After four months of non-stop action and many emotions, the 2023/24 campaign of the Venezuelan Professional Baseball League will begin with the Final Series on Tuesday, January 23, when the Tiburones de La Guaira will receive the visit of the Cardenales de Lara at the Caracas University stadium.
When talking about these two teams, we are undoubtedly referring to the two best teams of the entire campaign, so they are more than worthy finalists. La Guaira arrived after dominating the Round Robin, winning 12 of the 16 games played. On the other hand, Lara started with four consecutive losses, but ended with 10 wins in the last 12 games, to enter the Final.
In addition, the duel will also be a great battle of strategists, because the Litorlaneses clubhouse is ruled by the legendary Oswaldo Guillén, the only Venezuelan manager to become a World Series champion. On the front sidewalk is Henry Blanco, who became the first manager in LVBP history to reach two consecutive finals with different teams.
In a Grand Final, what has been accomplished in previous matches is minimal. However, it is worth mentioning that if we consider the results between the two teams throughout the campaign, the Cardinals are the ones that have the most favorable slates.
When reviewing the particular series between Lara and La Guaira during the Regular Round, we did not see that the crepusculares dominated so much, taking the series with six wins in eight matches.
Of course, Tiburones de La Guaira is another completely different team in the Round Robin, and they showed it by beating Lara in the first two games of the postseason, both of which were played at the Antonio Herrera Gutiérrez Stadium in Barquisimeto.
Of course, Lara was able to recover and was able to defeat the sharks in the two games played by Universitario, thus leaving the January series in total parity, with two wins for each organization.
For this first duel in the Grand Final, the Lara Cardinals made their reinforcement, Jhoulys Chacín, official as the man in charge of climbing the mound with the responsibility of opening the game and leading his team to a successful conclusion.
Chacín has had good numbers in his three games against La Guaira this season, posting a 3.55 ERA in 15.2 innings of work, in which he also accumulated 10 strikeouts, and a WHIP of 1.32.
On the local side, a pitcher has not been officially announced, but because of the rest days and what general manager Alberto Díaz explained during the Additions Draft, it is likely that Ricardo Pinto will take charge.
Pinto also hit three times against the Cardinals in 2023/24, without achieving much success, as shown by his ERA of 4.50 against the Crepusculars, a team against which he also had a 1- 2 record and a WHIP of 1.86.
Time and place
This first game of the Grand Final of the 2023/24 season of the Venezuelan Professional Baseball League is scheduled to start at 7:00 PM, at the Estadio Universitario de Caracas, the home of the Tiburones de La Guaira.