Friday, November 10, 2023

Titanes Del Caribe Commences At Citi Field


Photos by Jason Schott.

The blue of Licey and black and yellow of Aguiles on the boards at Citi Field.

The "Series De Titanes Del Caribe" began at Citi Field on Friday night with Aguiles Cibaenas shutting out Tigres Del Licey, 3-0.

The series between the two most successful teams in the Dominican Winter League continues on Saturday and Sunday afternoons, with the first pitch each day at 1:00 p.m.

Ronnie Williams got the start for Aguiles, and he threw six innings, in which he allowed no runs and just one hit.

Ronnie Williams striking out Yunior Severino in the fifth inning on Friday night. Photo by Jason Schott.

Aguiles got the early lead in the second inning against Tigres starter Logan Allen, most known for his time with the Cleveland Indians. Cesar Prieto got an RBI single to bring home Christopher Morel, the Chicago Cubs outfielder, who reached on an error by Tigres first baseman Tristin English to open the frame. Francisco Pena got a sacrifice fly later in the frame to make it 2-0.

The night began with the American and Dominican National Anthems sung, which wowed the raucous crowd. Boston Red Sox legend and Hall of Famer David Ortiz, Big Papi, was on hand and he caught ceremonial first pitches from the Dominican Republic Vice President and First Lady.

One thrill for fans was getting to see players who have starred in the Major Leagues, specifically New York.

Juan Lagares, who was a Mets center fielder from 2013-2020, was in that spot for Aguilas, until he got pulled for a pinch runner in the third inning after he got a single. Early in his career, Lagares was one of the best center fielders in baseball, as he won the National League Gold Glove in 2014 and was a member of their N.L. championship team the following season.

Another member of the 2015 Mets, Hansel Robles, came in to pitch an inning in relief for Tigres. Robles pitched for the Mets from 2015-18 before he was traded to the Angels. He then joined the Minnesota Twins in 2020, and was then traded to the Boston Red Sox the following season. He made 26 appearances for Boston in 2022, and did not appear in the Majors this past season.

A familiar face for fans of the team across town, the New York Yankees, can see Starlin Castro on Aguilas. Though he was the designated hitter on Friday night, Castro was a second baseman for the Yankees in 2016 and 2017 after he began his career with the Chicago Cubs, where he received a lot of attention, from when he came up as a 20-year-old in 2010 until 2015.

The managers of each teams are familiar faces, as Tony Pena, who used to be a Yankees bench coach under Joe Torre, leads Aguiles, while Jose Offerman, a former second baseman for the Kansas City Royals and Boston Red Sox, leads Tigres.

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