The first round in the Venezuelan Winter League playoffs wrap up tonight, as Margarita and Lara play Game 7. Game 5 took 16 innings (and seven hours) to play. Both teams have a KC Royal playing every day.
Angelo Castellano played shortstop at the beginning of the series for Margarita, but has now moved to second base. He has also moved from the ninth spot up to eighth in their batting order. Castellano has gone 7-for-27 in the series.
Centerfielder Paulo Orlando has re-joined Lara, but has moved to the bottom of their lineup (either seventh or eighth). He has gone 6-for-22 in the series. Orlando has hit a double and a solo home run. He threw out at runner at third base on Thursday in a 9-8 loss in which the two teams combined for 11 runs over the final three innings.
Zulia has been waiting since Friday, as they swept Aragua, out-scoring them 26-12. No Royals played in that series.
Caribes beat La Guaira in their series, four games to two, out-scoring La Guaira in the final three games, 47-8. Shortstop Alcides Escobar debuted with La Guaira on Saurday, batting second. He went 1-for-4 with a strikeout. He also committed two errors. Esky moved to the leadoff spot in the final game, but went 0-for-5 with two strikeouts.
The Semifinals in the Clemente League are underway, but they have already had three days off in the last week. Both Game 1’s went extra innings.
Santurce leads the best of seven series over Carolina, three games to one. Carolina has been shut out in back-to-back games.
Free agent second baseman Irving Falu is the only Royal playing in this series. He has moved from the ninth spot to leadoff. Falu has gone 5-for-13 in the series with a walk and a run scored. He did commit an error in Saturday’s loss.
Mayaguez and Caguas are tied up at two games a piece. Two games in the series have gone extra innings.
Shortstop Jack Lopez has batted ninth in every game so far for Caguas. He has gone just 2-for-15 with a double and three strikeouts. He stole his first base and committed his first error in the playoffs in Saturday’s win.
Reliever Jake Newberry had a rough two games for Caguas. He entered in the 7th inning on Tuesday (Game 1) and allowed two inherited runs to score (1IP, H, 0R, 0BB, K). On Sunday (Game 4), he allowed a run on two hits while striking out one in one inning of work (the seventh). Newberry blew a save, but Caguas won in 12 innings.
Emmanuel Rivera has seen his playing time dwindle for Mayaguez. In Game 1’s 14 inning walk off win, he started at third base and batted sixth. However, he struck out in his first two at-bats and was pinch-hit for in the seventh (when Newberry entered the game). Rivera was back in action in Game 3, but dropped to eighth in the order. He went 0-for-3. The next day, he entered on defense in the ninth and went 0-for-1.
Jonathan Sanchez took the loss for Mayaguez in Game 3 on Saturday, allowing two runs on three hits and three walks over 3.2 innings. He struck out three.
The Dominican Winter League round robin playoff format is in full swing. The current standings look like this:
- Aguilas 9-1
- Licey 5-5
- Gigantes 3-6
- Escogido 3-8
Aguilas did not lose a game last week. Malcom Culver joined the team, but had a forgettable first (and only) outing on Tuesday. He did not record an out, but allowed two inherited runs in the 7th inning, along with two of his own on three singles. Free agent infielder Angel Franco entered on defense on Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday at second base in either the eighth or ninth inning. On Sunday, he contributed a sac fly. Franco started on Friday, going 1-for-3 with two strikeouts.
Right fielder Jorge Bonifacio has seen his playing time dwindle with Licey. He started two of their games last week, going 0-for-6 with two strikeouts. Bonifacio also pinch-hit twice, once grounding out and once striking out.
Lefty Tim Hill took the loss for Licey on Tuesday in walk off fashion. Despite the fact that he stranded a runner in the 8th inning and recorded two quick outs, an error kept the bottom of the ninth going against Escogido. Up came veteran Ronny Paulino, who hit a two-run home run on a 3-2 pitch right down the middle. Hill would pitch again on Friday, stranding two runners in the 8th inning by getting a fly out (and picking up his second hold of the playoffs). Hill was back out there again on Sunday, pitching a scoreless tenth (1IP, H, 0R, 0BB, 0K).
In Licey’s win on Friday, in which they scored six of their seven runs in the 7th inning, free agent John Lannan got the start. He allowed three runs (two earned) on five hits and a walk over 3.1 innings. He struck out one.
Miguel Almonte pitched just once for Gigantes last week. That came in Wednesday’s loss to Aguilas. He allowed two unearned runs on three hits and two walks over 2.1 innings (the third, fourth, and fifth).
*With the playoffs in full swing, the plan is to be updating more frequently. So keep an eye out.