Rays Winter Ball Recap: Carlos Martinez, Valdez Duel in Escogido

By Robbie Knopf

On any given night in baseball, anything can happen. The last-place team can beat the first-place team and the inconsistent fifth starter can figure it out for one game to beat the other team’s ace. The best, however, may be when two pitchers are so dominant that they change the entire game and make it impossible to tell which team is about to play for the championship. The Leones del Escogido are in first place in the Dominican Winter League playoffs while the Aguilas Cibaenas are in last place. Carlos Martinez is a talented prospect with a big career ahead of him while Edward Valdez is a 33 year old veteran who couldn’t even make it to the major leagues. But for one game, they were on the same level and the result was a classic.

Dominican Winter League Postseason: Leones del Escogido 2, Aguilas Cibaenas 0

Good luck finding two pitchers more dominant than Carlos Martinez and Edward Valdez were in this game. Martinez started for Escogido and went 7 shutout innings allowing just 4 hits, striking out 5 while walking 1. His groundout to flyout ratio was a strong 8-3. Martinez entered the game with a 6.97 ERA in his three previous postseason starts, but in this game, he looked like everything the St. Louis Cardinals dream he will become. Valdez, meanwhile, went 6 innings allowing no runs on 2 hits, striking out 8 while walking none. HIs groundout to flyout ratio was a ridiculous 10-0. Valdez is pitching the best baseball of his career right now, managing a 1.64 ERA and a 21-4 strikeout to walk ratio in 22 innings pitched. Of course, this game came down to the bullpen, and that is where the first-place Leones finally came alive. The three ex-Rays in the game–Joey Terdoslavich, Hector Luna, and Julio Lugo–went a combined 0 for 10. Can’t call that a surprise considering Cibaenas was 3-hit in this game and Escogido managed just 6 hits.