MMLN – Cyclones Bats Quieted

Ratliff was hitting bombs in warmups

STATEN ISLAND, NY – A night after getting to the opposing starter early and often, the Cyclones struggled to put together much of an offensive threat against SI Yankees' starter Brandon Braboy. Strikeouts littered the Brooklyn box score and solid contact came far too little as Brooklyn fell in Richmond County Bank Ballpark 4-1.

Though it was a tough night for Ratliff during the game as he struck out three times—twice looking—he did put on a quite show during batting practice. Showing his signature explosion through the zone, Ratliff drove numerous towering flyballs over the fence in right-centerfield. He also demonstrated a strong opposite field stroke with power, putting a three balls over the wall but peppered the left-center and centerfield wall with line drives and one-hoppers.

It was an even tougher night for Kirk Nieuwenhuis who, in addition to his three strikeouts, had a very rough night in centerfield. In the third inning, he incorrectly timed the ball on a running attempt, crashing into the video wall in right field leading to a triple. In the sixth inning, when he misread the ball off the plate, he took his first step towards the plate before retreating and mishandling the catch. Nieuwenhuis' drop led to an inside-the-park home run after he and manager Edgar Alfonzo lost their argument that the ball was trapped until the wall's padding.

Pedro P. Martinez showed a good array of pitches but none in his arsenal are what could be considered overpowering. He sat 90-93 MPH on his fastball with little movement, a mid-grade slider and a changeup that still requires much work. However, he was able to induce a high amount of swings-and-miss, especially when he kept his slider down in the zone. Though he did not allow any walks, he did have some problems hitting his spots on the corner as he often went up and away from the strike zone when he tried to paint the corners to hitters on both sides.

Jimmy Johnson is the Cyclones' most reliable reliever and he showed it on Saturday night. The left-hander mixed his sneaky fastball and a good changeup to keep hitters off their timing. He has now gone 7 1/3 consecutive scoreless innings, trimming his season ERA to 1.76 with a .189 opponent's batting average.

Ike Davis smacked his most impressive hit of the weekend, extending his arms on an outside fastball and smoking line drive into the left-center gap for a double. Pitchers are working Davis tough on the inner third of the plate which may be the root for many of his early season production shortcomings.

Speaking with Cyclones' coaches, Zach Lutz could be back in as soon as 2-to-3 weeks with a deep leg bruise in his right thigh. He should be back on the field to workout and take some light practice within a week.

Reese Havens groin is improving, but it will likely be least another three weeks before the first-round pick is back in the lineup. Havens is currently not with the team as he undergoes his rehab assignment.

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