Saturday, December 8, 2007

Tigres top Leones "en Duelo De Felinos"

Vs. Caracas
Photo courtesy of los Tigres de Aragua

Aragua 8 at Caracas 6

W: V. Moreno (3-0, 2.25); L: G. Moscoso (1-1, 4.08); SV: F. Butto (10)
HR: ARA: M. Rivera (1). CAR: A. Cabrera (7).

After a somewhat lackadaisical week at the plate, los Tigres de Aragua erupted for 8 runs on 15 hits Friday, downing los Leones del Caracas. Former Miracle Victor Moreno (Baltimore) picked up his 3rd win of the season, pitching in relief.

Aragua took an early lead in the top of the 3rd inning, with Ronny Cedeno (Chicago Cubs) doubling his way onto base. After Mike Aviles (Kansas City) struck out, Mike Rivera (Milwaukee) would homer to give the Tigres 2.

They'd add to that total in the 5th, with Cedeno doubling again, moving to 3rd on Aviles ground out and crossing the plate on Rivara's sac-fly to right.

Starter Cory Bailey (Chicago Cubs) would keep the Leones off balance for 5 innings but with 2 outs in the bottom of the 5th, he'd allow a single to Jesus Guzman (Seattle) and a walk to Marco Scutaro (Toronto). Moreno would be called into the game to replace him, giving up a home run to Alex Cabrera (F/A) to tie up the contest.

Los Tigres answered back in the top of the 7th though, with Luza Maza (LA Dodgers) and Aviles doubling. With 2 out, Hector Gimenez (Houston) would walk before free agent Willie Romero singled to bring in Aviles, giving Aragau a 2 run lead.

In the top fo the 8th with one out, Luis Figueroa (San Francisco), Maza and Cedeno all singled to load the bases. Leones pitcher Edwin Moreno (F/A) then issued a walk to Aviles to force in a run. After a strike out by Rivera, Gimenz's line drive single brought in Maza and Cedeno for a five run lead.

Caracas however began a late rally in the bottom of the inning with Guzman and Scutaro both singling off Minnesota's Yohan Pino. After Cabrera flew out, Jose Castillo (Pittsburgh) reached on a fielding error by Aviles which plated Scutaro. Mario Lisson (Kansas City) brought in Castillo on a single, before Oswaldo Soso (Minnesota) was brought in to replace Pino, getting Roger Cedeno (F/A) out on strikes to end the inning.

Frank Buto (F/A) would hold the Lions at bay for the ninth, as the Tigres hung on to a two run for the win.

Moreno picked up both the blown save and the win, allowing 1 run on 1 hit and 2 walks in 1 inning worth of work. Pino allowed 3 runs on 3 hits in 1 inning worth of work, while Sosa had just the lone strike out for .1 inning worth of work.

Luis Rodriguez (San Diego) was 0-for-5 for the Tigres, while Maza as 2-f0r-6 with 2 runs.

The Cats take on los Bravos de Margarita for a pair of games on Saturday and Sunday to finish off the week feline.

Tigres de Aragua

Friday, December 7, 2007

Tigres blank Bravos, 2-0

Horacio Estrada
Photo courtesy of los Tigres de Aragua

Margarita 0 at Aragua 2

W: H. Estrada (4-1, 1.26); L: W. Ledezma (0-2, 1.84); SV: F. Butto (9)
HR: None.

Free Agent Horacio Estrada (not Bobby Korecky as per the MLB boxscore) put in another masterful performance Thursday, throwing 6 innings while allowing 4 hits and 1 walk and striking out 3 to blank los Bravos de Margarita, 2-0. Estrada got all the run support he needed in the bottom of the 2nd inning.

Hector Giminez (Houston) doubled, then moved to 3rd on a Raul Chavez (NY Yankees) ground out. Mike Rivera (Milwaukee) drew a walk, before Luis Rodriguez (San Diego) singled to bring in Gimenez. Rivera would try to come on an Alex Romero (Arizona) fly ball single, but was taken out at the plate. Luis Figueroa (San Francisco) singled to bring in Rodriguez, but Luis Maza (LA Dodgers) fouled out to right to end the inning.

Korecky, a Minnesota reliever, worked 2 innings striking out 1, and Frank Butto (F/A) picked up his ninth save of the season, pitching the 9th inning for the Cats, allowing 1 hit and striking out 1.

Rodriguez finished up the game 2-for-4 with a run and a RBI, Romero was 1-for-3, and Maza finished up 0-for-4 with 2 strike outs.

The Tigres face los Leones del Caracas at 7:30 PM AST on Friday and rematch against los Bravos on Saturday and Sunday.

Tigres de Aragua

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Six players exit in Rule V Draft

Tim Lahey
Tim Lahey

The Minnesota Twins remained remarkably quiet during the Rule V draft Thursday at baseball's winter meetings.

After all the rumors surrounding the Santana Sweepstakes failed to materialize, General Manager Bill Smith sat back and passed on all potential Rule V picks, perhaps the most intriguing of which was Tampa's Evan Meek, who went to Pittsburgh with the 2nd pitck.

The Rays, picking first overall, selected Minnesota reliever Tim Lahey. Lahey split last season between AAA Rochester and AA New Britain, posting a 9.00 ERA in 2 games in Rochester, and a 3.45 ERA with a 8-4 record and 13 saves for New Britain in 78.1 innings pitched. The New Britain stats look promising, the 3 innings in triple a did not.

A converted catcher out of Princeton University, Lahey is a hard worker who's gone through a lot to catch up with the rest of the Minnesota pitching staff. While it was possible he'd have stuck in the Rays bullpen, they Rays then sold Lahey to the Chicago Cubs for $150,000. It's extremely unlikely that the competative Cubs will keep him in the major league line up for the year, which means they will have to work a deal with the Twins if they intended to keep him.

Seattle selected R.A. Dickey, a free agent right-hander the Twins had signed to play in Rochester for the upcoming season in the 12th round. This is a puzzling selection as Dickey really hasn't displayed anything in the past that would indicate the 33-year-old could handle a full time major league roll. Dickey had a 13-6 record with a 3.72 ERA for his hometown Nashville Sounds in 2007, earning himself a spot on the PCL Post Season All-Star team. He walked 60 and struck out 119 in 169.1 innings pitched. He will have to earn a spot in the Seattle bullpen out of Spring Training.

Going in the 30th round to the Washington Nationals, was Garrett Guzman. This maybe wasn't such a surprise, as the Nat's had shown some interest in the California native before. Guzman finished up last season with the AA Rock Cats batting .312 with 14 home runs and 88 RBI's and sported a .453 slugging and .359 on base percentages. The big question would be if Guzman has what it takes to make a major league roster for the Nats. That's a really iffy pick for Washington, since we've not seen what Guzman is capable of at the Triple A level.

Outfielder Rashad Eldridge was a free agent signee for the Twins in 2007 and spent last year in New Britain, where he hit for a .291 average with 65 runs, 41 RBIs and 7 homre runs. This Eldridge will wear a Durham Bulls jersey as we has selected by Tampa Bay with the first pick of the Triple A portion of the draft.

The Twins resigned former Miracle Josh Hill to a minor league contract earlier this fall, but he won't be in a Minnesota uniform. The Aussie right-hander was picked up by Pittsburgh with the 2nd pick in the Triple A phase of the draft. He does not have to be placed on Pittsburgh 40-man roster, so he'll likely be playing for AAA Indianapolis or AA Altoona next season.

Hill posted a 3-2 record with a 3.00 ERA in 17 games for the Fort Myers Miracle last year, moving from the bullpen into the starting rotation, before earning a long overdue promotion to New Britain. He went 3-2 with the Rock Cats with a 4.36 ERA in 53.2 innings, walking 27 and striking out 46. The 24-year-old still projects well as a major league reliever, but he's never been a fast-track prospect.

J.P. Martinez was taking in the AA portion of the draft, this time by Baltimore. The 6'2" right hander from New Orleans split time between the Rochester Red wings and the New Britian Rock Cats last season, as well as making one apperance with the FSL Fort Myers Miracle. Martinez compiled a 3-6 record with a 4.19 ERA in AA New Britain, where he walked 33 and struck out 48 in 53.2 innings, earning 2 saves in relief. His brief 2 game appearance in Triple A was less then memorable, as he posted a 12.0 ERA in 3 innings.

The Twins under Terry Ryan were always very active in the Rule V draft, which makes me wonder if Terry just liked taking part to keep busy at winter meetings. Smith seems somewhat disinclinded to play the game. The change of organizational philosophy is certainly of interest.

Tigres cut off by Navegantes, 3-1

Edgardo Alfanzo
Photo courtesy of los Navegantes del Magallanes

Aragua 1 at Magallanes 3

W: J. Pulido (3-1, 2.48); L: H. Bonilla (0-1, 3.43); SV: I. Maldonado (11)
HR: ARA: M. Aviles (5).

Time off did not seem to help los Tigres de Aragau any, as they began the week feline Wednesday with yet another loss to los Navegantes del Magallanes. The Tigres were limited to 8 hits in the game, their only run came in the top of the 2nd inning, when Mike Aviles (Kansas City) went yard over the center field wall.

Former Miracle Henry Bonilla (LA Angels) worked 5.2 innings for Aragua, allowing 3 runs, 2 earned on 9 hits and 2 walks while striking out 1.

With one out in the bottom of the first, Bonilla issued a walk to Richard Paz (F/A). An Edgardo Alfonzo (F/A) singled moved him to second, and following a pop out to Richard Hidalgo (F/A), he scored on a Juan Rivera (LA Angels) line drive. to put the Navegantes on the board.

Avilla tied it up in the 2nd with his 5 home run blast of the season for the Tigres.

A pair of singles in the 5th put Gustavo Molina (Baltimore) and Endy Chavez (NY Mets) on base and a sac-bunt by Paz moved the pair. A line drive by Alfonzo brought the pair in, giving Magallanes the lead and an insurance marker.

Juan Pulido worked 7 innings for los Navegantes, allowing 7 hits to the Cats and striking out 1. The feline visitors could locate no offense off relievers Elio Serrano (F/A) and Ivan Maldonado (F/A), and never threatened in the late innings of the contest.

Oswaldo Sosa (Minnesota) worked 1 inning of relief for Aragua, striking out 1. Victor Moreno (Baltimore) returned off the disabled list to pitch the 8th, allowing 1 hit Luis Rivas (F/A), a former Twins prospect.

Luis Maza (LA Dodgers) was 2-for-4 in the game, Alex Romero (Arizona) was 1-for-1 as a pinch hitter. Luis Rodriguez (San Diego) was 1-f0r-4.

The Tigres take on los Bravos del Margarita at 7:30 PM AST on Thursday and los Leones del Caracas at the same time on Friday.

As previously noted on the Twins Minor League Discussion board, it does not appear that the Venezelan Winter League played an All-star game on Tuesday as their was no reporting on it by either MLB or on the League website.

Tigres de Aragua

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Minnesota pitching does in Tigres

Henry Bonilla

Aragua 4 at Magallenes 5

W: C. Baker (2-0, 2.30); L: B. Korecky (0-3, 3.00); SV: I. Maldonado (11)
HR: ARA: R. Cedeno 2 (3). MAG: R. Paz (2).

Los Tigres de Aragua finished off a weak week Saturday with a 4-5 loss to los Navegantes del Magallanes which saw them drop to 4.0 games behind the division leading Caribes despite hanging on to 3rd place overall.

The Cats actually got on the scoreboard first for once, taking an early lead in the second on a Ronny Cedeno (Chicago Cubs) homer. Cedeno went yard in the top of the 4th as well, making it 2-0 Cats.

Cedeno wasn't finished though, singling in the top of the fifth, then moving to second on an Alex Delgado (F/A) sac-bunt and scored on a Luis Rodriguez (San Diego) single. Aragua looked to be rolling, with Horacio Estrada (F/A) keeping the Navegantes off the board for 3 innings, and limiting them to 3 hits while strike out 2. Henry Bonilla (LA Angels) worked a scoreless 4th inning, giving way to Jose Mijares (Minnesota) in the 5th.

Mijares allowed a single to Luis Orndaz (Pittsburgh), then got Ruben Gotay (NY Mets) to pop out. Endy Chevez (NY Mets) laid down a nice bunt to move Ordaz to second, and he proceeded to 3rd on a throwing error by Mija. Yohan Pino (Minnesota) was brought into the game at that point, and following a delay for a coaching visit the mound and an injury check on a player, allowed a double to Richard Paz (F/A) a that brought in Ordaz. He'd get the next two outs however, holding the Tigre's lead.

After Kevin Tolar (F/A) replaced Pino with one out in the 7th, and following an ejection to Magallanes coach Clemente Alvarez, got former Miracle Jesus Merchan (Philadelphia) to ground out. Chavez would single however and Paz blasted a ball over the center field fence to tie up the game.

Minnesota's Bobby Korecky pitched the 8th inning, allowing a single to Juan Rivera (LA Angels). A sac-bunt by Thomas Perez (Chicago White Sox) moved Rivara to 2nd, while Korecky chose to intentionally walk Jorge Cortes (Chicago Cubs). That move backfired when Ordez doubled, driving in both runner to give the Navegantes a 2 run lead.

Aragua got one back in the 9th, when Mike Aviles (Kansas City) doubled then came home on a Mike Rivera (Milwaukee) single, but it was all the Cats could managed as Rodriguez was called out on strikes to end the game.

Korecky picked up his 3rd loss of the year, allowing 2 runs on 2 hits and 2 walks while striking out 2 in 1 inning. Mijares was taged for 1 run on 2 hits in .1 inning, while Pino gave up 1 hit and struck out 2 in 2 innings worth of work.

Rodriguez finished up 1-for-4 with 1 walk and 1 RBI, Luis Maza (LA Dodgers) was also 1-for-4 but with a double. Merchan was 0-for-1 after going into the game late as pinch runner for Magallanes.

Following a short break for elections and the League All-star showcase, the regular season resumes on Wednesday with Aragua still on the road against Magallanes for a 7:30 PM game.

Tigres de Aragua