The league entered the last week-end of the regular season with four teams battling for three play-off slots. Canberra and Sydney were locked in a tie at the top of the standings with Brisbane in third and Perth in fourth, the latter three games back. The division winner received a first-round bye while the second- and third-place squads go head-to-head in a best-of-three beginning on February 1st. Stats are through the end of the regular season.
Perth Heat –
Perth (25-21) hosted last-place Melbourne (15-31), needing a strong finish to get by Brisbane and into the post-season. The Heat came through with a four-game sweep to finish two games off the lead.
- Adam Melker: Melker remains on the Reserve List and did not participate in the series.
Regular Season: .247/.354/.358/.712, 81 AB, 20 R, 20 H, 2 2B, 2 3B, 1 HR, 6 RBI, 11 BB, 17 SO, 1 SB, 0 CS, 3 HBP, .297 BABIP
Sydney Blue Sox –
Sydney (26-19) played host to Brisbane (23-22) and clinched a place in the post-season by downing the Bandits 6-2 and 13-0 in the first two games. The Blue Sox fell 4-2 in game three while their final game of the regular season on Sunday was rained out. A loss by Canberra on Sunday would have resulted in a re-scheduling of the rain out to determine play-off standings. However, Canberra's victory on the 27th, combined with them holding the head-to-head tiebreaker with Sydney, left the Blue Sox in second place. They will host Perth on Friday while the Cavalry await the winner.
- Geoff Klein: Klein again hit for average with no power this week, singling three times in 10 at bats. Sydney's catcher touched home once and knocked in another in the Blue Sox's first win on the 24th then scored three times on three free passes issued with an RBI on the 25th. He finished the regular season by driving in one of his team's two tallies on Saturday. Klein nabbed two trying to steal and was charged with a passed ball while fanning twice.
Regular Season: .267/.348/.366/.715, 161 AB, 21 R, 43 H, 10 2B, 2 HR, 21 RBI, 20 BB, 39 SO, 1 SB, 0 CS, .342 BABIP, .099 ISO
Escogido swept Aguilas in four games to take the title. They will represent the Dominican Republic in the Caribbean Series. The annual four-country event (Mexico, Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Puerto Rico) will be held from February 1st through the 7th in a new facility in Hermosillo, Mexico.
Obregon faced Mexicali for the league title and the chance to represent host Mexico in the Caribbean Series. The Yaquis swept Aguilas four games to none, taking the first two on the road, 5-3 and 4-2, before taking both home contests, 6-5 and 16-3.
Yaquis de Obregon –
- Jermaine Curtis: Curtis did not participate in the finals against Mexicali.
Regular Season: .306/.405/.372/.777, 180 AB, 27 R, 55 H, 9 2B, 1 HR, 22 RBI, 30 BB, 25 SO, 9 SB, 2 CS, .344 BABIP, 4 E
First-round Stats: .000/.250/.000/.250, 9 AB, 0 R, 0 H, 3 BB, 1 SO, 0 SB, 1 CS, 1 E
Second-round Stats: .000/.500/.000/.500, 2 AB, 0 R, 0 H, 2 BB, 1 SO, 0 SB, 0 CS, 0 E
Caguas downed Mayaguez in six games to win the PR championship and represent PR in the Caribbean Series. The best-of-seven series alternated sites, beginning at Mayaguez. The Criollos won the first two, 5-4 and 3-1, but lost the next two, 2-1 and 6-5. Caguas took game five at home 4-2 then finished the Indios off in game six 13-3. Stats are through the league finals.
Criollos de Caguas –
- Luis Mateo: Mateo started games five and six, batting ninth. The shortstop did not figure in the game five victory, going hitless in three at bats with a strikeout. Mateo doubled and singled in four at bats while knocking in two of Caguas' 13 tallies in game six. He was hit by a pitch and went one-for-one in stolen base attempts.
Regular Season: .313/.345/.403/.748, 134 AB, 19 R, 42 H, 7 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 15 RBI, 8 BB, 28 SO, 7 SB, 0 CS, 8 E, .380 BABIP, .082 ISO, 5.4% BB/PA, 19.0% K/PA
Round-Robin Stats: .250/.311/.375/.686, 40 AB, 5 R, 10 H, 3 2B, 1 3B, 4 RBI, 2 BB, 8 SO, 0 SB, 2 CS, 2 HBP, .303 BABIP
League Finals Stats: .273/.360/.409/.769, 22 AB, 2 R, 6 H, 1 2B, 1 3B, 2 RBI, 2 BB, 5 SO, 1 SB, 0 CS, 1 HBP, 1 E, .353 BABIP
Overall Post-season Stats: .258/.329/.387/.716, 62 AB, 7 R, 16 H, 4 2B, 2 3B, 6 RBI, 4 BB, 13 SO, 1 SB, 2 CS, 3 HBP, 1 E, .320 BABIP
Indios de Mayaguez –
- Hector Hernandez: Hernandez' only appearance in the finals was in game six when he began the eighth with his squad down 2-4. He retired the first batter on a fly out to right before yielding a double, also to right, to the Criollos' clean-up hitter. An intentional base-on-balls set up a 4-6 force at second for the southpaw's second and final out. His replacement induced a 4-3 ground out to escape the jam.
Regular Season: 4.55 ERA/5.04 FIP, 10 G, 5 GS, 27.2 IP, 33 H, 17 R, 14 ER, 3 HR, 0 HB, 13 BB, 14 SO, 1.66 WHIP, .314 BAA, .333 BABIP, 10 IR/4 IRS
Post-season Stats: 8.10 ERA/5.45 FIP, 3 G, 2 GS, 6.2 IP, 9 H, 6 R/ER, 2 HB, 4 BB (1 IBB), 3 SO, 1.95 WHIP, .310 BAA, .346 BABIP
The best-of-seven finals have Lara pitted against Magallanes with the Cardenales hosting games three through five. Lara split the first two at Magallanes, dropping the opener 5-2 but taking game two 3-0. Richard Castillo's team took games three 4-2 and five 3-2 but lost game four 6-5, sending the series back to the Navigantes. Magallanes won game six 7-3 to set up a winner-take-all game seven on January 30th. Stats are through the games of January 29th.
Cardenales de Lara –
- Richard Castillo: Castillo entered the seventh inning of game one with a runner at third, one out, and plunked the first batter faced to put him aboard. The righty then allowed the first of eight inherited post-season runners to cross on a ground out that put the Navigantes up 5-2. Castillo got the next four batters on a ground out, fly out and two strikeouts, one of them looking. He tossed a perfect seventh on January 25th with two strikeouts to keep Lara's lead 4-0. The next day the 23-year-old faced a very difficult situation of the sacks jammed with none out in the fifth. One inherited runner touched home on a 4-6-3 double play and another on a two-out single up the middle to bring the Cardenales' deficit to 5-2. Castillo erased a lead-off single in the sixth when he caught a batter looking a strike three then watched as the runner was nailed at second. On the 28th Castillo faced a bases-loaded jam for the third time in four appearances, coaxing a 6-4 force out to end the sixth. He departed after the lead-off batter in the seventh reached on a fielding error by Lara's third baseman.
Season: 4.50 ERA/5.34 FIP, 26 G, 0 GS, 24 IP, 28 H, 14 R, 12 ER, 2 HR, 1 HB, 14 BB, 13 SO, 1.75 WHIP, .286 BAA, .313 BABIP
Post-season Stats: 3.29 ERA/4.22 FIP, 11 G, 0 GS, 13.2 IP, 8 H, 5 R/ER, 2 HR, 1 HB, 1 BB, 9 SO, 0.66 WHIP, .184 BAA, .176 BABIP, 14 IR/3 IRS
Navigantes del Magallanes –
- Victor Marte: On January 24th Marte relieved for the first time in 13 days when he came into the fifth inning of game two's 3-0 loss with three runs across, two outs and a runner on first. The right-hander recorded the last out of the frame via a 6-1 ground out to stop the bleeding. Although Marte issued a free pass to open the sixth, he faced the minimum over the next 2.1 innings when the runner was caught stealing on a strike ‘em out/throw ‘em out scenario. Three of Marte's four strikeouts were swinging. The 22-year-old fanned his first batter on the 26th and got a fly out to right to strand inherited runners at first and second and hold the Navigantes' 3-2 lead. Back-to-back singles to open the fifth ended his day but neither scored. He allowed a tally on a triple and a wild pitch in two frames in Tuesday's 7-3 win.
Post-season Stats: 4.65 ERA/2.17 FIP, 6 G, 0 GS, 9.2 IP, 9 H, 6 R, 5 ER, 0 HR, 0 HB, 3 BB, 11 SO, 1.24 WHIP, .243 BAA, .333 BABIP, 9 IR/3 IRS
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