Tijuana Toros weekly recap
After a very bad week down south, the front office decided it was time to let Luis Sojo go. The Venezuelan manager left the team with a 40-37 record in fourth place in the North Zone after being two games behind second place. A change was needed.
The entire Sojo coaching staff left Tijuana and a new team with familiar faces came (hopefully) to the rescue. Pedro Mere was introduced as the new Toros manager on Tuesday along with his coaching staff. Mere, a Veracruz native, was managing the Tecate Toritos, the Toros Liga Norte de Mexico affiliate in what is considered Double-A ball. He has already been Mexican League Champion when he took over the Rojos del Aguila de Veracruz in 2012 after Orlando Merced and conquered the trophy. He also won multiple championships in the Winter Veracruzian League with the Brujos of San Andres.
The rest of the coaching staff is formed by legendary manager Matias Carrillo, who managed the “Bulls” in 2014, he was fired at mid-season for similar reasons than Luis Sojo. He will be hitting coach. Another legend, Rafael “Chivingon” Castañeda and Roberto Espinoza will also be a part of Mere’s staff. Just a few of the moves to start a very busy week for the team.
Before the start of the series against the Reynosa Broncos a roster move took place. Miguel Torrero, who was with the team in 2014 and 2015, returns for the rest of the year after spending the first months of the 2016 season with Reynosa on a loan. He was hitting .311 with 22 runs batted in and Tijuana hopes he continues to see the ball well as the Toros try to get into the playoffs. He was activated to the 30-man roster immediately. Tijuana also activated former big leaguers Gerald Laird and Efren Navarro. Laird, is a 36 year-old catcher and the 30 year-old Navarro, who can play corner outfield and first base, will provide depth to the team from down south.
On Monday, the Toros completed a pair of Major League deals and then on Tuesday sealed another. 18 year-old outfielder Luis Alberto Cossio signed with the Arizona Diamondbacks after graduating from the Toros Academy. The Ensenada native was signed by the Arizona Director of International Scouting, Francisco Cartaya. He is a lefty with a strong arm and great speed. Then, two hours after, the Toros completed 16 year-old pitcher, Alejandro Carrasco’s deal with the San Diego Padres. The Tijuana native was signed by international scout, Bill McLaughlin, another player from the Toros Baseball Academy. On Tuesday another National League West team got a Toros player. Right handed pitcher, Gerardo Carrillo signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers and the legendary Mike Brito was there to complete the transaction. Brito, who signed players like Fernando Valenzuela and Yasiel Puig, told the Guadalajara born pitcher that he was going to sign with the same pen that other Dodgers greats had used. With this week’s singings, the Toros have now exported 13 players from their academy to Major League Baseball clubs.
Game 1: Back on track
Jose Guadalupe Chavez hit a two-run homerun and Dustin Martin added a solo shot to help pitcher Barry Enright get the win 6-2 for the Toros in Pedro Mere’s debut as the team’s manager against the Reynosa Broncos. Enright got his seventh win of the year and his first since May 25th after five innings of work in which he allowed just one run on three hits, striking out six. Nearly seven thousand fans were in attendance to watch their team with a new coaching staff at Gasmart Stadium.
Game 2: Securing the series while making more history
Rafael Diaz worked six scoreless innings while giving up only three hits in the Toros second straight win. This time 6-3 to assure a series victory against the Broncos. The 45 year-old Diaz struck out five enemies and walked a pair, but most importantly, he kept earning a spot in Mexican Baseball history. He got to 104 career wins and is now tied 91th all-time with Alfonso Pulido and Michael Paul. He also has 1,037 strikeouts now to put himself in the 58th spot on that category in Mexican ball.
Game 3: Sweep
Juan Apodaca batted in three runs and Olmo Rosario had three base hits for a Toros sweep of the Broncos on a 7-1 win at Estadio Gasmart. It was the third sweep for Tijuana in the season, all of them coming at home. Hector Ambriz finally started a game with a 50 pitch count. He was in the mound for the first two and two third innings allowing the only run for Reynosa on five hits. Manny Barreda earned the win with a three episode effort. Up next, the best team in the North.
Game 1: Sending a message
Miguel Peña had a solid outing versus the Monterrey Sultanes in the 1-0 victory for the Toros on Friday. Peña threw six innings of five-hit ball striking out six and walking one, earning his seventh win of the year. The losing pitcher was Mario Gonzlaez, who allowed just three hits but one of those was a home run. The wining dinger of the game came of Alex Romero’s bat on a solo shot in the fifth proving to be the key hit of the game.
Game 2: Sultanes tie it up
The only two runs of the game came in the top of the first inning for the visiting team as Sultanes tied the series in Tijuana after winning on Saturday 2-0. With one out and Dave Sappelt on second, Chris Roberson singled to center field to take the lead. Roberson then stole second base and after the second out, the speedy American scored on another single, this time by Alex Valdez. Javier Solano got the win after a seven inning effort allowing only three hits striking out the same amount of batters and walking a pair. Alex Sanabia earned the loss by being in the mound for also seven episodes of four hit ball allowing the two runs and punching out three batters.
Game 3: Statement for the North
The Tijuana Toros took the three game series against the best team in the North Zone by winning 3-1 on getaway day at Estadio Gasmart. Miguel Torrero had the game winning blast after hitting a two-run home run in the bottom of the fifth inning to break a one all tie and to put the Toros 45-38 and in fourth place. Horacio Ramirez pitched six strong innings allowing only one run on seven hits and striking out one batter. Jason Urquidez saved his 19th game of the season. With a new manager and after a 5-1 week, the Toros travel now to Veracruz and Tabasco.