Cubs Down on the Farm Report – 01/05/15
A Happy New Year to all! The playoffs are in full swing in the Caribbean Leagues, with some surprising performances. Joseph Ortiz was able to close out his winter with three good outings, while Jonathan Herrera has been swinging a hot bat in Venezuela.
In the Dominican Republic, Carlos Pimentel has been a steady performer while Manny Ramirez was just being Manny. In Mexico, Christian Villanueva closed out the regular season well, and is off and running in the playoffs.
Start the New Year off right with today’s Down on the Farm Report.
Dominican Winter League
Cibaenas made a big splash in the playoffs last Sunday by defeating Este 8-2. Manny Ramirez provided the thunder with a three-run home run in the third inning as he was 1-for-3 in the win.
The Aguilas were not able to keep Oriente from pecking away at them on Monday, as they lost 5-1. Frank Batista relieved starter Nick Greenwood in the fourth inning and was nicked for an unearned run on a walk and two hits as he struck out two in two innings. Manny Ramirez went 0-for-4.
On Tuesday, the Eagles created a big hole to crawl out of as they lost to Oriente 4-1. Cibaenas managed only three hits. Manny Ramirez was 0-for-3 with a walk.
Cibaenas scored their second win in the playoffs on Friday, beating Este 6-5 in 10 innings. It looked as if the Eagles had put the game away in the eighth inning, as a Manny Ramirez RBI single put them up 5-1. Ramirez went 2-for-4 before being lifted for a pinch runner.
On Saturday, the Aguilas evened their record at 3-3 as they beat Cibao 4-3. Manny Ramirez had an off night, going 0-for-3 with a walk.
Toros del Este
Este did not have a chance last Sunday against powerful Cibaenas, losing 8-2. Jeffry Antigua entered in the sixth inning and recorded the final two outs.
Estrellas de Oriente
Oriente did not have their best effort last Sunday as they lost 4-1 to Cibao. Junior Lake did his part to keep the Stars competitive, going 2-for-3 with a walk and a stolen base. Starling Peralta worked around a hit to toss a scoreless eighth inning.
Estrellas got back on the winning track on Monday as they beat Cibaenas 5-1. Junior Lake was 2-for-4, while Marcos Mateo had a strikeout in a scoreless ninth.
The Eastern Stars remained at the top of the round robin standings on Tuesday by defeating Cibaenas 4-1. Junior Lake went 1-for-3 with a double and two walks while Marcos Mateo recorded his first save of the playoffs with two strikeouts in the ninth.
Oriente was not able to provide enough offense to surpass Cibao on Friday, losing 4-3. Junior Lake’s seventh inning double brought the Stars to within one run. Junior Lake later tied the game as he scored on a one out single. Lake finished at 1-for-4.
Estrellas fell a game back in the standings at 3-3 as they lost 1-0 to Este on Saturday. Junior Lake was in good company as the Stars finished with only three hits. Lake went 0-for-3.
Gigantes del Cibao
Cibao pulled even with Oriente in the playoff standings on Friday, as the Giants beat the Stars 4-3. Carlos Pimentel continued with his surprising post-season success as he was tagged for an unearned run while striking out six in 5.1 innings.
Mexican Pacific League
Yaquis de Obregon
Obregon continued to prepare for post-season play last Sunday by beating Hermosillo 7-6 in 11 innings. Christian Villanueva played a big part as he was 2-for-4 with three RBI, with his sacrifice fly in the 11th scoring the go-ahead run.
The Yaquis closed out the regular season on a high note on Monday with a 7-3 win over Hermosillo. Christian Villanueva also finished up well, going 3-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored while playing third base.
The Tribe opened their playoff series with Mexicali to start the New Year, as the Yaquis blew out the Eagles 7-0 on Thursday. Christian Villanueva (1-for-4) drove in the first run of the game in the second inning.
Both offense and pitching failed Obregon on Friday as they lost to Mexicali 3-1. Like the rest of his team, Christian Villanueva (0-for-4) struggled at the plate.
Roberto Clemente Professional Baseball League
Cangrejeros de Santurce
Santurce continued their push to the playoffs last Sunday with a 4-2 win over Carolina in 11 innings. Javier Baez had a particularly rough day as he was 0-for-5 with four strikeouts while playing second base.
It was a big night for the Cagrejeros on Friday as they opened the playoffs with an 8-1 win over Mayaguez. Javier Baez opened the game batting second and playing shortstop, but moved to second base in the ninth as he went 1-for-5 in the game.
The Crabbers are the early leaders in the LBPRC playoffs as they defeated Mayaguez 3-1 on Saturday. Javier Baez had somewhat of a rough night as he played shortstop and was 0-for-4. However, Baez did reach on an error and stole a base.
Venezuelan Winter League
Cardenales de Lara
Lara continued to battle for the last playoff spot on Monday by defeating Anzoategui 7-3. Luis Valbuena played second base and was 1-for-4 with a run scored.
The Cardinals need to win only one game to claim fifth place on Friday, but failed as they lost to La Guaira 8-7. Luis Valbuena lined up at second base and was 2-for-4 with a triple, an RBI, and a run scored.
Leones del Caracas
In a game for fifth place on Friday, Caracas lost to La Guaira 4-1. Yoanner Negrin started for the Lions and allowed four earned runs on nine hits while striking out eight in six innings.
Navegantes del Magallanes
Magallanes was on the wrong end of a blow out last Sunday, losing 13-1 to Aragua. Jonathan Herrera played third base and was 3-for-4 in the loss.
The Navigators were able to creep into the last spot in the playoffs despite losing 4-3 to Anzoategui on Tuesday. Jonathan Herrera was 0-for-4 and played second base.
The Pathfinders opened the playoffs on Saturday and lost to number one seed Anzoategui 8-7. Jonathan Herrera opened at third base but switched to second in the seventh inning and went 2-for-3 with a run scored.
Tiburones de La Guaira
The bullpen of La Guaira could not hold off Zulia on Monday, losing 6-2 in 11 innings. Joseph Ortiz was able to do his job, retiring the only batter he faced in the sixth inning.
The Tiburones ended their season on a high note on Tuesday as they beat Zulia 2-0. Joseph Ortiz picked up his first save of the winter as he struck out two in tossing a scoreless ninth inning.
In an unusual tie breaking format on Friday, La Guaira played a split double-header, defeating Caracas in the first game and beat Lara 8-7 to claim fifth place. Joseph Ortiz entered the game with one out in the sixth and tossed 1.1 scoreless innings.
Tigres de Aragua
It was an old-fashioned laugher for Aragua last Sunday as they beat Magallanes 13-1. Willson Contreras lined up at first base and was 1-for-4 with a double, a walk, and two runs scored. Outfielder Rubi Silva went 1-for-5 with a run scored.
On Monday, the Tigers braved poor weather to complete a seven inning 3-2 win over Margarita. Rubi Silva played right field and was 0-for-3 in the game.
It was a wild opening of the playoffs for Aragua on Saturday as they defeated Zulia 12-11. Outfielder Rubi Silva came on as a pinch-runner in the ninth and scored the winning run on a bases loaded walk.
News and Notes
Former Cubs prospect Ryan Searle is leading the Australian Baseball League with 56 strikeouts in 48.2 innings. Searle is 2-3 with a save and a 4.25 ERA.