Winter League Highlights: Valbuena’s bomb boosts Lara
(Photo by Stephen Green)
With each of the Caribbean leagues playing its championship series and a trip to the Caribbean Series on the line, scoring runs is as important as ever for the remaining teams. Cubs infielder Luis Valbuena, who has been key in the Cardenales de Lara’s run to the Venezuelan championship, was again at the center of his squad’s 3-0, Game 2 victory Thursday night over the Magalleanes.
Though he only had one hit in the game, he kicked off the scoring in the top of the fifth with a solo shot to right to give Lara a lead they would not relinquish. The Cardenales scored two more runs that inning to seal up the win.
Valbuena’s .333/.400/.551 (AVG/OBP/SLG) postseason numbers are each in the top 10 in Venezuela, and his .951 on-base percentage ranks fourth. His 18 RBI are tied for tops in the league.
The winner of the seven-game series will be awarded a place in the Caribbean Series, a de facto tournament of champions between Venezuela, the Dominican Republic, Mexico and Puerto Rico. The Caribbean Series starts Feb. 1 and runs through Feb. 7.