May 8, 2007

When you think of prodigious RBI production, you normally don’t think of shortstops. Even among shortstops, former Indians farmhand Carlos Rivero especially doesn’t come to mind, In 12 minor league seasons (not counting the last two seasons in the Mexican League, which is part of MiLB, but not the major leagues’ farm system), he drove in only 125 runs. For one night in Lexington, Kentucky, Carlos Rivero was, with apologies to Jesus Aguilar, an RBI Machine,

On this clear, 79 degree night in the Bluegrass State, 4,469 baseball fans saw Rivero drive in six runs en route to leading the Captains to a 10-7 victory over the hometown Lexington Legends (This is when the Caps were in the South Atlantic League – affectionately known as “The Sally”). All six runs scored on a pair of home runs, his second and third of the season, which accounted for the entirety of Rivero’s offensive contributions that evening (to be abundantly clear, they were more than enough).

In the top of the fourth frame, the Captains found themselves down 5-0 thanks to a rough first inning by starter and eventual winning pitcher Hector Rondon. They also found themselves in the midst of a promising rally. C Matt McBride started the comeback with a one-out walk. 1B Matt Whitney singled to left to advance him to second. After 3B Jared Goedert struck out swinging for the second out, LF Nick Weglarz walked to load the bases. There were Captains everywhere as Rivero, who had been instrumental in cutting the aforementioned top of the first mercifully short as the cutoff man on the inning-ending out, strode to the plate and drove the ball over the left field fence for a grand slam to bring the Eastlake nine within a run.

Fast forward to to the eighth. The Caps are now up 8-7 and desperately looking for one or more insurance runs, Weglarz had walked once again to start the inning and it was Rivero’s turn to bat. Another fly ball to left. Another one over the wall. Another homer. The score was now 10-7, which would end up being the final score. Over half of those runs coming courtesy of one Mr. Carlos Rivero. It’s not every night you see nearly 5% of a man’s career RBI.

(By the way, for anyone wondering, Rivero has played for The Toros de Tijuana [2018] and Bravos de Leon [2019] in the Mexican League. He was traded to the Algonoderos de Union Laguna on February 17 and will play there once the 2020 season starts. Oh, and he drove in a career-high 24 runs last season.)


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