After striking an authoritative blow by securing their second series of the season and first at home against the Tabasco Olmecas, leaders of the South and who before yesterday’s game were the zone’s number one pitching team, the Leones will face the Piratas de Campeche for the first time this season.
They swept the Buccaneers in the last series of the previous regular phase, before beginning the impressive and magical journey that took them to their fifth star. If they complete another clean sweep of the Pirates, or win the series, the Melenudos will be back on the road to consistency, which is where champions are expected to be.
On Wednesday, a day after Alcides Escobar, author of an infield home run in the 2015 World Series, decided big ball game with home run, another former “big leaguer”, José Martínez, was the spark plug in one of the most complete performances of the fieras so far in the regular role. “Cafecito” hit his seventh home run -to tie for the league lead- and produced four runs in the 9-4 victory. For the second night in a row, the Roarers came from behind; they were down 1-4 in the third.
“We are patiently waiting for the boys, we know what they can do,” David Cárdenas Cortés, “El Chile”, sporting director of the Yucatecan outfit, told La Jornada Maya. “We are not a team that falls into despair, we are all working to improve.” The management’s patience was rewarded.
On consecutive nights, the Monarchs faced Carlos Viera and Yoennis Yera, selected by Cuba in the last World Classic, who are among the league’s hardest hitters, and on both nights they won. The night before last, there were more quality innings from the locals, especially Art Charles and Sebastian Valle, and 10 hits against a pitching staff that ranked as the circuit leader in WHIP (1.16).
With his father Adulfo observing in the visiting dogogo, rookie Angel Camacho (JI) started the decisive attack in the bottom of the third with a single.
“The important thing is to get us on base, to have quality innings. The pitching has been there so far this season. Now it’s up to us to do what we know how to do,” said Martínez, who on Tuesday, after hitting a double that led to the first run against Viera in the sixth, harangued his teammates.
With Oswaldo Morejón at the helm, the Pirates have had ups and downs. They started 0-6, took series against León and Tigres and competed well against Tabasco – as the Yucatecan said they would try to do against every opponent – before losing two of three. Against Monterrey they struggled at home. Yucatan took three of four series against Campeche in 2022 and won eight of 12 games.
Yucatecan Flores could get his 100th win against the Melenudos
Yucatecan Manuel Flores could reach 100 wins in the Mexican League against his hometown team that gave him his first opportunity in professional baseball.
Flores (1-1, 3.24) is the likely starter for Campeche for the second game of the series against Yucatán, which begins today at the Nelson Barrera Romellón Stadium. Tonight, starting at 7:30 p.m., the pitching duel will be between Melenudo Henderson Álvarez (1-1, 3.63) and Francisco Haro (0-2, 2.87).
Tomorrow, the pitching will be sung at 6:00 pm. The righty from Chicxulub, besides being one win away from 100, needs 46 strikeouts to reach 1,000. He has 10 this year. His opponent would be Manuel Chavez (1-1, 3.38) or Christian Prado (0-0, 1.42). Flores was beaten up by the Selváticos at the end of last year, but has pitched good games for them in his career.
Another Yucatecan who stands out with the Filibusteros is reliever Roberto Espinosa, who gave up one hit in four acts and a third, with a hold.
Wednesday’s Leones looked more like the champions. Pitching that knew how to solve at zero hour, clutch hitting and good defense. They went 10-6 with people in scoring position, despite not having Luis Juarez for the second game in a row.
Yoanner Negrín pitched five innings to get his 64th win with the Fieras; he is now 13 behind the team’s all-time runner-up, Óscar Rivera. With his two hits against Tabasco, he was four behind Ravelo Manzanillo (496), the club’s third highest strikeout rate.
Valdez’s brief stay in the Majors; he is designated for assignment
César Valdez’s stay in the Major Leagues was very short. Just like last year.
The Seraphs moved up the 2019 Mexican League Pitcher of the Year on Monday to back up their bullpen in case Patrick Sandoval couldn’t make it far in the game, but the left-hander pitched six and a third innings, giving the relief corps what it needed, so the Dominican, who hasn’t fared well this year in Triple-A, was designated for assignment. Valdez has thought about returning to the Lions and that is something that could happen this season.
On the other hand, in the Yucatan-Tabasco series at the Kukulcan, Yadir Drake faced two of his teammates in the Cuban team that was semifinalist in the World Classic, Carlos Viera and Yoennis Yera. In both duels, “Black Panther” drove in a run.
Ibarra, with a shoulder problem; Quintero shines
Walter Ibarra, second baseman of the Fieras, had to leave Tuesday’s game due to a shoulder discomfort. While taking a swing, the Sinaloa native felt pain. He is on a day-to-day basis and was to undergo tests.
In Ibarra’s place, catcher Israel Núñez, who saw action with Yucatán in 2011, part of 2013, 2014, 2015 and part of 2016, entered the roster.
Likewise, Brayan Quintero, a selva infielder on loan to Guadalajara, batted .360 in his first 10 games.
In Triple A, Manuel Rodríguez earned his fifth save with Iowa, but gave up two runs against Toledo.