Winter baseball has started, with the Mexican League the first league to begin play. I have done lots of things in covering the Mexican League, from doing recaps of every game to doing nothing at all.
I would love to do recaps of every game again, but I simply don't have time for that. But I don't like doing nothing at all, either. So I thought, this year, I would try following one team from each winter league. The team will be selected by random.org. For the Mexican League, it is the Venados de Mazatlan.
I come into this knowing nothing about that team, so I'll be learning along with you. That is, if anyone actually reads these recaps. The season started last night, so here we go.
MAZATLAN 5, LOS MOCHIS 2 AT LOS MOCHIS
Batting star: Issmael Salas was 2-for-3 with a walk.
Pitching stars: Francisco Rios struck out five in five shutout innings, giving up two hits and three walks. Ivan Zavala pitched a scoreless inning, giving up one hit and striking out one.
Opposition stars: Eddy Martinez was 2-for-4. Adrian Hernandez struck out six in 2.1 perfect innings. Erubiel Armenta pitched a scoreless inning, giving up one walk.
The game: Mazatlan started the scoring in the second. Ricky Alvarez and Salas singled and Ramon Rios was hit by a pitch, loading the bases with none out. A wild pitch brought home the first run. Ricardo Valenzuela singled home the second run, and an error brought home a third, giving Mazatlan a 3-0 lead. Mazatlan added a run in the fourth. With one out, Alvarez walked and went to second on a wild pitch. Salas singled him to third, and a force out brought him home to make it 4-0. It went to 5-0 in the fifth. Carlos Munoz and Anthony Giansanti walked, a ground out moved them to second and third, and Rios hit a sacrifice fly to bring home the run.
Los Mochis got on the board in the seventh. Walks to Leandro Castro and Saul Soto put men on first and second with one out. Carlos Soto then singled home a run. They added one more in the ninth. With two out Saul Soto singled, Fernando Inzunza walked, and Juan Uriarte singled, making the score 5-2. A hit batsman loaded the bases and brought the winning run up to bat, but Josuan Hernandez struck out to end the game.
WP: Rios (1-0). LP: Daniel Duarte (0-1). S: Ryan Newell (1).
Notes: Newell faced two batters, hitting the first one but striking out the second to end the game.
Looking at the box score, it appears that the Mexican League does not have a three-batter minimum rule. They may have a mound visit rule, though, because the play-by-play always notes mound visits.
Mazatlan used eight pitchers, six of them in the last three innings.
It was 32 degrees in Los Mochis, with a 21 mile-an-hour wind. I don't know whether they're allowing fans, but it would not have been a pleasant night to be at the old ball park. Unless that's 32 Celsius, of course, in which case it would've been about 90 degrees fahrenheit. And, as I look at it, that's probably the case, as the forecast for Los Mochis today is a high of 103. That's not very pleasant, either, but I could handle 90 degrees for baseball a lot better than 32.
Next game: Mazatlan plays Los Mochis again tonight.
Record: Mazatlan is 1-0, tied for first with Monterrey, Hermosillo, Obregon, and Guasave.
For some reason, it is not easy to find the Mexican League standings.