It’s officially 2013 and things are changing in the Winter Leagues. The leagues in Venezuela, Mexico, and Puerto Rico all started the playoffs, joining the Dominican Winter League, whose postseason was already in progress. For Wes Bankston, the new year meant a new start with a new team, Jon Weber‘s Aguilas de Mexicali, and he certainly made his first impression a great one.
Dominican Winter League Postseason: Toros del Este 8, Aguilas Cibaenas 3
Cibaenas’ first game of 2013 did not go the way they hoped as 6 innings of 1-run ball by Lorenzo Barcelo was negated by a disastrous 7-run 7th inning. Manny Ramirez went 1 for 3 with a walk in the loss while Hector Luna went 0 for 3. Ramirez is hitting .389 so far in the DWL playoffs as Cibaenas is now 3-2.
Mexican Pacific League Playoffs: Aguilas de Mexicali 7, Venados de Mazatlan 3
When you join a team for the postseason, there is going to be a ton of pressure on you for immediate results. Wes Bankston could not have given Mexicali anything more in his first game with the team. Bankston had a huge game, going 2 for 3 with a solo homer, a 3-run shot, a walk, and 3 runs scored, breaking out of the funk he was in at the end of his time with the Mayos de Navojoa. Jon Weber did cool off after the New Year’s Eve layoff in front of him, going 0 for 3, abut Bankston more than picked up the slack as the Aguilas got their playoff run off to a great start. Hector Mateo went 2 for 5 with a stolen base and an RBI in the loss for Mazatlan.
Yaquis de Obregon 3, Algodoneros de Guasave 2
This the type of highly-contested game everyone loves to see in the playoffs, with an 8th inning homer by Doug Clark sending Obregon to victory. Juan Miranda and Iker Franco both went 1 for 3 for the Yaquis, with Miranda walking and scoring the first run of the game, and Jesus Colome tossed 0.2 scoreless innings of relief working around a hit.
Venezuelan Winter League Postseason: Caribes de Anzoategui 8, Leones de Caracas 1
At least one team got their playoffs off to rousing beginning, with Giants catcher Hector Gimenez slamming 2 home runs and Twins prospect Oswaldo Arcia also going deep for Anzoategui. In terms of the ex-Rays, Cesar Suarez went 1 for 5 for the Caribes while Daniel Mayora went 2 for 4 with Caracas’ only RBI.