It’s ironic that the Brisbane Bandits in the Australian Baseball League are the first team playing a doubleheader that we have discussed in a while. After all, the time difference between here and Australian often causes two ABL games to be played in between when I write these Winter Leagues recaps. Today, we actually have three games to discuss, and the first two were quite special for Johnny Field.
Australian Baseball League Game 1: Brisbane Bandits 5, Melbourne Aces 2 (7 innings)
Game 2: Brisbane 4, Melbourne 2 (9 innings; the doubleheader took place on 11/29)
Johnny Field got this doubleheader off to a great start for Brisbane, leading off the bottom of the first inning with a home run. Little did he know just how good things would get for him and the Bandits.
Field finished the first game with just that 1 hit in 3 at-bats, but Tommy Coyle went 2 for 3 with a double and a run scored while Maxx Tissenbaum went 1 for 2 with a double, a walk, and 2 runs scored. Granden Goetzman also went 0 for 3 in the Bandits’ win.
In the second contest, meanwhile, Field absolutely went off, going 2 for 4 with a walk and a pair of solo home runs. Three home runs in the span of one day is quite a feat, and Field actually doubled his season total from 3 to 6 in doing so. Coyle also had a nice game, going 1 for 3 with a walk and a run scored, and Goetzman got into the act as well, going 2 for 4 with a double.
Melbourne 12, Brisbane 2 (11/30)
This game did not go nearly as well for the Bandits, and Field fell back to earth as he went 0 for 3. However, Tissenbaum and Coyle did still manage nice games. Tissenbaum went 1 for 3 with a solo homer while Coyle went 2 for 4. Coyle now has a 13-game hitting streak, and his line on the season is now an insane .373/.442/.587. What a run it has been for him, and he looks primed to enter the 2015 regular season with confidence.
Tissenbaum has also managed good numbers, hitting to a .321/.397/.500 line. The Rays’ primary incentive to send him to the ABL was to get more reps as a catcher, and the way he is hitting is only a bonus. Field, meanwhile, now has a .260/.371/.534 line with 6 homers and 6 stolen bases as Australia has done little to slow him in his breakout year.
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Dominican Winter League: Aguilas Cibaenas 3, Estrellas de Oriente
Manny Ramirez and Derek Dietrich both had strong games for Cibaenas in this one, with Ramirez going 2 for 3 with a walk and a run scored while Dietrich went 1 for 3 with an RBI and a run scored. Ramirez is more than holding his own as a 42 year old in the DWL, hitting to a .283/.398/.465 line in 27 games.
On the Oriente side, meanwhile, Chris Bootcheck made his team debut by tossing 1.2 shutout innings working around 3 hits. Bootcheck, 36, has logged 148.1 big league innings between the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, the Pittsburgh Pirates, and the New York Yankees, spending 2011 at the Tampa Bay Rays’ Triple-A Durham affiliate.
Bootcheck improbably made an appearance for the Yankees in 2013 after not appearing in the big leagues in four years, but you have to go back to 2007 for the last time he experienced any sort of big league success. That season, he managed a 4.77 ERA in 51 appearances for the Angels, although his 4.09 FIP was actually more encouraging.
Roberto Clemente Professional Baseball League: Criollos de Caguas 3, Gigantes de Carolina 2
Patterson has been dominant in his last 4 appearances, combining for 4.2 shutout innings with 4 strikeouts against just 2 walks and 2 hits allowed. His previous appearances did not go nearly as well, but it is great to see Patterson hitting his stride and hopefully his overall numbers will turn around eventually as well.
Venezuelan Winter League: Cardenales de Lara 10, Leones de Caracas 4
Henry Rodriguez is no longer on a tear, but this game could be the start of a new one as he went 2 for 4 with a double and a run scored. Daniel Mayora also had a nice game, going 1 for 3 with a walk and an outfield assist. Speaking of tears, Mayora is catching fire himself, hitting to a .292/.357/.708 line with 3 home runs in his last 28 plate appearances.