The El Paso Chihuahuas At The All-Star Break And A Look Ahead To The Second Half Of The Season
It has been a fast trip to the first All-Star break in El Paso Chihuahuas history. From the opening 24 game road trip to start the season, to the much anticipated homecoming and opening of the breath taking Southwest University Park.
Cody Decker treated the world to one of the funniest prank videos ever when he showed us that the Chihuahuas convinced Jeff Francoeur that Jorge Reyes was deaf. Speaking of Francoeur, he got the baseball world buzzing again with his debut as a relief pitcher. We saw a walk off grand slam form Jake Lemmerman, multiple comebacks from six or more runs down, won the Minor League Baseball "Best Hat" contest and recently the PCL giving the Chihuahuas a win due to a rules infraction by the Albuquerque Isotopes.
Plus, before this break came, the Chihuahuas broke a City of El Paso attendance record for minor league baseball with 334,978 El Pasoans to walk through the doors of Southwest University Park! Not bad for a city that had a tough time not only getting the park built but accepting the name 'Chihuahuas'.
The Chihuahuas will begin the second half of the season eight games back of Las Vegas and kick it off with a four game road trip in Fresno against the Grizzlies. They're not in a bad spot. Eight games is manageable but don't kid yourself, they will need some help from Vegas.
What went wrong for the Chihuahuas in the first half of their inaugural season?
The 24 game road trip to start the season was a back breaker. Credit to Manager Pat Murphy for getting the Chihuahuas to 48-50 to this point because that alone put the Chihuahuas in a spot that no team could succeed in. Not to mention the player movement the Chihuahuas have had, especially pitchers. With Minor League Baseball you expect movement with players but 100 transactions at the All-Star break is a lot. These two things alone were enough to bury anybody so we really can't complain about second place to this point.
What can we expect in the second half?
Sadly the second half could and should see the departure of fan favorite, Jeff Francoeur. With the way his contract is structured he can leave when a Major League club wants to sign him and that could happen pretty quick. Not many Triple A teams gets a player of Frenchy's quality for this long. You should see the continued growth of pitcher Matt Wisler, who has been getting better with every start. Also, look for pitching to be what makes or breaks the Chihuahuas in the second half. Expect more player movement between El Paso and San Diego with the Padres 12 games back in the NL West. Bobby LaFromboise, Donn Roach, Cody Decker and Jonathan Galvez could get the call from the Padres.
Overall, no one should have anything to complain about, not even the parking situation downtown because there isn't one. This has been a great start to the beginning of the El Paso Chihuahuas and I would venture to guess that even MountainStar Sports Group, President Alan Ledford or GM Brad Taylor didn't expect what has taken place with the way this city has taken in the Chihuahuas and embraced them.
Here's to a great second half, El Paso! Go Chihuahuas!