Albuquerque Isotopes 4 – Chihuahuas 3
Prospect Watch: Wednesday was the last game of the regular season, and El Paso played like they had nothing to play for. Right-hander Pedro Avila, who has been El Paso’s ace for most of the season, pitched one inning before handing the ball off to the bullpen. His two strikeouts today give him 124 on the season which is a new record for the Chihuahuas. The 124 strikeouts come nowhere close to Avila’s career-high of 170 that he reached in 2017, the season after he was acquired from the Nationals for Derek Norris. … Right-hander Michel Baez also had his final tune-up before the postseason. After missing last year following Tommy John surgery, Baez finished the season with a 4.91 ERA over 47.2 innings between Lake Elsinore, San Antonio, and El Paso. He also threw two scoreless innings for the Padres earlier in the season. The big Cuban righty topped out at 95 on Wednesday, below his average fastball this season and several clicks below where he was coming up through the system in 2018-2020. He’s largely shelved his slider over the last month of the season, relying heavily on his changeup. …
Offensively the team couldn’t get the big hit, going 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position. CJ Hinojosa finished the season with a three-hit game. The perfect night at the plate raised his OPS to .841 to just barely give him his best season statistically of his career (he had a .832 OPS last year). … With Brandon Dixon called up to the big league club, the team will rely more heavily on guys like Matthew Batten. After being demoted from San Diego, Batten did not experience the same success he did earlier in the season. Batten finished the season by reaching base in seven straight games including two home runs and nine RBI.
What Lies Ahead: El Paso will have an off-day, as they travel to Las Vegas to meet the Reno Aces in a one-game, winner-take-all PCL Championship Game. In the International League, the Durham Bulls will battle the Nashville Sounds for the International League title. If El Paso wins on Friday, they will play the International League champ for the overall Triple-A title on Sunday. The club announced Jay Groome, who worked an abbreviated start Tuesday, as their PCL Championship starter. Presumably, Avila will be available to start Sunday.