After an 11-8 start to the season, the Dominican Summer League Indians have dropped eight of their last 12 over the last two weeks and now sit in third in the DSL North. While they haven’t played as well of late, there have still been some notable performances in the last two weeks.
In an 11-4 win over Rays2 on June 25th, 18 year old outfielder Skeiling Rodriguez had the best game of his short career. He hit safely four times in five at bats including a triple and stole a base as well. He now has five triples this season, leading to a .415 slugging percent, despite the fact that he lacks a home run this year.
While the pitching performances have generally been dismal (only the Indians/Brewers co-op squad has allowed more than the DSL Indians 165 earned runs), Steven Perez had one of the best starts of the span on June 28th in a loss against those Indians/Brewers. He went five innings and didn’t allow an earned run, but only struck out two. On the season, Perez has been the Indians most consistent starter and now has a 2.77 ERA in 26 innings (six starts), but has walked ten to just 14 strike outs. Perez has been successful so far by limiting hard contact and has given up just 23 hits and no home runs.
Pitching in his second season with the DSL Indians, Adenys Bautista has been a real savior out of the bullpen, although it is in a role that doesn’t get much recognition. Twice in the last two weeks he has come out after the starter had to leave early and given the Indians multiple scoreless innings. His best performance was on July 2nd when he threw three perfect innings after the first two pitchers had allowed twelve runs to score. Since allowing three earned runs in his first appearance, Bautista has given up one hit and two walks in eight innings without allowing a run.
On July third, the Indians had another dominant pitching performance, this time leading to a win over the Pirates 1. Rookie starter Miguel Cordones went five shut out innings, striking out six while allowing five hits and a walk. This was, by far, the best appearance of his young career. He and Tomas Reyes fall right behind Perez as far as rotation dependability is concerned.
While the DSL Indians lost in extra innings on July 4th, they played one of their better games as a team. Offensively, they had six hits, all by different batters with Richard Paz leading the way with a home run. On the mound, Perez started and allowed two runs in five innings, then Luis Almonte shut out the Red Sox 2 over three innings, allowing two hits. Hugo Villalobos took the loss, but his run allowed in the 10th was unearned as it was the runner who started on second to begin the inning that scored on a single.
The Indians would come back to beat the Sox the following day with a ten run outburst as Angel Martinez lead the way with three of the 11 hits. Martinez has really stepped out as this team’s most prolific hitter with a .327/.410/.533 line, six triples and seven doubles, all numbers that currently lead the DSL Indians.
After a scorching start for the season, Gabriel Rodriguez has really fallen back, going from .324/.429/.703 after his first two weeks to .258/.345/.474. This still places him among the team’s top hitters, but he hasn’t had a multi-hit game since June 22nd or a home run since June 11th. There is some evidence he may be turning things around now, however, with walks in each of his last four games and hits in three of his last four.
Since the DSL Indians have been near the bottom of the standings for as long as we have been covering them, now seems as good of a time as any to go over a potential play-off appearance. Unlike the Arizona League, the teams who win the division in the first half of the season do not go to the play-offs, only the six division leaders at the end of the year. With 45 teams, this helps whittle things down greatly. While the DSL Indians are currently sitting in third (tied with Pirates 1), they are already 9.5 games behind the division leading Rangers 1 and four games behind Rays 2. This gives them an elimination number of 25 with a little less than two months to go.