Tijuana Toros Series Preview: Toros Host Union Laguna After Successful Road Trip
The Tijuana Toros return home after a six-game road trip to host Algodoneros de Union Laguna for a three-game set at the Estadio Gasmart that starts this Tuesday.
The Border City Bulls are the clear favorites to take the series with an 18-9 record as opposed to Union Laguna’s 9-18 mark. Pedro Mere’s men were successful on a recent six-game road trip and will look to continue that form heading into this game.
Tijuana’s offense has been brilliant lately as it managed to produce 42 runs in a three-game series against Generales de Durango. The most recent result for the Toros was a spectacular 23-4 win against Durango and they should be able to stay consistent against an inconsistent Union Laguna team.
Tijuana did face Algodoneros in this recent road trip and managed to take two out of three games against them. The offense was also explosive against Los Laguneros as it scored 21 runs in three games against them at the Estadio Revolucion.
Algodoneros de Union Laguna just traded away one of their best players, Everth Cabrera, to Leones de Yucatan, and do not seem like a team that will be very competitive. There are some dangerous players in Laguna’s lineup like Jonathan Jones, Eric Aguilera, and Barbaro Canizarez, but it does not compare to Tijuana’s potent starting nine. The Toros should be able to win this series and maybe even get a series sweep in front of the home crowd at the Estadio Gasmart.
Robinson Lopez (1-1; 4.85 ERA) vs Kyle Lobstein (2-0; 1.33 ERA)
Leuris Gomez (1-2; 4.43 ERA) vs Manny Barreda (1-0; 8.25 ERA)
Alejandro Martinez (3-0; 6.63 ERA) vs Miguel Pena (1-0; 4.91 ERA)
The best pitching matchup will clearly be in the first game of the series when Kyle Lobstein faces Robinson Lopez. Lobstein has allowed a maximum of two runs in five starts this season and tossed six scoreless innings his last time out against Union Laguna. The former Tigers and Pirates’ hurler currently leads the LMB in ERA at the 1.33 mark and is showing no signs of slowing down. Robinson Lopez has allowed three or fewer runs in his last three starts and only allowed two runs in five and two thirds innings against the Tijuana Toros his last time out. The Dominican right-hander has tossed two quality starts this season and will need to throw a third one for any chance of his team winning on Tuesday night.
Players to Watch
Rodriguez recently snapped an 18-game hitting streak this past Saturday, but continues to be one of the hottest bats in the Toros’ lineup. The 27-year-old leads the LMB in batting average at .434, has the most hits in the league this season with 49, and is second in stolen bases with 15. The Mexican infielder went 11-for-23 with four walks, four RBI, and four stolen bases in Tijuana’s recent six-game road trip and should be able to stay consistent at the Estadio Gasmart.
The Covina, California native leads the LMB in RBI with 35 and was able to produce 16 in Tijuana’s recent road trip. Hankerd has six home runs, a solid .343 batting average, and has been one of the most vital players for Pedro Mere this season. The American outfielder is also a tough player to strike out as he has 14 walks this season and only has seven strikeouts in his last 10 games. Hankerd produced seven RBI against Union Laguna in a three-game set in Torreon and should be able to do some damage in this series.
Francisco, 26, Chula Vista/Tijuana. I have been a Padres fan all my life, did most of the series previews and recaps in the Padres’ 2016 season for EVT. Now I focus more on the local soccer scene. Tijuana Xolos, San Diego Loyal, San Diego Wave.