Observers might’ve had an inkling that Ortega was in for a solid postseason when he narrowly missed a perfect game in his final start of the regular season, but even the wily right-handed veteran would’ve been hard-pressed to predict how well he’d pitch en route to the Tigres’ tenth Mexican League pennant since their first LMB season in 1955.
Ortega went on to win three games in four decisions among his five starts, giving up just four earned runs over his 32 playoff innings to post a microscopic 1.13 ERA. Although his control wasn’t as sharp as he’d have liked it in issuing 13 walks while hitting four other batsmen, the 35-year-old Nuevo Laredo product scattered 24 hits through three playoff rounds (and just one homer) in picking up a win in each series. Ortega helped Quintana Roo’s four-game sweep of powerful Mexico City in the Mexican Series by combining with relievers Juan Sandoval and Sandy Nin on a 1-0 shutout in front of a sellout crowd at home in Cancun on August 22.
The playoffs capped a terrific comeback year for Ortega, who looked like he might’ve been all but finished after a disastrous 2010 season in which he went 2-6 with an 8.24 ERA in 17 games for the Tigres after going 36-14 the previous three Liga campaigns. Instead, he turned in a 10-3 record during the 2011 regular season and finished third in the LMB with a 3.29 ERA, trailing only Reynosa’s Marco Tovar (3.11) and Puebla’s Andres Meza (3.14) before his sterling playoff work.