his last five outings.
"He's a high school kid with real good stuff,” added Gamboa of the 6-foot-7 right-hander from Cypress, Texas. “He's developed a change; that and his breaking ball have made his fastball even better.”
Over his last two starts, Meisner has yielded just two earned runs over 12 2/3 innings while fanning 21 and walking only two.
His reversal of fortunes on the mound has coincided with Brooklyn’s push toward the playoffs as the Cyclones have been the hottest team on the NY-Penn circuit since mid-July.
Meisner’s mastery Tuesday, coupled with a strong performance by the Brooklyn offense, helped the Cyclones maintain their two-game lead over Connecticut in the chase for the league’s final playoff berth. The Tigers blanked Lowell, 5-0, on Tuesday to keep pace in the race.
The win also knocked the Baby Bombers further back in the playoff hunt, just one night after Staten Island scored a dramatic 2-1, 10-inning victory over Brooklyn at Richmond County Bank Ballpark.
All-Star third baseman Jhoan Urena, who was ejected before Monday’s game for staring down the Staten Island dugout following the national anthem and not returning to his bench at the behest of the home-plate umpire, had a bounce back performance against the Yanks on Tuesday.
Urena went 2-for-5 with a triple, two RBIs and two runs scored while fellow All-Star infielder Amed Rosario led Brooklyn with three hits while also driving in a pair of runs and scoring once.
"The Staten Island Yankees are a real good team,” Gamboa noted. “(Meisner) gained a lot of confidence, this was a big win for him tonight. If the Yankees had won, they'd be within 1 1/2 [games] of us.
“Now, it's back to 3 1/2 and time is on our side."
Brooklyn has just six games remaining on its grueling summer slate, including Wednesday’s scheduled 7 p.m. contest with Staten Island at MCU Park.
The teams will collide again in a home-and-home set to close out the regular season on Aug. 31 and Sept. 1.
In between, the Cyclones will travel to Tri-City for a three-game series beginning Thursday evening.
This, That and the Other Thing: Rosario filled the DH slot Tuesday, giving Alfredo Reyes a start at shortstop. The 20-year-old Dominican native provided Brooklyn with a big boost from the bottom of the lineup, going 3-for-4 with an RBI and two runs scored. … LF Michael Conforto experienced a brief mini-slump earlier this month, but has since come roaring back by batting .325 over his last 10 games to raise his season average back up to .314. The Mets’ first-round pick in the June MLB Draft is 7-for-15 with three RBIs and four runs scored in his last three games, and has made a couple of acrobatic diving catches in the outfield. … Though the playoffs are well within their reach, the Cyclones are making sure to honor their fans for another season of unparalleled loyalty by hosting Fan Appreciation Day at MCU Park on Sunday, Aug. 31 in their regular-season home finale against Staten Island. The Cyclones, who will once again lead the NY-Penn in attendance as they have every year since arriving in Coney Island in 2001, will say thanks to the 230,000 fans that passed through their gates this summer. Cyclones players will greet the crowd at the front gates, posing for photos and signing autographs. All fans will be permitted to run the bases an hour before the 7 p.m. first pitch, and there will be a 20 percent sale on all team merchandise during the entire contest. The Cyclones will also offer various giveaways and contests, including the chance for one lucky fan to go home with a 2014 Honda Civic courtesy of Plaza Auto Mall. Check the team’s website, www.brooklyncyclones.com, for more details.