Venezuela relies on its strong pitching to remain undefeated

After a day off yesterday of sightseeing what Miami offers, Tiburones de la Guaira was ready to come to Loan Depot Park and continue their quest for the Caribbean Series championship that has eluded Venezuela since 2009 and a title that Tiburones has never won. «It has been a trying few days,» said Ozzie Guillen, Jr, Tiburones de la Guaira General Manager. Part of the reason is why La Guaira’s starter today against Curacao, Luis Martinez, could not pitch on the opener on Thursday against Mexico. The reason why Martinez was unavailable to pitch on Thursday is because he was not here. He was in the Dominican Republic waiting for someone from the league to retrieve his passport from the airplane and bring it to him so that he could enter the United States from the Dominican Republic. Despite Guillen Jr’s best efforts (by his admission, he ran after the plane), the aircraft left for Venezuela carrying Martinez’s passport, and he had to remain.

                Despite all those headaches, Martinez’s issues were solved, and he was ready to go for his team on Saturday morning to a crowd of over 11,000 that showed up in Miami to support them. «Our team’s greatest strength is the bullpen. We have built it that way. We have three or four high-leverage guys that our manager will be using at the end of games», shared Guillen Jr. It was precisely this well-built bullpen that gave Venezuela their second win.            

                A combined effort between Martinez, who went five innings allowing only two runs, and the bullpen work of Padron, Cavaneiro, Vizcaya, and Hernandez was enough to make the 4-2 Venezuela lead stand. Venezuela’s offense was relentless against Curacao’s starter, Scott Prins, and scored four runs in the first 2.1 innings. Curacao’s bullpen also did a fine job keeping their team in the game after their starter exited.

                After the game, Venezuela manager Ozzie Guillen praised his team’s effort and positively commented about Miami and the grand Caribbean Series celebration. «Miami is the largest neighborhood of Venezuela, and the support we have received here is unparalleled,» Guillen Sr said jovially. Among those casually congratulating Guillen Sr on his win was his former pitcher with the White Sox, former NY Yankees MLB All-Star, and World Series Champion Jeff Nelson, who was kind enough to give us his impressions of the Series. «I played in Puerto Rico and Venezuela in 1991 and 1993, and it is great seeing the support the Winter Leagues and Caribbean Series are receiving in Miami,» said Nelson, who now works as a broadcaster for Bally Sports, joyfully. When asked what role-playing Winter baseball in the Caribbean played in his career, Nelson affirmed, «I spent very little time in the minors because of playing Winter Ball.» Nelson concluded his comments with an appeal to young players who need work in their development to give playing in the Winter Leagues a chance.

                Venezuela now moves on to play their third game against Puerto Rico, who will be playing an awaited game against the Dominican Republic on Saturday night’s prime time game. Conversely, Curacao will play  Nicaragua on Monday after a Sunday of rest.

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