The highs and lows of playoff baseball were experienced by Cubs’ prospects over the last seven days. Despite hitting two home runs over the last week, Christian Villanueva and Obregon lost the series in the opening round of the Mexican League playoffs.
Over in Puerto Rico, Santurce is thriving thanks to a big night and some sparkling defense from Javier Baez. Manny Ramirez hit his third home run of the postseason but the fortunes of Cibaenas are diminishing in the Dominican Republic. While in Venezuela, Jonathan Herrera is making Magallanes relevant with his all-around play.
Experience the warmth of winter baseball by taking a look at today’s Down on the Farm Report.
Dominican Winter League
It was a tight ballgame last Sunday as Cibaenas fell to Cibao 2-1. Frank Batista came on in the fifth inning and held the Giants in check, striking out three in two scoreless innings. Manny Ramirez went 2-for-4 with a double in the loss.
The Aguilas regrouped on Monday in beating Este 4-1. Manny Ramirez cracked a solo home run in the second inning as he went 1-for-3 with a walk before being lifted for a pinch-runner in the eighth inning.
Offense was scarce once again for the Eagles on Wednesday as they lost to Oriente 2-1. Manny Ramirez was 0-for-4, as Cibaenas was held to only two hits. Frank Batista once again kept his team in the game, working around a hit and a walk with a scoreless inning.
A ninth inning comeback on Thursday fell a little short for Cibaenas as they lost to Cibao 8-6. Manny Ramirez was 0-for-3 with a walk and was removed for a pinch-runner in the eighth inning.
The Aguilas slipped a little further in the standings on Friday as they lost 4-3 to Oriente. Manny Ramirez put the first run on the board for Cibaenas in the fifth inning as he led off with a home run, his third of the postseason.
Saturday saw the fortunes of the Eagles continue to head southward as they bowed to playoff leading Cibao 7-1. Manny Ramirez had a good night at the plate as he was 3-for-4 and scored Cibaenas’ only run. Frank Batista was rushed into service in the second inning and gave up an earned run on four hits while striking out three in 2.2 innings.
Estrellas de Oriente
It was a bad start of the week for Estrellas, as they were humbled by Este 7-1 last Sunday. Junior Lake went 0-for-3 with a walk and was caught stealing. Starling Peralta entered the game with two outs in the third inning and allowed two earned runs on a walk and a hit as he went 1.1 innings.
It looked as if Oriente would come away with a victory on Monday, but after giving up five runs in the bottom of the ninth, left the field 9-5 losers to Cibao. Junior Lake continued to struggle as he was 0-for-4 with a walk and an RBI.
A low scoring affair on Wednesday went the Stars’ way as they defeated Cibaenas 2-1. Junior Lake was 1-for-4 with a walk, but once again was caught stealing.
Oriente did not have enough in the tank on Thursday as they lost to Este 3-2. Junior Lake tied the game in the second inning at one with a solo home run as he was 1-for-4 in the game.
Estrellas was able to make up some ground on Friday as they beat Cibaenas 4-3. Junior Lake helped out the cause as he went 2-for-4 with an RBI batting third and playing centerfield.
The Eastern Stars still have a way to go, but took a positive step on Saturday in beating Este 8-2. A Junior Lake double in the third inning drove in a run as he went 1-for-5 in the win.
Gigantes del Cibao
Cibao remained on top of the playoff standings on Wednesday by taking care of Este 3-1. Carlos Pimentel remained brilliant in the playoffs as he allowed only an earned run while striking out four in five innings.
Mexican Pacific League
Yaquis de Obregon
Obregon took a lead in their playoff series with Mexicali on Sunday with a 6-4 victory. Christian Villanueva provided the winning margin in the bottom of the eighth with a three-run home run. Villanueva was 1-for-4 while playing third base.
The Yaquis took a 3-1 lead in the series on Monday with a 3-1 win over Mexicali. It was a quiet game for Christian Villanueva, as he was 0-for-4 while playing third base.
With one game left to clinch the next round of the playoffs, the Tribe lost 6-4 to Mexicali on Tuesday. In the third inning, Christian Villanueva cut a 2-0 deficit in half with a solo home run. Villanueva was 1-for-3 in the loss.
One again, needing only one win to advance, Obregon was blown out Thursday 9-0 by Mexicali. Christian Villanueva had one of the Yaquis’ six hits as he was 1-for-4 with a double.
Up three games to one in their series with Mexicali, the Yaquis dropped the series on Friday night with a 7-2 loss. Christian Villanueva was unable to help Obregon’s efforts as he was 0-for-3 with two strikeouts.
Roberto Clemente Professional Baseball League
Cangrejeros de Santurce
Santurce continued to roll in the playoffs on Sunday as they bounced Caguas 9-2. Javier Baez started at second base and batted second, going 1-for-4 with an RBI.
After an off-day, the Cangrejeros picked up where they left off and beat Caguas 4-2 on Tuesday. Javier Baez moved down to third in the order and remained at second base, as he went 1-for-5 with an RBI on a force play in the ninth.
On Wednesday, the Crabmen were unable to muster any offense as they lost 1-0 to Carolina. Santurce was held to only three hits as Javier Baez was 0-for-4 with two strikeouts.
It was a major blowout on Friday, as Santurce took control from the start and beat Carolina 10-0. Javier Baez moved over to shortstop was 3-for-5 with a double and three runs scored as he batted second in the line-up. There were also reports that Baez turned in several outstanding defensive plays.
Venezuelan Winter League
Navegantes del Magallanes
It was a tight game on Sunday as Magallanes came out on top 1-0 over Anzoategui. Jonathan Herrera started at third base and was 1-for-3 with a double and a stolen base.
Make it two in a row for the Navs as they blew past La Guaira 8-4 on Monday. Jonathan Herrera moved up to second in the batting order while remaining at third base and went 2-for-4 with two runs scored.
The Navigators steadily ground past Aragua on Wednesday, beating the Tigers 7-1. Jonathan Herrera had a big night as he went 2-for-5 and blasted a two-run home run in the first inning. Herrera also scored two runs.
Magallanes was not able to make it two in a row on Thursday night as they lost to Aragua 3-1. Jonathan Herrera was at third base and went 0-for-3 with a walk and a run scored.
The Pathfinders were able to maintain a first place tie in the round-robin playoffs on Friday with an 8-3 win over La Guaira. Jonathan Herrera was at third base, batted second and went 1-for-4 with a run scored.
The Navegantes did not have the horses to run with the leader on Saturday, as their attempt to stay with Anzoategui fell flat, losing 12-7. Jonathan Herrera was still stationed at third base and second in the batting order, going 1-for-5 with a run scored.
Tiburones de La Guaira
La Guaira is finding the going rough in the playoffs as they lost to Zulia 4-1 on Tuesday. Joseph Ortiz came on with two out in the sixth inning and went 0.2 scoreless innings.
The Tiburones were able to edge past Zulia on Wednesday for a 2-1 victory. Joseph Ortiz started the sixth inning and gave up a hit, but also retired a batter before being replaced.
The Sharks have a long way to go, but they secured their second win of the postseason on Saturday by defeating Aragua 6-1. Joseph Ortiz began the eighth inning and did his job, retiring two of the three batters he faced.
Tigres de Aragua
Aragua was unable to get past regular season champs Anzoategui in a hard-fought 11-9 loss on Tuesday. Rubi Silva pinch-hit in the eighth inning and took over in centerfield, going 1-for-1.
The Tigers were outclassed on Wednesday, losing to Magallanes 7-1. Yoanner Negrin moved over from Caracas and started for Aragua, allowing five earned runs on seven hits and three walks as he struck out three in 4.2 innings. Rubi Silva started in centerfield and was 0-for-3.
News and Notes
The Cubs signed RHP Jorge De Leon, RHP Andres Santiago, C Taylor Teagarden, and INF Chris Valaika to minor league contracts.
Corrections to report on the Mexican League playoffs posted 6:59pm CST.