Cold DR squad faces elimination
Offense will need to get going against Team Panama
By Will Gonzalez / Special to MLB.com
The Dominicans racked up 10 runs in a win over the Marlins, but they were held to one run in losses to the Orioles and Cardinals.
"In the last 27 innings, with today, we have scored only four runs," said Alou.
In those 27 innings, Dominican batters left 49 runners on base.Alou will make some changes in his lineup on Sunday, but he insists that they are not a reaction to the loss against the Dutch.
"Jose Reyes will start at short," he said. "I will make a change in left field, maybe behind the plate. We don't want to press the panic button because another loss could eliminate us."
Alou said those moves had been planned before the start of the Classic because he is trying to give as many players as possible a chance to start a game.Accordingly, he is expected to put Jose Bautista in left field instead of Nelson Cruz, and Albert Castillo will catch instead of Miguel Olivo. Reyes will replace Hanley Ramirez at shortstop. For Panama, manager Hector Lopez made a change of his own. He will have right-hander Ramiro Mendoza start the game instead of left-hander Abraham Astencio. Panama's lineup will be the same, although Lopez is not sure about catcher Carlos Ruiz, whom Lopez said suffered from whiplash when he fell while catching a popup in the seventh inning against Puerto Rico. Carlos Lee continues to struggle at the plate in Classic play. In 2006, he hit .182. In Saturday's game against Puerto Rico, he was unable to get on base in four at-bats. "Carlos Lee has to bat," Lopez said. "He is a good player. Sometimes you don't bat. You can't take a leader from the lineup. He is my fourth batter."
Will Gonzalez is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.