By Matthew Tallarini
World Baseball Network
Game one of the Liga Venezolana de Beisbol Profesional best-of-seven Championship Final Starts today with Leones de Caracas taking on Tiburones de La Guaira today at 6 p.m. EST at Estadio Universitario in Caracas.
Leones de Caracas manager Jose Bailiff and Tiburones manager Henry Blanco will both have their work cut out for them during the championship series, looking to be the first teams to clinch their league final and host the Caribbean Series in the same year since Cangerjeros de Santurce made it during the 2020 Caribbean Series at Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Two stadiums will hold the Caribbean Series this year: in Caracas, the newly-built Estadio de La Rinconada, and in La Guaira, Estadio La Guaira.
Venezuela’s first game of the Caribbean Series will be on February, 2 at 8:30 p.m. against Federales de Chiriqui of Panama’s Probeis League.
Game one starting pitchers are Leones’ Jhoulys Chacin and Tiburones’ Ramon Garcia Jr. Chacin recorded a 4.50 average in all four starts this year during the league’s round robin, pitching 22 innings and allowing 25 hits, three walks, three home runs and striking out 15 batters. Garcia started in four games for Tiburones during the round robin, posting an 0.75 ERA with a 3-0 record through 24 innings pitched, allowing 18 hits, walking six, and striking out six.
Tiburones’ Maikel Garcia has had an extreme bounce upwards during winter ball. Garcia was the LVBP batting champion with a .385 average in the regular season. Danry Vasquez will have a big role for Tiburones in the championship series, as he was second in batting average during the regular season at .327 hitting 3 home runs, with 56 hits and 32 RBI. Ronald Acuna Jr. will join Tiburones for the championship series and possibly could play into the Caribbean Series if he gets permission from the Atlanta Braves organization. Acuna played in 10 games in the regular season for Tiburones with 39 plate appearances and had 15 hits, two home runs, and six RBI with an outstanding .441 batting average.
Leones starting catcher Freddy Fermin has had an amazing season, playing in 45 games and winning the Los Grandes de la LVBP and Ganador Novato del Ano awards. Fermin batted .404 with four home runs, 28 RBI, 67 hits, and drew 25 walks. Oswaldo Arcia will need to have solid at bats for Leones during the championship series. During the regular season, Arcia batted .323 in 42 games with 11 home runs, 40 hits, and drew 34 walks in 124 at-bats. Jose Rondon was solid for Leones in 54 games, batting .330 and connecting for 66 hits, clubbing 11 home runs with 43 RBI in 200 at-bats.
Both teams will be battling for bragging rights in this year’s final, with home field advantage in the 2023 Caribbean Series with being the league’s club host nation. Game 1 tonight can be viewed on BeisbolPlay.com with a subscription or BeisbolPlay YouTube page through Audio. To be determined with BeisbolPlay YouTube page through Live Stream.