LIDOM: Cuban WBC Starter Elias Dominant; Aguilas Top Licey

By Matthew Tallarini
World Baseball Network
Jan. 3, 2023

Aguilas de Cibaenas starter Roenis Elias, a likely starter for Cuba in the upcoming World Baseball Classic, had a dominant outing in the LIDOM round robin Monday evening.

Elias, who recently signed a minor league contract with the Chicago Cubs, scattered five hits over 5.2 innings of work, striking out nine and walking one, while only allowing a single run as Aguilas topped Tigres del Licey 6-2 at Estadio Quisequaya. The only blemish came from a solo home run by Licey’s Mel Rojas Jr. during the bottom of the fourth.  

Aguilas struck first when Zolio Almonte hit a two-run double to right field, scoring Geraldo Perdomo and Yairo Munoz for a 2-0 lead. A few batters later, Juan Lagares drove a double to center field, scoring Almonte and extending the lead to 3-0.  

Valdes settled down after the first inning as he pitched six innings allowing five hits on three earned runs, walking four, and striking out four during his start.  However, Elias would be in control the rest of the way as he went 5 1/3 innings, striking out nine batters, with one walk, and one earned run being the solo home run from Mel Rojas Jr. during the bottom of the fourth inning.  

Tigres starter Raul Valdez, who went 2-4 in the LIDOM regular season with Toros del Este, settled down after the first, throwing six innings and allowing five hits and three earned runs, walking four, and striking out four.

In the regular season, Elias went 4-0 with a 0.92 earned run average, striking out 38 batters, and only walking 10 batters in seven starts. 

Elias split 2022 between Triple-A Tacoma and the Mariners, and made seven appearances and recorded a 3.52 earned run average in 7.2 innings of work in Seattle before heading back to Tacoma. Elias was signed by the Seattle Mariners on May of 2011, a year after leaving Cuba. He made his Major League debut in 2014, shortly after he made Seattle’s opening day roster out of spring training. Over seven season, Elias has appeared in 133 games with Seattle, Boston, and Washington, posting an ERA of 3.96 over 395.2 innings of work with a WHIP of 1.319.

In addition to Elias, Cuba manager Armando Johnson will also have Elian Levya, a Liga ARCO de Mexicana del Pacifico star with Naranjeros de Hermosillo, as a possible number two starter, and Yoennis Yera, who has pitched with Charros De Jalisco to mix into the rotation for the World Baseball Classic when play in Pool A begins in Taiwan March 8.

Aguilas held on to win the game 6-2, extended their record to 5-4 during the round robin. They’ll travel to Santiago to face off against Gigantes de Cibao at 6:30 p.m. EST on Tuesday. Licey fell to 4-5 in the round robin and will look to bounce back at home against Estrellas Orientales at 6:15 p.m. EST.

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