Rays Winter Ball Recap: Bobby Abreu, Tim Corcoran Deliver for Caracas

By Robbie Knopf

When you’re in the postseason, you need to have your star players going strong. But as we have seen time after time, it is the lesser-known players who need to emerge alongside them if you want to advance. Bobby Abreu has been the savior of the Leones del Caracas in the Venezuelan Winter League postseason, but the Leones had to get a surprise contribution from ex-Devil Ray Tim Corcoran to find their way to victory.

Dominican Winter League Postseason: Leones del Escogido 1, Gigantes del Cibao 0

Freddy Guzman had another big game to help lead the Leones to victory. Guzman went 1 for 3 with a walk, 2 stolen bases, and the only run scored in the 6th inning. That was all Chris Leroux needed as he was ridiculous in his 6 frames, allowing no runs on 3 hits and striking out 12 without walking a batter. Leroux pitched in a couple of games with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2013, but he was released in April and wound up pitching five poor games in Japan. Leroux needed a performance that would raise some eyebrows as he hopes to get back to the major leagues, and he certainly got it here. There were three other Rays in the game–Mayo Acosta and Ray Olmedo for Cibao and Julio Lugo for Escogido–but they all went hitless, with only Olmedo reaching base via a walk.

Aguilas Cibaenas 10, Tigres del Licey 1

Joey Terdoslavich went 1 for 4 with 2 RBI while Hector Luna went 1 for 4 with a walk, an RBI, and a run scored to help Cibaenas to their blowout win. But this game belonged to Chris Cody. A crafty lefty with a fastball in just the mid-80’s, Cody went 8 innings allowing just 1 run on 4 hits, striking out 10 while walking none. The former Detroit Tigers and Milwaukee Brewers farmhand had his changeup working to perfection and found his way to dominant results. Cody was excellent for independent York in 2013, and he hopes to overcome his below-average fastball velocity to find an opportunity in affiliated ball somewhere.

Mexican Pacific League Playoffs: Aguilas de Mexicali 7, Mayos de Navojoa 5

The opener of the second round of the MPL playoffs did not go particularly well for the Mayos as they needed 3 runs in the 9th just to make this one respectable. Wes Bankston did go 2 for 5 while Jon Weber went 1 for 5 with an RBI and a run scored, but their contributions proved insufficient. Russell Branyan has put up strong postseason numbers for Mexicali, but this was not his game as he went 0 for 4 with 2 strikeouts.

Venezuelan Winter League Postseason: Leones del Caracas 2, Caribes de Anzoátegui 1

Bobby Abreu upped his average to .533 in the postseason by going 2 for 3 with 2 doubles and a walk in this game. But it was the little guys who gave the Leones enough to win. Tim Corcoran, who made just 2 regular season appearances for Caracas with middling results, began the game with 3.2 innings allowing just 1 run on 5 hits, striking out none while walking one but posting an 8-3 groundout to flyout ratio. Seven relievers worked scoreless ball behind him to hold the Caribes to just those two runs. The two runs the Leones themselves scored were thanks to Gregorio Petit. The former big leaguer for the Oakland Athletics was batting 8th in the order and did not have a home run in the postseason, but he went 2 for 4 with a homer and both RBIs. He drilled a solo homer in the 5th before drilling a huge 2-out single in the 9th to score Jose Duarte, who had run for Abreu.