2020 Caribbean Series Puerto Rico: Quiala gets quality start in seven innings for Mexico in 6-1 win

February 3, 2020

By Lewis Rubman

Panama (1-2) 1 4 2

Mexico (2-1) 6 11 1

HATO REY, PUERTO RICO–After losing its Caribbean Series opener to Venezuela to the Dominican Republic on Saturday afternoon, Mexico, represented by the Tomateros (Tomato Growers) of Culiacán, bounced back by defeating Puerto Rico yesterday afternoon and trouncing Panama’s entry, Chiquirí Astronautas, 6-1, in this morning’s contest.

Mexico’s right handed starter, Yoanys Quiala was sharp through all seven innings he pitched, shutting out the Astros over four and two-third innings. When he left the game, Quiala had faced 81 batters and surrendered just three hits and struck out four without a walk.

The one run he allowed was earned, coming on a ground out by Edgardo Thomas that followed singles by Edgar Muñoz and Rodrigo Orozco. Zach Dotson and Aldo Montes, each of whom pitched a scoreless inning. Dotson gave up a hit; Montes didn’t. Thanks to the Tomateros’ potent offense, there was no save.

That offense struck early. Joey Meneses led off the second with a double to left. Dariel Alvarez promptly drove him home with a single to center. After a pausing while Alan Sánchez flew out to center, the Mexican offensive resumed its work of destruction and José Guadalupe Chávez drove in both runners, in spite of the intervening strike out of Ricardo Valenzuela.

Culiacán tacked on a couple of runs in the fifth, thanks to a double by Ramiro Peña, who advanced to third when Panama’s second baseman, Geral Chin, bobbled Antony Giansanti’s grounder. Peña scored on Meneses’s single to right center, which allowed Giansanti to get all the way around to third. He crossed the plate on a sacrifice liner to center by Alvarez.

Panama got its face saving run in the top of the sixth on singles by Muñoz and Orozco, followed by Eduardo Thomas’s slow grounder to second, which allowed Muñoz to dash across the plate.

An error by Astrós third sacker, Isaías Velásquez, put Ramiro Ríos on first. Ricardo Valenzuela’s single sent him to third. Chávez´s sac fly drove him home with the final tally.

The loss went to José Mesa, who faced 23 batters over 4-2/3 innings in which he allowed five runs (four earned) on eight hits. Luis Ramos allowed a run on two hits in his inning of work, and Wilfredo Pereira held Mexico to a single hit in his two and third frames.

From the sound of things, the game between the Dominican Republic and Colombia is starting now.

Caribbean Series Baseball: Mexico gets key hits in win over Puerto Rico 4-1

tomateros.com photo

By Lewis Rubman

Puerto Rico (1-1) 2 8 2

Mexico (1-1) 4 11 0

HATO REY, PUERTO RICO–This afternoon’s match up between the Santurce Cangrejeros (Crabbers), Puerto Rico’s team, playing today as the visitors, and Mexico’s representative, the Culiacán Tomateros (Tomato Growers) began as if it might be a replay of the mornings pitchers’ duel between Colombia and Panama.

The score was tied at one all for the first four and a half innings, the Crabbers’ tally coming on a solo home run into the right field bleachers off the bat of Jan Hernández in the top of the second, the first round tripper of the Series. The Tomateros caught up in the bottom of the third by stringing together a couple of singles, a sacrifice bunt, and an infield out that brought their first run home.

Two innings later, the complexion of the contest changed. Culiacán’s right fielder, Sebastián Elizalde, who had watched Hernández’s blast sail over his head in the second, now sent his own into the cheap (or at least cheaper seats) in right. But with one difference; there were two men on board when Elizalde launched his liner. The game was no slugfest or a blowout, but the prospect of pitchers mastering batters had disappeared.

Santurce came charging back in their half of the sixth. An error by Puerto Rico’s third sacker, Emmanuel Rivera, had allowed one of the runners who scored on Elizondo’s clout two reach base. Rivera atoned for that sin by driving in Iván de Jesús, Jr., from first on a double to left.

That was all the scoring. Puerto Rico had some chances but blew them. In the seventh, they had men on second and third with no outs. It wasn’t good pitching that saved Mexico’s bacon then; it was bad base running. Reliever Derrick Loop picked pinch runner Alexis Pantoja off second to break the back of the rally.

Both teams now are tied at 1-1 with Panama for third place. Venezuela, who plays the Dominican tonight, is undefeated and leads the pack by a half a game. The Dominicans trail the three tied teams by a half a game and leads the 0-2 Panama squad by the same margin.

Manuel Barrreda, Mexico’s starting pitcher, picked up the win. He gave up five hits and one run, earned, in his five innings of work, throwing 78 pitches, 49 of which were strikes, according to baseball’s weird accounting system that considers any pitch a bat makes contact with a strike. Adalberto Baldonado, who faced three batters in the ninth, K’ing two of them, notched the save. PUerto Rico’s Giovanni Soto was charged with the loss. He gave up four runs (three earned) on eight hits in four and a third innings.

Tomorrow’s schedule calls for Panama to play Mexico in the morning, the Dominican Republic to face Colombia in the afternoon, and Puerto Rico to duke it out with Venezuela under the lights.

Caribbean Series Puerto Rico: Puerto Rico edges Panama 4-3; Santiago shuts down Panama in five innings of work

Puerto Rico pitcher Hector Santiago pitched five innings of work to shut down Panama in a one run win on Saturday. Photo from zimbio.com

By Lewis Rubman

Panama 3 8 2

Puerto Rico 4 9 3     10 innings

HATO REY, PUERTO RICO–Panama participated in the earliest years of the Caribbean Series was played, from its inception in 1949 through its twenty-one year suspension following the 1960 tournament. Indeed, with the victory of the Carta Negra Yankees in 1950, Panama won the Series title in the tournament’s second year. Carta Negra, by the way, was a brewery. It wasn’t until 2019, when the political situation kept Venezuela from hosting the games, which were moved to Panama City, That the isthmus nations returned to Series competition and the Toros de Herrera substituted for the Venezuelan entry. The newcomers surprised everybody by winning the Caribbean Crown. Panama is represented this year by the Astronautas from the the volcanic region of Chiquirí.

At 8:20 last night, Atlantic Time, the Astronautas went to bat against the Cangrejeros (Crabbers) of Santurce, Puerto Rico’s entry. Panama threatened their hosts in each of the first three innings, suffering The Curse of the Lead Off double in the opening frame, getting their first batter on base through a single and a walk in the second and third, respectively. But Héctor Santiago, Puerto Rico’s starter kept the Panamanians slammed the door to home closed on the Panamanians during all five of the innings he pitched.

They finally managed a tally in the top of the sixth, when Devin Raftery relieved Santiago when Jack López drove Jan Hernández home from second with a single to right.

Puerto Rico already had scored a run in the third on Vimael Machín’s sac fly, and they threatened to score again in the bottom of the fifth. But Andy Otero came in to strike out José Sermo with runners on first and second and two down. But one out walk to Jan Hernández, followed by another RBI single by López brought Carlos de Jesús Díaz into the fray in the very next inning. Díaz successfully closed out the frame but was not so successful in the seventh. Machín’s double, a walk, a sacrifice bunt that Díaz himself bobbled for an error, and a walk let in the tying run and left the bases loaded with Crabbers.

Puerto Rico seemed poised to break the game open. Diego Moreno put an end to that thought. Two hard hit balls, a line out to third and a 6-4-3 double play kept the game tied at three.

It stayed that way until the new extra inning, start with a runner on second rule came into play. Panama couldn’t take advantage of it, but Puerto Rico did. With Tyler Wilson toeing the rubber for the Astronautas and Henry Ramos having begun the inning at second, Jan Hernández bunted him over to third. A medium deep fly to left by Jonathan Morales was all that was needed to send the crowd home, or at least to the long lines that blocked the parking lot exits to the street.

Sunday´s games are scheduled to start at 11:00 (Colombia-Panama), 3:30 (Puerto Rico-Mexico), and 8:30 (Dominican-Venezuela).

Caribbean Series Game 2: Dominicans best Mexico 2-1; also remembering former Caribbean player Buster Clarkson

photo from google.com: Former Boston Brave Buster Clarkson was a Caribbean player and played three months for the Braves from April to June 1952

By Lewis Rubman

Mexico 1 5 1

Dominican Republic 2 6 0

For all the patriotic passion the Caribbean Series arouses, the composition of the teams that participate in has been, and still is, surprisingly cosmopolitan. In first iteration of the Series, 1949-1960, African Americans from the high minor and Negro Leagues (often the same players) constituted a significant portion’ of their teams’ rosters.

Two of this year’s inductees to the Caribbean Baseball Hall of Fame, Buster Clarkson, one of the Negro Leagues’ greatest players, who, at the age of 37, finally got a cup of coffee from the Boston Braves just before they left for Milwaukee, and Bob Thurman, of the San Francisco Seals, Cincinnati Reds, and Santurce Crabbers, among other teams, are two examples of this.

The pitching rotation of the Toros del Este, the Dominican Republic’s representative in this year’s Series and the home team for this afternoon’s game, shows nationality still is not required to represent a country in the Caribbean Series.

Not a single Toros starter is Dominican. Paolo Espino is Panamanian. Carlos Hernández hails from Santa Clara. Jorge Martínez, Raúl Valdés, and this afternoon’s starter, Yunesky Maya, are Cubans.

Maya pitched efficiently in his five innings against Mexico’s Tomateros (Tomato Growers) de Culiacán, not yielding a run and allowing only two hits and one walk to go with his five strike outs.

The Cuban righty´s opposite number, Manny Bañuelos, didn’t fare as well before he was relieved after 3-2/3 innings of work, trailing 2-0 with a runner on second and two down. He did, however, strike out A’s prospect Jorge Mateo twice during his short stint on the mound.

Bañuelos’s replacement, Gerardo Sánchez, fared better, retiring the quartet of Tomateros he faced. Santiago Gutiérrez, Aldo Montes, and Edgar Torres also shut down the team from northern Mexico. Mateo singled off Gutiérrez and flew out center against Torres.

Culiacán almost tied it in the top of the ninth, but, after Dariel Alvarez blasted a lead off double down the left field line, all they could manage was a two-out run-scoring single by Alí Solís before Torres got the final out (and the save)

The loss went to Bañuelos; the win to Maya.

In the next hour or so, the host team, Puerto Rico, will take on the defending champs, Panama.

Stay tuned.

Venezuela takes first game of 2020 Caribbean Series; Gorkys belts single with bags loaded in 6-4 win

latinobaseball.com photo: 2020 Caribbean Series schedule

By Lewis Rubman

Colombia 4 6 6

Venezuela 6 6 1

HATO REY, PUERTO RICO–The sixty-second Caribbean Series began this on this morning clear and breezy tropical morning at the Estadio Hiram Bithorn, home of Puerto Rico’s Cangejeros (Crabbers) of Santurce. The stadium has a local angle for Bay Area fans. Bithorn, the first Puerto Rican to play in the major leagues, had pitched for the Oakland Oaks in 1939 before making what many PCL loyalists consider a lateral move to the Chicago Cubs in 1943.

Cuba originally had been scheduled to face Venezuela in the opening game of this year’s Series. But a month before the first pitch was thrown, Cuba announced that visa problems had prevented its team from participating. The announcement resulted in the Cuban Baseball Federation and the Carribean Professional Baseball Federation hurling accusations against each other, the US State Department, and Major League Baseball. The Vaqueros (Cowboys) of Montería, a city in the north of Colombia, replaced the Cubans. It was the first appearance of a Colombian team in the Caribbean Series.

Venezuela, represented this year by the Cardenales (Cardinals) of Lara, has a respectable record in the winter classic, having won it seven times, most recently in 2009.

The 2019 tournament had been scheduled to be played in the Venezuelan city of Barquisimeto, but political tensions dashed those hopes, Panama was invited to play as a guest replacement for Venezuela, and the games were played in Panama City.

The Panamanians had not participated in the Caribbean Series since 1960, and their only championship had been the triumph of the Carta Negra Yankees in 1950. But last year, the Toros de Herrera, representing the isthmus nation, were the surprise champions, winning four of their five contests.

The bulk of the rosters of the teams contesting the Caribbean Series consists of players from the champions of the participating leagues. The Dominican, Puerto Rican, Venezuelan, and Mexican Pacific Leagues comprise the Caribbean Baseball Federation, which has invited the Cuban National Series (that island nation’s top league) to participate in every Caribbean Series since 2014. Panama, as I mentioned was invited last year, and Colombia was expected to receive an invitation in the near future. The remainder of the squads are re-enforcements, culled from teams that had been eliminated before the league championships had been decided.

For a while it looked like the Colombians would pull off one an upset. Behind. Edgar de la Rosa’s one-hit pitching, the Cowboys held a 2-0 lead when the righty left the game after pitching five complete innings. One of those runs was the stuff that underdog dreams are made of. Robinson Cabrera led off the third with an infield single up the middle. He advanced to second on Arvicent Pérez’s grounder for the second out and then scored from second on Francisco Acuña’s grounder out to third.

But Colombia’s hope for an upset fell apart when Ray Marimon came in to pitch for against the Cardinals. Two walks and a single by the first three batters he faced loaded the bases for Gorkys Hernández, another Bay Area local angle. His single drove in Venezuela’s first two tallies. Colombia’s wheels fell off, and when the dust had settled, Venezuela was ahead, 6-2. Colombia picked up one run in the top of the ninth to make it 6-4, but that one six-run seventh inning was all that Venezuela needed to win the first game of this year’s Series.

Marimon was tagged with the loss. Juan Sandoval got the win in relief, and Ricardo Gomez was credited with the save.

Each of the six participating teams will play a daily morning-afternoon, single admission double header and a stand-alone night game for the first five days of the tournament. This three a day schedule was another first, along with Colombia’s participation. After those fifteen games have been completed, the team with the worst record will be eliminated, and the four survivers will play a semi-final round on the sixth, one game in the afternoon and one at night. The winners of the semi-finals will face each other on the night of the seventh for the championship.

Today’s other games will feature the Mexican Pacific League’s Tomateros (Tomato Growers) against the Dominican champs, the Toros del Este at 2:30 this afternoon, local time. That’s 10:30 this morning, Pacific time. That game will be followed one between the Astronautas de Chiquiri, Panama’s entry and the Hiram Bithorn’s old team, the Santurce Crabbers. Its scheduled to begin at 8:00, but the first night game of these series usually don’t start when expected.

That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary podcast: Caribbean Series has a rich history that goes back to 1949; What a great three-game series in Baja California

Photo credit: mlb.com

On That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary podcast:

#1 The Mexicali Baseball Series was played this week in Baja California, but taking a look at the Caribbean Series, how important was this event for Spanish speaking baseball and its rich history going back to 1949?

#2 The Caribbean Series was revived in 1970, but was without Cuban participation and went on a hiatus in 1981.

#3 Cuba did win in 2015 when they returned as a guest in the Caribbean Series.

#4 The Atlanta Braves outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr. won the National League Rookie of the Year Award, hitting for the season .293, 78 runs, 64 RBIs,and 26 home runs.

#5 American League Rookie of the Year Award went to Los Angeles Angels’ Shohei Ohtani, who hit .285, 59 runs, 61 RBIs, 22 home runs. Ohtani pitched with a 4-2 record and a 3.31 ERA.

Amaury Pi-Gonzalez does News and Commentary each week at http://www.sportsradioservice.com