Chihuahuas poised to make postseason run


Michaela Roman

Manager Pat Murphy has led the Chihuahuas fearlessly in his first season

Javier Cortez, Sports Editor

Heading into the All-Star break, the El Paso Chihuahuas seem to be hitting their stride. The rabid fans of El Paso seem to be right in line with the Chihuahuas as they look to make a run at the postseason.

The Chihuahuas started the season between a rock and a hard place—the Chihuahuas played their first 23 games on the road and finished the month of April eight games under .500. 

Once the Chihuahuas came home at the end of April, there was an immediate 180. After a 9-17 record in April, the Chihuahuas turned in an 18-13 record in the month of May.

Now the Chihuahuas are sitting in second place and are slowly coming into the playoff picture. After the four-day break, the Chihuahuas will have 44 more games to
make their run.

What’s been more impressive than the Chihuahuas fighting back into playoff contention is the dedication and loyalty by the fans of El Paso throughout the season. Thirty-two of the Chihuahuas’ 42 home games have sold out this season, and the fans social media support is only second to one other team in Triple-A baseball.

Southwest University Park is now seeing game goers from out of state avid baseball fan Justin Cross came all the way from Huntsville, Alabama, to see the Chihuahuas and their $72-million stadium.

“The park atmosphere is pretty good,” Cross said. “The ballpark is nice, better then I expected. I would say it’s one of the three best that I have been to, but it’s not really about the ballpark, but the atmosphere
that is created.”

The fan support for the Chihuahuas has not gone unnoticed. The players recognize the overwhelming generosity of the fans.

“They’re awesome,” said Chihuahuas right fielder Jeff Francoeur. “It’s fun to play like this every night. They give us a lot of motivation and they pick us up—there are a lot of long and tiring days, so to have them out there is a lot of fun.”

The advantage of playing at home has also had a positive effect. Jeff Francoeur started the season batting in the low .200s and has nearly brought his batting average up 100 points since Southwest University Park has opened.

No one has benefited more than designated hitter Jonathan Galvez, the Dominican has displayed some impressive numbers and happens to be the only player from the Chihuahuas playing in the PCL All-Star game.

“I feel very excited,” Galvez said. “I missed one month of the season at the start, so it’s very exciting and I am very happy. I’m going to be with my family, enjoying the moment and doing just that.”

Galvez is the only PCL All-Star to play less than 65 games and make the 29-man roster. Nevertheless, Galvez’s teammate Francoeur thinks he is very much deserving of a spot on the team.

“He’s done a great job for us and he’s well-deserved to go to the All-Star game,” Francoeur said. “We have a lot of guys that are worthy of making the All-Star team, but Galvy (Galvez) is going to represent us and represent us well.”

After the All-Star game, it’s all business for the Chihuahuas, they have 46 games left and each game is vital if they want to make it into the playoffs. Even though the Chihuahuas’ roster is slightly decimated due to players being called up to the majors and injuries, manager Pat Murphy thinks his team has a chance.

“I stand behind my guys,” Murphy said. “With these circumstances, we have done very good. Things haven’t gone our way, but that’s what happens when you play 144 games. But I want to see the guys go out on a good note for the fans and all the people that support us.” 

 Javier Cortez may be reached at [email protected]