Last night saw the second extra-inning game of this year’s Caribbean World Series and the first to end on a home run. Neftali Soto launched out out of the lot in the last of the 14th to give Puerto Rico a 2-1 win over the Dominican Republic. Earlier, following a rain delay Venezuela had defeated the surprisingly hapless and winless Cuban team 3-1. Since Castro took over it had never been wise to bet against Cuba, but this year it just hasn’t happened for the 0-3 Blind Tigers (the name of the Cuban team.) So they won’t have a hand in this weekend’s semifinals unless they beat the Dominican Republic tonight.
In game 1, Venezuela put up a run in the second and two more in the third. That was all they would need, as Cuba put up a lone run in the 7th.
Game 2 was also a low-scoring affair. Soto, who won the game with his home run had also trippled to tie it in the last of the 9th. Jimmy Paredes had homered for the only run the Dominicans would get. They are also 0-3, as are the Cuban entry. In the afternoon game Puerto Rico faces Mexico in a battle for position, while the Cuba game against the Dominican Republic at 7 is a battle for series survival.
Our first birthday today is one of the more maligned members of last year’s Mets’ beleaguered bull pen. Eric O’Flaherty is 31 today. After lefty Jerry Blevins broke his arm early on, the Mets were in dire need of a lefty relief pitcher. Many were called, but by World Series time none had been chosen and starter Jonathan Niese had to pitch out of the pen. The last lefty the Mets tried, in late August and September was O’Flaherty. He has a 22-11 career record and an ERA under 3.5. He’s been in the game 10 years, starting in 2006 with the Mariners. They drafted him out of nearby Walla Walla High School in 2003. He’s also pitched for the Braves, Oakland and the Mets. If you go by the records he hasn’t been the same since his Tommy John surgery in 2013. He’s on the open market now.
Roberto Alomar is 48. He was an All-Star a dozen times, was part of two World Series winners in 1992 and 1993, and has been in the Hall of Fame since 2011. He’s best known with the Blue Jays and the Orioles, though the Orioles never made the World Series in his time.
Hall of Famer Hank Aaron is 82 today. Before Barry Bonds, the undisputed home run king was Aaron, of Mobile, Alabama. He hit the bulk of his 756 home runs with the Braves-both Milwaukee and Atlanta. Unlike Bonds, and the man whose record Aaron broke (who has a birthday anniversary tomorrow,) Aaron was and remains a quiet man. There has never been drama with Aaron-except for the pitchers who had to deal with his batting prowess on a regular basis.0