Five things to anticipate for the Chihuahuas’ playoffs

Back to Article
Back to Article

Five things to anticipate for the Chihuahuas’ playoffs

File Photo

File Photo

File Photo

Javier Cortez, Web Editor

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






After another successful regular season, the El Paso Chihuahuas are back in the playoffs for the 2016 Pacific Coast League pennant. Now, the Chihuahuas’ road to the PCL title starts with the Tacoma Rainiers in the Pacific Conference Championship round.

Game one of the best-of-five series starts Wednesday, Sept. 7 at 6:35 p.m. at Southwest University Park.

For those who have been sleeping under a rock this season, here are five things to know heading into the playoffs:

1. It’s been a struggle as of late

The Chihuahuas clinched their division five days ago, but the last two months of the season have not been kind to the men in red and black.

In August, the Chihuahuas went 12-18, at one point losing five straight games. Due to the late season slide, the Chihuahuas have the worst record of all four teams heading into the playoffs.

Suffice it to say, they will not be the favorites heading into the playoffs. The perennial favorites are the Nashville Sounds, who currently sit 25 games over .500.

2. They play better at home

Southwest University Park has undoubtedly the best home field advantage in the PCL. With the highest attendance numbers since it opened in 2014, the downtown park has been a huge boost to the Chihuahuas.

The noisy crowd makes it tough for the opposing team’s pitchers and the thin air makes the long ball all the more possible for the Chihuahua batters, one through four.

If you get tickets for a game, be ready for some noise and the long ball.

3.Tacoma is a tough out

In 16 games played over four series against Tacoma, the Chihuahuas are 5-11. The Chihuahuas’ best series against the Rainiers came back in April when they split a four-game series.

The Chihuahuas get the first two games at home, which is vital if they want to advance to the PCL Championship game. Tacoma has the best home record in the PCL at 44-26.

4. Pitching is still struggling

The Achilles heel of the Chihuahuas has always been pitching. They struggled three years ago when their best pitcher was a former MLB right fielder (Jason Lane), and much hasn’t changed since.

Bailed out by a power-hitting offense, which led the league in home runs and slugging percentage, the pitching staff has been up and down all season.

After a horrendous start to the season, pitching coach Patrick Bronswell called a staff meeting in late May, which appeared to change things. The Chihuahuas had a strong June, but unraveled in mid-July.

If the offense doesn’t produce runs, the Chihuahuas are going to be in trouble.

5.  They survived Sept. 1st

For those who don’t know, Sept. 1 in professional baseball is when MLB rosters expand from a 25 to a 40-man active roster. Every team calls up players to see what they can do in the last month of the season or to add some depth to their playoff roster.

In the case of the San Diego Padres, they don’t have to worry about the playoffs because they’re not going. Nevertheless, the Padres’ front office opted to leave the Chihuahuas’ core group in El Paso to compete for a PCL title, and, more importantly, to gain some big- game experience.

The core players still in El Paso include: PCL Rookie of the Year Carlos Asuaje, PCL MVP Hunter Renfroe, catcher Austin Hedges, and the Padres’ top prospect Manuel Margot.

With the rookie of the year and league MVP still on the team, the bulk of the team’s talent is still intact. Unless the Padres change their mind, expect to see those four players in Chihuahuas uniforms for the remainder of the season.

Javier Cortez may be reached at [email protected]

Print Friendly, PDF & Email