Chihuahuas Look Better than Ever Going into Second Half Schedule
Midway into June, the Chihuahuas were struggling badly to get over .500 and back into postseason talks. They had been inconsistent in the month of May and the first part of June, but hit a lull on June 15 after losing a three-game series Nashville, 2-1, at home. They stood smack in the middle of the PCL Pacific Southern standings at 33-35, with not much momentum under their belt.
But then the the train went up, up and up; higher than El Paso’s seen all season. Since the series loss to Nashville, the Chihuahuas have won four series and split just one, including two sweeps (Sacramento and Salt Lake). They turned their sub .500 record to the best team overall in the Pacific Southern Division, elapsing both Salt Lake and Albuquerque for first place.
Now on this July evening, the dogs will endure their last half of the season in a four-game series against Reno, and things couldn’t be better for El Paso, who holds a five-game advantage over Salt Lake in second place. They have won 16 of their last 19 games before the All-Star break.
Batting by committee
It’s not one single player that jumps out on the box score when it comes to batting on the Chihuahuas. Rather, it’s a hit-by-committee approach, where certain players find their mean streaks. The team’s top three batters, respectively, are Austin Hedges, Travis Jankowski, Carlos Asuaje and Franmil Reyes, who are all currently with the Padres. Beyond those four are a list of consistent hitters on the squad, like Forrestt Allday (.323/.433/.484), Allen Craig (.296/.366/.505), Brett Nicholas (.296/.366/.517) and even recently named PCL All-Star Luis Urias (.278/.391/.411).
Again, not heavy hitters, or even batters that stand out on paper, but they each get the job done. None of the team features any individual PCL league-leaders in RBIs, home runs (although, Reyes is still up there with 15 in the minors), hits or runs. In fact, as a team, El Paso ranks in the middle among PCL team batting, with a .266 average.
Pitching remains consistent
PCL All-Star RHP Brett Kennedy leads the way for the Chihuahuas pitching staff, marking an impressing 7-0 (2.58 ERA) record. He’s been an anchor for El Paso and pitches lights-out whenever he starts.
Historically, El Paso’s been inconsistent when it comes to pitching. In fact, it seems like toward the end of the season each year, the team is tasked to scrape together what it can in terms of pitching, but ultimately it becomes their achilles heel.
That hasn’t been the case thus far, as El Paso ranks among the better pitching staffs in the PCL. They’ve pitched the most innings thus far, with 798.1 IP, and holds a 4.49 ERA. Other tough pitchers for El Paso include Luis Perdomo (6-2, 3.10 ERA) and Dillon Overton (3-2, 2.72 ERA).