Originally written on Pirates Prospects  |  Last updated 1/22/13
In playoff action out of the Dominican from last night, Starling Marte helped his team get within one game of winning the league title. He contributed two hits, a walk, a stolen base and an RBI in Escogido’s 3-2 victory in 11 innings. The win moves their record to 4-0 in the best-of-nine tournament, with the possible last game taking place tonight. Starling Marte has nine hits in his last four games. During the off-season, a big question has been about the quality of pitching that these batters face, and vice-versa with any Pirates pitchers. Marte has now gone 9-for-17 in the first four games of the playoffs. While I have mentioned that during the regular season, the quality of play in the DWL is approximately that of a AAA game. In the playoffs, the teams pick up reinforcements, either from other teams that didn’t make the playoffs, or just major league players coming down to start getting ready for the season. For example, from yesterday’s starting lineup, every player on Marte’s team has major league experience, most are current major leaguers. These playoff games are high energy games, loud crowds and players trying to win a league title for their city. So in the playoffs, you will see a better overall quality of play than during the regular season. In the comments section from yesterday’s Winter League Recap, I broke down the pitchers that Marte faced in the first three games. It was filled with former major league players and All-Star pitchers from the Mexican League, which is considered AAA equivalent. Adding on to that, here are the pitchers he faced in last night’s game: 1st AB: Ground out to shortstop off Dustin Richardson. Played this last season in Independent Ball after failing a minor league drug test in January. He has pitched two years in majors with Red Sox. Richardson had a 2.57 ERA in 21 innings during the DWL regular season and a 1.07 playoff ERA. 2nd AB: Another ground out to shortstop off Richardson. 3rd AB: RBI single up the middle off Richardson. 4th AB: Strikeout against Angel Castro, a pitcher that topped out at AA for two seasons, before moving on the the Mexican League for two years, then Japan this past season. He had a 2.90 ERA in 40.1 innings during the DWL regular season. 5th AB: Infield single off Johan Yan, a 24-year-old AAA pitcher from the Rangers. Yan had a 1.53 ERA in 21 relief appearances during the DWL season, picking up 24 K’s in 17.2 innings. Extreme groundball pitcher. 6th AB: Intentional walk from Juan Sandoval. Third time he faced Marte in this series. Sandoval is a ten-year minor league vet, with two stints in AAA and two years in the Mexican League. News From Around the World In other news from Winter ball from last night down in Venezuela, Darren Ford got the start and went 0-for-4, with three strikeouts. He is now 0-for-18 in the playoffs. The Adelaide Bite play their final series of the season this Thursday through Sunday and they need a miracle to make the playoffs. The league has three teams make the playoffs, with the second and third place teams squaring off in the first round to try to advance to the finals. Adelaide is in fifth place, two games out of third place and one game behind fourth place. They need to win all four games this weekend to have a shot at the last playoff spot. While no starting pitchers have been listed as of yet, Zac Fuesser has been getting the start in the opening game each week. The Colombian Baseball League will begin it’s finals tonight. Harold Ramirez and Tito Polo are the only two Pirates players involved in the best-of-seven series.
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