Archive for the 'Cuba' Category

Myworld Series del Caribe Team

Monday, February 11th, 2019

It is tough to come up with an All Star team of Series del Caribe players when you did not actually watch them play. Most of this assessment will be based on stats and what the player accomplished in the box score. Below are the players that made myworld’s All Star Series del Caribe Team.

Catcher - Wilken Castillo (Dominican Republic) .571 average, 4 RBIs and a 1.557 OPS

First Base - Victor Mendoza (Mexico) .375 average, .563 slugging, 5 RBIs with one homerun and a .938 OPS

Second Base - Elmer Reyes (Panama) .368 average, .632 slugging, 1.000 OPS, 5 RBIs with one homerun

Shortstop - Javy Guerra (Panama) .389 average, .722 slugging, 3 doubles and one homerun, 3 RBIs and 1.111 OPS

Third Base - David Vidal (Puerto Rico) .385 average, .529 OBA, .991 OPS

Utility - Allen Cordoba (Panama) .389 average and .450 OBA

Outfield - Alfredo Despaigne (Cuba) - .350 average, 5 RBIs
Outfield - Jilton Calderon (Panama) - .273 average, .455 slugging
Outfield - Yuniesky Larduet (Cuba) - .273 average, 4 runs scored

Starting Pitcher - Harold Arauz (Panama) 1-0, 0.90 ERA, 10 innings pitched

Starting Pitcher - Lazaro Blanco (Cuba) 2-0, 0.00 ERA, 12 innings pitched

Starting Pitcher - Nestor Cortes (Dominican Republic), 1-0, 1.80 ERA 5 innings pitched, one hit allowed

Starting Pitcher - Nestor Molina (Venezuela) 1-0, 0,00 5 innings pitched

Starting Pitcher - Luis Mateo (Panama) 0-0, 0.00, 7 innings pitched

Relief - Manny Corpas (Panama) 0-0, 2.25, 4 saves

Relief - Jumbo Diaz (Dominican Republic) 1-0, 0.00, 2 saves

Relief - Raidel Martinez (Cuba) 0-0, 0.00, 2 saves

Relief - Sergio Romo (Mexico) 1-0, 0.00

Panama Wins the Series del Caribe

Monday, February 11th, 2019

Panama has not won the Series del Caribe since 1950, but that is not their fault. When the Series del Caribe was first formed in 1949 they were one of the original teams who participated in the event. That ended in 1960 after Fidel Castro over ran Cuba and for ten years there was no Series del Caribe. It restarted in 1970 but Panama was not included in that new group. It was felt they were not talented enough.

The talent level for the Series del Caribe has dwindled down to the AA level at best. In years past you would have Hank Aaron, Roberto Clemente and Willie Mays play in the event. It was always to earn a few extra bucks. Now the ballplayers make too much in the major leagues to take a risk of injury, jeopardizing million dollar contracts. The talent in Panama has caught up to the Series del Caribe, or more accurately the Series del Caribe talent level has dropped down to the level in Panama.

Panama was only allowed to play because the original host Venezuela continues to struggle with upheavals and it was felt to hold the tournament there was not safe. It was the second year in a row the tournament was to be held in Venezuela and the second year it had to be moved because of violence. Last year Mexico agreed to host it at the last minute. They did want to bail out the Series del Caribe again. So it was either Panama or cancel the series. And to make it attractive to Panama they agreed to let the champions of the Panama League participate in the series.

Panama qualified for the championship by winning their pool. Cuba, despite their lack of offense won the tie breaker in their pool to face Panama in the championship. Cuba was only recently allowed to return to the Series del Caribe, but that was when they could produce name players that could attract a fan base. Most of those name players are in the major leagues now and the Cuban team is just a shell of its former self.

That shell failed to generate any offense again as Panama won the championship game 3-1. Harold Arauz silenced the Cuban bats for one run in five innings. Panama’s staunch bullpen then went to work to shut out the Cuban bats for the final four innings, Manny Corpas pitching the final inning for his fourth save of the tournament.

Panama got all the runs they needed in the first inning on a Allan Cordoba and Elmer Reyes RBI singles to take a 2-0 lead. Cuba showed a little life in the fifth on a Alfredo Despaigne double and a Carlos Benitez single to cut the lead to 2-1. An Elmer Reyes throwing error put runners on second and third with two outs but Daniel Castro popped out to first to end the threat. Cuba got only two hits after that, one of them a bunt single.

Panama scored another run in the seventh on a Rodrigo Vigil RBI single. With a runner on second and two out in the ninth Alfredo Despaigne came up to represent the tying run. He flied out to center to end the game.

Myworld will put together our all Caribe team later tonight.

Cuba to Play Panama in Series del Caribe Finals

Sunday, February 10th, 2019

Cuba won when they had to beating Venezuela 3-0 on the last day to send their bracket into a three way tie with all three teams tied at 2-2. Run differential allowed Cuba to advance. Lazaro Blanco, who won the opener for Cuba pitched brilliantly again with five shutout innings to shut down the Venezuelan offense. Four different relievers shut out the Venezuelans the rest of the way with Raidel Martinez pitching the ninth to pick up the save.

Alfredo Despaigne was again the big bat for Cuba, sometimes the only bat. His RBI single in the bottom of the third drove in the first run for Cuba. A bases loaded walk to Carlos Benitez scored Despaigne for the second run of the inning. It was the last of three consecutive walks by Venezuelan pitchers. Cuba added another run in the sixth on a throwing error by the catcher after Yuniesky Larduet stole third. Larduet had scored the first run in the third inning after leading off with a single.

Cuba advancing was a surprise the way their listless offense could not get anything going but Panama advancing to the finals was the real shocker. The Puerto Ricans, the two time champions ironically were the only team eliminated from advancing to the finals on the last day and they appeared to play like it.

They collected just five hits as Oriel Caicedo limited them to just three in his 5.1 innings of work. Manny Corpas pitched a perfect ninth to pick up his third save. The only run scored in the fourth inning on a throwing error by Alexis Pantoja trying to turn a double play.

Rey Fuentes came to play getting three of the five Puerto Rican hits. Adelberto Flores pitched 6.1 solid innings but gave up the one unearned run.

So Cuba and Panama advance to the finals.

Series Del Caribe will Crown a New Champion

Friday, February 8th, 2019

Junior Lake hit a walk off single in the bottom of the ninth to lead the Dominican Republic to a 5-4 win over Puerto Rico. For Puerto Rico they dropped to 0-3 ending any hope they would win a third consecutive Series del Caribe championship. The Dominican Republic improved to 2-1 but must beat Panama to stay alive for the championship match.

Anuery Taveras had tied the game for the Dominican Republic in the bottom of the eighth with an RBI single. Jumbo Diaz got the win by pitching a scoreless ninth, though he did put two runners on with a walk and single. Diego Goris drove in the first Dominican run leading off the fourth with a homerun.

Puerto Rico had opportunities to score but stranded 14 runners on base. They left two runners on in the first, fourth, eighth and ninth and left the bases loaded in the fifth. They can still be spoilers with their final game against Panama.

The day game went 11 innings with Mexico virtually eliminating Cuba 3-2. In their previous loss the Cubans lost when the leadoff batter got on via an error. The misplays continued after Cuban native Dariel Alvarez struck out but reached first when the ball got past the catcher. Ramon Rios drove in Alvarez with a single.

Cuba went out meekly in the bottom of the 11th. They have had trouble generating any offense, collecting only six hits in 11 innings against the Mexican pitchers. The only two runs they scored were in the first inning on a Frederich Cepeda double and an Alfredo Despaigne double. Despaigne has driven in five of the six runs the Cubans have scored.

Mexico scored their first run on a wild pitch in the first inning. In the sixth Victor Mendoza tied the game with an RBI single. Sergio Romo retired all eight hitters he faced to get the victory, three of them by strikeouts.

For Cuba Yordanis Samon got three of the six hits for Cuba but they did not result in any runs.

The big game will pit Dominican Republic against Panama. A win by Panama would clinch their spot in the finals. Their final match is against winless Puerto Rico who they had beaten earlier. A loss to Puerto Rico would still leave them 3-1 with two victories against the Dominican Republic should they win today.

Venezuela can clinch their spot in the championship with a win over Mexico today. A loss to Mexico could result in a three way tie should Cuba beat Venezuela on the final day.

Venezuela Stays Alive and Panama Continues to Roll

Thursday, February 7th, 2019

The Cuban bats had trouble against Wilfredo Boscan, accumulating just three hits in his 6.2 innings of work as Venezuela won the pitcher’s duel 1-0. Three different relievers continued the shutout of the Cuban bats with Pedro Rodriguez getting the final three outs to pick up the save. Cuba got six strong innings from their veteran Freddy Alvarez, probably the best pitcher in Cuba not in the major leagues but the anemic Cuban bats failed to support his effort.

The two teams traded zeros for the first six innings. Cuba put runners on first and third with two outs in the second but failed to score. Venezuela perched runners on first and second with just one out but a double play ended that threat. The lone run scored in the seventh when Alexander Ayala booted a ground ball hit by Cuban native Rangel Ravelo. The Cubans chose to replace Alvarez with Yoennis Yera and he walked Luis Jimenez. Livan Moinelo replaced Yera. Juniel Querecuto, who grounded into a double play with runners on first and second and one out in the fourth chose to bunt and advanced the runners to second and third. Alejandro de Aza hit a ball deep enough in the outfield to score Rangel for the only run of the game.

Cuba never mounted a threat after that with their last six batters failing to reach base. Alfredo Despaigne, the hero of the game yesterday lined a shot into centerfield but it was caught by de Aza.

Panama continued to surprise rocking the two time defending champ Puerto Rico 8-7. They scored seven runs in the final two frames to pull out the game. Puerto Rico still rallied for one run in the bottom of the ninth but left the tying run stranded at first. Manny Corpas got the last three outs to pick up the save.

The big hit for Panama was a two run two out double by Jilton Calderon that gave Panama a 7-6 lead in the ninth. Allen Cordoba added an insurance run with his RBI single into left field.

The game changing moment for Panama is when they scored four runs after the first two hitters were retired in the eighth. Elmer Reyes had a two run single with the bases loaded and Javy Guerra had another big hit with a two run double that pulled Panama to within one.

Puerto Rico had a well pitched game from Ivan Maldanado, who only allowed one run in his six innings of work. The bullpen had trouble retiring Panama hitters with four different relievers coming in to pitch, all coughing up runs in less than an inning of work each. With the scored tied 1-1 after five Puerto Rico seemed to have pulled away, scoring five runs in the next two innings. At 0-2 their hopes of a three peat appears slim.

Panama with the Big Upset in Series del Caribe

Wednesday, February 6th, 2019

The Series del Caribe has considered expanding the tournament to other countries, but one of the concerns is these other countries (Panama, Colombia and Nicaragua) would not be competitive. Panama proved this notion not so true with their 4-2 upset of the Dominican Republic last night, a day after Panama native and Hall of Famer Mariano Rivera threw out the first pitch to open the tournament. The loss dropped the Dominicans to 1-1 while Panama sits atop their division at 1-0.

Panama starter Harold Arauz shutout the Dominican bats for the first five innings, allowing just three hits. The 23 year old Panama native played for Toros del Este in the Dominican League this past winter. He signed a minor league free agent contract with the St. Louis Cardinals for 2019.

Panama scored first in the second inning on a homerun from Padres shortstop prospect Javy Guerra. He scored the second run in the fourth after reaching on a single and scoring on a sacrifice fly hit by Jonathan Galvez.

When Panama took out Arauz the Dominican bats were relieved. In the top of the sixth Severino Gonzalez put two runners on via a walk and an infield single. Edwin Espinal drove them both in with a single to tie the game at 2-2. The Dominicans appeared to have woken from their slumber.

The Panama bullpen, especially the smallish 5′9″ Andy Otero made sure that did not happen. Otero shut down the Dominican bats for two innings. That gave the Panama bats another opportunity to take the lead. A hit by pitch, bunt and wild pitch by Jhan Marinez put a runner on third with just one out. Rodrigo Orozco grounded a single up the middle to break a 2-2 tie. Gerald Chin added another RBI single to put up an insurance run and give Panama a 4-2 lead.

Manny Corpas came on to pitch a perfect ninth inning to complete the upset.

Cuba chose not to play in the port tournament in the Netherlands this July because they stated they felt they could not field a competitive team. For their opener in the Series del Caribe they relied on the seven shutout innings from veteran Lazaro Blanco to defeat Mexico 3-1. For Mexico it was their second loss of the tournament, diminishing any chances they have for appearing in the final.

Cuban veteran Alfredo Despaigne drove in all three runs for Cuba. He had a two run single in the third and an RBI single in the fifth. Despaigne is one of the few Cuban superstars who did not defect to the major leagues. He was a teammate of Yoenis Cespedes in Cuba and considered the better player with more power than Cespedes. His defense in left field is a bit suspect. At 32 years of age he may be too late for the major leagues, though he is now playing in the NPB in Japan.

Mexico rallied in the ninth scraping together three hits to score one run. They had the go ahead run at the plate but Agustin Murillo flied out to right to end the game. Cuban Dariel Alvarez was playing for Mexico.

Series Del Caribe to Move to Panama

Tuesday, January 29th, 2019

This year the Series del Caribe was supposed to be played in Barquiesimeto, Venezuela, the home of the Lara Cardenales. Because of the violence occurring there a number of teams were not willing to travel there and major league baseball warned minor leaguers to stay away. Mexico had bailed Venezuela out last year when political violence prevented that country from being the host but they were hesitant to do it again. So now it appears the games will be played in Panama at the Rod Carew stadium.

For Panama it allows one of their teams to participate in the Series del Caribe for the first time since the games reformed. Panama will be represented by Toros de Hererra. Other teams who have qualified are Las Tunas (Cuba), Estrellas Orientales (Dominican Republic), Cangrejeros de Santurce (Puerto Rico), Cardenales de Lara (Venezuela) and the winner of the series between the Charros de Jalisco or Yaquis de Ciudad Obregon.

The tournament will start Feb 4-10. Panama’s gain is Lara’s loss. It is the second straight year the tournament has had to leave Barquiesimeto because of the political violence there.

Las Tunas Wins First Cuban Championships

Saturday, January 19th, 2019

When myworld first discovered Cuban baseball, Las Tunas was one of the teams you could count on to finish at the bottom of the standings. With defections and many of the top players bolting for the United States the landscape has changed for Cuban baseball. For the most part teams in the Nacional Series are composed of players who grow up in their barrio, except for the Capital which can sometimes acquire top players from other barrios. With the Cuban season now composed of two parts to a season players are drafted from teams outside their barrio from the teams who failed to advance in the second half. It has played havoc for websites attempting to keep statistics for players.

The Lumberjacks finally won their first championship after downing the Orangeman of Villa Clara in five games. Jorge Johnson was the big bat for Las Tunas. In the final game, an 8-4 win Johnson went 3 for 5 with a homerun and four RBIs. Alexander Ayala also contributed with a 4 for 4 day with a homerun and two RBIs. Yadian Martinez went 5.2 innings of shutout relief to allow the Lumberjacks to come back from a 4-2 deficit after four innings, picking up his second victory in two days.

In the opening game of the championship series Jorge Johnson went 4 for 5 with three runs scored and three RBIs. Daniel Castro and Jorge Aloma each went deep and drove in four runs. The first bullpen victory was recorded by Yudier Rodriguez, who worked 2.2 innings while allowing just one hit.

The Johnson bat remained hot in game two with a 2 for 5 day, his first homerun of the series and three RBIs. Jorge Aloma kept pace with a 3 for 3 performance and two runs scored.

The Lumberjacks came up short in game three 9-4. Villa Clara exploded for six runs in the sixth to put the game out of reach. The Johnson bat became boring with a 1 for 4 performance. Jorge Aloma went hitless in three at bats. William Saavedra was the big bat for Villa Clara with one homerun and three RBIs and two runs scored.

Las Tunas came back in game four with a 7-5 win despite the quiet bats from Johnson. Jorge Aloma did contribute two hits but Yasiel Santoya drove in three runs to prove the difference in the game. Yadian Martinez got the win out of the bullpen despite giving up two runs, surviving three innings which was enough to get the win.

The Johnson bat returned in the final game to finish the five game series with 10 RBIs. The down side of the series is the celebration was held at the Villa Clara park. Myworld is confident Las Tunas residents will give them their celebration when they return home.

Las Tunas and Villa Clara into the Finals

Thursday, January 10th, 2019

The series only went five games for both Las Tunas and Villa Clara to advance to the Cuban finals. Both teams lost the fourth game after winning the first three but Las Tunas won the fifth game on the road while Villa Clara got to celebrate at home.

Las Tunas defeated Ciego de Avila 4-3 scoring early on a three run homerun by Yosvani Alarcon. Ciego battled back to score two in the second and one in the third, Yorbis Borrotto driving in two. Yoanni Yera for Las Tunas and Lazaro Blanco for Ciego shut down the bats for the next three innings. Las Tunas was able to score their final run in the seventh, getting a gift from right fielder Oscar Colas, who held on to the ball too long and then fired past the catcher to allow the go ahead run to score. Yoalkis Cruz retired Ciego in order in the ninth to clinch the win.

Jorge Johnson and Jorge Aloma each contributed three hits for Las Tunas.

The game was not so tight in Villa Clara with the Orangeman battering Sancti Spiritus 12-2 to win their semifinals. The game ended after seven innings because of the slaughter rule. Stayler Hernandez, Yurien Vizcaino and William Saavedra each contributed three RBIs in the slaughter. The Orangeman picked apart Sancti Spiritus with 13 singles and a double in the seven innings and also drew 8 walks. Freddy Alvarez went the full seven innings to pick up the victory.

Las Tunas will now play Villa Clara in the finals. Villa Clara last won a championship in 2013. Las Tunas has yet to win a Cuban championship. Granma had won it the last two years and prior to that Ciego de Avila had won back to back. Sancti Spiritus had last won in 1979, but they were eliminated by Villa Clara. With the many defections it is a changing landscape in Cuban baseball. If the new agreement between major league baseball and Cuba is allowed to go into effect it will be interesting to see how that will impact the Cuban landscape. Granma had not won a championship until they went back to back. Now could it be Las Tunas with an opportunity to win their first championship.

Winter League Updates

Tuesday, January 1st, 2019

The Winter Leagues from Cuba, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Venezuela and Puerto Rico have finished their first round of playoffs. Below are the teams that have advanced to the second round.

Dominican Republic

The four teams advancing are Estrellas Orintales (29-21), Leones del Escogido (27-23), Tigres del Licey (27-23) and Toros del Este (25-25). These teams will play each other in pool play and the top two teams will play a best of seven to determine the Series del Caribe participant. At least that is how it worked last year. The two teams eliminated were the Aguilas Cibaenas (22-28) and the Gigantes del Cibao (20-30).

Mexico

The teams played two halves. They collected points based on their finish in the two halves. The Culiacan Tomateros won the first half and the Hermosillo Naranjeros won the second half. Based on the accumulated points from the two halves six teams will advance and pair off to play each other in a best of seven series. The three winners will advance and the top team from the three losers will also advance. The matchups are:

Los Mochis Caneros (28-30) vs Hermosillo Naranjeros (33-25)
Mazatlan Venados (27-31) vs Obregon Yaquis (30-26)
Jalisco Charros (28-29) vs Culiacan Tomateros (33-25)

Puerto Rico

Three teams advanced from Puerto Rico. They are the Indios de Mayaguez (21-14), Gigantes de Carolina (17-18) and Cangrejeros de Santurce (17-19). These three will play in a pool like round robin. The one team eliminated is Criollos de Caguas (16-20).

Venezuela

Six of the eight teams advanced to the second round of the playoffs where two teams will pair off in a best of seven. Those teams are Navegantes del Magallanes (36-27), Cardenales del Lara (35-28), Leones del Caracas (34-29), Tigres de Aragua (33-30), Bravos de Margarita (32-31), Caribes de AnzoƔtegui (31-32). The best of seven matchups pair:

Aragua vs Caracas
Margarita vs Lara
Caribes vs Magallanas

Cuba

Cuba has already whittled down to the last six teams. Four of those teams will advance. The six teams and their current records are Lenadores de Las Tunas (34-26), Gallos de Sancti Spiritus (32-28), Tigres de Ciego de Avila (31-29), Azucareros de Villa Clara (31-29), Leones de Industriales (30-30) and Cachorros de Holquin (22-38).