Three out of the four minor league full-season teams made the playoffs for the San Diego Padres.
Lake Elsinore had a decent squad at one point, but the majority of their viable talent was promoted to San Antonio at some point in the season.
El Paso was in Reno and playing against the Aces in game one of their series. The Chihuahuas rallied to make the playoffs and they appear to be playing the game with little to lose. The team is filled with players who received major league service time at some point this season. The veteran squad has played some of its best baseball in the last few weeks of the season. It continued on Wednesday.
In game one of the series, El Paso won 3-1 behind a quality performance from right-handed pitcher, Chris Huffman. He allowed only one run on six hits over 6.1 innings pitched. The 24-year-old pitcher started the year in Lake Eksinore, but was able to make the successful jump all the way to Triple-A. In his 26 starts this season, Huffman has maintained a 3.18 ERA between three affiliates. Hunter Renfroe slammed a solo home run on Wednesday and Franchy Cordero hit two doubles in his four at bats for El Paso. Game two will be Thursday in Reno as Bryan Rodriguez and Taylor Clarke do battle at the Greater Nevada Field.
The San Antonio Missions ran into a buzz saw, as left-handed pitcher A.J. Puk opposed the team. The former #1 pick went four shutout innings, striking out eight and walking four. Thankfully, the pitch count got him as his threw 74 pitches and left with a 5-0 lead. Enyel De Los Santos has had his trouble with Midland this year and it continued on Wednesday as he only went five innings, allowing five earned runs on 10 hits. The right-handed pitcher was not effective on the night and put the Missions in a hole early.
San Antonio was not able to dig themselves out, as Yimmi Brasoban relieved De Los Santos and allowed three runs in his two innings. In the end, the Missions lost 9-2 as they struck out 12 times and only recorded six hits (they did walk seven times). Ty France (2-5) and Austin Bousfield (2-3) were the hitting stars, but little else was accomplished offensively. Brett Kennedy and James Naile will match up on Thursday at Nelson Wolff Stadium, as the Missions look to even up the series.
Fort Wayne won 3-1 behind the right arm of Michael Baez. The right-handed pitcher was dominant, as usual, going seven shutout innings and striking out nine batters. Baez only allowed five singles on the day and walked merely one batter. The six-foot, eight-inch pitcher is constantly capable of repeating his motion. He has a very high ceiling, and quite frankly a very high floor as well. He is going to be special.
Hansel Rodriguez went the last 1.1 innings, as the right-handed closer continues to pitch flawlessly out of the pen. A.J. Kennedy provided all the offense the team would need as he hit a two-run home run off Mikey York in the second inning with two outs. The defensive-minded catcher provided a nice offensive spark out of the nine-hole for a TinCaps team battling on the road. Pedro Avila will start game two tomorrow night at Parkview Field. The curve ball specialist will be looking to give Fort Wayne the 2-0 series lead.
El Paso Chihuahuas (Won 3-1)
Chris Huffman 6.1 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 3 K
Franchy Cordero (2-4) 2 2b
Hunter Renfroe (1-4) HR, RBI, Run
San Antonio Missions (Lost 9-2)
Enyel De Los Santos 5 IP, 10 H, 5 ER, 1 BB, 7 K
Ty France (2-5) 2 RBI
Austin Bousfield (2-3) 2b, BB
Fort Wayne TinCaps (Won 2-1)
Michel Baez 7 IP, 5 H, 1 BB, 9 K
Kyle Overstreet (2-3) 2b, BB
A.J. Kennedy (1-4) HR, 2 RBI, Run