Dominicans win their 20th Caribbean Series defeating Venezuela 9-3

February 8, 2020

By Lewis Rubman

Venezuela (6-2) 3 9 0

Dominican Republic (7-1) 9 12 0

HATO REY PUERTO RICO–In the early hours of this morning, the Toros del Este won the Dominican Republic’s twentieth Caribbean Series title by running rings around Venezuela’s Lara Cardinals in the final game of this year’s winter classic.

It was an exciting game, but no one was surprised by the outcome. Four members of the Toros had just been named to the Series’ all-star team, left fielder and lead off batter, Rubén Sosa, right handed reliever Ramón Ramírez, designated hitter Jordany Valdespín, and their Puerto Rican manager, Lino Rivera. Mexico was the only other team to have as large a representation.

The only member of the Venezuelan team named as an all star was shortstop, Alí Castillo. It was a tribute to Lara’s determination that it took as long as it did for the Dominicans to run away with the game.

And did they ever run! Their box score statistics for base running, two stolen bases, one runner picked off, and three advances on wild pitches, don’t begin to tell the story of this team that seemed to be in perpetual motion.

Box scores don’t tell you about leg hits, singles turned into doubles, frustrated double plays, runners taking off for the next base only to return after the batter follows off the pitch,.and the like. Sabremetrics might, but that’s a different story.

The Toros were leading 3-0 through four innings of play. Then, with two down and nobody on base, Adonis García singled to left, and Gorkys Hernández drove him in with a line drive double to center.

This Dominicans got their lead back and then some, scoring two runs in the bottom of the fifth and another in the sixth. But Venezuela never let the game get out of hand. They added two tallies in the top of the seventh, bringing the score to 6-3.

The Redbirds brought the potential tying run to the plate with one out in their half of the eighth, when Oakland’s Jorge Mateo failed to come up with Carlos Rivero’s grounder to the Cardenales’ shortstop’s right. It wasn’t an easy play, and the scorer correctly ruled it a hit, but a better fielding shortstop might have made it.

The Toros ran away with the game, starting with one out in the bottom of the eighth. Mateo redeemed whatever fault he might have committed in the top of the inning by slamming a hard grounder down the left field line for a Mark Ellis double. Sosa walked.

Venezuela made its sixth pitching change of the game, and Pedro Rodríguez got Junior Lake to ground into a 6-4-3 double play. At least, that’s how first base umpire Kelvin Bultrón saw it. All-star manager Lino Rivera didn’t. He challenged the call vehemently enough to get kicked out of the game, although it wasn’t clear if his ejection came before, during, or after he engaged in a few acts of umpire pushing and dirt kicking (or maybe it was turf kicking (Santurce’s HIram Bithorn Stadium has an artificial playing surface).

Nonetheless, Rivera’s challenge was upheld, and the twin killing was turned into a force out at second. An infield single, a hit batter, and Abraham Almonte’s two bagger to right brought the score to 9-3, which is where it stayed until the final out was recorded.

Hernández’s RBI double was the only extra base hit for Venezuela. Almonte and Mateo doubled for the Dominican.

The DR’s starting pitcher, Paolo Espino, who pitched a total of twenty-four big league innings for two teams in 2017, got the win. Tim Peterson, Anthony Carter, Jumbo Díaz, Wirfin Obispo, and Ramón Ramírez gave him the bullpen support he needed. Espino yielded one run in five innings. Carter allowed the remaining two, while working just a third of an inning.

Venezuela’s starter, Wilfredo Ledesma, who gave up three runs, all earned, in as many innings, was saddled with the loss. He was followed by Francisley Bueno, Jesús Sánchez, Juan Sandoval, José Ascanio, Hassan Pena, Pedro Rodríguez, and Ricardo Gómez.

If enough goes according to plan, the sixty-third Caribbean Series will take place in Mazatlán next February.

Caribbean Series: Venezuelans get shutout eliminate Mexico 1-0

February 6

By Lewis Rubman

Mexico (4-2) 0 9 0

Venezuela (5-1) 1 2 0

HATO REY, PUERTO RICO–Three Mexican pitchers held Venezuela to hits this afternoon, but that was all the Venezuelans needed to eliminate their rival and advance to the final confrontation of the second second Caribbean Series, which will take place tomorrow evening, starting at 8:00 Atlantic time.

Venezuela’s Lara Cardenales looked set to establish a significant lead in the bottom of the third. Gorkys Hernández, who came to the plate with a raquitic batting average of .200 for the Series, opened the frame with a walk off of Zack Dodson, who was starting for the Tomateros de Culiacán, champions of the Mexican Pacific League. Dodson got the next batter, Juan Apodaca, to ground out to third, moving Hernández up a base in the process.

Wellington Dotel’s rule book double brought in Hernández in with what proved to be the game’s only tally. It didn’t look like that would be the case when the next batter for the Cardinals launched a hard line drive towards left center field. Hernández, playing center, dashed to his right, speared the ball, and fired it in to shortstop Alí Castillo at second to double up Dotel, who was unable to return in time. ´ Mexico had several chances to undo the damage.

They left runners on second and third in the fourth. Alí Solis was thrown out at home with one out in the fifth, trying to score on Rico’s grounder to short. José Guadalupe Chávez led off the ninth with single to left off Pedro Rodríguez. Solís tried to get him into scoring position with a sacrifice.

Rodríguez foiled him with a high, hard heater that caught Mexico´s catch leaning back and unable to drop down a decent bunt. Instead,the ball bounced sharply to first baseman Osmán Marval, who fired it to shortstop Castillo at second. In a marvel of clockwork infielding, Castillo relayed Marval’s throw to second baseman Alex Amarista, covering first. The resultant double play left Juan Carlos Gamboa as Mexico’s last, best hope.

He grounded out to short.

Losing pitcher Dotson went six innings, giving up Venezuela’s single tally and both of its hits. He deserved better. Derrick Loop and Sasagi Sánchez closed Venezuela down for the rest of the game.

The win went to starter Logan Darnell, who gave up six hits over his seven innings of works. He was relieved by José Ascanio (no hits in one inning), Francisely Buenos (no hits in a third of an inning), Richardo Gómez (none in two-thirds of an inning), and Rodríguez (one hit/one inning), who got the save.

Venezuela will play the winner of tonight’s game between Puerto Rico’s Santurce Crabbers and the Dominican’s Eastern Tigers tomorrow night for the championship.

Caribbean Series: Venezuela contiunes to roll stay undefeated in 3-2 win over D.R.

photo from San Francisco Giant and Venezuela player Pablo Sandoval (48) gets congratulations as Venezuela continues to roll in the Caribbean Series in Puerto Rico

February 3

By Lewis Rubman

Venezuela (2-0) 3 7 0

Dominican Republic (1-1) 2 7 0

HATO REY PUERTO RICO–When the Cardenales (Cardinals) of Lara and the Toros del Este (of the east) began play a minute or two before 9:00 o’clock last night, they knew that, when the game of over, one of them would be the only remaining undefeated team after two days of play in this year’s Caribbean Series. The other would join the pack of three teams with records of 1-1, one game ahead of the lagging Panamanians, who had lost both of their conferences.

The Cardenales, Venezuela’s entry, was the team that emerged unscathed.

They scored early, if not often. A line drive double to right by Juan Apodaca plated Adonis García and ex-Giant Gorkys Hernández to give the Redbirds a two run advantage after two innings of play. An inning later, René Reyes’s sacrifice fly to right brought in Alexi Amarista with the third Lara tally, which proved to be the winning run.

The Toros waited until the bottom of the sixth to make their charge. A single by Jordani Valdespín, a walk to Junior Lake, and another single, this one off the bat of Abraham Almonte, and the Dominicans had cut Venezuela’s lead to 3-1.

Things looked pretty grim for the team from La Romana when they came to bat in the bottom of the ninth, after midnight and with Venezuela still leading, 3-1. But Peter O’Brien dropped a single to left, and, after Almonte and Alen Hanson had made outs, Jimmy Paredes single to center, bringing O’Brien around to third.

Wilkin Castillo then hit a rule book double that bounced over the right field fence and scored O’Brien, reducing the deficit to a single run. But the same rule that granted Castillo his extra base hit required that Gustavo Nuñez, running for Paredes, stop at third. This brought the Jorge Mateo to the plate. I like to tell you that the Athletics’ prized prospect singled in the tying and winning runs, but he didn’t. He flew out to left to end the game.

The contest featured some pretty good pitching. Venezuela’s starter, Wilfredo Ledesma went five innings, giving up one run on three hits, although his four walks left much to be desired. He was the winning pitcher. José Ascancio, Francisley Bueno, Hassan Pena, and Pedro Rodríguez combined to shut out the Toros over three innings, with Bueno being the only member of the quartet to allow a hit.

Ricardo Gómez, who got his second save in as many games, gave up a run and three hits in his only inning of work. Such are the vagaries of baseball statistics.

Jorge Martínez pitched two innings for the Dominicans and earned the loss, surrendering three runs on as many hits during his brief stint. Jhan Martínez, Edgar García, Anthony Carter, and Warner Madrigal, collectively, were magnificent. The shut down the strong Lara offense, not allowing a run and surrendering just four hits over seven innings.

It will be Panama against Mexico, Dominican Republic against Colombia, and Puerto Rico against Venezuela this morning, afternoon, and night.