The 49th Caribbean Series begins tonight as the best clubs from Mexico, Venezuela, Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico will battle it out for the 2007 title.
Puerto Rico is this year’s host nation, and all games will be played at Roberto Clemente Walker Stadium, which recently underwent a $1.8 million facelift. Two games will be played at 5 p.m. ET; and will be broadcast on ESPN Deportes.
Rewinding to each individual league champion, Hermosillo will represent Mexico, Gigantes will represent Puerto Rico, Aragua represents Venezuela, and Aguilas heads to Carolina from the Dominican.
It’s tough to say who has an advantage in the series, as Gigantes will be playing in their home ballpark, and Hermosillo had the best record during the Mexican Pacific League season and swept Mazatlan in four games during the finals.
In terms of recent momentum, look to the Dominican and, more glaringly, Venezuela.
Aguilas boasts much of the big league talent in the Series, as Edwin Encarnacion, Miguel Tejada and Melky Cabrera all were outstanding in the postseason. Righthander Jose Lima won three times in the Dominican finals, and the 34-year-old is expected to pitch the opener of the Caribbean Series against Venezuela.
While the playoff final between Aragua and Magallanes might not have been hotly contested–Aragua won the series 4-1–what turned out to be the clincher certainly was. Down 10-3 heading into the bottom of the ninth inning, Aragua unbelievably scored eight runs–the winner coming on a double by Alex Romero–to finish off the series and clinch a berth in Puerto Rico.