The Tijuana Toros have embarked on a six-game road trip that will start this Tuesday at the Estadio Domingo Santana in Leon. The Border City Bulls will start a three-game set against Bravos de Leon in what should be a very winnable series on the road. Pedro Mere’s men are not off to an ideal start with a 4-5 record, but have won their first two series at home against Acereros del Norte and Generales de Durango. On the road, the Border City side is 0-3, as it was swept in a three-game series by Sultanes de Monterrey earlier in the season.
Pitching was a real issue in Monterrey as Tijuana allowed at least six runs in each of those three games. The pitching for Pedro Mere has made quite a turnaround recently as it has only allowed four runs in the last two games. The offense has also been vibrant for the Toros with 20 runs in the last three games, with stellar performances by players across the lineup. The top run-producers for Tijuana after nine games include Cyle Hankerd with eight RBI and Jorge Cantu and Dustin Martin with seven RBI each. Justin Greene has been flying under the radar a bit, but does have two home runs and leads the LMB in stolen bases with seven.
Toros should have the firepower and pitching prowess to get past a Bravos de Leon team that has struggled early on this season. Luis Carlo Rivera’s team is off to a 3-6 start to the season and they lost their lone series at the Estadio Domingo Santana two games to one against Guerreros de Oaxaca. There are some former big leaguers on Leon’s roster that can pose a threat in this series, like Dan Johnson, Felix Pie, and former Padres’ outfielder Cedric Hunter. Leon has a solid lineup, but pitching may be its downfall with 28 runs allowed in its last three games.
The Border City Bulls do have the edge in the pitching matchups, with arguably the more talented hurlers. San Diego native Alex Sanabia will be seeking redemption after his first start of the season when he allowed five runs in one and two-thirds innings of work. The former Castle Park high school student is just recovering from an injury, but should be at 100-percent for this series. The most enticing pitching matchup will be in the final game of this three-game set as Carlos Hernandez will take on Dustin Crenshaw. Hernandez was stellar in his first start of the season with five shutout innings against Acereros del Norte. However, he did struggle in his latest start with four earned runs in just an inning of work and will be looking to bounce back. Crenshaw has only allowed five earned runs in 10 innings so far and will be looking to keep his rhythm going against Tijuana.
Players to Watch
Latimore never reached MLB like some of his teammates, but did play in the Pirates, Indians, Nationals, Orioles, Tigers and Dodgers’ organizations. The 29-year-old outfielder has also arguably been the standout player for Leon this season with a .425 BA, two home runs, seven RBI, and five walks. The Toros’ pitching has proven to be inconsistent throughout 2018 so far and Latimore will need to be kept in check in this series.
The Former Red Sox’ outfielder tore it up in the Toros’ last series against Generales de Durango. Brown went 4-for-9 with five walks, four RBI, and two home runs against Durango in a three-game set and will look to keep it going after a fairly slow start to the season prior to this previous series. The 32-year-old can also be a threat on the base paths, which he has not exemplified this season yet with just a stolen base in nine games.