By Carlos Torres Bujanda
HERMOSILLO, MEXICO–For those that remained from the sellout crowd that settled in to watch the Caribbean Series final, Mexico's Yaquis de Ciudad Obregon's 4-3 win over the Dominican Republic's Leones del Escogido was worth a seven and a half hour wait.
In the longest game in Caribbean Series history, Mexico's Doug Clark homered in the top of the 18th. Marco Carillo allowed a single to Miguel Tejada with two outs in the bottom of the 18th, but Donnell Linares lined out to end the game.
“It was a crazy game, I didn´t look for the homer. Now is time to celebrate," Clark said.
It's a miracle that anyone had enough energy to celebrate. The game took 7:28 to play and included 500+ pitches and 19 pitching changes. [...] Continue Reading »
By Carlos Torres
HERMOSILLO, Mexico—Luis Mendoza (Royals) pitched 7.1 scoreless innings, and former major leaguer Marlon Byrd had three RBI to help Mexico’s Yaquis de Ciudad Obregón defeat Puerto Rico’s Criollos de Caguas 10-0 and clinch a spot in the final game of the 2013 Caribbean Series.
At 3-3, Mexico finished second in the round-robin and faces the Dominican Republic in Thursday’s championship game, sending big league veteran Rodrigo Lopez to the mound. The game begins at 7 p.m. Mountain time as Mexico goes for its first Caribbean Series title since 2009, when the Yaquis also won it all.
Well we all know the expression “Mendoza Line”. This time we can use it for Puerto Rico’s Criollos, a team that couldn’t score a single run against Mendoza, who gave up only five hits in 13.1 innings in two starts against them. [...] Continue Reading »
By Carlos Torres
HERMOSILLO, Mexico—Caribbean Series host Mexico became familiar last night with the old baseball saying, “All the tragedies begin with two outs."
In the top of the eighth inning Jose Ramirez (Indians) crowned a seven-run rally with a three-run home run to lead the Dominican Republic's Leones del Escogido to a 11-6 victory against Mexico's Yaquis de Ciudad Obregon and punch a ticket to the 2013 Caribbean Series title game. [...] Continue Reading »
By Carlos Torres
HERMOSILLO, Mexico—Puerto Rico's Criollos de Caguas ended a three-game losing streak with an unlikely upset Monday that jumbled the Caribbean Series standings.
Royals farmhand Ray Navarro was the hero of the day for Caguas, with four RBIs from the eighth inning onward, leading to a 6-4, 10th-inning victory over previously unbeaten Escogido of the Dominican Republic in the beginning of the second round of the 2013 Caribbean Series. The Dominican (3-1) remains a win away from clinching a spot in the championship game, likely against either Mexico or Venezuela (both 2-2).
Navarro, 23, was the soul of the Puerto Rico (1-3) offensive, collecting an eighth-inning two-run single to tie the game and a two-run homer in the 10th to give Caguas the final lead. [...] Continue Reading »
BY CARLOS TORRES
HERMOSILLO, Mexico—The Dominican Republic blew a ninth-inning lead with Rays closer Fernando Rodney on the mound, but Ricardo Nanita covered for the unexpected blown save.
Nanita's walk-off single in the bottom of the 11th led DR champion Escogido to a 6-5 victory against host Mexico's Obregon.
It was the second heartbreaking loss in a row for Yaquis, who are now 1-2; Escogido remains the lone undefeated team. Venezuela, which defeated Puerto Rico 3-1, is in second place at 2-1 while the Puerto Rican team remains winless at 3-0. [...] Continue Reading »
By Carlos Torres Bujanda
HERMOSILLO, Mexico.–Mario Lisson smacked a walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth as Venezuela´s Navegantes del Magallanes defetead Mexico´s Yaquis de Ciudad Obregón 4-3 in the second match of the Saturday in 2013 Caribbean Series.
Lisson is normally known more for his glove, he was rated the best defensive infielder in the Royals system by Baseball America heading into the 2009 and 2010 seasons. But on Saturday he had a solo home run in addition to his game winning single. Lisson's home run off of Óscar Villarreal cut Mexico's lead to 3-1 in the eighth. Venezuela eventually tied the game at three in the eighth, setting up Lisson's ninth-inning heroics.
Mexico´s club was 3-1 on the score in the eighth inning when Lisson hits his solo homer against Baltimore Orioles minor league . Venezuela scores again in the same inning to tie the score.
Righthander Mike Benacka was charged with the loss. [...] Continue Reading »
By Carlos Torres Bujanda
HERMOSILLO, Mexico.–After a flamboyant opening ceremony where Fernando Valenzuela threw out the first pitch to an standing ovation from a sellout crowd of 16,000, Mexico's Yaquis de Ciudad Obregón, shut out Puerto Rico's Criollos de Caguas 3-0 in the nightcap of the opening day of the Caribbean Series.
Royals righthander Luis Mendoza threw the first six innings of the shutout holding Puerto Rico to three hits and two walks while striking out three. Ex-big leaguer Dennis Reyes combined with Jose Cobos, Adrian Ramírez, and Oscar Villarreal to keep the shutout going. Baltimore Orioles righthander Luis Ignacio Ayala picked up the save.
Major League veteran infielder Alfredo Amezaga got Mexico on the board with an RBI double in the third. Outfielder Marlon Byrd, currently a Mets minor leaguer, drove in the other two runs with a double to center field in the sixth. [...] Continue Reading »
Dominican Republic (Escogido) 3, Venezuela (Caracas) 2
With the game tied 2-2 in the seventh inning, Phillies center fielder Freddy Guzman stole home for what proved to be the winning run yesterday, keeping Escogido's record a perfect 3-0 in the Caribbean Series. Guzman, 29, stole three bases, going 1-for-2 with a pair of walks. Braves 22-year-old lefthander Jose Ortegano pitched well in his start for Venezuela, limiting Escogido to one run over five innings with three strikeouts and three walks.
Puerto Rico (Mayaguez) 5, Mexico (Hermosillo) 3
Mets center fielder Jesus Feliciano went 2-for-4 with a double and a walk and Blue Jays catcher Randy Ruiz went 1-for-3 with a walk and two RBIs to give Puerto Rico its first victory in the Caribbean Series.
The annual Caribbean Series is underway in Venezuela, featuring the league champions from the Domincan League, Venezuelan League, Mexican Pacific League and the Puerto Rican League. The team with the best record at the end of the six-day, round-robin tournament wins the championship.
Dominican Republic (Escogido) 7, Mexico (Hermosillo) 1
Mets left fielder Fernando Martinez went 2-for-4 with a first-inning home run, two runs scored and two RBIs for Escogido, which also got a complete-game, eight-strikeout performance from Mets righthander Nelson Figueroa. Reds third baseman Juan Francisco had a difficult day at the plate, striking out three times and grounding into a double play.
The playoffs for each of the four major winter leagues are under way, with the champion of each league slated to head to the Caribbean Series in Venezuela from Feb. 2-7. Here's a quick look at each league's playoff picture.
Mets outfielder Fernando Martinez went 5-for-6 with a three-run homer for Escogido in the Leones' 13-4 victory yesterday over the Gigantes, who lead the best-of-nine championship series 2-1 after squeaking out a 2-1 and a 1-0 victory to open the series.
Twins lefthander Francisco Liriano allowed one run (unearned) in five innings for Escogido while striking out six in the Leones’ Game One loss, keeping his ERA at 0.00 through 27 playoff innings with a 30-5 K-BB mark. Reds outfielder Wladimir Balentien also fueled Escogido’s playoff push, hitting .403/.452/.522 in 17 postseason games.
Reds third baseman Juan Francisco struggled in the postseason, but hit .302/.352/.566 with 11 home runs for the Gigantes in 46 regular-season games. Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz was a standout for the Gigantes in the postseason, hitting .273/.407/.682 with three home runs in eight playoff games.
SANTIAGO, D.R.–There is an exhibit here in Santiago on the history of baseball in the Dominican Republic and even if you’re in the D.R., yet nowhere near this city, you have to go.
It’s like someone picked up a wing of Cooperstown and sent it to this country. The exhibit itself was Hall Of Famer Juan Marichal’s idea initially, and right now it sits in Santiago’s art museum called Çentro Leon. It chronicles Dominican baseball from the early 1900′s to the turn of the century, teaching novices like myself the true meaning behind winter league rivalries and the like. [...] Continue Reading »
SANTIAGO, D.R.–As the 2008 Caribbean Series came to a close, the birth of the next one, to be held in Mexicali in 2009, might change . . . a lot.
1) Lacking players outside the Domincan Republic with big league experience, officials are considering moving the 2009 Series up to the end of January. This way, more players from Venezuela–Miguel Cabrera was out for this year’s Caribbean Series (again) to prepare for spring training–Mexico and Puerto Rico would certainly increase the competition level of the event. And with the starting date of the Series pushed up, more major league players might be more willing to play. Ï’m not sure why Mexican big leaguers refuse to play,"said Mazatlan general manager Chino Valdez. "Spring training, sure. But each player from each different country in this Series loves to play for the people they represent. That’s why I respect (Mexico shortstop) Alfredo Amezaga so much. He didn’t have to play in this Series–he’s a big leaguer. But he loves his country and wanted to see Mexico do well. And a guy like that could come out and go through the motions, but he didn’t. Amezaga played hard every day."Of the 33 players currently on 40-man rosters in the big leagues that played in this year’s Caribbean Series, 30 were from the Dominican. [...] Continue Reading »
SANTIAGO, D.R.–I just wanted to say thank you to the over 200 e-mails from random readers and subscribers wishing me well with my new opportunity. I really appreciate the kind words, and given the time frame and everything, I’m not certain I will be able to respond to you all.
All I can say is, as my time as Baseball America comes to a close, I thank them for giving me a chance over five years ago and you shouldn’t worry. Matt Eddy and Ben Badler are going to pick up where I left off in terms of prospects coverage and I know Ben is going to take the international stuff to a completely different level.
SANTIAGO, D.R.–The chants were deafening. And Aguilas fans tried not to hear them, steaming toward the exit after Miguel Tejada, who was ice cold after homering twice in the opener, flew out to left field with two runners on in the eighth.
Licey tacked two runs an already substantial lead, and cruised to an 8-2 win over the home team.
This for a club who decided to fire its manager (Tim Tolman) and pitching coach (Mark Brewer) after the Tigres went down 3-0 to Aguilas in the Dominican League finals. New manager Hector De La Cruz has only been on the job a few weeks, but now he has a Caribbean Series trophy as the club celebrates its history–this is Licey’s 100th anniversary.
"Management decided to make a change and . . . that’s all I can say about that," Licey catcher Matt Tupman (Royals) said. "They just won the Caribbean Series, so they obviously felt like they were doing the right thing." [...] Continue Reading »
SANTIAGO, D.R.–Licey absolutely manhandled the heavily favored Aguilas club for a second straight game, defeating them, 8-2, and locking down the 2008 Caribbean Series.
The Tigres rattled out 15 hits in the game, and never trailed. Aguilas second baseman Rafael Furcal hit a two-run home run early to tie it, but Licey scored four runs in the fifth and added two more in the ninth for good measure.
We’ll have more on the final Series game later.
SANTIAGO, D.R.–I was so excited to tell my story about getting accidentally tackled by two police officers on stones and broken glass that I forgot to mention the early game, as Mexico (2-4) wound up knocking off Venezuela, 7-5.
Mexico rallied for five runs in the top of the ninth inning and held on as Venezuela (2-4) answered with three runs in the bottom half, but it wasn´t enough.
¨To win two games here isn´t what we came for,¨Mexico shortstop Alfredo Amezaga said. ¨But we got ourselves in a hole early and had to dig ourselves out. You have to give a lot of credit to the guys on this team because we never gave up. We never stopped trying and we beat two very good teams.
This was the first time Mexico left a Caribbean Series with two wins since 2005. They were swept in 2006 and won just one game, also against Venezuela, last year.
SANTIAGO, D.R.–And so is Jose Capellan, apparently. The Licey righthander has yet to allow a hit midway through the third inning, as the Tigres lead Aguilas, 2-0.
We might not need that one-game playoff after all. But if we do, Licey won the coin toss earlier today and would be the home team–in the Aguilas´home park. If Licey loses tonight, that game would be played Friday at 8 p.m. local time.
So anyway, yeah, the photographer´s pit is tough work. Especially between innings. I was surrounded by police and military personnel, and some cheerleaders went on the field in front of where I was standing to shoot free tee-shirts into the crowd. Well, one misfired and I got completely tackled by two policemen fighting for the free shirt.
Protect and Serve . . . wow. [...] Continue Reading »
SANTIAGO, D.R.–In addition to the names we dropped earlier this week as potential big bonus players when the international signing period begins, here are some more who were featured in the same showcase as righthander Michael Inoa: [...] Continue Reading »
SANTIAGO, D.R.–There’s no place like home. There’s no place like home. There’s no place like home.
Click-Click-Click . . .
Nothing’s happening, dude.
Last night, after returning from Venezuela’s upset win over Aguilas, I went to the hotel restaurant to get something to eat. As I walked in, a rat–not like a New York City subway rat, but nice-sized; let’s call it ‘pleasantly plump’–stood up on its hind legs and looked at me for a second before scampering back into the kitchen. [...] Continue Reading »
SANTIAGO, D.R.–Home-field advantage? Check. More big leaguers than any other team in the tournament? Check. Dominican League champions? Check. Best team in the 2008 Caribbean Series? Well, not so far.
Aguilas, heavily favored to repeat as Caribbean Series champions heading into the tournament, has looked very ordinary over the first five games. Their defense is shoddy, the pitching has been inconsistent and their bats haven’t woken up since the club’s opening night, 13-6 win.
Let’s start with the outfield defense. Aguilas manager Felix Fermin started 43-year-old Luis Polonia in left field against Licey on Monday, and Polonia hasn’t seen left field since. Polonia got late jumps on balls he should have gotten to, which helped Licey knock off the defending champs, 5-2. Bernie Castro hasn’t been much better, and his routes to balls have been terrible at times. Left field is a revolving door of sorts, as Fermin even put utility infielder Hector Luna–a well-below-average runner–in left last night briefly. [...] Continue Reading »
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