LMB: A Preview of the 2023 Zona Sur Playoffs

Estadio Alfredo Harp Helu in Mexico City is the home of the Diablos Rojos de Mexico, who took first place in the Liga Mexicana de Beisbol’s Zona Sur in the 2023 regular season. (Photo: Leif Skodnick/World Baseball Network)

By Matthew Tallarini
World Baseball Network

The 2023 Liga Mexicana de Beisbol playoffs will begin on August 8. Twelve teams from both divisions, the Zona Norte and Zona Sur, will play best-of-seven series through the final out of the Serie del Rey championship. 

The first round of the playoffs from both divisions will run from August 8-17. 

The Series de Zona will run from August 18-27, followed by the Series de Campeonato from August 28-September 6. The LMB final, known as the Serie del Rey, will be played September 8-16. 

All Liga Mexicana de Beisbol playoff games will be streamed on https://www.jonron.tv/ with a paid subscription. 

Diablos Rojos del México – 55-32, 1st Place 
Manager – Victor Bojorquez 
Serie del Rey Championships (17) – 1956, 1964, 1968, 1973, 1974, 1976, 1981, 1985, 1987, 1988, 1994, 1999, 2002, 2003, 2008, 2014

Diablo Rojos del México has the most titles in Liga Mexican de Beisbol history with 16 since the league’s founding in 1925. The Diablos have the best record this year in the LMB with a winning percentage of .632.  

The organization leads the league in batting average at .301, on-base percentage at .396, slugging percentage at .465, and on-base plus slugging percentage at .862. 

Diablos Rojos center fielder Julius Ornelas has played in 86 games, batting .352 in 349 at-bats with 123 hits, 31 doubles, 14 home runs, 71 RBI, 63 walks and a 1.024 OPS. Designated hitter Japhet Amador appeared in 78 games with 310 at-bats, batting .335 with 104 hits, 16 doubles, 15 home runs, 78 RBI, and 37 walks along with a .938 OPS. 

The Diablos Rojos pitching staff had a combined 4.34 ERA in the regular season. They allowed only 58 home runs, tied for second fewest in the league with Leones de Yucatan. Sultanes de Monterrey has given up 52 home runs this regular season. 

Starting pitcher Steven Moyers is the key man in the Diablos Rojos starting rotation this postseason. He went 10-0 during the regular season, posting a 3.77 ERA in 17 starts and throwing 88.1 innings while allowing 106 hits, seven home runs, 11 walks, and 62 strikeouts with a 1.32 WHIP. 

Olmecas de Tabasco – 46-37, 2nd Place 
Manager – Pedro Mere 
Serie del Rey Championships (1) – 1993

The Olmecas de Tabasco pitching staff leads the LMB with a 3.55 ERA and a WHIP of 1.317.  Olmecas pitchers have also given up the fewest hits in the league, 651, and just 283 earned runs while tossing 13 shutouts during the regular season. 

Olmecas is last in the league with 49 home runs offensively, though shortstop Jasson Atondo had a productive bat this regular season, playing in 73 games with 280 plate appearances, batting .331 with 83 hits, 17 doubles, one home run, 32 RBI, and 21 walks. 

Left fielder Roel Santos contributed offensively this season, playing in 63 games and batting .310 with 78 hits, 16 doubles, four triples, four home runs, 30 RBI, eight stolen bases, 27 walks and an .834 OPS. 

Starting pitcher Braulio Torres-Perez led the league in ERA with a 2.41 mark in 16 games starts, going 10-3 and throwing 78.1 innings while allowing 65 hits, six home runs, 28 walks, and 59 strikeouts with a 1.19 WHIP.  

El Águila de Veracruz – 48-40, 3rd Place 
Manager – Nestor Rojas 
Serie del Rey Championships (6) – 1937, 1938, 1952, 1961, 1970, 2012

El Águila de Veracruz will try to end an 11-year championship drought under interim manager Nestor Rojas, who replaced manager Matias Carrillo back on June 23 after the club started the regular season 23-28. Veracruz’s pitching staff has allowed the fewest hits in the league with 751 and has hit the most batters at 75. 

Veracruz shortstop Gustavo Nunez has had a productive bat this season, batting .326 in 85 games, knocking 116 hits, 11 doubles, three triples, four home runs, 41 RBI, and 26 walks, while leading the league in stolen bases with 36. 

First baseman Edwin Espinal should be an offensive factor for El Aguila’s lineup. He batted .312 in 86 games and 340 at-bats with 106 hits, 19 doubles, 11 home runs, 57 RBI, and 18 walks. 

Veracruz starting pitcher David Reyes will be the key to the starting rotation. During the regular season, Reyes went 7-7 in 18 starts, throwing 100 innings and allowing 102 hits, 12 home runs, 34 walks, and 55 strikeouts to go along with a 1.36 WHIP. 

Pericos de Puebla – 46-40, 4th Place 
Manager – Hector Hurtado
Serie del Rey Championships (4) – 1963, 1979, 1986, 2016 

The Pericos de Puebla will have a tough task facing Veracruz in the first round. The Pericos pitching staff has a 5.03 ERA along with five shutouts during the regular season and a strikeout-walk ratio of 1.96. 

Starting pitcher Yoimer Camacho is 11-2 with a 3.05 ERA in 17 starts during the regular season, throwing 97.1 innings, one shutout, and allowing 94 hits, seven home runs, 24 walks, and 75 strikeouts with a 1.21 WHIP. Gabriel Ynoa will be a big part of the postseason rotation. During the regular season, Ynoa went 7-3 with a 3.43 ERA, throwing 105 innings in 18 starts and  allowing 94 hits, 12 home runs, 26 walks, and striking out 65 batters with a 1.14 WHIP. 

Left fielder Peter O’Brien will be the key to Puebla’s offense. He batted .316 in 87 games with 313 at-bats, knocking 99 hits, 27 doubles, 20 home runs, 59 RBI, and 33 walks. 

Puebla first baseman Miguel Guzman led the team in the regular season with a .346 batting average in 70 games, recording 97 hits, 10 doubles, two home runs, 23 RBI, and 17 walks alongside an OPS at .802. 

Leones de Yucatán – 47-43, 5th Place 
Manager – Roberto Vizcarra 
Serie del Rey Championships (5) – 1957, 1984, 2006, 2018, 2022

The Leones de Yucatan is aiming for their sixth title after beating Sultanes de Monterrey in seven games at the 2022 Serie del Rey. The Leones pitching staff this season has allowed the second-fewest home runs in the LMB with 58 and walks with 286. The Leones offense is ranked 16th in batting average at .267. 

Starting pitcher Jake Thompson has put up productive numbers this season. During the regular season, Thompson went 6-3 with a 2.71 ERA in 18 starts, throwing 89.2 innings and allowing 89 hits, three home runs, 36 walks, and 83 strikeouts with a 1.39 WHIP. 

Henderson Alvarez is the best second option for Leones during the postseason. He went 6-4 with a 3.68 ERA in 15 starts this year, throwing 78.1 innings allowing 92 hits, one home run, 12 walks, and 38 strikeouts with a 1.33 WHIP. 

Leones left fielder Jose Martinez can be a huge factor for their offense during the playoffs. Martinez played in 88 games with 323 at-bats batting .316 recording 102 hits, 18 doubles, 15 home runs, 70 RBI, and 57 walks along with an OPS at .932. Right fielder Yadir Drake could also be a key contributor after he batted .360 in 89 games this season with 120 hits, 21 doubles, six home runs, 66 RBI, and 39 walks with an OBP of .903. 

Tigres de Quintana Roo – 39-51, 6th Place
Manager – Carlos Gastelum
Serie del Rey Championships (12) – 1955, 1960, 1965, 1966, 1992, 1997, 2000, 2001, 2005, 2011, 2013, 2015

The Tigres de Quintana Roo offense has the second-lowest batting average in the LB this season at .259, while the Tigres’ pitching staff was second in the league in strikeouts with 669. 

Tigres first baseman Reynaldo Rodriguez has put up stellar numbers this season, batting .368 with a 1.002 OPS in 76 games, smacking 113 hits, 18 doubles, 16 home runs, 62 RBI, and 25 walks. Third baseman Angel Erro could play a crucial role in the Tigres’ offense during the postseason. He batted .285 with 75 hits, eight doubles, one triple, 10 home runs, 36 RBI, and 26 walks during the regular season. 

Starter Raul Carillo went 8-5 during the regular season throwing 86 innings posting a 3.66 ERA in 17 starts allowing 89 hits, five home runs, 30 walks, and striking out 63 batters along with a 1.34 WHIP. 

Tigres starting pitcher Darel Torres has the most strikeouts in the league during the regular season at 100. Torres posted a 6-6 record with a 4.10 ERA in 17 starts throwing 85.2 innings allowing 65 hits, 11 home runs, and walked 51 batters including a 1.35 WHIP. 

2023 Liga Mexicana de Beisbol Zona Sur Schedule
*if necessary 

No. 1 Diablos Rojos del México vs. No. 6 Tigres de Quintana Roo 
Game 1 – August 8, 9 p.m. EDT – at Mexico City
Game 2 – August 9, 9 p.m. EDT – at Mexico City
Game 3 – August 11, 8:30 p.m. EDT – at Quintana Roo 
Game 4 – August 12, 8 p.m. EDT – at Quintana Roo  
Game 5 – August 13, 6 p.m. EDT – at Quintana Roo*
Game 6 – August 15, 9 p.m. EDT – at Mexico City* 
Game 7 – August 16, 9 p.m. EDT – at Mexico City* 

No. 2 Olmecas de Tabasco vs. No. 5 Leones de Yucatán
Game 1 – August 8, 10 p.m. EDT – at Tabasco
Game 2 – August 9, 10 p.m. EDT – at Tabasco
Game 3 – August 11, 9:30 p.m. EDT – at Yucatán
Game 4 – August 12, 8 p.m. EDT – at Yucatán 
Game 5 – August 13, 7 p.m. EDT – at Yucatán*
Game 6 – August 15, 10 p.m. EDT – at Tabasco* 
Game 7 – August 16, 10 p.m. EDT – at Tabasco* 

No. 3 El Águila de Veracruz vs. No. 4 Pericos de Puebla
Game 1 – August 8, 10 p.m. EDT – at Veracruz
Game 2 – August 9, 10 p.m. EDT – at Veracruz
Game 3 – August 11, 9:30 p.m. EDT – at Puebla
Game 4 – August 12, 6 p.m. EDT – at Puebla
Game 5 – August 13, 6 p.m. EDT – at Puebla*
Game 6 – August 15, 8 p.m. EDT – at Veracruz*
Game 7 – August 16, 8 p.m. EDT – at Veracruz*

Correction: An early version of this story listed Jesse Garcia as the manager of Tigres de Quintana Roo. Garcia was fired midseason and replaced with Carlos Gastelum.

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