Preview: Mexican Baseball League LMB to open on 20 May

Preview: Mexican Baseball League LMB to open on 20 May
The Sultanes de Monterrey will visit defending champions Acereros de Monclova to open the North Division. After the 594-game regular season, 12 of the 18 participants will advance to the playoffs.

The Mexican Baseball League (LMB, Liga Mexicana de Beisbol) will open its 2021 season on Thursday, 20 May, with the Sultanes de Monterrey visiting the defending LMB champions, the Acereros de Monclova.

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The 18 participating teams will be split into a northern and a southern division. After a 594-game regular season, each club will play 66 games, the top six finishers of each division will advance to the playoffs.

The Acereros de Monclova won the 2019 edition and are the reigning champions since the 2020 season didn't take place due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Manager Pat Listach, who led them to the 2019 title, will count on former Major League Baseball (MLB) All-Star Bartolo Colon as part of the pitching staff.

The Sultanes de Monterrey may be their biggest rival. Manager Homar Rojas will count on Mexican National Team/2019 WBSC Premier12 bronze medal hero Matt Clark.

Another strong candidate for the title are the Toros de Tijuana, managed by former MLB superstar Omar Vizquel. Mexican MLB legend Oliver Perez will lead the pitching staff, with former MLB ace Fernando Rodney as the closer. WBSC Premier12 bronze medal walk-off hero Efren Navarro is also on the roster.

Felix Fermin, who won the 2020-21 Dominican Winter League, will manage the Generales de Durango, which features reigning batting champion Daniel Mayora.

Expansion team Mariachis de Guadalajara, managed by Benjamin Gil, will have former MLB All-Star Adrian Gonzalez as the main attraction.

The Leones de Yucatan came just one game short of the 2019 title and look like the team to beat in the southern division. Manager Geronimo Gil will count on the power of Italy's Alex Liddi, Cuba's Yadir Drake and Mexican veteran Luis Pepon Juarez.

The legendary 16-title winners Mexico City Diablos Rojos will be for sure in the race for a championship title. Manager Miguel Ojeda led them to their last title in 2016 and will count on Cuban National League standout Lisban Correa and veterans Roberto Osuna and Jorge Cantù.

The Pericos de Puebla are another title contender. Manager Carlos Alberto Gastelum will count on a lot of power with Puerto Rican Danny Ortiz, Dominican Wilin Rosario and Venezuelan Gorkys Hernandez in the lineup.

Legend Francisco Campos will manage the Piratas de Campeche, a team with its strength in a six-man pitching rotation.

Former MLB star Yasiel Puig will feature on the roster of El Aguila de Veracruz, the other expansion team, which Leo Rodriguez will manage.