Following Sweep, Las Vegas Positioned Right Behind El Paso in PCL Standings
Coming off a strong road outing, where the Chihuahuas won two of the three games at Las Vegas Ballpark, the Aviators stormed through Southwest University Park and swept El Paso in a three-game series to be just one game behind the first-place Chihuahuas in the Pacific Coast League Southern Divison.
It was the first time that El Paso was swept all season.
Las Vegas out-scored El Paso 41-14 in the three-game series while belting 20 home runs throughout the weekend, including a PCL-record 11 home runs on Friday night.
So now Vegas (62-45) is breathing down El Paso's (63-43) neck in the standings with 33 games left in the regular season. Both teams split their 16 games against each other this season. Both squads are also 21-18 in the division. The Chihuahuas have been atop the standings since April 26 and now comes the final stretch of the season.
It's been a strange second half to the season for El Paso. They have lost 10 of 18 games following the All-Star break. Their bullpen has given up a considerable amount of runs throughout the past weeks, forcing the hitting to be sharp every night.
As a team, their bullpen falls in the middle of the pack for almost every major stat. But through the past 10 games, El Paso pitchers have allowed their opponents to score an average of 8.8 runs per game.
And as well as the Chihuahuas are hitting on the season, Las Vegas is right there with them. Vegas leads the PCL in team hits (1,076) and El Paso leads the league in runs (702). The Aviators have three of the five top statistical hitters in the league, such as Jorge Mateo (131), Sheldon Neuse (127) and Corban Joseph (125).
Since Las Vegas and El Paso are on par with each other in terms of their bats, then what will truly separate one another will be the pitching. If the Chihuahuas can get their pitching to where it was and go back to their streaky days of April, where they won 12 in a row, they could take the division yet again. But if they continue to falter in the bullpen, the Aviators could ellipse the Chihuahuas and take the division title.
El Paso will now embark on a back-to-back road trip series against Nashville and Memphis, respectively, this week. You can catch all the games on 600 ESPN El Paso.