New York City’s two minor league baseball teams are approaching the end of the regular season as they prepare for a three-game weekend series against one another at Coney Island’s MCU Park. For the Staten Island Yankees, that means prepping for a playoff push. For the Brooklyn Cyclones, the end can’t come soon enough.
Staten Island has been dominant in leading the short-seaon A level New York-Penn League. The best part for residents of the fifth borough is the Yanks have done their best work at home, winning 23 of their first 32 games at Richmond County Bank Ballpark.
The secret to Staten Island’s success comes from their exceptional pitching. The Yankees lead the league in shutouts, and they’ve surrendered the fewest hits and runs.
Right-handed pitcher Jorge Guzman stands out, even among his successful peers on the mound. The 21-year-old from the Dominican Republic leads the league in strikeouts and owns the best ERA among Yanks’ starting pitchers.
Staten Island’s weakness at the plate is the club’s greatest area of concern. The Yanks rank next-to-last in batting average in the NY-Penn League. And, as great as they are at keeping runs off the board, they struggle to score runs of their own. Only the Cyclones have scored fewer runs this season.
Among the few bright spots from an offensive standpoint was infielder Oswaldo Cabrera. The 18-year-old Venezuelan, a switch hitter, hit .289 with 16 RBIs during a 23-game stint. He’s now back with the Yankees’ Class-A affiliate in Charleston, where he began the season.
Richmond County fans can look forward to watching the Yanks as they pursue the club’s first championship since 2011.
The Cyclones can’t say the same. They’ve played their way to the worst record in the league — 15-45 through Wednesday.
Brooklyn can say this much: The Cyclones have kept Staten Island on its toes. The two clubs have split the first eight matchups of the season. That adds up to four of Brooklyn’s 15 wins coming against the league’s best.
The two Big Apple clubs are scheduled to wrap up the regular season Sept. 6 and 7 in Staten Island. If the Cyclones can take three of the five remaining matchups, Kings County fans can take pride in a small slice of a tough season.