by Bruce Baskin
March 7, 2011 - Mexican League (ML) - Mexico City Red Devils
The Diablos had another great regular season, finishing with the best record in the LMB North, but lost in the first playoff round to Saltillo after leading 3 games to 0. Owner Alfredo Harp Helu expects Liga pennants to fly at Foro Sol. Thus, pressure is on manager Mako Oliveras in 2011 to cop a title.
Oliveras\' team seems to have the talent. Most players are back from a team that led the league in hitting (.322), homers (110) and RBIs (617) last summer. 1Bs Japhet Amador and Mario Valdez combined to hit .365 with 23 homers and 102 ribbies, OFs Mario Valenzuela, newcomer Leo Heras and Ivan Terrazas each hit over .326, and Geronimo Gil (.330) gives Mexico City one of the best vet catchers in the LMB. The Diablos have eight .300+ hitters in their lineup.
Mexico City led the Liga with 11 shutouts, but their pitching needed improvement. Esteban Yan (12-3/3.77) and Javier Martinez (11-2/3.31) were solid, while Elmer Dessens returns from MLB. Francisley Bueno (4-2/4.36) and Marco Quevedo (3-5/5.79) had good winters for Obregon\'s Caribbean Series champs, but they\'ll need to step things up. Former CS MVP Francisco Butto (1-0/2.81/8 saves) will be the closer.
Much is expected of the Diablos every year in Mexico City, and nothing will be different in 2011.