The Undercards: Cesar Suarez, Ryan Reid Appear in All-Star Game, Jorge Cantu Homers Again
By Robbie Knopf
Getting honored is nice every time. Being named an All-Star as you hope for an opportunity to play in the big leagues for the first time makes it extra satisfying.
All-Star Game: Dominican Winter League All-Stars 8, Venezuelan Winter League All-Stars 2
Come on, Henry! Henry Wrigley would have been the VWL All-Stars’ third baseman in this one but went home a few days ago and they had to plug in the singles-hitting Mario Lisson instead. Luckily, though, he had a great experience in Venezuela.
How about the Rays who actually did play? Cesar Suarez replaced Jose Altuve at second base for the VWL All-Stars and went 1 for 2 while Ryan Reid worked around a pair of hits to toss a scoreless 5th inning for the VWL All-Stars, striking out 1 in the process. Suarez, though, made a key error in the 7th inning that led to 2 unearned runs and put this game out of reach. Still nice to see Suarez and Reid playing well enough to be All-Stars, and good luck to Reid in the Pirates organization and Suarez wherever he ends up.
Mexican Pacific League: Venados de Mazatlan 5, Aguilas de Mexicali 4
Mexicali came on strong at this end of this game, but Matt Buschmann held them off at the end to preserve Mazatlan’s 5-4 victory. Entering the 9th with a 5-3 lead, things got sketchy immediately for Buschmann as a Michel Abreu groundball went through the right side of the infield for a single then a Luke Montz double gave the Aguilas the winning run at second base. But Buschmann forced Oscar Robles to fly out, scoring a run, before striking out Issmael Salas and forcing Geronimo Gil to pop out to complete his first save of the MPL season as Mazatlan won 5-4. Buschmann had a rough outing, but he threw 12 of 17 pitches for strikes and composed himself very well at the end. Buschmann has a chance to appear out of the bullpen for the Rays this season- although it’s unlikely he’ll ever be closing games. Jon Weber went 1 for 4 with a double and a run scored for Mexicali in this one.
Yaquis de Obregon 12, Caneros de Los Mochis 2
A recent slump relegated Iker Franco to bench duty, but he had a nice game in this one, going 2 for 4 with a run scored. He has actually been rock-solid overall in the MPL, posting a .265/.346/.455 line with 6 homers, 22 RBI, and a 34-18 strikeout to walk ratio in 43 games. Cesar Carrillo also appeared for Obregon and was great, striking out 2 in a perfect inning. We’ve never mentioned Carrillo before. What does he have anything do with the Rays? Nothing direct, but he has the same first name as Cesar Ramos and was selected by the Padres 18th overall in the 2005 MLB Draft, 17 picks before those same Padres selected Ramos 35th overall. Close enough.
Naranjeros de Hermosillo 12, Mayos de Navojoa 4
Jorge Cantu‘s power tear may be just a transient glimmer of the player he used to be. Whatever it may be, it’s not over yet. Cantu had another great game for Hermosillo on Tuesday night, going 2 for 4 with with yet another homer and 2 RBI. Cantu has a crazy .361/.415/.917 line in his last 10 games with 6 homers and 18 RBI. Wow. On the opposite edge of the spectrum, Wes Bankston has really cooled off and he went just 0 for 4 with 2 strikeouts for Navojoa in this game. He’s hitting just 8 for 37 (.216) in his last 10 games as his plate discipline has fallen apart. Possibly the most impressive part of Bankston’s overall MPL numbers is his 31-21 strikeout to walk ratio, but he’s at just 9-2 in his last 10 games. It always very frustrating to be in a slump, but Bankston has to relax and get his approach at the plate back to get out of it.