By Leif Skodnick
World Baseball Network
Three teams are alive on the final day of the LIDOM’s 18-game round robin playoff stage, with both berths in the championship series to be decided with the results of Thursday evening’s games.
The Estrellas Orientales lead the round robin with a 10-7 record. After getting off to an 8-1 start, they’ve won just twice in their last eight games. Despite the skid, the Estrellas will limp into the championship series with either a win Thursday night against the Leones del Escogido or a Tigres del Licey loss.
At 8-9 and facing the Estrellas Thursday night, the Leones del Escogido need to beat the Estrellas Orientales and hope that the Gigantes del Cibao, who were eliminated Wednesday night despite beating the Leones 4-3, defeat the Tigres del Licey.
The Tigres del Licey can clinch a berth in the LIDOM championship series with a win Thursday night.
The Gigantes del Cibao face the Tigres del Licey and the Leones del Escogido face the Estrellas Orientales in the final games of the round robin on Thursday night. Both games start at 6:30 p.m. and can be streamed on MLB.tv with a paid subscription.
Several Scenarios Remain For LVBP Championship Series – While the Tiburones de La Guaira have captured a berth in Venezuela’s LVBP championship series, three teams are still alive with eight total games remaining in the round robin.
Thursday night’s game between the Tiburones de La Guaira and the Tigres de Aragua has no impact on the championship series, as the Tiburones are in and the Tigres, at 4-9, are eliminated.
A win Thursday by the Cardenales de Lara over the Bravos de Margarita would push the Bravos to the brink of elimination. Margarita would be 5-8 through 13 games with the loss, while the Cardenales would be 8-6, two games ahead of the second-place Leones del Caracas, who are 5-7 and idle on Thursday.
A Margarita win would tie them with Caracas one game behind Lara, and both the Bravos and Leones would be a half-game behind the Cardenales. Despite being two games under .500 in the round robin, Margarita has three games remaining against Lara and one against Caracas, and clinches a spot in the final if they can win their last four games. They’d also likely capture a spot in the championship series by winning three of their remaining four games, giving them an 8-8 record.
Similarly, Lara clinches a berth in the championship series by winning their three remaining games, all of which are against Margarita, which would give them a 10-6 record for the round robin.
The Leones del Caracas have the most difficult road to the championship series, needing to win at least two of the games they have remaining and hope that the Cardenales lose at least two of their remaining three. The Cardenales would then finish 8-8, while the Bravos would be 7-8, tied with the Leones with one game to play.
If that scenario came to pass, that one remaining game, Sunday’s contest between the Leones and the Bravos at Margarita at 3 p.m. EST, would be for a trip to the finals.
On Thursday night, Lara faces Margarita and La Guaira faces Aragua. Both games are at 6 p.m. and can be streamed via Beisbolplay.com with a paid subscription.
Late Homers Gives Caguas Series Lead – Dwight Smith Jr.’s pinch-hit two-run homer in the ninth gave the Criollos de Caguas a 2-1 lead over the Gigantes de Carolina, and the next batter, Jonathan Morales, launched a solo shot to left that stood as the winning run, giving the Criollos a 3-2 win in game five of the series and a 3-2 series lead.
The series continues with game six on Saturday at 6:15 p.m. EST. All LBPRC games are streamed live via the league’s facebook page.