The Bisons 2009 season came to a close on Monday afternoon as the Herd fell to the Lehigh Valley IronPigs at Coca-Cola Park, 3-0.
The loss was the Herd's 87th defeat of the season, their highest total since a 55-89 campaign in 1994. The Bisons finished in last place in the International League North Division for the first time in their now their 12th season since rejoining the league. It's only the sixth time in the modern era Buffalo has finished the year with a losing record.
The final defeat of the season played out like the 2009 campaign. The Bisons offense struggled early in the game as it did as a team in April. Buffalo failed to push a runner beyond second base until the eighth inning.
A 2-0 deficit in the first inning wasn't a mountain to climb like the team's 2-16 record in April, but against stellar work from IronPigs starter Brian Mazone and two relievers, the lead proved to be all the IronPigs would need in the game.
In the final game of a dismal season, some members of the Binghamton Mets may have already had their minds somewhere other than NYSEG Stadium on Sunday.
Binghamton Mets reliever Julio De la Cruz, who pitched the ninth inning of a 3-0 Eastern League loss to the Altoona Curve, said the dugout forgot to tell him to warm up until there were two out in the bottom of the eighth. After receiving extra time to warm up on the mound, De La Cruz allowed one run on three hits.
"I think towards the end of the season, especially when you're on a losing team that doesn't win a lot, it's hard mentally," left fielder Emmanuel Garcia said. "It's harder mentally than on winning teams."
The B-Mets (54-86) finished in last place in the Eastern League Northern Division and tied for the fewest wins in franchise history with the 1999 team. The Curve (62-80) finished at the bottom of the Southern Division.
St. Lucie Mets (New York Mets) THE WEEK THAT WAS: The Mets sandwiched a pair of losses around four wins. The solid finishe was too late as St. Lucie finished in third place in the South, 3.5 games behind Fort Myers.
WHO SHINED, WHO STUMBLED: LF Brahiam Maldonado didn't hit for a great average (.273) but he was money with men on base, collecting in 73 RBIs in 122 games. ... 2B Hector Pellot never got the hang of league pitching, batting just .227 through 100 games.
PLAYER TO WATCH IN 2010: RHP Stephen Clyne may be a reliever on the rise in the Mets organization. The Parkland, Fla., native gave up just five earned runs in 26 appearances through 35 1/3 innings for an ERA of 1.27.
PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK: RHP John Maine, RHP Brad Burns and RHP William Rackel combined to hold Palm Beach to four hits in a 2-1 home win. The trio struck out 10 and walked one.
Brooklyn Cyclones (New York Mets)WEEK IN REVIEW: Brooklyn stumbled in the final week, going 2-4. They wound up in second place in the McNamara Division.
WHO'S HOT FOR THE YEAR: LHP Mark Cohoon went 9-2 and led the league with 92 innings pitched. While Cohoon got lots of attention for his excellent year, it would do a disservice to RHP Collin McHugh to leave him out of the discussion of top NYPL pitchers. McHugh bested his teammate in strikeouts at 79 and won eight games. Both pitchers had ERAs below 3.00; 2.15 for Cohoon and 2.76 for McHugh.
ROSTER MOVES: 3B Joseph Bonfe and SS Luis Nieves were added from Kingsport. ... OF Carlos Beltran began his rehab assignment Sept. 2 and finished 3-for-18. Beltran drove in two runs and walked twice.
OF NOTE: Brooklyn lost its grip on the McNamara Division title when the club started losing games at the same time rival Staten Island was picking up steam. The Yankees won 13 in a row to surge past the Cyclones and snag the division title. The Cyclones had to settle for the Wild Card, and they begin the playoffs against Mahoning Valley on Sept. 8.
Francoeur's struggles could have been forecast, but I don't know if anyone could have foreseen the extent of the Young's and Hermida's difficulties. I think this serves as another example of how developing and forecasting prospects is more art than science, and there always will be elite prospects who succeed in Double-A but can't get over the hump against better competition two levels higher in the major leagues. Our rankings are based on extensive conversations with scouts, player-development officials and managers, which gives us the weight of multiple looks at players from several different sources.
I'm just going to say this even though I know it's not nice ... Daniel Murphy isn't good enough to play regularly. He doesn't field well enough to play second base, and he doesn't hit well enough to play one of the corner positions. He just doesn't.
This season, 24 major league first basemen have played enough to qualify for the batting lead. Even with those wonderful stats since the middle of August, Murphy ranks 23rd in on-base percentage and 22nd in slugging percentage.
In fairness, there's still plenty of room for improvement. Murphy's only 24, and he spent just one full season in the minors (including just one game in Triple-A). As you might recall, Murphy was an infielder in the minors before the desperate Mets turned him into a left fielder upon summoning him to the majors last August. That seemed to work well enough, particularly because Murphy enjoyed the best two months of his life as a hitter. After which a number of people -- including Jerry Manuel, I'll bet -- said he was better than just "pretty decent."