From BR Bullpen
Oscar Rivera Ruiz
- Bats Left, Throws Left
- Height 6' 2", Weight 185 lb.
Oscar Rivera has been the most visible pitcher in the Mexican League postseason from 2005-2007. Unfortunately, it is difficult to track his statistics, as major sources like the Baseball Almanac and Pat Doyle database sometimes mix his stats with those of another Oscar Rivera.
Rivera debuted for the Yucatan Lions in 2001, going 2-1 with a 1.61 ERA in 21 relief appearances. At age 21, he was 1-1 with a 2.66 ERA in 26 outings, but he fell to 1-0, 7.24 in 23 games in 2003. In 2004, Rivera entered the rotation and had a solid 6-5, 3.30 record in the hitter-dominated circuit. Had he qualified, he would have ranked 11th in the Liga in ERA.
Rivera went 7-6 with a 3.92 ERA in 2005. He just missed the league's top 10. With a crucial game seven in the playoffs against the Oaxaca Warriors, led by Felix Jose, the left-hander threw the first postseason perfect game in the history of the LMB. In the next series, he again won game seven with a shutout, 4-0 over the Tabasco Olmecas. This enabled Yucatan to become the second team in Liga history to rally from a 3-0 deficit to take a playoff series.
Rivera was 9-7 with a 3.73 ERA in 2006. He missed the top 10 in ERA for a third straight season and led with 112 strikeouts but again shone in the playoffs. He started the final game of the championship against the Monterrey Sultans and fanned 8 in 7 innings while allowing one run, allowing Yucatan to remain in the contest and win, 2-1, in extra innings. He had gone 2-0 with a 1.57 ERA in the postseason, allowing only 15 hits in 28 2/3 IP while striking out 31, the most of the playoffs.
The left-hander got a shot in the USA in 2007. The Colorado Rockies picked up Rivera from Yucatan with an option to keep his contract for $1.3 million pending a trial. He was 0-1 for the Tulsa Drillers, allowing one hit and three runs (all unearned) in 3 innings. For the Colorado Springs Sky Sox, he was 1-1 with a 4.66 ERA in two games, then was returned to Yucatan. He was 4-2 with a 0.78 ERA in 8 games for the Lions.
In the 2007 Pan American Games, Rivera was 0-1 with a 3.60 ERA, taking the loss against the Gold Medal-winning Cubans.
Rivera helped Yucatan returned to the LMB finals in 2007 by beating the Mexico City Red Devils, 1-0, with a four-hitter. He pitched five shutout innings in his first appearance in the finals but his bullpen blew it in a 4-3 loss to the Monterrey Sultans. He got the call in game seven as they were hoping for his fourth Game 7 playoff shutout in 3 years. He did a solid job, allowing 2 runs in 6, both to Karim Garcia, but was outdueled by Walter Silva in taking a tough 2-1 loss. Despite a 2.97 ERA in the 2007 playoffs and a playoff-best 31 strikeouts in 36 1/3 IP (allowing 23 hits), Rivera was just 2-3 thanks to poor run support.
Rivera struggled in the 2008 Final Olympic Qualification Tournament, allowing 5 hits, 4 walks and 4 runs in 3 2/3 innings. His 9.82 ERA was second-highest on Mexico's staff as they failed to qualify for the 2008 Olympics.
Oscar was 12-4 with a 2.60 ERA for the Yucatan Lions in 2008 and allowed only 96 hits in 121 1/3 IP in the high-scoring Mexican League. Rivera tied for second in wins, behind Nerio Rodriguez, and was 5th in ERA. In the 2008 Americas Baseball Cup, he went 2-0 with a 2.53 ERA to tie for the win lead. He fanned 16 in 10 2/3 IP, tying for third in Ks behind Walter Silva and Pablo Morales.
Sources: Sportsline.com; lists some of the other Oscar Rivera's stats too, 2005-2007 Baseball Almanacs, Pat Doyle's Professional Baseball Player Database, Viva Beisbol! Newsletter by Bruce Baskin, 2007 Pan American Games, MILB.com, IBAF site