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Five Takeaways From The New York Yankees Series Against the Diablos Rojos del Mexico

 Leif Skodnick  |    Mar 26th, 2024 2:32pm EDT

Robinson Cano of Diablos Rojos hits the ball in the second inning during a spring training game between Diablos Rojos and New York Yankees at Estadio Alfredo Harp Helu on March 25, 2024 in Mexico City, Mexico. (Photo by Hector Vivas/Getty Images)

For the first time since 1968, the New York Yankees faced the Diablos Rojos del Mexico in a pair of exhibition games at Estadio Alfredo Harp Helu in Mexico City.

Here are five takeaways from the historic exhibition series:

The Diablos Rojos Were Competitive With The Yankees – And saying they were competitive is selling them short, as they won both games against a Yankees split squad was mostly made up of Major League players. They took the first game 4-3, holding on for the one-run victory despite allowing three runs in the top of the ninth on March 24, and followed that up with an 8-5 win on March 25.

Trevor Bauer Is Still Effective, But… – Bauer threw three shutout innings, allowing four hits, walking two and striking out three in the series opener. He’s clearly still an effective starting pitcher, as evidenced by his performance in NPB last year, where he went 10-4 with a 2.76 ERA for the Yokohama DeNA BayStars. The Liga Mexicana de Beisbol, and Mexico City specifically, is an interesting choice for Bauer’s latest stop as he tries to get back into Major League Baseball. Bauer is a pitcher who relies on movement, and the simple fact is that pitches move less in the high altitude of Mexico City. He’s expected to start on April 13, taking the mound for the Diablos Rojos home opener against the Tigres de Quintana Roo. Whether an MLB team will sign him will come down to a general manager deciding that the benefit of what Bauer brings to the mound outweighs the negative public relations hit that a team would take for signing Bauer in the wake of the allegations of sexual assault that led to a suspension from MLB and his release from the Los Angeles Dodgers. Is there a GM out there who will sign Bauer? Not at this point of the season, but he’s going to make several regular season starts for the Diablos Rojos, so he’ll be ready if a team calls.

Luis Serna Looked Good – He’s only 19, and the native of San Luis Rio Colorado, Sonora, Mexico, looked good through his first two innings. Suffice to say, Serna, who signed with the Yankees on May 11, 2021, hadn’t found himself in a moment like that as a professional, wearing the Yankee pinstripes on the mound in the capital city of his home country. The threw 2.1 innings on March 25, and gave up one hit and one walk in his first two innings. The adrenaline may have caught up with him in the bottom of the third, when he loaded the bases on two singles and a walk, then walked in a run and allowed a grand slam to Diosbel Arias.

A Familiar Face In a Different Place – At 41, Robinson Cano looked spry, going 4-for-7 with a homer in the first game. Cano was spectacular in the Caribbean Series, playing second base for the Dominican Republic’s Tigres del Licey, batting .357/.400/.536 in eight games with five RBI and a homer – by far the best he’d played since the COVID-19 Pandemic shortened 2020 season, when he played 49 games for the Mets and batted .316 with 10 homers. He’s almost certainly never coming back to Major League Baseball as a player, but Yankees fans undoubtedly felt nostalgic watching him play well for the Diablos Rojos.

MLB Is a Draw In CDMX – The series between the Yankees and the Diablos Rojos drew 20,735 on March 24 and 20,624 on March 25, for a total of 41,359. Last year, the series between the San Francisco Giants and San Diego Padres drew 39,244 over two games. This bodes well for the upcoming 2024 MLB Mexico City Series, which pits the Houston Astros against the Colorado Rockies at Estadio Alfredo Harp Helu on April 27-28.