Writing > Sometimes games that should be lost are won

April 21, 2012: Sometimes games that should be lost are won

Diablos Rojos del México 7 Pericos de Puebla 6
7:00pm Friday April 20, 2012
Time: 3:17
Attendance: 1,959

Attendance this season has been very poor. Of the seven games that I've attended so far, there's not been more than two thousand at any of the games that haven't been against (former local) rivals, Tigres de Quintana Roo. It seems way down on last season. I'm just guessing from a cursory scan of the box scores of those games, but in 2011, there was usually between four and eight thousand at most games. But last season, the Diablos were pretty good. Last season, the pitching wasn't quite as bad, and the offense could fill in the gaps.

But this season, the pitching has been awful. Team ERA is 6.72, the worst in the league. Team WHIP is 1.720. They've struck out the most opposing batters (216 Ks in 30 games), and they've walked the most, too (117). They are currently 12-18, joint-bottom in the Zona Norte division, 7.5 games back from the 19-10 Sultanes de Monterrey. There are eight teams in each zona, the top four in each advance to the playoffs in July/August.

Listening to the River Avenue Blues podcast yesterday on the way to the game, Joe and Mike were talking about how the Yankees offense can't be expected to constantly get out of the hole the pitching digs, and watching the Diablos seems like that every single game. I've only been to one game this season where they had a lead at the start of the game (and even then they turned that 3-0 lead into a 6-3 deficit in the second inning).

Last night's game was more of the same. Pericos scored one in the second and third, added three more in the fourth, and their pitcher had faced the minimum through 3.1 innings. The Diablos drew a walk, a single, and three doubles in the bottom of the fourth to make close the gap to 5-4. Pericos tacked on another in the fifth. Both teams somehow seemed to pitch okay for a couple more innings, and then the Diablos got to Puebla's relieve Jose Cobos: a single, double, and home run made it 7-6 Diablos.

Juan Sandoval came in, put the tying run on third, who would've scored were it not for a great catch by right fielder Mario Valenzuela off a Valentin Gamez line drive. And again, to record the final out of the game, first baseman Ivan Terrazas dove to his right to grab a bullet and flip it to the pitcher. Regular first baseman Japhet Amador would never ever have got to that.

But it was one of those games which I still have problems quantifying. For example, when I watch a soccer game, it's easy to see that, say, Barcelona had way more possession than Chelsea, and the latter sneaked a goal and won the game. But last night, did Pericos deserve to win? I kinda think they did. They had runners in scoring position in seven of the nine innings, going 2-for-12. They left 12 on base. Diablos went 5-for-11 with RISP, leaving only five on base. I could say that Diablos were better when they needed to be, but overall, it felt like they stole this one a little bit. Still, when they are six games under .500, I'll take it.