Monday, November 14, 2016

Culiacan nips Obregon for MexPac first half title

The Culiacan Tomateros swept Los Mochis in a three-game home series over the weekend to slip past Obregon for the Mexican Pacific League’s first half championship and the eight points that go with it.  The Tomateros broke out the broom with Sunday’s 4-2 win over the Caneros to go to 17-12, just ahead of 16-12 Obregon, who clubbed Jalisco, 6-1, in a rain-shortened game Saturday. Sunday’s Yaquis-Charros game was a total washout as Obregon finished the half with 7 points. Cuban centerfielder Daniel Carbonell (pictured), a Giants farmhand, led the way offensively for Culiacan by singling and tripling in four at-bats with two RBIs and scoring a run.  Carbonell has now crossed the plate nine times in five games since joining manager Lino Rivera’s squad last Wednesday.

Hermosillo came in third at 16-13 to cop 6 points while Navojoa’s identical record netted them fourth place for five points because the Naranjeros won four of six meetings between the two sides during the half.  Just one game separated the top four teams.  Jalisco was fifth in the half at 14-14 for 4.5 points, Mexicali and Los Mochis were tied for sixth at 14-15, with the Aguilas picking up 4 points and the Caneros 3.5 due to Mexicali’s two wins in three games at Mochis at the start of November.  Mazatlan brought up the rear six games out of seventh with a moribund 8-21 mark to collect 3 points because someone had to.

Despite missing six games because he was in Tokyo last week, Mexicali’s Agustin Murillo still holds the LMP bat race lead with a .392 average in 20 games, one point ahead of Mochis’ Leandro Castro.  Hermosillo’s Jose Amador clouted three homers last week (including two in Navojoa Friday) to pull into a clear lead for the home run derby at 8, three up on a trio of outfielder that includes Navojoa’s Quincy Latimore, who’s done his socking in just 14 games. Of Latimore’s 12 total hits, 8 have been for extra bases. Culiacan outfielder Joey Meneses' 30 RBIs is best in the league.  The Mayos’ rookie outfielder from Cuban Randy Arozarena, now leads the MexPac with 11 stolen bases with Obregon’s Justin Greene still out with a facial injury suffered October 29.

Among LMP pitchers, Navojoa’s Hector Velazquez and Arturo Lopez of Obregon are both 5-0 after six starts apiece.  Velazquez tops the circuit with a 1.75 ERA (Lopez is second at 1.89) and leads MexPac hurlers with 42 strikeouts in 36 innings, well ahead of the 30 of Mexicali’s Efren Delgado.  Mets minor leaguer Paul Sewald earned three saves last week to take the league lead in that category with 9.  Sewald saved 19 games for AAA Las Vegas, his hometown, last summer.

NOTE: Baseball Mexico will post single stories on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, starting today.