MEXICAN PACIFIC LEAGUE (LMP)
Jeff Johnson (RP, Sultanes de Monterrey): S (6), 1 IP, perfect – Fly out. Line out. Ground out. Game over. Merry Christmas to the Sultanes, compliments of Johnson’s perfect top of the ninth. Not surprising from a guy posting a 0.47 ERA, 0.79 WHIP, and 14:8 K:BB ratio.
Jose Guadalupe Chavez (SS, Tomateros de Culiacan): 0-3, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 CS – A rare rough night at the plate for Chavez, who has rached base in each of his last nine full games played. Even when he did reach base via a leadoff walk to start the bottom of the third, he was caught stealing second in the next at-bat to complete a strike ’em out, throw ’em out double play. Still, he is slashing .341/.407/.444 this season despite a rough Christmas night.
Derrick Loop (RP, Tomateros de Culiacan); 1.2 IP, 1 H, 3 K – Loop got three of his five yuletide outs via punchado to increase his strikeout total to 14 in eleven innings in as many games.
Roman Pena (RP, Venados de Mazatlan): 0.1 IP, perfect – Pena got the final out to end a top of the ninth that was quickly getting out of hand.
DOMINICAN WINTER LEAGUE (LIDOM)
The LIDOM regular season ended on Wednesday night following three days of rainout makeups (season was scheduled to end on Sunday). the Gigantes del Cibao, Aguilas Cibaenas, and Toros del Este have advanced to the playoffs proper in a three-way tie for first place at 16-14. The fourth-place Estrellas Orintales (15-15), however, will have to play a best-of-three Mini Playoff for the final spot against the fifth-place Leones del Escogido (14-16) since the margin between the two was less than four games (one-off rule due to the shortened season). The sixth-place Tigres del Licey (13-17), on the other hand, are done for the 2020-21 season.
The Mini Playoff games will be on Sunday and Monday, with a third game played on Tuesday if necessary. The refuerzo draft (For those unfamiliar with Latin American winter ball: As teams get eliminated, those that advance get to draft players off of the eliminated sides, This is done on such a grand scale for the Caribbean Series that the rosters are often unrecognizable and teams usually play in national team uniforms and are referred to by their nation instead of team name) will be held the day after the last game of the Mini Playoff.
PANAMANIAN LEAGUE (PROBEIS)
You may have been reading this season’s winter ball ATFs and been wondering “Where’s PROBEIS?” Well, PROBEIS is coming and, all I’m going to say is, if you thought this LBPRC season was short, you ain’t seen nothing yet. Three teams (the reigning champions Astronautas de Chiriqui, which had planned to move to Los Santos for this season, are sitting the 2020-21 campaign out) will play a 12-game regular season beginning on January 8. The regular season champion will get a bye to the final, where they will play the winner of a playoff between the other two teams. The press release did not specify the length of each round, but considering that the champ needs to be in Mazatlan and ready to play Opening Day of the Serie del Caribe on the 31st, single-game seems likely.
AUSTRALIAN LEAGUE (ABL)
Another league you may have noticed the absence of is the Australian Baseball League. The ABL got their Opening Weekend started before an outbreak in Sydney cut it short. No current or former Indians played last week and Sydney Blue Sox DH Manny Ramirez was the only one on an active roster (ABL teams keep a 30-man roster called a Registered List and then declare an Active List of 22 [expanded to 24 in 2020-21 due to the shortened season] for each weekend’s games. I know it sounds a little unusual, but it’s standard practice in Australian sport [Just be glad they don’t the use the Aussie Rules/Rugby League playoff system. I would need a whole column to explain it.]).
The season is still on, however, and the ABL’s absence from ATF is likely to end this weekend as the Canberra Cavalry have declared former Tribe prospects LHP Shawn Morimando and IF Samad Taylor active after completing their quarantine upon entering Australia.