The Tijuana Toros will start their first road series of the 2018 LMB season this Tuesday when the border city team will face Sultanes de Monterrey. The series will be held at the beautiful Estadio Monterrey, which is the biggest stadium in the LMB, with a capacity of 27 thousand spectators. It is the same venue that will host the MLB series between the Padres and Dodgers later this year.
This matchup has generated a bit of a rivalry between the two teams as both always seem to be two of the more successful teams in the northern division of the LMB. The two teams did face off in the Zona Norte Championship Series last year when the Toros defeated Sultanes four games to two to advance to the LMB final, and eventually win the title.
Sultanes de Monterrey are the current leaders in the Zona Norte with a 3-0 record after sweeping Saraperos de Saltillo in their first series of the year. Los Regios count with a very experienced manager in former longtime MLB player Roberto Kelly, who also has years of coaching experience with the San Francisco Giants. Kelly does count with a few former major leaguers on his roster like Chris Roberson, Ramiro Pena, Edgar Gonzalez (pitcher), and Manny Acosta. Sultanes has a formidable side and should be very tough to defeat at the Estadio Monterrey with the backing of the loyal home support.
The Tijuana Toros have a 2-1 record to start off the 2018 LMB season after winning their first series of the new season against Acereros del Norte. The border city team lost the season opener 6-1, but then followed up the disappointing showing with two very dominant performances. Pedro Mere’s team outscored Monclova 13-0 over the course of two games and showcased the potential that the talented squad has. The pitching was stellar with two consecutive shutouts, and the offense showcased its power and speed.
The two highlights of the series were Juan Apodaca’s grand slam in the second game of the series and Dustin Martin’s steal of home in the final game of the three-game set. There were also a couple of milestones during the series as the Toros reached their 300th victory in the LMB while Pedro Mere obtained his 100th as the manager of the border city side.
The series should be entertaining and intense as it starts this Tuesday with Hector Ambriz on the mound for Pedro Mere and Marco Tovar on the hill for Roberto Kelly. The Toros held an 8-1 record against Sultanes in 2017 and will be looking to repeat that success this year.
Players to Watch
The former Yankees’ infielder went 4-for-13 with two RBI and a walk in Sultanes’ first series of 2018. Pena brings a load of experience to the team and is dangerous to get things going out of the two-hole in Roberto Kelly’s lineup.
“La Pesadilla” was one of the Toros’ best offseason pickups, and he showcased that in the first series of the year. The American outfielder went 4-for-12 with a home run and four stolen bases in Tijuana’s first three games of 2018. Greene will keep on making an impact with his speed and should be one of the main players to keep an eye on in this series.