65th Caribbean Series: The end of the debacle in Gran Caracas — Game 7 analysis
—This was the sixth consecutive defeat for Agricultores in Gran Caracas.
Gran Caracas 2023 ended with another disappointing loss for the Cuban team: the Federales de Chiriquí defeated the Cuban Agricultores, 10-4, who said goodbye to the 65th Caribbean Baseball Series with a victory and six consecutive losses.
After a tournament to forget - for Cuban fans -, Gran Caracas' farewell match for both teams was delayed by 17 minutes. The 43-year-old left-hander, Leandro Martínez, who suffered injuries and had not pitched in previous games, was sent to the box by Cuban manager Carlos Martí. For the Federales de Chiriquí of Panama, right-hander Harold Arauz, who defeated the Cuban Leñadores de Las Tunas in the final of the 2019 Caribbean Classic, walked up to the mound.
As for the Agricultores (1-6), a victory would have at least moved them out of last place, while the Federales (3-4) still sought to maximize their chances of qualifying for the semifinals. Therefore, 3 hours and 18 minutes later, Cuba's debacle in Gran Caracas was already over: the Federales of Chiriquí won 10-4 at Rinconada Stadium, making this Cuba's sixth consecutive defeat in the 65th Baseball Caribbean Series.
In contrast to the 2019 final match between the Toros de Herrera and the Lenadores de Las Tunas, which ended 3-1, the pitching duel between Martínez and Arauz quickly became disproportionate. A five-run rally in the third inning helped Panama beat Leandro Martínez. An inning later, they added two more runs against the Agricultores' most vulnerable relievers. In spite of the fact that Cuba was 1-0 ahead in the opening inning, thanks to a triple by Yuniesky Larduet and a sacrifice fly by Raico Santos, they did not come back until the end of the seventh inning, when they scored three runs to close the gap 7-4. The Cuban team, however, was clearly deflated.
In the event of routine ground balls, the hitters' effort running from home to first base became less intense. Even Cuban outfielders and infielders were not giving their maximum effort by the end of the second inning, when Panama settled on the scoreboard with five decisive runs.
Arauz once again condemned the Cuban team, as he had done four years ago in a duel against right-handed Freddy Asiel Álvarez. During six innings, the 27-year-old right-hander needed 64 pitches, which indicates he threw less than 11 pitches per inning at an efficient pace. He had five consecutive zeros in his last two starts of his career against Cuba, allowing only two runs -for a 1.64 ERA-, both earned, with four strikeouts and just three walks.
In the end, Cuba's predictable trends during the tournament remained the same:
-With the exception of the right-handed César García, the starters failed to complete even a third of the game.
-In his last three games, Guillermo Avilés was 12-0 and continued the trend for hitters used in the third spot of the lineup.
-The defense allowed runners to reach additional bases as usual. In addition, there was a high hit margin on ground balls, and, most concerning of all, seven stolen bases were allowed by catcher Yosvany Alarcón and the pitchers on duty. It's unbelievable, but true! SEVEN:
-Stolen bases: Santos 3 (3, 3rd base of Martínez/Yos. Alarcón, 2nd base of Martínez/Yos. Alarcón, 3rd base of Civil/Viñales); Orozco (1, 2nd base of Civil/Vinales); Valdez 2 (4, 2nd base of Civil/Viñales, 2nd base of Martínez/Yos. Alarcón); Wielansky (2, 2nd base of Castillo/Yos. Alarcón).
-The most consistent hitters were once again Yordanis Alarcón and Yuniesky Larduet. Their final offensive lines in Gran Caracas are as follows:
Yuniesky Larduet: .393/.414/.464/.878
Yordanis Alarcón: .407/.429/.407/.836
Both players led the team with 11 hits, but is there a common thread in their offensive slash lines? Yes, their slugging percentage is a bit low in comparison to their batting average and on-base percentage. Another interesting detail reveals the Cuban lineup's ineffectiveness at getting on base: Yordanis, who increased his production when he was removed from the third spot of the lineup, scored one run and drove in five. What about Larduet? Two RBIs and five runs scored.
Against Panama, with the exception of left-handed pitcher Angel Sánchez, who pitched three innings with five strikeouts and allowed no runs, Agricultores' pitching allowed 11 walks and averaged 21 pitches per inning. Additionally, the Federales de Chiriquí had 15 hits, including four doubles, and 24 of their 40 at-bats were in scoring position.*
*In spite of this, the 16 runners left on base indicate that the score could have been even higher after having put 28 men on base with 15 hits (15), 11 walks (11) and three dead balls (3) against Cuban pitching.
The Agricultores closed the gap to 7-4 in the seventh inning, but the Federales de Chiriquí rallied to claim the victory with a decisive three-run attack in the top of the ninth inning. It was then that the Agricultores' debacle ended.
Panamá 10, Cuba 4/Final: A review
Panamá (3-4): 10-15-0 (R-H-E)
2B: Santos (2, Santana); Bishop (1, Santana); Wielansky (3, An. Sánchez); Santamaria (1, Castillo)
RBI: Santos 3 (4), Orozco 2 (3), Bishop (1), Herrera (2), Deluca (1), Santamaria 2 (3)
RBI 2 outs: Bishop
Team RISP: 7-24 (Santos 1-1, Orozco 1-3, Bishop 1-4, Herrera 1-3, Deluca 1-4, Barria 0-3, Valdéz 0-1, Wielansky 0-1, Santamaría 2-4)
Team LOB: 16
-RUNNING THE BASES-
SB: Santos 3 (3, 3rd base of Martínez/Yos. Alarcón, 2nd base of Martínez/Yos. Alarcón, 3rd base of Civil/Viñales); Orozco (1, 2nd base of Civil/Vinales); Valdez 2 (4, 2nd base of Civil/Viñales, 2nd base of Martínez/Yos. Alarcón); Wielansky (2, 2nd base of Castillo/Yos. Alarcón).
DP: 1 (Barria-Wielansky-Deluca)
Cuba (3-2): 4-10-0 (R-H-E)
3B: Larduet (1, Arauz)
RBI: Larduet (2), Yor. Alarcón (5), Santos 2 (2)
RBI 2 outs: Larduet, Santos
Team RISP: 3-8 (Avilés 0-2, Larduet 1-1, Yor. Alarcón 1-1, De La Cruz 0-1, Al. Sánchez 0-1, Santos 1-2)
Team LOB: 5
DP: 1 (Yor. Alarcón-Benítez-Viñales)
Assistances: Santos (Santamaría a Home)
Performance of pitchers:
-Leandro Martínez (P, 0-1): 2.1 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 4 BB, 1 K
-Carlos Santana: 0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 0 K
-Yunier Castillo: 1 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 0 K
-Alexander Valiente: 0.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 1 K
-Ángel Sánchez: 3.1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 5 K
-Alberto Pablo Civil: 1 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 2 K
-Yoel Mogena: 0.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K
HBP: Santos (by Mogena); Barria (by Valiente)
Strikes/Batters facing on the first pitch: Martínez 8/14; Civil 4/7; Castillo 3/6; Mogena 1/3; An. Sánchez 11/15; Santana 2/3; Valiente 1/5
Strikes called-Strikes fanned-Foul balls-Strikes in play: Martínez-10-0-2-8; Civil-6-4-5-4; Castillo-3-0-1-5; Mogena-2-0-4-2; An. Sanchez-14-7-5-7; Santana-2-1-0-3; Valiente-2-2-2-1
Ground balls and fly balls: Martínez 1-4; Civil 0-1; Castillo 1-2; Mogena 2-0; An. Sánchez 3-2