Cheering for Pirates’ players and friends in Wednesday’s winter league action (the new minor league free agents did not get into the games):
PUERTO RICAN LEAGUE
Criollos de Caguas 2, Leones de Ponce 1 — Not a lot of hitting or scoring here. Ponce scored one run in the 3rd inning on a pair of doubles. Los Criollos tied it up in the 6th with a walk, a single, and a throwing error. 3B Ramon Vazquez walked, then another single brought in the winning run. SS Luis Figueroa singled in the 1st inning, but was left on base.
Caribes de Anzoategui 2, Navegantes del Magallanes 1 — Same thing in this game, not much offense. The difference is that Los Caribes scored one run in two different innings — a homer in the 2nd, and a double, a single, and an RBI grounder in the 7th. Los Navegantes scored on a double and two wild pitches in the 6th. Reliever Jean Machi pitched a perfect bottom of the 8th for Los Navegantes: two strikeouts and a ground out.
Tiburones de La Guaira 5, Aguilas del Zulia 4 — This first game of a double-header was supposed to be only 7 innings, but the score was tied at 1-1 from the 5th through the 7th. Los Tiburones scored 2 in the top of the 8th on a 2-run homer. With Chris Hernandez on the mound for La Guaira, Los Aguilas responded with a 2-run homer in the bottom of the 8th, and Hernandez was charged with a Blown Save. Then three singles gave La Guaira the go-ahead run again in the top of the 9th. An error and a wild pitch added an insurance run, which they would need. Zulia scored a run in the bottom of the inning on three singles, but their rally was cut short, and Los Tiburones held on for the win, credited to Hernandez.
Estrellas de Oriente 5, Tigres del Licey 4 — Los Tigres started the scoring in the 4th inning, on a single, a wild pitch, and an RBI single by Jake Fox. Fox moved to second on an error on a pick-off attempt, then scored on an RBI single. Robinzon Diaz also singled in the inning. Diaz also singled in the 8th after a walk, and two errors on the play brought the run in. A home run in the 6th gave Los Tigres one more run. Los Estrellas scored one run in the 4th, and collected a 2-run homer in the 5th. They took the lead in the bottom of the 8th on four singles.
Toros del Este 10, Aguilas Cibaenas 1 — Los Aguilas scored one run on a triple and a sacrifice bunt in the 2nd inning, then gave up 10 unanswered runs, including 6 Toros’ runs in the 8th inning. SS Pedro Ciriaco walked in the 3rd inning but was out in a force play at second base. He was 0-for-3 for the rest of the night.
MEXICAN PACIFIC LEAGUE
Tomateros de Culiacan 2, Venados de Mazatlan 1 — Los Venados were held to just 2 hits, and scored their only run in the 5th, on a walk, a stolen base, and an RBI ground out. Culiacan’s 2-run homer in the 2nd inning was all the scoring they needed. LF Rogelios Noris came into the game as a late-inning defensive replacement, and struck out in his only plate appearance.
The game between the Adelaide Bite and the Canberra Cavalry had to be postponed. They will try for a double-header on Friday (early Friday morning for most of us). The two teams are already scheduled to play a double-header on Saturday.
The Bite are reporting that the Pirates have signed reliever Jackson Lodge to a contract. Lodge is a product of the Australian Baseball Academy, where he had a 2-3 record and a 2.03 ERA in 40 innings last year. Lodge has pitched in 4 games for the Bite so far this season, with mixed results. On Nov 13th, he pitched the 8th inning of the Bite’s 8-3 win over Melbourne. After striking out the first batter, Lodge gave up two doubles and two singles, for 2 runs. On the 18th, he pitched to 4 batters in the Bite’s win over Perth, and retired all four, including one strikeout. Two days later, he earned a “Hold” in another victory over Perth, but he faced only two batters — a ground out and a single, and that runner eventually came around to score. On the 26th, Lodge came on in relief in the 4th when the starting pitcher had to leave the game due to an arm injury. Lodge hit the first batter he faced, then ended the inning with a ground out. But he got into trouble in the 5th, giving up 2 runs on a walk, three singles, and a sacrifice fly. He retired two batters in the 6th, then was relieved. It will be interesting to see where Lodge is assigned in the US — the Pirates will surely be watching his progress in the ABL.
Looking in on the Pirates’ players and friends in Saturday’s winter league action…
PUERTO RICAN LEAGUE
Criollos de Caguas 2, Gigantes de Carolina 1 — A low-hitting game, and Caguas scored their 2 runs in the bottom of the 7th on two singles and some mistakes by Los Gigantes. With the first two batters on base, SS Luis Figueroa bunted both into scoring position. That put the runner on third base in position to score on a wild pitch. Ramon Vazquez reached base on a fielding error at second base, which let the second run score. Another wild pitch and a walk put two runners on base again, but no more runs scored. Los Criollos also loaded the bases in the 3rd, on singles by Figueroa and Vazquez and a walk, and a walk and two more singles loaded the bases in the 6th, but both times the bases were left loaded. Vazquez also walked in the 1st inning. Los Gigantes’ only run came in the 5th, on a single, a double by Luis Matos, and a sacrifice fly.
Navegantes del Magallanes 4, Tigres de Aragua 0 — Los Tigres could not score despite 7 hits and 2 walks. RF Alex Romero had 3 of those 7 hits, and 1B Hector Gimenez had a single. SS Ronny Cedeno, CF Jorge Cortes, and C Raul Chavez were all hitless in the game. Los Navegantes scored all 4 of their runs in the top of the 2nd, on a solo homer, followed by four singles. Corey Hamman pitched to one batter in the 6th, and gave up a single. Two more walks loaded the bases for Magallanes, but the runners were left stranded. Jean Machi pitched the 9th inning for Magallanes and gave up the single to Gimenez, but a double play erased Gimenez and ended the game.
Bravos de Margarita 6, Aguilas del Zulia 4 — Anthony Claggett earned his first Venezuelan League win with 1.1 scoreless innings for Margarita. Los Bravos scored first, with a run in the bottom of the 1st, and Los Aguilas tied the score with one run in the top of the 2nd. Zulia scored 2 more runs in the top of the 3rd on two walks and three singles, and Claggett was brought into the game with 2 runs in, one out, and the bases loaded. he faced just one batter, and got the double play to end the inning. Los Bravos’ batters responded with 4 runs in the bottom of the 4th, on 4 singles, a walk, and a bases-clearing 3-RBI double. That gave Los Bravos the lead, which they would not give up, and Claggett was the pitcher of record. He began the top of the 4th with two outs, then a throwing error and a single put two runners on for Los Aguilas. Claggett was relieved at that point, but those runners did not score. Ronald Belisario earned his 9th save for Margarita.
A quick look at what some of the Pirates’ players and friends were up to in the Venezuelan League recently:
Anthony Claggett joined Los Bravos de Margarita, and has made two relief appearances. On the 17th, he pitched one inning, giving up only a 2-out double, then finishing the inning with a groundout. On the 21st, Claggett pitched 2 innings and allowed only a single to former Indy Indian Jorge Cortes, who he then erased in a double play.
Los Tigres de Aragua got two hits each from1B Hector Gimenez, SS Ronny Cedeno, and C Raul Chavez on the 17th. Unfortunately their only run in the game was Gimenez’s solo home run. Brian Bass made the start for Los Tigres on the 19th. He pitched 5 innings and gave up 4 runs — one run on a pair of singles and his own throwing error in the 1st inning, and 3 runs on a homer then two walks and 3 singles in the 3rd. The score was tied when Bass left the game. Lastings Milledge contributed a 2-run homer for Los Tigres in the 1st. Aragua won the game in the bottom of the 10th on a walk-off RBI single by Cortes.
Also on the 19th, Sean Gallagher suffered his third loss of the season for Los Navegantes. He pitched 4 innings against Los Aguilas del Zulia and gave up 4 runs on 8 hits. In the 3rd inning, he allowed a 2-run homer, then in the 4th, Gallagher gave up 2 more runs on a walk and 3 singles.
Justin Thomas earned the win (his first in Venezuela) for Los Bravos de Margarita on Saturday the 20th. He was first charged with a blown save when he gave up a solo home run in the bottom of the 7th to Los Navegantes del Magallanes. But he was then credited with the win when Margarita hit a 3-run homer in the top of the 7th. Corey Hamman also was charged with a blown save for Magallanes in that same game, when he faced 3 Margarita batters in the 5th inning and gave up a homer, a single, and a double. Jean Machi pitched the top of the 9th for Magallanes and got three ground outs.
Gone for a few days, and all kinds of changes going on….
The Pirates have removed starting pitcher Zach Duke, infielder Andy LaRoche, and outfielder Delwyn Young from their 40-man roster.
Duke (photo) was the starting pitcher for the Indianapolis Indians on Opening Day in 2005, the beginning of the Pirates’ affiliation with the Indians. Duke faced the rehabbing Curt Schilling, and he and the Indians beat Schilling pretty easily.
The open spots on the 40-man roster, plus two other already open spots, went to a group of minor league pitchers:
Mike Crotta, a righty who made 4 starts for Altoona before he was promoted to Indianapolis. He made 24 starts for the Indians and pitched 131.1 innings, with a 4.93 ERA.
Daniel Moskos, who split the season between the Indy Indians and the Altoona Curve. The lefty was outstanding for the Curve, with a 1.52 ERA and 21 saves, though he struggled for the Indians, where he earned a 10.38 ERA in 17.1 innings of relief.
Tony Watson, another lefty who spent the season with the Curve. He made a few starts (9) but mostly worked in relief, earning a 2.67 ERA in 111.1 innings.
Jeff Locke, split the season between Altoona and the Bradenton Marauders. After earning a 3.54 ERA in 17 starts for Bradenton, Locke was promoted to AA, where the southpaw made an additional 10 starts and earned a consistent 3.59 ERA.
Kyle McPherson, a right-hander who spent most of the season with A-level West Virginia. McPherson made 21 starts and 5 relief appearances for the Power, with a 3.59 ERA in 117.2 innings, though he had some hot and cold swings. McPherson also pitched 4 scoreless innings for Bradenton in September.
Cheering for the Pirates’ farmhands and friends in Saturday’s winter league games…
Cardenales de Lara 2, Tigres de Aragua 1 — Brian Bass suffered the loss for Los Tigres, though he did not pitch poorly. Bass threw 7.2 innings and scattered 5 hits and 3 walks. He gave up a run on a single and a double in the 3rd inning, and another on a hit batter and a double in the 6th. A walk and a double play on a bouncer back to the mound started the 8th inning, then Bass was relieved. Los Tigres scored their only run in the 5th inning. A pair of singles and a walk loaded the bases for SS Ronny Cedeno, whose sacrifice fly plated the run. Cedeno singled in the 1st inning. LF Lastings Milledge singled in the 4th inning, but he was picked off. DH Hector Gimenez doubled in the 8th, but was left on base. CF Jorge Cortes was the only Tigres batter with 2 hits, both singles. Romulo Sanchez pitched to two batters in the 6th for Lara — he walked Milledge, then got a ground out.
Navegantes del Magallanes 6, Leones del Caracas 3 — Sean Gallagher earned his third win for Magallanes, going 5 innings in this start. Gallagher faced only one batter over the minimum over the first three innings, allowing just a walk in the top of the 1st. He allowed a lead-off homer to DH Jesus Guzman in the 4th, then a single and a double in that inning. Guzman got to Gallagher again in the 5th, with a 2-run homer. Jean Machi earned his 5th save of the season with a scoreless top of the 9th for Magallanes, allowing only a single to
Tigres del Licey 5, Toros del Este 2 — C Jason Jaramillo drove in one of Los Toros’ runs with a sacrifice fly in the 2nd inning, but Los Toros would not score after that. SS Pedro Ciriaco singled in the 9th innning, but was left on base. Los Tigres scored one run in the 3rd, and tied the game with a solo homer in the 5th. Licey took the lead in the 6th. Pinch-hitter Jake Fox began the rally with a single, and he came in on an RBI single. C Robinzon Diaz gave the team a pair of insurance runs with a 2-RBI single.