The bullpen has easily been the Tijuana Toros’ weakest component to start off this 2018 LMB season.
That showed again in the Border City Bulls’ latest series against Diablos Rojos del Mexico where the team dropped the series two games to one.
Relievers allowed 12 runs throughout the three-game set and that definitely made a significant impact on the series. The Toros now have a 7-8 overall record this year and a dreadful 3-6 record away from the Estadio Gasmart. Pedro Mere’s team is now fifth in the Zona Norte division in the LMB and will need to take advantage of their upcoming six-game homestand against Olmecas de Tabasco and Piratas de Campeche.
Here is a rundown of everything that went on in the Toros’ latest series against Diablos Rojos del Mexico at the Estadio Fray Nano in Mexico City:
Game 1: Toros de Tijuana 6-8 Diablos Rojos del Mexico
Game 1 of the series in Mexico City started off in the best way possible as the Toros managed to get six runs off Diablos’ starter Alex Delgado in just under three innings. Delgado left the game in the third inning with six runs allowed on five hits with two walks. His counterpart, Kyle Lobstein, had another very solid start this season as he only allowed two runs through five innings. Heading into the sixth inning, the border city side had a 6-2 lead and it seemed like Tijuana was going to win the first game of the series.
— Toros de Tijuana?? (@TorosDeTijuana) April 7, 2018
The bullpen made the key difference in the encounter as the Toros’ relievers went on to allow six runs in the clash that completely decimated the matchup. The Diablos’ bullpen was perfect as it did not allow any runs after Alex Delgado left the game and the offense managed to construct an impressive comeback on Tijuana to take the game eight runs to six. Juan Sandoval was the most disappointing pitcher for the Toros as he still had a 6-5 lead when he came on to pitch in the eighth inning. Sandoval allowed three runs that went on to be the Toros’ downfall on the day to start off the series with a left foot. Henry Urrutia and Carlos Corporan were the standouts at the plate for Mexico as they both hit a two-run home run each in the game. The standouts for Tijuana were the Venezuelan tandem of Carlos Rivero and Juan Apodaca that combined for five RBI in the encounter. Apodaca hit a three-run shot that was good for his third home run of the season.
Game 2: Toros de Tijuana 9-8 Diablos Rojos del Mexico
The bullpen imploded again in the second game of the series for Tijuana as it allowed five runs, but the team scored enough runs to come away with the win. Manny Barreda started his first game of the 2018 LMB season after rejoining the team after failing to make the Gwinnett Stripers starting rotation. The Arizona native was not great as he allowed three runs on seven hits through three and a third innings. Straight out of the pen’ Sergio Alvarado and Fernando Gallegos were fine, but Aaron Kurcz, Fabian Williamson, and Jesus Pirela allowed a collective five runs between them after that.
Luckily Juan Sandoval and Jason Urquidez pitched a scoreless inning each after that outburst that sealed the clash and the 9-8 scoreline. Urquidez netted his third save of the season and lowered his ERA to 3.00 after his solid outing. For a second straight game, Carlos Rivero and Juan Apodaca stole the show offensively on the Border City Bulls. Rivero went 2-for-5 with a two-run home run while Apodaca hit two home runs and produced three RBI on the day. Apodaca went up to an astonishing five home runs on the season while Cyle Hankerd also managed to hit his fourth home run of the year in this game.
Game 3: Toros de Tijuana 1-3 Diablos Rojos del Mexico
The pitching was the best it had been all series for the Toros in the final game of the series, but unfortunately the offense was the worst it had been as well. Hector Galvan received his first start of the season for Tijuana, but was not great as he allowed two runs on four hits in three and a third innings. Rafael Diaz, Fabian Williamson, and Aaron Kurcz combined for three and two-thirds scoreless frames out of the bullpen to keep the Border City Bulls in the game. Juan Sandoval kept up his struggles as he did allow a run in his lone inning of work in the clash. The batters did get seven hits in the game, but just produced one run out of it that led to the border city team’s downfall.
Dustin Martin picked up the only RBI of the game and Maxwell Leon was the standout at the plate for Pedro Mere as he went 3-for-3 with a walk and a stolen base. Ricardo Valenzuela was the hero of the day for Los Escarlatas with two RBI while former Dodger Luis Cruz also managed to pick up an RBI. Mexico’s starter Luis Niebla pitched four shutout innings, then Jesus Anguamea pitched three scoreless out of the bullpen. The only run that was allowed for the Diablos was by the hand of Miguel Mejia, and former Giants’ reliever Jean Machi picked up his second save of the series, and of the season, to seal the game and the three-game set.