It’s been a long season for the Santurce Crabbers but say what you will about them, they refuse to give up and were able to fend off a limit minute surge by the Caguas Criollos to punch the last playoff ticket left for the Liga de Béisbol Professional Roberto Clemente.
The Crabbers were also able to keep the Carolina Giants from ruining their playoffs hopes by locking in the final and must needed win against the Giants on the last day of the regular season.
Now that they seem to have the Caguas Criollos off their backs, Santurce is looking forward for a reset of things come into the postseason.
While the production for this team has remained somewhat lackluster for most of the season, we saw a bit of a change in the last week of the regular season.
The Crabbers are hoping to bring this moment with them into the postseason. It is this momentum that helped balance their win/loss records a bit against the Carolina Giants and the Mayagüez Indians; the other two teams who will be vying for the championship title.
Santurce ended the regular season with a 5-7 record against the Giants (last 5 games they went 3-2), and against the Indians, they finished the season 7-5 where the last 3 games played were all victories for the Crabbers.
It seemed that we finally saw the potential that these team was built for in the final week of play when everything was on the line.
But nonetheless, the Crabbers are in the playoffs and refuse to be dismissed as they’ve seen the Mayagüez Indians dominate for most of the season and the Carolina Giants be the true surprise story this season.
Santurce owes much of its success to a key group of players both on the offensive and pitching ends.
For most of the season, the pitching is what carried this team but the offense was able to pull their own in the final week of regular play to support the efforts of their pitching staff and bring this team into the postseason.
On the offensive side, the core of the batting line up is composed of:
Ivan de Jesus Jr. .344/.404/.426 11 RBIs, 42 Hits, 15 Runs
A.J. Jimenez .253/.361/.455 17 RBIs, 3 HR, 25 H, 14 Runs
Jan Hernandez: .277/.359/.402 12 RBIs, 31 Hits, 16 runs
On the pitching end is where we see the strength for the Crabbers who hold several league leaders in their pitching staff.
Fernando Cabrera: his league leading 2.09 ERA makes him one of the premier pitchers in the postseason. After 43 innings of work, Cabrera has given up 14 runs, 10 walks, but strikeout 22 batters
Fernando Cruz: holds the 4th best ERA in the league. After 51.1 IP, he holds a 2.81 ERA giving up 17 runs, 10 walks, and striking out 26 batters faced.
Enrique Oquendo: has the 3rd best ERA in the league but has pitched less innings than Cruz. After 31.1 IP, Oquendo ended the regular season with a 2.30 ERA, giving up 11 runs, 18 walks and striking out 26 batters faced.
Colin McKee: the go to closer for Santurce, Mckee’s 5 saves in 10 appearances with 8.1 IP of work. McKee only gave up 4 hits, 3 runs, 7 walks, struck out 14 hitters faced and maintained his impeccable ERA at 0.00 all the way towards the end of the regular season.
Stephen Perakslis: Perakslis served mainly as a relief pitcher but was able to secure 2 saves for Santurce. After 10.0 IP in 10 appearances, he has given up 7 hits, 2 runs, 3 walks, and struck out 6 batters. He ended his regular season with a 0.90 ERA.
We will see how Santurce fairs up in the postseason against the Mayagüez and Carolina, and see if these key factors in their roster continue to anchor their success and help them reclaim the championship title for the first time since the 2015-2016 season.
Photo credit: Santurce Crabbers/Frances Lee Flores