Tijuana Toros Series Preview: Toros Look To Close Gap Against Grey Ghosts

Credit: Diego Perez

Credit: Diego Perez

Tijuana, Mexico

The Tijuana Toros will end their nine-game homestand at the Estadio Gasmart this week with a three-game series against Sultanes de Monterrey that runs from Tuesday, May 8 to Thursday, May 10. The Border City Bulls are currently excelling in their extensive homestand with a 4-2 record and will look to end it with a positive record.

Los Astados already faced Los Fantasmas Grices to start off this homestand and took two of three games. A big talking point in that previous series was the pitching as it held Monterrey to just two runs in the last two games of it.

Since then, the pitching has stayed consistent with only five runs allowed against Saraperos de Saltillo in a three-game set this past weekend. Tijuana outscored the team from Coahuila 21-5 in that series, but was held to just one hit in 10 innings in the final game.

The Toros have had some inconsistencies this year, but can put double digits on the scoreboard on any given day. The Grey Ghosts can also do this in any game and it should prove to be a thrilling series at the Estadio Gasmart.

Monterrey is currently first in the LMB Zona Norte division with a 26-13 record, three and a half games ahead of the second-place Toros. Roberto Kelly’s team wields one of the most imposing lineups in the league with players like Chris Roberson, Ramiro Pena, Ricky Alvarez, Sebastian Elizalde, and Yadir Drake.

Sultanes won their previous series two games to one against Algodoneros de Union Laguna and will be looking to improve their current uninspiring 9-9 away record.

Pitching Matchups

Marco Tovar(4-2; 4.08) vs Manny Barreda (2-1; 6.75) Tuesday, May 8 (7:35 P.M. Pacific)

Zack Dodson (0-1; 4.76) vs Miguel Peña (2-1; 4.71) Wednesday, May 9 (7:35 P.M. Pacific)

Edgar González (0-2; 5.95) vs Alex Sanabia (4-2; 7.31) Thursday, May 10 (7:35 P.M. Pacific)

There is definitely potential for plenty of runs when looking at the pitching matchups for this series at the Estadio Gasmart. Marco Tovar struggled massively against the Toros his last time out as he gave up seven runs and four walks through four innings. Manny Barreda faced Tovar in that game and had his best start of the season with just one run allowed in five innings. Zack Dodson made his season debut against Tijuana his last time out. The American hurler took the loss, but was solid as he only allowed three runs in five and two-thirds innings. Miguel Pena was masterful against Dodson as he tossed his first quality start of the year with a run allowed in six innings of labor. The matchup in the final game of the series seems to be the most enticing one, with Edgar Gonzalez facing Alex Sanabia. Neither pitched in the previous series between the two sides, but both hurlers count with MLB experience. Gonzalez pitched in the big leagues from 2003-2013 with the Diamondbacks, Athletics, Rockies, Astros, and Blue Jays while Sanabia pitched with the Marlins in three different seasons. Gonzalez has yet to win a game for his hometown team this season, but Sanabia will be seeking his fifth win in 2018.

Players to Watch

Credit: Diego Perez

Jio Mier

Since taking over at third base, Jio Mier has done a solid job; he was the player that obtained the only hit for Toros this past Sunday. The California native was spectacular against Monterrey in the previous series between the two teams as he went 4-for-12 with three RBI. Mier is easy to miss with players like Dustin Martin, Cyle Hankerd, Isaac Rodriguez, and Jorge Cantu also in the lineup, but he has been key lately.

Sebastian Elizalde

The acquisition of Elizalde to Sultanes de Monterrey came as a bit of a shock as he had been decent with the Cincinnati Reds’ Triple-A affiliate, the Louisville Bats. The Sonora native hit .254 with two home runs and 11 RBI with Triple-A Louisville in 21 games. The Mexican outfielder is off to a slow start with Monterrey as he is just 2-for-10 so far, but his potential is immense and he will get back on track in no time. The 26-year-old was crowned the batting champ in the Mexican Pacific League this past season with a .380 batting average and will be looking to make an impact in the LMB.

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Francisco Velasco
Francisco, 21, Chula Vista area, Journalism student at Southwestern College. 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 Tijuana Xolos soccer team, get press passes for every home game and write consistently about the team for EVT.

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