Sunday, September 11, 2011

Pitchers Duel, Nunez Triples

As I have noted before, the three-game play-off series is a killer.  Lose either of the first two games and you cannot lose again.  In Thursday's first game of the 2011 New York-Penn League divisional play-off, the wild-card Brooklyn Cyclones got shut-out at home 2-0 by their crosstown rival and McNamara Division champions, the Staten Island Yankees.

Brooklyn evened the series the next night by winning a 12-5 slugfest on the road.  The pitchers duel I saw last night captured perfectly the tension of the win-or-go-home stakes.  What was especially exciting about the 19 total strike-outs was eight of them were looking.  All night long batters on both teams were jawing at home plate umpire Ryan Additon.

Yankee center fielder Mason Williams prepares to swing
through Ryan Additon's large strike zone.

Yankee William Oliver was the more dominant starter, notching ten strike-outs in six innings while walking three and allowing just two hits.  The Cyclones' lead-off batters got to third base with only one out in the fourth and seventh innings but couldn't score.  The second rally made reliever Philip Weatherell look shaky but he got through two frames, helped by a sharp double-play in the eighth that started and ended with first baseman Reymund Nunez.  Branden Pinder closed it; three up, three down.

Carlos Vasquez also lasted six innings for the Cyclones.  He struck out six, walked two and held the Yankees to two hits.  T.J. Chism struck out the first batter he faced in relief but then gave up a double to Tyler Austin, who earlier hit another two-bagger to the wall.  In the next at bat, Nunez banged one off the center field wall so hard it rolled back towards second.  He stumbled into third with the sole RBI of the 1-0 game.

In a stadium where fans once could see a pair of iconic skyscrapers from their seats, in a city where the commemorations are too numerous to list, there was no mention last night of the events of ten years ago today.  Beyond the right field wall we could see the flashing lights of various police and military boats patrolling New York Harbor.

On the Staten Island Ferry we were told, "All passengers are subject to search."  We were then thanked for our cooperation, the extremely subtle acknowledgement that the police could not search us unless we consented or they arrested us.  I wonder what the thousands who died that day and since would think about our loss of liberty.

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