Only three Pittsburgh Pirates are still in action at this point, so this is a quick recap of the last week in winter baseball. We will have a full winter recap next weekend as the final article.
In the Dominican, Richard Rodriguez and his team won the league title and moved on to the Caribbean Series. Rodriguez started this week off by throwing a shutout inning on Tuesday, striking out the side in his team’s 5-2 win. In game seven on Wednesday, he threw two shutout innings, with one hit and three strikeouts, as his team won 11-5 to advance to the Caribbean Series. Rodriguez also pitched in game one of the Dominican series last weekend. Between all three appearances, he allowed two hits over four shutout innings, with no walks and nine strikeouts.
It will be interesting to see if Rodriguez is given a legit shot to make the big league club this year. He made his big league debut this past September with the Baltimore Orioles after putting up strong numbers in Triple-A. Since November, he has thrown shutout ball in 21 of his 23 appearances, with this last week being the most impressive due to the level of competition in the Dominican. It’s already the best winter league to begin with, but as the playoffs go along, teams are able to upgrade by drafting the best players from other teams that got eliminated. The lineup he faced on Wednesday had six players who have combined for 43 partial/full seasons in the majors, so that’s a fairly impressive winter lineup to shut down.
In Australia, two Pittsburgh Pirates were in the first round of the playoffs, which wrapped up today. Due to rain, the series between Melbourne and Canberra went from a best-of-three series to one game decides it all. Sam Street pitched on Sunday and recorded one out, while giving up one hit and one walk, allowing an inherited runner to score. Street’s team lost 9-8 on a walk-off homer in the ninth.
Robbie Glendinning and Perth played all three games in the first round of their series. Glendinning went 1-for-4 with an RBI double and a run scored in his team’s 6-3 win on Friday. His team lost game two on Saturday by a 6-3 score, as he went 2-for-4 with a single, an RBI double and a run scored. Glendinning went 0-for-4 in the finale, as his team was eliminated with a 3-1 loss. Perth struck out 40 times in the series, accounting for more than half of their 78 outs.
Those losses in Australia today left Richard Rodriguez as the last Pirate standing this winter. His team lost on Saturday to Venezuela in the Caribbean Series opener. They play Puerto Rico today, Cuba tomorrow and Mexico on Tuesday. Once Tuesday’s games are over, then the records will decide which teams play on Wednesday (one team will be eliminated), followed by the title game on Thursday. Any results from Rodriguez will be in next Sunday’s final winter recap. He didn’t pitch in last night’s game.