Rays Winter Ball Recap: Mario Lisson’s 2 HRs Drive Magallanes
In the MLB Postseason, there is always one or two players each season that go on a tear and hit home run after home run. In the playoffs of the Dominican, Puerto Rican, and Venezuelan Winter League, however, things get more interesting because the playoff formats dictate that one tear doesn’t make all the difference. In the Roberto Clemente Professional Baseball League, each team plays 12 games, in the Venezuelan Winter League, each team plays 16, and in the Dominican Winter League, they play as many as 18, meaning that sustained success and not a few games of glory is the key to success. So don’t say that Mario Lisson carried the Navegantes del Magallanes to the Venezuelan League finals, just that he was a part of the process.
Venezuelan Winter League Postseason: Navegantes del Magallanes 6, Caribes de Anzoátegui 2
The Caribes went ahead 1-0 in the second inning on an RBI double by Jose Gil off of Magallanes starter Mitch Lively, but everything changed in the latter portion of the game. Mario Lisson’s homer to lead off the fifth tied the game at 1 before Ramon Hernandez put the Navegantes ahead with a double. Juan Rivera‘s 3-run blast in the 6th then made it 5-1. Anzoátegui did get a run back on a Gorkys Hernandez RBI single, but Lisson’s second homer of the contest put the game out of reach again. Jean Machi finished the game with a perfect 9th as Magallanes won 6-2. Lively, a San Francisco Giants prospect, had a strong start to help lead the way for the Navegantes, allowing just 1 run on 5 hits in 6 innings, striking out 4 while walking 2. Former Los Angeles Angels prospect Amalio Diaz also had a nice game, tossing 1.1 shutout innings of relief. The pitching was nice, but we have to get back to Lisson, who now has a .317/.391/.805 line with 6 homers and 10 RBI in 10 games. The 6 homers come after he slammed 16 during the regular season and lead all players in the Venezuelan Winter League. It isn’t just Lisson, though, that has the Navegantes running away with first place in the Venezuelan Winter League postseason round-robin. Just one of Magallanes’ starters in this game is hitting below .270 in the postseason, and is that type of consistency that has gotten them this far.
Aguilas del Zulia 3, Tiburones de La Guaira 1
One issue with a playoff round-robin this long is that teams that struggle and get effectively eliminated early on just have to tough it out the rest of the way no matter how bad things are going. The Aguilas were at least able to restore some of their pride in this one with their second win of the postseason. Former New York Mets prospect Roy Merritt gave them a great start, going 5.1 innings allowing no runs on 2 hits, striking out 3 while walking 2. His groundout to flyout ratio was an incredible 10-0. Tyson Brummett, a former big leaguer for the Philadelphia Phillies, was right behind him on the other other side, allowing just an unearned run in his 5.1 innings of work, but the difference in the game was a 2-run double by Oswaldo Arcia off Rays prospect Bruedlin Suero in the 8th to give the Aguilas the 3-1 lead that proved to be the final. Recapping the ex-Rays, Cesar Suarez went 1 for 3 with a walk and the only run scored for La Guaira while Alex Cabrera went 0 for 2 with 2 walks, but Merritt and the Zulia bullpen was able to hold the Tiburones to just 5 hits as they found their way to a much-needed victory. And while Zulia is 3 games back of the Leones del Caracas (who were off on Monday night) for second place in the postseason round-robin, the other aspect of them not being eliminated is that if they could get on a run in their last 6 games, they could at least have a chance.