It is league championship time in the Caribbean and the Cubs are well represented in the finals. Junior Lake has been bouncing around the lineup as his Estrellas team vies for a chance to represent the Dominican Republic in the Caribbean World Series.
In Puerto Rico, Javier Baez is also on the move as he continues to work on his swing while Santurce plays for its league crown.
And it was too little, too late for Willson Contreras, Rubi Silva, and Aragua as they are on the outside looking in at the Venezuelan finals.
You can’t tell the players without a scorecard, unless you are reading today’s Down on the Farm Report.
Dominican Winter League
Estrellas de Oriente
Game two of the DWL championship last Sunday saw Oriente take a 2-0 lead in the series as they beat Cibao 7-3. Junior Lake, batting third and playing center field, contributed an RBI as he was 0-for-3 with a walk in the win.
Estrellas had a tough time last Monday as they were shut out 4-0 by Cibao to cut their series lead in half. Junior Lake collected one of the Stars’ four hits, going 1-for-4 with a triple. Starling Peralta recorded the last out of the top of the ninth.
It became a new series on Tuesday as the Eastern Stars dropped their second straight to Cibao, losing 5-3 and evening the series at 2-2. Junior Lake had a tough night as he went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts.
The struggles continued for Oriente on Wednesday as they lost their third in a row to Cibao, this time 6-1. Junior Lake was dropped down to sixth in the batting order, as he provided the sole offensive highlight. Lake smashed a solo home run with one out in the fifth inning as he went 1-for-3 with a walk.
Estrellas remained in a tailspin on Friday with a fourth loss to Cibao, going down 1-0 at the hands of the Giants. Shaking up their batting order, Junior Lake was moved to leadoff and went 0-for-2 with two walks in the loss.
The Eastern Stars bounced back on Saturday after a four game losing streak and beat Cibao 2-1. Junior Lake moved back to the three spot in the order and was 1-for-2 with a walk, an RBI, and a stolen base.
Gigantes del Cibao
Cibao dug themselves a hole both in the game and the championship series on Sunday as they lost to Oriente 7-3. Despite having several good outings in the postseason, Carlos Pimentel was hit hard, allowing four earned runs on six hits with a strikeout in 1.2 innings. The loss dropped the Giants to 0-2 in the series.
Roberto Clemente Professional Baseball League
Cangrejeros de Santurce
The league championship series opened on Tuesday with Santurce dropping the opener 8-2 to Mayaguez. Javier Baez had a particularly rough night as the shortstop was 0-for-4 with three strikeouts while committing two errors.
The Cangrejeros evened the series at 1-1 on Wednesday as they edged past Mayaguez 3-2 in 14 innings. Things did not get any better for Javier Baez as he was dropped to seventh in the line-up. Baez was 0-for-5 with a walk and three strikeouts while committing another error at shortstop.
On Friday, the Crabmen fell behind 1-2 in the series with Mayaguez as they were shut out 2-0. Javier Baez remained at shortstop and moved to eighth in the line-up, going 1-for-3 in the loss.
It was a rout on Saturday as Santurce shut out Mayaguez 6-0 to even the series at 2-2. Javier Baez batted seventh but moved over to second base as he went 1-for-4 with a run scored.
Venezuelan Winter League
Tiburones de La Guaira
La Guaira ended their poor postseason on Thursday with a 6-2 loss to Aragua in 11 innings. Joseph Ortiz pitched a scoreless eighth inning for his third hold of the playoffs.
Tigres de Aragua
Aragua kept their narrow hopes of playing for the VWL championship going on Sunday with a 5-4 victory over Anzoategui. Yoanner Negrin started for the Tigers and allowed two earned runs on four walks and six hits while striking out five in 3.2 innings. Rubi Silva started in center field and was 1-for-3 with a double and a run scored. Willson Contreras entered the game in the ninth as a defensive replacement behind the plate.
On Tuesday, the Tigers showed that they still had some life in them as they defeated La Guaira 11-5. Rubi Silva stayed hot and went 2-for-4 with two runs scored. Willson Contreras entered the game in the fourth inning with authority as he belted a two-run pinch-hit home run. Contreras stayed in and played first base, going 2-for-3 in the win.
The Big Cats kept their roll going on Wednesday by beating Zulia 6-1. However, it was not a good night for either centerfielder Rubi Silva or first baseman Willson Contreras. Contreras went 0-for-4 while Silva was 0-for-3 with a walk.
Aragua used a four run 11th inning to end their season on a positive note on Thursday, beating La Guaira 6-2 in 11 innings. Willson Contreras began the game at first base and was 2-for-5 with two runs scored.