(Coqui Baseball)— The Santurce Crabbers were out in force today during game 2 of the Serie Final of the Liga de Béisbol Profesional Roberto Clemente, capturing their second win over the Mayagüez Indians with a final score of 7-1.
While the offensive struggles for Mayagüez continued tonight, much of the focus was put on the stellar performance that starting pitcher, Fernando Cabrera, provided tonight. Not only was he stellar with his arm, but also with his glove, providing a must see play in the top of the 5th inning.
Supporting Cabrera’s efforts was his teammates who not only supported him defensively but made sure that his efforts on the mound would not be a waste. The Crabbers knocked the Mayagüez pitching (who has been pretty solid this entire regular and postseason until this point) for 15 hits and 7 runs.
Outfielder, Jan Hernández (Philadelphia Phillies prospect) had an amazing night at the plate, who went 2-4 with 3 RBI, 2 hits and even a triple. Third baseman, Alexis Pantoja (Cleveland Indians prospect), also contributed to the cause bringing in 2 RBIS. Additional contributors: Irving Falu and Ivan De Jesus, Jr.
Overall, both the Santurce pitching and offensive has been the best we’ve ever seen so far in the postseason and answering any unspoken questions or doubts about their ability to compete against the Indians who have been quite dominant throughout the last two months.
Many doubted it was going to be a hard outing for Fernando Cabrera tonight since he has basically out performed Mayagüez in all his outings in the Round Robin playoffs (all three starts were against the Indians).
Cabrera finished the playoff rounds with a 1.29 ERA vs Mayagüez in 21 innings of work. Tonight, he continued that streak going for 6 innings giving up 5 hits, 1 r (solo shot by Jesmuel Valentín in the 5th), 3 walks and ended the night with a 1.50 ERA in his first start of the championship series.
Meanwhile, Mayagüez continues to struggle to make the most of their offensive opportunities, which so far continue to remain few against Santurce. Tonight they only went 2-for-4 with RISP and leaving 8 runners on base; marginal improvement from last night’s performance at the plate.
It is truly astonishing to see this offense struggle the way they do seeing that scoring runs was not an issue for this lineup since pretty much the half of the regular season and throughout the entire Round Robin playoffs.
Tonight they faired a little bit better than last night, but still it wasn’t enough to keep Santurce from batting in run after run (they scored in 5 out of 8 innings that they went up to the plate).
However, not much was to be expected from the Mayagüez’s starter tonight. Jonathan Albaladejo had a 10.29 ERA against Santurce in the playoff rounds in just 7 innings of work. Tonight wasn’t any different. Albaladejo only went for 4 innings giving up 7 hits and 3 runs and with a 6.75 ERA.
The once stabilizing bullpen Mayagüez could count on also did not show true to form providing 4 innings of relief and surrounding 8 more hits and 4 more runs (2 off of Matt Marksberry and Jesus Balaguer each).
Box score for tonight’s game available here.
Mayagüez came in as the favorites to take it all this season due to the steady and dominating performance that have shown for the last two months. But just in the last two nights, this team is not playing as they’ve shown they could in the past.
It would be one thing that the offense couldn’t produce, but it speaks volumes that it took 13 innings for the Indians to score their first run in the finale series, while Santurce had managed to score 6 by that same time and finishing with a total of 11 runs in two games.
On the other hand, Santurce has shown dominance on the mound and at the plate, demonstrating the patience and poise that once was used to describe the Indians. Postseason baseball has a way of bringing out the best abilities in players, but also the worst anxieties and issues for them.
We’ll see what version of these teams decides to show up tomorrow night. Game 3 of the LBPRC Serie Final will continue tomorrow when Mayagüez hosts Santurce and attempt to get themselves back into this and avoid being swept by the resurgent Santurce Crabbers.