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ATF: Culiacan - February 5, 2017 - Day 5

The first round of the Caribbean Series is set and now the fun begins as the semi-finals are Monday night and the championship is set for Tuesday...

AGUILAS DEL ZULIA (VENEZUELA) 4, TIGRES DEL LICEY (DOMINICAN REPUBLIC) 3

For seven and a half innings, it appeared that the Dominican Republic might finally win a Caribbean Series game.  Then came the bottom of the eighth inning, when the Aguilas scored three runs, highlighted by a two-run eventual game-winning homer by Rene Reyes.  The Dominican League will have to wait for 2018 to end their losing streak, which now stands at ten games.

Ronny Rodriguez (Tigres del Licey, 1B) - 1-4, 2 R, 1 K, 1 SB - Rodriguez's winter ball season ends (no, he cannot be picked up as a refuerzo by a semifinal team) with a Caribbean Series in which he only batted (and slugged) .200 (3-for-15, all singles).  A .294 OBP rounds out his slash line from a Serie in which the fatigue from a nearly year-round season became glaringly evident.  Hopefully, he can use the time between now and when he reports to Goodyear to get some rest so he is fully recharged and ready to start a new season when he begins Spring Training.  The end of his offseason league play also brings an end to the involvement of current Indians organization players in winter baseball.  Final stats (including playoffs) will be posted in the coming week.

Alfredo Marte (Tigres del Licey, RF) - 2-4, 2 RBI - Marte was responsible for driving in two-thirds of Licey's runs on Sunday.

Michael De Leon (Tigres del Licey, SS) - 2-2, 1 2B, 2 BB - De Leon reached base every time he came to the plate thanks to a mix of hitting the good pitches and ignoring the bad ones.

Ariel Pena (Tigres del Licey, SP) - ND, 5 IP, 3 H, 1 R (earned), 1 BB, 6 K, 1 HR allowed - Pena's solid start was unfortunately not enough to get the Dominicans their first Caribbean Series win since 2015.

Ronny Cedeno (Aguilas del Zulia, 3B) - 2-4, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 K, 1 E - Cedeno doubled to score the Aguilas' first run of the eighth and scored on Reyes' home run.

ALAZANES DE GRANMA (CUBA) 4, AGUILAS DE MEXICALI (MEXICO) 0

The Alazanes denied the hosts a perfect round robin record with a four-run fifth inning which accounted for all of the scoring in the game.  Both teams now move on to today's semifinals, where they will meet in a rematch of yesterday's contest.

Yuniesky Betancourt (Aguilas de Mexicali, SS) - 2-4, 1 K - Betancourt was the only Aguila to have a multi-hit game on Sunday.

Javier Solano (Aguilas de Mexicali, SP) - L, 4.2 IP, 9 H, 4 R (all earned), 2 HR allowed - Between how bad this outing was and the complete lack of run support, the 3.1 shutout innings from the Mexicali bullpen proved to be irrelevant to the outcome.

Alfredo Despaigne (Alazanes de Granma, starting LF) - 1-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1 K - Despaigne's fifth-inning homer was only his second hit of the Serie, but it was a big one as it gave the Cuban side the lead and scored three-quarters of the game's runs.

William Saavedra (Alazanes de Granma, starting 1B) - 1-4, 1 R, 1 RBI - Saavedra followed with a solo homer in the next at-bat to score the game's other run, which led to Solano being pulled from the game.

FINAL STANDINGS

Aguilas del Zulia (Venezuela) - 3-1 (ADVANCED)
Alazanes de Granma (Cuba) - 3-1 (ADVANCED)
Aguilas de Mexicali (Mexico) - 3-1 (ADVANCED)
Criollos de Caguas (Puerto Rico) - 1-3 (ADVANCED)
Tigres del Licey (Dominican Republic) - 0-4 (ELIMINATED)

TODAY'S SCHEDULE (ALL TIMES US EST.  ALL GAMES ON ESPN DEPORTES)

Caguas vs. Zulia - 3:00 PM
Granma vs. Mexicali - 7:00 PM

The matchups differ from what is listed on MLB.com's Caribbean Series page, but these are the matchups listed on the Serie's official twitter account, so I'm going with them as they were posted by the tournament's organizer.

Finally, for anyone wondering why they are playing day games (1:00 and 5:00 PM local time) on a Monday, yesterday was Constitution Day in Mexico, so the holiday is being observed today in terms of the day off from work.

Five days down, two to go.  The Indians may be done with winter ball, but ATF still has two columns to go as we finish our offseason with the final four of the Serie del Caribe!


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