Monday, July 4, 2011

SANCHEZ SACKED AS SKIPPER FOR SAGGING SALTILLO

But what have you done for me lately?

If he ever had any illusions about job security, Orlando Sanchez has learned the hard way that coming off two Mexican League pennants in a row doesn’t count for much if the team you’re managing now is in last place. Sanchez was fired as pilot of the Saltillo Saraperos on July 1 after the team slid into the LMB North cellar with a 35-50 record. He was replaced at the helm by longtime Liga catcher Noe Munoz (pictured).

Sanchez was introduced as manager of the Saraperos on December 2, 2008. In his first season, Saltillo won its first outright Liga pennant by defeating Quintana Roo, 4 games to 2, in the Finals. He followed that up last season with another flag, this time by bouncing Puebla in five games in the title set. Although the Saraperos did not have a dominant regular season either year, there were hopes for a three-peat going into the current season.

Instead, the Saraperos’ pitching staff, which was a question mark going into the campaign, has been battered for a 6.24 team ERA, far too deep a hole even for an offense averaging .303 to overcome. The result was Sanchez’ ouster, along with pitching coach Julio Cesar Miranda.

Munoz has caught for 21 years in the Liga, the past 13 in Saltillo. He’ll be asked to lead the Saraperos to their 13th consecutive playoff appearance, while new pitching coach Martin Enriquez will be asked to turn the pitching around. It’s hard to know which of the two has the harder job ahead of him.