Get Ready...Wild Ride to Finish Line Expected

There is only one thing certain in the NY-Penn League playoff race, and that is that the Auburn Doubledays, the division leaders in the Pinckney Division, have clinched a playoff birth and home field advantage throughout the playoffs.<br> <br> In the McNamara Division the Brooklyn Cyclones lead by just two games, as of the August 22 games played. New Jersey is in second place trailing by two games with the Hudson Valley Renegades trailing by 2.5 games.

In the Stedlar Division Tri-City appeared to have the division locked up with a 7.5 game lead over the Oneonta Tigers.

Seven teams, New Jersey, Hudson Valley, Mahoning Valley, Oneonta, Aberdeen, Vermont and Williamsport all are alive for the wildcard berth. Four of those seven teams come from the McNamara Division. Every team, except Staten Island, in the McNamara Division is alive for a playoff berth, however although they appear to go head to head for the Wildcard berth both Hudson Valley and New Jersey have the division crown in mind.

Brooklyn has fourteen games left, eight of them at home. After their final game against New Jersey on Monday, the Cyclones play 10 games against .500 or sub .500 teams. A three game series with Oneonta at home, followed by a four game series which includes a day night doubleheader against the Staten Island Yankees and then back home for a three game series with the 25-37 Batavia Muckdogs.

The Cyclones have had a hard time defeating opponents they should win against. Earlier this month the Cyclones lost four of five games with the Jamestown Jammers (24-36) and the Staten Island Yankees (22-36).

"I told the guys that these are the type of games we should win" Cyclones manager Tony Tijerina said at that point.

The Cyclones end the season with a three game series with Hudson Valley, the first and last games in that series will be on the road, in which the Cyclones are just 14-16.

Despite being two games out, the New Jersey Cardinals are still very much involved in the division race. Their game Monday against the Cyclones will be huge, because it could mean three games back or one game back.

The Cardinals will follow with games against Lowell, Hudson Valley, Vermont and Aberdeen. Only Hudson Valley is playing above .500 baseball and combine that with the 14-10 record New Jersey has posted in the month of August the pressure on the Cyclones could be put upon.

The Cardinals have the easiest travel schedule as they end the season with six games at home, however New Jersey is just 13-18 at home, although they currently have a three game home winning streak.

Joe Williams, Evan MacLane and Scott Hyde are currently scheduled to pitch the final three games of the season against Hudson Valley. Williams leads the Cyclones staff in wins, MacLane has the most experience of any Cyclone starter having started the year at Capital City (A) and also having pitched Game 2 of the NY-Penn League Championship Series last season for Brooklyn. If the Cyclones need the final game of the season to decide between a division crown or even a playoff birth, they should have no fear with Scott Hyde on the mound. Hyde led his George Fox University team to the Division III Championship. In a span of five days Hyde went 3-0 including two starts both 9 inning complete games. Hyde certainly has the makeup to be successful, earlier this year pitching his best professional game in front of Fred Wilpon, Kevin Morgan, a sellout crowd at KeySpan, and thousands watching on television.

Combine those three with Michael Devaney who as of August 22, leads the NY-Penn League in ERA and has arguably been the Cyclones best pitcher over the last 20 days, and with the solid pitching of Mike Swindell, the Cyclones are well prepared for the challenging finish.

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