Friday, December 30, 2016

Mayos clinch second half title; LMP playoff field set

The Navojoa Mayos delivered a 12-7 beating to the Los Mochis Caneros Thursday night in Mochis, clinching the Mexican Pacific League's second half championship. The win gives the Mayos a 21-11 second-half record and a two-game lead over second-place Mazatlan (19-13) with one game remaining in the regular season.  The Venados are one game up on Los Mochis and Mexicali, who are both 18-14, so their final points totals (and playoff seedings) won't be determined until after Friday night.

Conversely, the Jalisco Charros and Oregon Yaquis are tied for last place in the MexPac with identical 12-20 records and both sit two games behind Hermosillo and Culiacan, who are knotted up in fifth place at 14-18.  As a result, neither Jalisco nor Obregon will be appearing in the playoffs, which will begin next week. Culiacan effectively ended Jalisco's season by defeating the Charros, 6-5, in Guadalajara Thursday night.  Obregon topped Mazatlan by an 11-4 count Thursday on a night in which all four road teams picked up a win as Hermosillo won, 8-2, in Mexicali.

Let's take a quick look at where things stand for each team with one game left in the LMP schedule:

NAVOJOA (21-11) has clinched the second half title and the 8 points that come with it.  The Mayos picked up 4 points in the first half and will finish at 12.0 no matter what happens Friday.

MAZATLAN (19-13) has clinched a postseason berth despite an awful 9-26 first half.  If the defending champion Venados win Friday, they'll collect 7 second-half points for a season total of 10.

LOS MOCHIS (18-14) is tied with Mexicali in the standings but would get the nod for third (and 6 points) due to a winning record in head-to-head games with the Aguilas.  A Caneros win Friday equals 12 points over two halves.

MEXICALI (18-14) needs a win over Hermosillo and a Mochis loss to Navojoa to earn 6 points for a season total of 10.5.  An Aguilas loss to the Naranjeros means 9.5 season points and a lower seed.

HERMOSILLO (14-18) is tied with Culiacan for fifth place but would earn 4.5 points via their record against the Tomateros.  A Friday win would translate to 11.5 season points, a loss means 11.0 points.

CULIACAN (14-18) could conceivably be the top playoff seed thanks to their first half crown, but needs a win at Jalisco coupled with an Hermosillo loss to Mexicali to clinch fifth place and 12.5 points overall.

JALISCO (12-20) is tied with Obregon for seventh place but the Charros get the 3.5 second-half points if the tie holds because they bested the Yaquis in direct competition, but will finish last in overall points regardless.

OBREGON (12-20) could end up with those 3.5 points if the Yaquis win and Jalisco loses Friday, but it won't matter in either case...the best points total they can finish with is 8.5, one full point behind Mexicali. They're done.

And here we are.  There's some potential shuffling of the deck depending on what transpires in Friday night's regular season finales, but the six cards still be in play next week (and the two discards) have been determined for what promises to be a very interesting and competitive postseason.  This season's edition of the MexPac has seen some of the most evenly-matched teams in recent years and nobody should be shocked if the sixth playoff seed goes on to win the pennant.