Cuba Plays Mexico in Caribbean Series Semifinals on Monday

Confusion caused changes in the semifinals match-ups

Vladimir Baños led Cuba to a 4-0 shutout of Mexico on Sunday in the Caribbean Series. Photo: Ricardo Lopez Hevia/granma

HAVANA TIMES – Confusion in the method to define the classification of the teams in the Caribbean Baseball Series led to changes in the semifinals rivals in the games to take place on Monday, reported dpa news.

Cuba’s 4-0 victory over Mexico on Sunday afternoon in their last preliminary round contest left a three-way tie in the records of Mexico, Venezuela and Cuba. All three finished with three victories and one defeat.

With these results, the Organizing Committee, through Twitter, first announced Monday’s semifinals as Cuba against Puerto Rico and Venezuela against Mexico.

But from then on the confusion reigned for a couple of hours in the corridors of the Tomateros Stadium, in Culiacan, where the competition takes place.

The tiebreaker system used is obtained through an operation that takes into account the runs scored, allowed runs, innings played on offense and defensive.

It turns out that the technicians of the Confederation of Caribbean Baseball, in charge of supervising the data, did not make the correct calculations. Then, two hours later, the Commissioner of the organization, Juan Puello Herrera, in an interview with ESPN, confirmed the change in the clashes for the semifinals.

With the calculations “corrected”, the first semifinal game at 1:00 p.m. is between Venezuela (3-1) and Puerto Rico (1-3). In the late afternoon at 5:00 p.m., Mexico (3-1), which finished in second place, will again cross with Cuba (3-1), which on the technicality finished third.

Through a couple of tweets, the office of the 2017 Caribbean Series offered “an apology on behalf of the Organizing Committee due to the confusion of the semi-final encounters.”

Cuba Shuts Out Mexico on Gem from Vladimir Baños

Cuba finished its participation in the qualifying round of the 2017  Caribbean Series tied with Venezuela and Mexico with a record of 3-1. The Cubans, represented by the Alazanes de Granma, lost their unbeaten record against Venezuela’s Zulia by a score of 8-3 on Saturday. However they rebounded to defeat the previously undefeated team from Mexicali, Mexico on Sunday night with a score of 4-0.

Right-handed pitcher Vladimir Baños, 33, pitched 8.2 excellent innings in one of the best games of his career. He allowed only six hits and struck out five.

“I felt great, everything went well and I could do my job,” said the pitcher from Pinar del Río after the game, reported

The final preliminary round game began with a scoreless pitching duel between Baños and right-hander Javier Solano, for the first four innings.

In the bottom of the fifth, the Cuban team let go with the long ball scoring the game’s only four runs with a three run homer from Alfredo Despaigne and a solo shot from William Saavedra.

Solano got the hook and Cuba began to think big, but the Mexican bullpen did an excellent job of holding the Cubans back through the rest of the game at the new Tomateros Stadium in Culiacan, packed with more than 20 thousand fans.

Mexicali tried to stir up some trouble in the bottom of the ninth, but reliever Jose Angel Garcia dominated the Cuban Yordanis Linares (playing for Mexico), in a foul to third base, to end the game.

Since returning to the Caribbean Series in 2014, Cuban clubs had never won more than one game in the preliminary round and failed to defeat the Mexican teams in those qualifying matches.

“Undoubtedly, this represents the best performance of Cuba in the qualifying round since 2014,” noted Beisbolcubano.

Represented by the Vegueros of Pinar del Rio, Cuba managed to win the 2015 Caribbean Series  in San Juan, Puerto Rico after finishing with a 1-3 record in the preliminary round.