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Rays Winter Leagues Recap: Henry Rodriguez Drives in 5…in Loss

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There have been 7,430 five-RBI games since 1914 in Major League Baseball according to the Baseball-Reference Play Index. Teams with a player recording 5 RBIs have won just over 90% of those games. However, for Henry Rodriguez and the Leones del Caracas, they had the bad luck to be part of the other 10% as Rodriguez’s heroics went for naught.

Dominican Winter League: Aguilas Cibaenas 3, Tigres del Licey 1

Manny Ramirez had a nice game for the Aguilas, going 2 for 3 with a double, a walk, and a run scored. He now has his line up to .283/.394/.475 in 142 plate appearances, showing that at least in some setting, he can still play. Derek Dietrich did not have the same luck in this game, going 0 for 3 with a sac fly.

Appearing in the game for Licey, meanwhile, was Jesus Colome. We have spoken quite a bit about Alex Colome, but his uncle, who is about to turn 37, is still pitching as well. The elder Colome retired the only batter he faced on a groundout in this game. Jesus Colome could never solve his control issues, but he did manage two strong relief seasons for the Devil Rays in 2001 to 2004 and another solid one for the Washington Nationals in 2007.

Toros del Este 7, Leones del Escogido 3

Allan Dykstra, who is set to spend his first season in the Tampa Bay Rays system in 2015, had a nice game for Este, going 1 for 3 with a walk and an RBI. Dykstra has put up interesting numbers for the Toros, managing a .267/.421/.333 line with as many walks (8) as hits. He isn’t striking out very much either (10 times), but the Rays would love to see him hitting for more power.

The Leones’ Freddy Guzman is apparently beginning to remember that he can’t hit as he went 0 for 4 in this game to leave him at 2 for his last 20. Maybe that isn’t enough of a sample size for him to be demoted to pinch-runner again, but his days as a leadoff hitter may be numbered. Mayo Acosta also appeared in this game for Este, going 0 for 3 with a walk.

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Mexican Pacific League: Tomateros de Culiacán 8, Venados de Mazatlán 0

Ali Solis is another player with an identity crisis, although his is in the opposite direction. Solis has just a .531 OPS in Winter Ball after managing just a .514 OPS for the Durham Bulls, but he went 3 for 4 with a homer on Saturday and 2 for 4 with a run scored in this game. He also threw out the only runner trying to steal against him. Good luck to Solis as he attempts to prove that he is not truly as bad as he has been over the past year.

Russell Branyan also got into this one for Culiacán, going 1 for 2 with a double, a walk, and a run scored. Branyan was a Devil Ray in 2006 before they traded him in August for two players who would wind up being effective relievers for other teams: Evan Meek and Dale Thayer. Branyan hasn’t played in the big leagues since 2011, but he did appear at the Cleveland Indians’ Triple-A affiliate in 2014 and played very well. He is about to turn 39, which makes his bid to return to the big leagues an uphill battle, but crazier things have happened.

The red-hot Olmo Rosario did cool down in this game for the Venados, going 0 for 3 with a walk.

Venezuelan Winter League: Tiburones de la Guaira 12, Leones del Caracas 10 (14 innings)

Just looking at the score, this is how you lose when one your players drives in 5 runs. That doesn’t take away from how incredible Henry Rodriguez was, though. With the Leones down 10-7 in the bottom of the ninth, Rodriguez drilled a game-tying three-run home run that sent this game into extra innings. When it was all said and done, Rodriguez went 3 for 7 with that homer and 5 RBI, pulling off the feat out of the leadoff spot. Under 4% of the 5-RBI games in big league history have come from leadoff hitters.

However, other than Alex Cabrera (who went 0 for 3 with a walk) every Rays-related player has looked very good. For Caracas, Daniel Mayora went 3 for 6 with a walk and a run scored, giving him a ludicrous .441/.525/.676 line in his last 10 games. Bobby Abreu also went 2 for 6 with 2 walks and a run scored. On the Tiburones side, meanwhile, Cesar Suarez went 3 for 4 with 2 doubles and 2 runs scored, giving him five straight multi-hit games and a line his last 10 games that actually beats Mayora’s: .444/.462/.778.

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