Jose Tabata, the top prospect that the Pittsburgh Pirates obtained from the New York Yankees for Xavier Nady and Damaso Marte, reached on an infield single in the third inning of Saturday's first game. It would be the only hit that Caribes de Anzoategui would collect against Juan Gutierrez, who has pitched extremely well this winter.
Gutierrez went the full seven innings (doubleheader games only last seven frames a piece). He fanned six while walking three. Two other batters reached on Caracas fielding errors, but Gutierrez would not allow any of the six total baserunners to cross home plate. He tossed a total of 102 pitches, 64 for strikes. Fellow Diamondback Miguel Montero lined two fairly hard balls off Gutierrez, but both were corralled by Caracas right fielder Fernando Perez. Montero, who is believed to be one of the most sought-after Diamondbacks during winter trade talks, finished the contest 0-for-3.
Gutierrez is now 4-0 this winter with the second-best ERA in the Venezuelan Winter League at 1.74. He is also second with 40 strikeouts and holds the third-best WHIP at 1.07. This is quite a turnaround for a man who went 5-11 with a 6.09 ERA and 1.68 WHIP this summer in Tucson.
Gutierrez is on the D-backs' 40-man roster, and has an outside shot of making
the club out of spring training if he continues his stellar performance.
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