Reno, El Paso facing off in PCL title game
The only constant on a Triple-A roster is change. Players are sent up to and down from the Majors as well as promoted from lower levels. And through all the movement, it takes a special group to be able to consistently post W’s, no matter the lineup that night. Padres
The only constant on a Triple-A roster is change. Players are sent up to and down from the Majors as well as promoted from lower levels.
And through all the movement, it takes a special group to be able to consistently post W’s, no matter the lineup that night.
Padres affiliate El Paso and the D-backs’ Reno did just that, winning their respective divisions to meet in the Pacific Coast League Championship at 10 p.m. ET on Friday in Las Vegas. The victor will go on to face the International League winner as part of the Triple-A Triple Championship. All three games are free on MiLB.TV.
“It’s a revolving door,” said Chihuahuas manager Jared Sandberg, as 88 different players donned his club's jersey this year. “At the Triple-A level, all the teams are going to go through it, but 88 is a lot of different players, and it's been a great experience and very positive.”
The skipper is no stranger to turning the challenge of turnover into a successful ballclub, having won back-to-back International League titles with Durham before spending a couple years in the big leagues with the Mariners. In his first year with the Padres organization, Sandberg has felt the trickle-down effect of San Diego’s “winning vibe” in recent years.
Just two players were with the Chihuahuas all season long – pitchers
“We had [
“At the Trade Deadline, we had a lot of players come up throughout the organization, so it just shows the depth the Padres organization has throughout the Minor Leagues, even though you're trading away some prospects but you're able to fill in at the upper levels.”
En route to the East Division crown, Reno posted the best winning percentage in the league (.574), tying El Paso with 85 wins while totaling two fewer losses. Aces skipper Gil Velazquez said the squad is always prepared for good at-bats, no matter what the game situation.
For 33 contests, Reno was home to
“That clubhouse that we have in there is probably one of the best clubhouses I've ever seen in baseball,” Velazquez said. “These guys care about each other. They love coming to the ballpark on a daily basis and just playing to win on a daily basis.”
On Friday, the Aces will give the ball to
“He throws a lot of pitches in the strike zone and he gets a lot of swings-and-misses in the strike zone with his fastball and slider,” Velazquez said. “He doesn't walk a lot of guys. He just has really good stuff, and it's pretty electric.”
About three weeks ago, Sandberg and Mike McCarthy started mapping out the rotation in the leadup to a potential title game, thinking Trade Deadline acquisition
This season, Reno sported a slight 5-4 edge over El Paso in head-to-head competition, paving the way for a close matchup for the PCL crown.
“Every time we've played them, it's been an interesting game,” Velazquez said. “One mistake can cost you a game, so you got to really lock in and be ready to play really clean baseball.”
With the one-game format, Sandberg said all his pitchers will be available.
“You try to play mistake-free baseball,” the Chihuahuas manager said. “We're going to put the guys in the best spot possible and go out there and compete for a one-game championship.”
Kelsie Heneghan is a writer for MiLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @Kelsie_Heneghan.