Tag Archive | "Venezuela"

2013 Big League World Series: Latin America Scores in the Ninth to Win International Championship


EASLEY, South Carolina – The Championship Game is set for the 2013 Big League World Series after the semifinal matches on Tuesday. The top two teams in each pool (USA and International) played for a spot in the final game that will come on Wednesday night.

The International Pool Championship Game featured two very solid teams in Asia-Pacific (Chinese Taipei) and Latin America (Venezuela). Asia-Pacific entered the game undefeated after finishing 4-0 in the pool play. They gave Latin America its only loss of the tournament in a 7-1 victory early on. However, this time Latin America would get its revenge.

Latin America jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the second inning. It got the inning started with a lead off single by Alexander Lopez (1-for-4). A pinch-runner was brought in for Lopez and he was quickly moved to second base. After reaching third base on an error, Latin America had runners at the corners with no outs. Then the runner at first was thrown out stealing second. The batter at the time then hit a ground ball and the runner at third was thrown out at home.

It looked like Asia-Pacific would get out of the inning, but Latin America would mount a two-out rally. A walk put runners at first and second with the eighth and ninth hitters in the lineup coming up. Diego Paz (1-for-3) singled in the first run of the game, and EJ Lugo (1-for-3), the ninth place hitter, came through with another RBI single to give Latin America a 2-0 lead.

Asia-Pacific came back with a run of its own in the bottom of the third on a Kuo-Chen Fan double (2-for-4). It tied the game in the fifth inning on a Chen-Fei Lin double (1-for-2).

The game stayed tied with both pitching staffs having nice days. Latin America reliever Franklin Morales pitched five innings allowing just one run on one hit. He would eventually pick up the win.

Fang-Chun Yuan pitched great in relief as well for Asia-Pacific. He came on in the second inning and went 7.1 innings in relief. He didn’t give up a run until the ninth inning when Latin America would finally get to him.

With one out in the top of the ninth, Andherson Yance (2-for-3) got the Latin America rally going with a double. Two pitches later Luis Macias (1-for-4) singled up the middle to drive in Yance with the go-ahead run.

With the lead, Alvaro Lugo came on to pitch the bottom of the ninth to earn the save and send Latin America to the World Series Championship Game.

They will now face the USA Pool champion in the 2013 Big League World Series Championship on Wednesday night.

Photo Big League World Series

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International Players on the Baseball America Top 100 Prospects List – Numbers 71-80


Before the World Baseball Classic we took a look at some of the international players on Baseball America’s Top 100 Prospect List. If you missed those, you can find #’s 91-100 here and #’s 81-90 here. Today we pick up where we left off with #’s 71-80.

Didi Gregorius, ss, ARI – #80

Hailing from Amsterdam, Gregorius was signed out of the Netherlands in 2007 as a free agent by the Cincinnati Reds. At age 18 in the Gulf Coast League, he hit just .155 in 97 at bats, but he didn’t give up there and last season got a taste of the Major Leagues.

He is a defensive middle infielder who was ranked at the #5 prospect in the Diamondbacks organization after the 2012 season. He was a part of the three team deal that saw the Reds, Indians, and Diamondbacks swapping players in December 2012. He is considered one of the top shortstop prospects in the game. It looks as though he will start the year at Triple-A Reno, but look for him to make an impact very soon at the big league level.

Luis Heredia, rhp, PIT – #78

Heredia, who was born in Mexico, is only 18 years old. He pitched the 2012 season in short-season A ball in the New York-Penn League for State College. In 14 starts Heredia was 4-2 with a 2.71 ERA.

Heredia signed in 2006 as a non-drafted free agent receiving a huge $2.6 million bonus from the Pittsburgh Pirates. He has a huge frame at 6′ 6″ and 205 lbs, but he is still growing physically at only 18 years old.

He throws hard reaching 96 on the gun, but usually sits in the low 90s. He has good control so far, but he is still young and working on improving not only his fastball but his secondary pitches as well. He has huge upside, but only time will tell.

Look for him to start the year in Low-A ball with the possibility of moving up depending on his results.

Marcell Ozuna, of, MIA – #75

Ozuna, a power hitting outfielder from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, blasted 24 long balls in 2012 in High-A Jupiter in the Florida State League. He also exhibits another sought after trait for an outfielder, speed. He stole 17 bases in 2011 and covers a lot of ground in the outfield. Another tool he has is a strong arm. He has been rated with the best outfield arm in the Marlins system the past three seasons.

However, Ozuna will need to identify pitches better if he wants to continue up the ladder. He has strikeout totals of 116 and 121 the last two seasons, but he is still learning. One thing is for sure, when he hits the ball he hits it with authority.

Look for the 22-year old to spend most of the season in Double-A Jacksonville for the Marlins. He is the Marlins #5 prospect.

Avisail Garcia, of, DET – #74

The 21-year old outfielder from Venezuela got a taste of the big leagues last season with Detroit making the jump from Double-A Erie. And when he got the call, he excelled. In 23 games, he hit .319 in 47 at bats.

He is a solid defensive outfielder with a good arm. Baseball America rated him as the best outfield arm in the Tigers farm system the past two seasons. He has some power and speed and could turn into quite a threat in the Tigers lineup.

Look for Garcia to start the year in Triple-A. A heel contusion put him on the DL a few days ago, so he is a long shot to make the Opening Day roster.

Next up we will take a look at the international players from #61-70.

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WBC: Puerto Rico vs Venezuela Pitching Match Up


The game between Puerto Rico and Venezuela holds big implications on who will move onto the second round. Venezuela is coming off a disappointing loss to the Dominican Republic and need to win to stay alive. If Puerto Rico can pull out the victory, they would move on with the Dominican (if they hold on vs Spain).

So let’s see who will start on the hill for each team in this critical match up.

Puerto Rico

Veteran right-hander Nelson Figueroa will get the start for Puerto Rico. Figueroa spent the 2012 season in Triple-A but has a lot of MLB experience pitching in parts of nine seasons at the highest level. His last season at the Major League level was 2011 with Houston.

In 2012, he went 12-5 in 25 games including 15 starts. He posted an ERA of 3.89 over 115.2 innings.

He has international experience having pitched in four games for Puerto Rico in the 2009 WBC. He pitched 7.1 innings in 2009 allowing just two hits and striking out six.

Venezuela

Carlos Zambrano gets the nod for Venezuela in this must win game. Zambrano spent the 2012 season with the Miami Marlins going 7-10 with a 4.49 ERA.

Zambrano is a free agent, so he will be looking to impress scouts showing that he can still be an effective pitcher at age 31. He is a former N.L. All-Star and 18-game winner with the Chicago Cubs.

Zambrano pitched for Venezuela in the 2006 WBC. He pitched in two games, including one start, going 6.2 innings picking up a win and posting a 5.40 ERA.

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WBC: Dominican Republic Downs Venezuela


Canó, Dominican Republic Thump Venezuela in Pool C Opener

By Gabriel Fidler (@gabrielfidler)

The Dominican Republic left no doubt that it is one of the chief contenders for the world championship with a 9-3 drubbing of a good Venezuelan side. The 13th-ranked Dominican stroked 13 hits, including five of the extra-base variety, to take down eighth-rated Venezuela in the first game of Pool C in the World Baseball Classic.

Edinson Volquez looked dominant on the hill for the Dominican Republic to start the game, retiring Elvis Andrus, Asdrubal Cabrera, and Miguel Cabrera on only nine pitches. Vólquez got Andrus swinging, though Cabrera hit a ball to the warning track in left centre.

In the bottom of the frame, Jose Reyes led off with single, one of four hits for the Toronto Blue Jays’ shortstop. Erick Aybar attempted to bunt him over, but Venezuela’s starter Anibal Sanchez threw the ball away to put two on base.

Robinson Cano made Sánchez pay, ripping a two-run double down the left field line. Another fielding miscue advanced Canó to third. Hanley Ramirez tapped a ball to shortstop and, with Canó going, Andrus tried to get the runner at third, but Canó beat the throw.

The Dominican Republic once more took advantage of the opportunity. Nelson Cruz laced a one-base hit to left and the Dominicans claimed a 3-0 advantage. Sánchez continued to struggle, walking Carlos Santana on four pitches, but the rain that had been falling since the beginning of the game became a downpour and time was called.

Play resumed after 50 minutes, but Sánchez’ night was over after retiring only a single batter and giving up three hits and a walk. His out was recorded on a strikeout of Edwin Encarnacion after Canó’s double.

Cesar Jimenez relieved, and got Venezuela out of the predicament on a nifty line drive double play. Ricardo Nanita hit a ball to right and Ramírez tagged and raced toward the plate, but Carlos Gonzalez nailed Ramírez by two or three paces for the third out.

After the rain delay and long inning, Vólquez did not return, with Angel Castro taking the hill in his place. Venezuela’s manager Luis Sojo used nine pitchers in the game, one short of the WBC record. Castro put two runners on base, but escaped the jam thanks to two marathon catches by Nanita in the cavernous left field foul territory of Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

The Dominicans were not stymied by the change in pitchers. Alejandro de Aza led off with a single and Reyes followed with a single to left. Erick Aybar once more attempted a bunt, but this time was unsuccessful because of a strong fielding play. Jiménez allowed the popup to drop and nailed de Aza at third.

Canó stepped up with one out and runners on first and second and ripped another two-bagger to the same location as his first double. The blow played Reyes, and Aybar would come around on a sacrifice fly by Encarnación after Edgar Gonzalez relieved. González got a popup from Ramírez to finish the inning, but the Dominicans now held an overwhelming 5-0 advantage after two.

Pablo Sandoval got Venezuela on the board in the third inning. Marco Scutaro and Asdrubal Cabrera walked and, with one out, Miguel Cabrera blasted another ball that once more was caught at the warning track, this time in right field. Sandoval picked up his teammate, though, crushing a two-run double to left centre to make the score 5-2. Carlos González followed with an infield single, but Venezuela could not push across another run.

Édgar González got two strikeouts in a scoreless third, and Venezuela chipped away at the three-run margin in the fourth. Martin Prado laced a ball to Canó’s favourite spot and advanced to second, scampering to third on a ground ball. Prado raced home on a wild pitch, but it appeared that Venezuela would score again.

Scutaro blasted a two-base hit to left centre and, after a pitching change, Andrus reached on an infield single. Asdrubal Cabera struck out in a seven-pitch at bat, but Miguel Cabrera walked to load the bases. Sandoval could not replicate his success of the previous inning, lifting a ball to centre to end the frame.

New pitcher Jhoulys Chacin worked around two hits in the fourth to keep the margin at 5-3, but Venezuela could not capitalise in the top of the fifth despite putting two runners on base.

Chacín gave up a solo shot to Ramírez to lead off the bottom of the fifth and gave up a walk with one out, but got out of the inning on a twin killing. Neither club could mount a rally in the sixth.

With all momentum lost after the Ramírez home run, Venezuela went down 1-2-3 in the seventh. It was the second straight three-up, three-down inning for Dominican pitching.

The Dominican hitters put the game away in the seventh, though they did so with some help from Venezuela. Ramírez walked with one out and move to second on a wild pitch. The mistake caused a run to score after Nelson Cruz ripped a ground-rule double to plate the runners.

Santana and Nanita would reach on free passes to jam the sacks, and de Aza sent two of them on a double into the right field corner. The 9-3 margin would hold up, as both teams were scoreless the rest of the way.

Canó had three hits for the Dominican Republic and Cruz and de Aza joined him with a brace, though Reyes’ four safeties was the best of the WBC so far. The squad hit .350 with runners on base. Santana walked in all four of his plate appearances.

Six different batters had hits for Venezuela. Asdrubal Cabrera and Prado both walked twice. Sandoval had the only RBIs for the maroon-and-gold. Venezuela committed an error in the field, but also turned four double plays and had an outfield assist.

Sánchez took the loss and threw only 20 pitches, meaning he could start again in Pool B action. Pedro Strop was given a discretionary victory as the five outs he got were more than any other pitcher for the D.R. He struck out two and did not allow a baserunner.

Both teams will have a day off to regroup. The victors will take on Spain on Mar. 9 at 4 p.m. GMT. Venezuela will square off against host Puerto Rico later that day at 9:30 p.m. GMT. Stay tuned for more World Baseball Classic news, reviews, and analysis.

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WBC: Venezuela vs Dominican Republic Pitching Match Up


In what might be the most exciting match up of the 2013 World Baseball Classic, the Dominican Republic faces off with Venezuela to start off Pool C from Puerto Rico later today. The game features two of the most exciting offenses in the tournament, but the pitching isn’t too bad either. Let’s take a look at who will be starting.

Venezuela

Detroit Tigers pitcher Anibal Sanchez will get the start for Venezuela in what will be a huge game. Sanchez started the 2012 MLB season with the Miami Marlins before being traded to the Tigers. He finished the year 9-13 with a 3.86 ERA over 31 games.

Sanchez has been fairly consistent since 2010 posting around 195 innings pitched and an ERA between 3.55 and 3.86 each season. This is Sanchez’s first start in the WBC, but he has pitched internationally during the winter in the Venezuelan Winter League.

Dominican Republic

The Dominican will counter with fellow MLB starter Edinson Volquez of the San Diego Padres. Volquez went 11-11 in 2012 with the Padres posting a 4.14 ERA in 32 starts. The former N.L. All-Star is coming off his first full MLB season since 2008 when he won 17 games with the Reds.

In 182.2 innings, Volquez struck out 174, but he also led the league in walks with 105. He will have his hand full with the Venezuela lineup.

Volquez was with the Dominican Republic’s 2009 WBC team. He started one game giving up three runs in three innings losing to the Netherlands.

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International Players on the Baseball America Top 100 Prospect List – Numbers 81-90


Last time we took a look at #91-100 on the Baseball America Top 100 Prospect List which featured three international players. Today we take the next step down the list with #81-90.

Hak-Ju Lee, ss, TB – #90

Born in South Korea, Lee was signed as a free agent by the Cubs in 2008. He was later traded to Tampa Bay in the deal that sent Matt Garza to the Cubs.

Lee spent the 2012 season in Double-A Montgomery where he put up solid numbers, but the slipped a bit as he moved up against tougher competition. This is his third time on the Top 100 List starting at #92 in 2011. He then jumped up a lot after a nice 2011 season to #44 before falling back to #90 this year.

Lee has a lot of speed stealing 37 bases in 2012 in Double-A and hitting 10 triples. His on-base-percentage fell quite a bit this past season as his strikeout numbers jumped to over 100, but look for him to settle in with more at-bats against the higher competition. He is a plus defender at shortstop and has consistently been ranked among the top Rays prospects for the past couple seasons.

James Paxton, lhp, SEA – #87

Paxton hails from Canada but played his college ball at the University of Kentucky. He is a hard throwing lefty who has averaged more than a strikeout per inning over his brief career. Drafted by the Blue Jays in 2009, Paxton didn’t sign and elected to return to school. However, the NCAA deemed him ineligible due to his contract with agent Scott Boras. Instead, he signed with the independent Grand Prairie Airhogs before being drafted again in 2010. This time he was drafted in the 4th round by Seattle and signed.

In his first season of affiliated ball, Paxton struck out 131 batters in 95 innings. He spent all of the 2012 season at Double-A Jackson where he posted a line of 9-4/3.05 in 21 starts. He throws hard and has a good breaking ball, but like many young pitchers can struggle with his control at times. In 2012, he walked 54 batters in 106 innings. Look for him to get a little more seasoning in the minor leagues this upcoming season.

Yordano Ventura, rhp, KC – #85

This is the first appearance on the Top 100 for Ventura who hails from the Dominican Republic. While Ventura may be small in stature, 5’11″ and 150 lbs, he has shown a live arm and the ability to get hitters out.

Ventura spent 2012 split mostly between Single-A and Double-A, but he posted good numbers at both. In 109.1 combined innings he struck out 130 batters. After his move up to the higher level he struggled a bit, but he is still only 21. For the past two seasons he has ranked #1 in the Kansas City Royals organization for the best fastball.

He will need more seasoning in the minors, but he could have a big future ahead of him, especially if he harnesses that fastball and learns to throw more strikes.

Arodys Vizcaino, rhp, CHC – #83

Vizcaino is no stranger to the Top 100 List as this is his fourth appearance on it. Out of the Dominican Republic, he was once a top prospect with the Yankees and then Atlanta.

He is still  young at only 22, but he has has injury problems. He had Tommy John surgery in March of 2012 and missed the entire season. He has a great fastball, once clocked at 101 mph, and has had a top rated curve ball in every minor league system he has been apart of.

In 2011, Vizcaino got a taste of the big leagues pitching in 17 games for the Atlanta Braves. While he struggled with his control at times (he walked 9 in 17 innings), he also showed how he can be overpowering striking out a batter per inning.

He will look to come back from injury this season and reclaim the form that made him one of the top prospects. He has a strong arm, is still very young, and with some time already in the big leagues he will look to eventually help the Cubs at the big league level sometime in the near future.

Martin Perez, lhp, TEX – #81

Perez comes out of Venezuela and is a highly thought of pitching prospect for the Texas Rangers. At the age of 21, Perez got a taste of the big leagues making six starts in Texas and getting into six other games in relief.

Perez has been talked about for several years now within the Rangers organization. He is a left-handed pitcher with good off speed stuff having ranked at the top of the Rangers minor league system as having the best curve ball and change up and one point or another. His biggest problem it seems so far has been control. He has continually walked more than three batters per nine innings pretty much everywhere he has gone. He is not going to blow hitters away and rack up strikeouts, so he has to learn better control.

Perez has a shot at the Rangers rotation this year if he can come away with a big spring. The team is hurting for starters as a few of their regulars are on the DL with injuries to start the season. He could just make it in as the number five starter if he pitches well enough.If not, look for him to start the year in Triple-A Round Rock.

Next up we will take a look at the international players from #71-80.

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International Players on the Baseball America Top 100 Prospects List – Numbers 91-100


Today we start a series taking a look at the international players on the Baseball America 2013 Top 100 Prospects List. Today we will take a look at the bottom 10 of the list from 91-100 and see which players were born and raised internationally.

So here we go with the first few:

Leonys Martin, of, TEX – #97

Martin was born in Cuba and signed by the Texas Rangers in 2011 as a free agent. He has been a top prospect in the minors for a few years now appearing on the 2012 edition of the Top 100 the previous season at #79.

He has spent two seasons in the Rangers farm system and has had a little taste of the Major League level as well. In the minor leagues he has done quite well. In 124 games, at all levels, he has hit .323 with 16 home runs and 29 stolen bases. However, he has struggled in his short time at the MLB level. He has appeared in 32 games garnering 54 at-bats hitting just .204.

The upcoming season could be huge from Martin though. With the absence of Josh Hamilton in the Rangers outfield, Martin looks to get a lot of playing time perhaps in a platoon with Craig Gentry in center field. He will get a lot of playing time this spring as they will look for him to be a contributor at the big league level.

Bruce Rondon, rhp, DET – #95

Bruce Rondon is from Valencia, Venezuela and was signed by the Detroit Tigers as a non-drafted free agent in September 2007.

This is the first time Rondon has cracked the Top 100 List, but he is only 22. Last season he pitched at High-A, Double-A, and Triple-A doing quite well at all levels. He is a closer in the minor leagues already picking up 65 saves in five years in the minor leagues. In 2012, he picked up 29 saves in the minor leagues. He is a strikeout pitcher averaging more than one per inning in his career so far, but he has had control problems in the past walking 5.10 per 9 innings over his career.

He has a lot of upside and his future is now. The Tigers didn’t resign closer Jose Valverde and are looking for Rondon to open the season as the Detroit Tigers closer if the passes the audition this spring.

Daniel Corcino, rhp, CIN – #94

Corcino is from Azuna, Dominican Republic and enters the 2013 season at only 22 years of age. He was signed by the Cincinnati Reds as a non-drafted free agent in January 2008.

After spending three seasons in Rookie ball or at the Low-A level, Corcino was moved to a starting pitcher and really took off. In 2011, he spent the year at the Low-A level and pitched well for Dayton going 11-7/3.42 in 26 starts. He made the jump to Double-A Pensacola last year and pitched just as well. In 26 starts, Corcino went 8-8 with a 3.01 ERA over 143.1 innings.

Like a lot of young pitchers he has struggled at times with his control. Over his minor league career he has averaged 3.48 walks per 9 innings. He can miss bats at time as well with his career 8.65 strikeouts per 9 innings.

He will once again get to face advanced hitters at either the Double-A or Triple-A level for 2013 to see if he can continue his success and move further toward a spot in the Cincinnati rotation.

Next up we will take a look at the prospects from 81-90.

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Caribbean Series Eyes Possible Return to Miami


HERMOSILLO, Mexico – The Caribbean Series could possibly return to Miami in the near future. Caribbean Baseball Confederation president Juan Francisco Puello Herrera has been in talks with the Miami Marlins about the possibility of using their new stadium in Little Havana.

The talks are still early, and the Series might not return to Miami for another four years or so.

The tournament was held at the Orange Bowl, site of the current Miami Marlins Park, in 1990. It was also held at Bobby Maduro Miami Stadium in 1991. The Series was going through hard times during their trips to Miami, and Puello would like to reestablish the events image in the heavily Latin populated area.

Another factor is the possible return of Cuba to the Series. Cuba hasn’t played since 1961, but its return is still a long shot. Puello has stated that Cuba would have to commit to the Series to return. It would not be allowed for just one series. It would have to be on a permanent basis.

The 2014 Caribbean Series will return to Venezuela. The tournament rotates between the four countries participating (Mexico, Venezuala, Puerto Rico, and Dominican Republic).

Next year it will take place in Margarita which is a large island on the northeast coast of the country. It will be played at Estadio Guatamare where the Series debuted in 2010 when the Leones del Escogido of the Dominican Republic took home the title.

The Series will rotate to Puerto Rico in 2015 and the Dominican Republic in 2016.

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Caribbean Series: Luis Mendoza Named MVP of Series


HERMOSILLO, Mexico – The All-Stars of the 2013 Caribbean Series were named prior to Thursday’s Championship Game.

Luis Mendoza, a Kansas City Royals pitcher, was named the Most Valuable Player of the round robin portion of the tournament. Mendoza was part of Mexico’s Yaquis de Obregon team that went on to win the title.

Mendoza made two starts in the tournament pitching 13.1 scoreless innings. He flirted with a no-hitter on Wednesday taking one into the eighth inning when he would pitch 7.1 innings giving up just two hits to earn the win. That win against Puerto Rico put Mexico into the Championship Game against the Leones del Escogido of the Dominican Republic.

The rest of the All-Stars were:

• Manager: Audo Vicente (DR)
• Catcher: Francisco Pena (DR)
• Pitcher: Mendoza
• First base: Donell Linares (DR)
• Second base: Jose Ramirez (DR)
• Third base: Mario Lisson (Venezuela)
• Shortstop: Miguel Tejada (DR)
• Outfielder: Marlon Byrd (Mexico)
• Outfielder: Ricardo Nanita (DR)
• Outfielder: Doug Clark (Mexico)
• Designated hitter: Barbaro Canizares (Puerto Rico)
• Right-handed pitcher: Mendoza
• Left-handed pitcher: Efraim Nieves (Puerto Rico)
• Relief pitcher: David Reyes (Mexico)
• Closer: Saul Rivera (Puerto Rico)

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Caribbean Series: Dominican Republic Eliminates Venezuela; Awaits Mexico – Puerto Rico Winner


HERMOSILLO, Mexico – The Dominican Republic earned a spot in the new Championship Game of the 2013 Caribbean Series with a win over Mexico on Tuesday. On Wednesday they eliminated Venezuela with a 4-2 win.

Both team got good starts from their starting pitcher. The Dominican’s Carlos Pimentel pitched four innings giving up only one unearned run on two hits. The bullpen did just as well giving up only one run on three hits the rest of the way. Pimentel didn’t factor in the decision, but Armando Rodriguez (W, 1-0) picked up the win pitching a scoreless eighth inning. Jailen Peguero (S, 1) got the save with a scoreless ninth.

On the other side of the field, Sergio Perez started and pitched well for Venezuela going five innings giving up just one run on five hits.

The game was a pitching duel between the two bullpens, until the ninth inning.

Victor Moreno (L, 0-1) came in to start the ninth for Venezuela. He got the inning started off right with a strikeout. Then he walked a batter and struck out another. So with two outs and a runner at second, after a stolen base, he was lifted for reliever Marcos Tabata.

The Dominican Republic quickly took advantage.

The first hitter Tabata saw, Francisco Pena (2-for-4), hit a two-run home run to put the Dominican in the lead for good.

Venezuela couldn’t come back in the ninth against Peguero and that was it. Their 2013 Caribbean Series ended in disappointment after starting off well. After starting off 2-1, Venezuela dropped the last three games to finish 2-4 and out of the new championship game.

The last game of the round robin features Mexico against Puerto Rico. The winner will advance to face the Dominican Republic in the championship game. In their first meeting, Mexico shutout Puerto Rico 3-0, but Puerto Rico has been hot lately winning their last 2 games.

Full Box Score

2013 Caribbean Series Standings:

1. Dominican Republic 5-1

2. Mexico 2-3

3. Puerto Rico 2-3

4. Venezuela 2-4

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Caribbean Series: Puerto Rico Wins Again Downing Venezuela 4-1


HERMOSILLO, Mexico – Puerto Rico got down early but fought back and clawed their way to a second straight victory, this time over Venezuela by a score of 4-1.

Venezuela got on the board early with a second inning home run by Mario Lisson (2-for-4). But that would be all they would get as the Puerto Rico pitching staff shut them down the rest of the way.

Efrain Nieves (W, 1-0) started and pitched five innings giving up just four hits and the lone run by Venezuela to pick up the win. The bullpen did the rest as three relievers limited Venezuela to just one more hit over the next four innings. Saul Rivera (S, 2) picked up the save with a scoreless ninth.

Down 1-0, Ramon Castro (2-for-3) tied the game with a solo home run in the fourth inning. Puerto Rico would take the lead an inning later on a Jesus Feliciano (3-for-5) RBI single. They would pick up another run in the eighth and ninth innings to add some cushion to the lead.

The win puts them equal with Venezuela at 2-3 heading into the final day of action.

2013 Caribbean Series Standings:

1. Dominican Republic 3-1
2. Mexico 2-2
3. Venezuela 2-3
4. Puerto Rico 2-3

2013 Caribbean Series Schedule:

Tuesday February 5th
Puerto Rico 4, Venezuela 1
Dominican Republic vs Mexico 9:30 pm

Wednesday February 6th
Dominican Republic vs Venezuela 6:00 pm
Mexico vs Puerto Rico 9:30 pm

Thursday February 7th
Championship 9:00 pm

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Caribbean Series: Mexico Defeats Venezuela to Even Record at 2-2


HERMOSILLO, Mexico – Some games go down to the last batter to find a winner. On Monday, Mexico defeated Venezuela at the 2013 Caribbean Series 2-0 scoring the only runs in the game after two batters.

In the bottom of the first inning, Mexico center fielder Chris Roberson (0-for-3) reached on an error by Venezuela first baseman Jose Castillo. The next batter accounted for all of the runs when Alfredo Amezaga (1-for-3) hit a two run home run.

Venezuela starter Austin Bibens-Dirkx (L, 0-1) pitched great allowing only three hits over seven innings. However, one of the three hits was Amezaga’s home run in the first inning.

Rolando Valdez (W, 1-0) pitched well to get the win going seven shutout innings allowing only five hits while striking out six and walking none. Oscar Villarreal (S, 1) picked up the save striking out two in the ninth.

Neither team did anything offensively after the first inning. Mexico collected only three hits and Venezuela seven.

The win evens the standings between the two teams at 2-2 a game behind the leader Dominican Republic.

2013 Caribbean Series Standings:

1. Dominican Republic 3-1
2. Venezuela 2-2
3. Mexico 2-2
4. Puerto Rico 1-3

2013 Caribbean Series Schedule:

Tuesday February 5th
Puerto Rico vs Venezuela 6:00 pm
Dominican Republic vs Mexico 9:30 pm

Wednesday February 6th
Dominican Republic vs Venezuela 6:00 pm
Mexico vs Puerto Rico 9:30 pm

Thursday February 7th
Championship 9:00 pm

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LVBP: Magallanes Win Game 6 to Force Winner Take All Game 7


The San Francisco Giants Pablo Sandoval drove in three runs with a home run in the 4th inning to help the Navegantes del Magallanes to a win in Game 6 of the Venezuelan Professional Baseball League or Liga Venezolana de Béisbol Profesional (LVBP) Championship Series over the Cardenales de Lara. The win tied the series at three games apiece forcing a Game 7.

The Navegantes did it with power. Sandoval’s (1-for-4) home run made the score 7-2 putting the game out of reach. Mario Lisson (1-for-4) drove in three runs as well with a 3-run home run in the 2nd inning. The Texas Rangers Elvis Andrus (1-for-2) added a RBI single in the 2nd inning to finish off that inning’s scoring as the Navegantes put up four runs.

Gustavo Chacin (W, 3-2) picked up the win tossing five innings allowing just two runs on three hits. Maximo Nelson (L, 2-1) took the loss. Nelson lasted just 3.2 innings giving up six runs on five hits and four walks.

The Cleveland Indians’ Luis Valbuena (1-for-3) homered for Lara in the loss.

The win forces a Game 7 with the winner heading to the Caribbean Series.

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LVBP: Venezuela Series Tied at Two Games with Magallanes Winning Game 4


The Navegantes del Magallanes have tied up the Venezuelan Professional Baseball League Championship Series at two games apiece with a 6-5 win over the Cardenales de Lara on Saturday night.

The Magallanes held off a late inning comeback from Lara to tied the series in a game they really needed to win.

Each team collected 13 hits, but the Magallanes added a pair of home runs in the win. Hector Gimenez (2-for-5) blasted a solo shot in the 2nd inning, and Eliezer Alfonzo (2-for-5) hit his 5th home run of the year in the 4th inning.

Deolis Guerra (W, 1-0) picked up the win in relief tossing two scoreless innings. Enrique Gonzalez (S, 3) picked up the save with 1.1 innings of relief work. Yohan Pino (L, 0-1) took the loss pitching three innings giving up three runs on six hits.

Yangervis Solarte (4-for-5) had a big day for Lara picking up four hits and driving in two runs. Ernesto Mejia (2-for-5) and Luis Valbuena (2-for-5) both drove in a run for Lara.

The best-of-seven series will resume on Monday the 28th.

LVBP Championship Schedule:

Game 1: Lara 2, Magallanes 5
Game 2: Lara 3, Magallanes 0
Game 3: Magallanes 2, Lara 4
Game 4: Magallanes 6, Lara 5
Series tied at 2
Game 5: 01/28 7:30 p.m.
Game 6: 01/29 7:30 p.m.
*Game 7: 01/30 7:30 p.m.
*if necessary

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LVBP: Lara Takes 2-1 Lead in Venezuelan Series


The Cardenales de Lara have taken a 2-1 lead in the Venezuelan Professional Baseball League Championship Series with a pair of wins in Games 2 and 3 over the Navegantes del Magallanes.

Game 2 Lara 3, Magallanes 0

Maximo Nelson (W, 2-0) picked up the win for Lara going 5 scoreless  innings allowing just 5 hits.  The Lara bullpen did the rest as four pitchers combined to shut down Magallanes the rest of the way allowing just two more hits. Victor Moreno (S, 3) picked up the save working the 9th inning.

The Cardenales offense was provided by Gabriel Noriega (2-for-3) who scored a run and drove in another. Luis Valbuena (1-for-4) hit a solo home run in the 3-run 5th for Lara.

Gustavo Chacin (L, 2-2) took the loss pitching 4.2 innings giving up all 3 runs on 5 hits.

Game 3 Magallanes 2, Lara 4

Lara got more good pitching to take their second game in a row. This time it came from Raul Rivero (W, 2-0) who went 5.2 scoreless innings giving up just 2 hits. Lara kept Magallanes off the scoreboard until the 9th inning when Victor Moreno gave up back-t0-back solo home runs to Elvis Andrus (1-for-3) and Pablo Sandoval (1-for-4).

But it was too little too late as Lara got RBIs from Luis Jiminez (1-for-2), Luis Valbuena (2-for-3 / 2 doubles), and Jose Yepez (2-for-4) to pick up the win and the lead in the series.

Game 4 will be Saturday night.

LVBP Championship Schedule:

Game 1: Lara 2, Magallanes 5
Game 2: Lara 3, Magallanes 0
Game 3: Magallanes 2, Lara 4
Cardenales de Lara lead series 2-1
Game 4: 01/26 6:00 p.m.
Game 5: 01/28 7:30 p.m.
*Game 6: 01/29 7:30 p.m.
*Game 7: 01/30 7:30 p.m.
*if necessary
*if necessary

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LVBP: Magallanes Wins Game One of Venezuelan Championship Series


The Navegantes del Magallanes took Game 1 of the Venezuelan Professional Baseball League or Liga Venezolana de Béisbol Profesional (LVBP) over Cardenales de Lara winning 5-2.

Miami Marlins pitcher Carlos Zambrano (W, 2-0) tossed 5 innings allowing just 2 runs on 4 hits to earn the win for Magallanes. Enrique Gonzalez (S, 2), who pitched in the NPB in 2012 with the Seibu Lions, picked up the save tossing 1.1 innings of relief.

Former Atlanta Braves pitcher Ken Ray (L, 1-2), who has pitched in Taiwan the past few seasons, took the loss. In six innings, Ray gave up 5 runs on 12 hits.

Pablo Sandaval (3-for-4) doubled and drove in 2 runs for Magallanes. Endy Chavez (2-for-4) scored twice and drove in a run with a home run in the 5th inning. Juan Rivera (2-for-4) also homered for Magallanes in the win.

Paulo Orlando led the way offensively for Lara going 3-for-5 with a run scored. Luis Jimenez (2-for-5) added a RBI in the loss.

LVBP Championship Schedule:

Game 1: Lara 2, Magallanes 5
Navegantes del Magallanes lead series 1-0
Game 2: 01/24 7:30 p.m.
Game 3: 01/25 7:30 p.m.
Game 4: 01/26 6:00 p.m.
*Game 5: 01/28 7:30 p.m.
*Game 6: 01/29 7:30 p.m.
*Game 7: 01/30 7:30 p.m.
*if necessary

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Venezuela: Round Robin Playoff Update


Magallanes 8, Aragua 5

Mario Lisson drove in four runs as he hit for the cycle to help lead Magallanes to an 8-5 victory over Aragua on Saturday night. Alberto Callaspo scored twice going 3-for-4 to help in the victory. Pedro Guerra picked up his 3rd win going 3 scoreless innings of relief.

Jose Martinez hit a 3-run home run for Aragua.

La Guaira 11, Zulia 4

La Guaira pounded out 14 hits including 2 home runs to power their way past last place Zulia. Gregor Blanco had 3 hits, including a solo home run, and scored 2 runs to lead the way for La Guaira. Alex Cabrera went 3-for-5 driving in 4 runs and scoring 2. Luis Antonio Jimenez added a 2-run home run to extend the lead in the 8th inning.

Brian Sweeney picked up his 3rd win for La Guaira throwing 6 innings allowing 4 runs on 8 hits and 1 walk.

VENEZUELAN WINTER LEAGUE ROUND ROBIN STANDINGS

Team Won Lost GB
Aragua 10 06  -
Magallanes 10 07 0.5
La Guaira 09 07 1.0
Caribes 09 08 1.5
Zulia 03 13 7.0

Playoff Schedule
Sunday January 22
Magallanes at La Guaira 4pm
TBD at Caribes 8pm

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Venezuela: Luis Sojo Names National Team Manager for World Baseball Classic


VENEZUELA – The Federación Venezolana de Beisbol radified Luis Sojo as the manager for the Venezuelan National Team for the 2013 World Baseball Classic. It was announced at a press conference at Hotel Alba Caracus.

Federation President Edwin Zerpa also announced Sojo will be managing the team during this years World Baseball Championship in Panama this September and the Pan-American Games in October.

Luis Sojo led Venezuela to a  3rd place finish in the 2009 World Baseball Classic. It lost to eventual runner up South Korea in the semifinals but had a 6-2 record overall including 2 victories over the USA.

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CARIBBEAN SERIES SCOUTING REPORT: Venezuela


ANZOATEGUI CARIBES

LOCATION: Puerto la Cruz, Anzoategui, Venezuela
LEAGUE: Venezuelan Professional Baseball League
FIRST SEASON: 1987
PENNANTS: 1 (2011)
CS TITLES: 0
2010-11 RECORD: 34-29 (15-8 playoffs)
MANAGER: Julio Franco
TOP HITTERS: IF Juan Camacho (.466/6HR/26RBI), OF David Sappelt (.297/1HR/10RBI), IF Alexi Amarista (.296/9HR/34RBI), OF Mike Wilson (.281/4HR/14RBI), C Eliezer Alfonso (.225/9HR/35RBI),
TOP PITCHERS: Andrew Baldwin (5-2/2.08/47SO), Ramon Ramirez (3-1/2.47/27SO), Stephen Bray (3-1/1.97/14SO), Jose Alvarez (3-3/3.90/21SO), Brayan Villarreal (5-0/2.32/1SV)
CS SCHEDULE: WED 2/2 7:30pm vs. Caguas, THU 2/3 3pm vs. Este, FRI 2/4 3pm vs. Obregon, SAT 7:30pm vs. Caguas, SUN 2/6 3pm vs. Este, MON 2/7 3pm vs. Obregon

Thanks to Bruce Baskin for the review of the Caribbean Series teams.

Bruce Baskin is the Editor/Producer at the BASEBALL MEXICO

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Venezuela: Aragua Wins Big; Series Tied at 2


VENEZUELA – The Aragua Tigres have rallied to win 2 straight after trailing 2-game-to-0 against the Anzoategui Caribes in the finals of the Venezuela Baseball League.

Anzoategui Caribes 0, Aragua Tigres 16

The Aragua bats came alive pounding out 14 hits, and the Caribes gloves had some holes as they committed 5 errors as the Tigres won 16-0.

Aragua used 6 hits and 3 walks to jump out on top with 8 runs in the 2nd inning. Alex Romero (3-5) homered in the inning driving in 2 runs. Aragua would get 6 more runs in the 7th and 2 in the 8th as the Caribes never threatened.

Jose Martinez went deep, and Luis Maza went 3-for-5 driving in 2 and scoring 2 runs for Aragua.

Eduardo Figueroa took the loss for Anzoategui going only 1.1 innings giving up 6 runs. Rosman Garcia pitched well for Aragua going 6 innings allowing only 3 hits and 1 walk while striking out 4 to pick up the win.

The series continues Friday night with Game 5.

Venezuelan Winter League Championship Series Schedule:

  • Game 1: Aragua 5, Caribes 8
  • Game 2: Aragua 7, Caribes 8
  • Game 3: Caribes 4, Aragua 8
  • Game 4: Caribes 0, Aragua 16
  • Series tied 2-2
  • Game 5: 01/28 8:30 p.m.
  • Game 6: 01/29 8:30 p.m.
  • *Game 7: 01/30 8:30 p.m.

*if necessary

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Venezuela: Anzoategui Caribes Take Game 2 of Finals


VENEZUELA – Luis Jiminez had 2 hits and drove in 4 runs as Anzoategui defeated the Aragua Tigres again in Game 2 of the Venezuela Winter Baseball League Championship Series.

Anzoategui 8, Aragua 7

After dropping Game 1, Aragua jumped out to an early 1-0 lead after the top half of the first inning, but they couldn’t hold it very long. Bouncing back quickly in the bottom of the inning, the Caribes scored 3 runs to take the lead. Cesar Suarez (1-3) started the scoring for the Caribes with a 2-run double.

The back and forth of the game continued as Aragua scored 4 more runs over the next two innings. But once again the Tigres could not hold the lead. Trailing 5-3, the Caribes came back with 4 runs in the bottom of the 5th inning to take the lead once again.

The Tigres tried to make a comeback with single runs in the 7th and 8th innings, but fell 1 run short in the end. Luis Maza and Alex Nunez both hit solo home runs for the Tigres. Josh Kroeger added the insurance run that was needed for the Caribes with a solo home run in the 8th inning.

Alex Herrera pitched 4 innings in relief giving up only 1 run and picking up the win. Jose Cabrera pitched 1.1 innings to pick up his 3rd save. Carlos Vasquez didn’t get an out in the 5th inning giving up 1 run to take the loss.

(Anzoategui Caribes lead the series 2-0)

Venezuelan Winter League Championship Series Schedule:

  • Game 3: 01/26 8:30 p.m.
  • Game 4: 01/27 8:30 p.m.
  • *Game 5: 01/28 8:30 p.m.
  • *Game 6: 01/29 8:30 p.m.
  • *Game 7: 01/30 8:30 p.m.

*if necessary

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Venezuela: Anzoategui Caribes Win Game 1 of Championship Series


VENEZUELA – After defeating Caracas Leones 5-2 in a one game playoff, Aragua dropped game one of the championship series to the Anzoategui Caribes 8-5.

Anzoategui 8, Aragua 5

Seth Etherton gave up 3 home runs in less than 4 innings as the Anzoategui Caribes took Game 1 of the series. Endy Chavez (2-4), Oscar Salazar (2-4), and Eliezer Alfonzo (2-4) all homered to help the Caribes find the win column.

Anzoategui threw 9 pitchers in the game with Eduardo Figueroa picking up his 3rd victory in relief of starter Manny Ayala. Jose Cabrera picked up his second save with a perfect 9th.

For Aragua, Hernan Iribarren and Hector Gimenez both hit solo home runs. But the big hitter for the Tigres on the night was Lastings Milledge who went 2-for-3 with 2 home runs and 3 RBI.

The two teams will return to action Monday night for Game 2.

Venezuelan Winter League Championship Series Schedule:

  • Game 2: 01/24 8:30 p.m.
  • Game 3: 01/26 8:30 p.m.
  • Game 4: 01/27 8:30 p.m.
  • *Game 5: 01/28 8:30 p.m.
  • *Game 6: 01/29 8:30 p.m.
  • *Game 7: 01/30 8:30 p.m.

*if necessary

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Venezuela: Caracas Wins to Force 1 Game Playoff with Aragua


VENEZUELA – The Caracas Leones defeated the Margarita Bravos 8-2 to force a 1 game playoff. The win for Caracas pushed their record to 10-6 which equaled that of the Aragua Tigres. Both fell a game behind the Anzoategui Caribes.

Caracas 8, Margarita 2

Caracas fell down 2-1 early, but pounded out 18 hits to secure the victory. Down by a run in the 4th, Caracas would score at least a run in 6 of the next 7 innings to pull away. Josh Kroeger hit his 3rd home run going 3-for-5 with 2 RBI, a double, and 3 runs scored. Gregor Blanco chipped in with 4 hits, and catcher Carlos Maldonado drove in 2 while collecting 3 hits. Gustavo Chacin picked up his 2nd victory going 5 innings giving up 2 runs and striking out 5.

Jacob Blackwood was the only bright spot for Margarita as he homered driving in 2 runs. Alberto Bastardo took the loss on the mound giving up 3 runs in 4 innings.

Anzoategui 6, Aragua 5

In a battle for who would advance to the finals, the Anzoategui Caribes defeated the Aragua Tigres 6-5. The Caribes jumped out to an early 4-0 lead in the top of the first, but the Tigres would bounce back quickly by scoring 3 runs of their own in the bottom of the inning. After tying the game in the 3rd, the Tigres fell down by 2 runs in the 5th and could never recover.

Niuman Romero went 2-for-4 with 2 RBI to lead the Caribes offensive attack. Eliezer Alfonzo and Cesar Suarez both chipped in with 2 hits and a RBI each.

Lastings Milledge led the way for the Tigres going 3-for-4 with 2 runs scored and 2 RBI.

Aragua will now face off with Caracas in a winner take all game. The winner advances to face Anzoategui in the championship round with a chance to advance to the Caribbean Series.

VENEZUELAN BASEBALL LEAGUE

Team Won Lost
Anzoategui Caribes 11 05
Caracas Leones 10 06
Aragua Tigres 10 06
Margarita Bravos 05 11
Zulia Aguilas 04 12

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Venezuela: Caribes, Leones, and Tigres Tied Atop Standings


VENEZUELA – Three teams sit atop the standings of the Venezuelan Baseball League through 11 games of the 16 game round robin semifinals. Each team will play 5 more games to determine the top two teams that will move onto the finals.

The Aragua Tigres have put on a hitting display the past two games scoring 10 runs in each. The first came against the Margarita Braves who are mired in last place, but the second came against co-first place team Caracas. The Tigres face off with the other first place team in Aragua today Sunday the 16th.

Zulia has won 2 of their last 3, and even though they are 3.5 games out they still have a chance to make a move and possibly move into 2nd place. They will need to get hot and get a little help, but its possible that we could have a 4 team race for the 2 spots in the finals.

Through the first 11 games of the playoffs, Luis Jiminez of the Bravos is leading the league in hitting with a .390 batting average. Jose Pirela is right behind him with a .388 average. Jesus Guzman of the Leones has belted 4 home runs to lead the way in the playoffs.

It should be a great run to the finals.

VENEZUELAN BASEBALL LEAGUE

Team Won Lost
Caracas Leones 07 04
Anzoategui Caribes 07 04
Aragua Tigres 07 04
Zulia Aguilas 04 08
Margarita Bravos 03 08

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