While the San Diego Padres have only the slightest of chance to make the playoffs in 2015 – their AAA affiliate is in a dead pennant race in the final days of the season. Thursday former big league players Will Middlebrooks, Rymer Liriano and Jake Goebbert homered as El Paso defeated rival Las Vegas 51’s to take over first place in the division by a half game.
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As reported by Bill Center, the Chihuahuas won 3 of 4 to take control of the division with 5 games left in 4 days. Speaking of Will Middlebrooks, in the 34 games he has played since being demoted to AAA he has gotten 37 hits and 4 home runs for a .264 average. He has been playing 1B more often as well to increase his versatility in the majors.
Rymer Liriano also smacked his 14th home run of the year and Goebbert hit his 10th of the year. Starter Daniel McCutchen allowed one run on 4 hits over 7 innings, with Tayron Guerrero and Aaron Northcraft rounding out the evening with a scoreless inning each.
Top Padres prospect Hunter Renfroe collected a hit on the night and continues to adjust just fine to AAA pitching. He is already up to 6 home runs in just 67 at-bats after hitting 14 in 421 AAA at-bats.
For the Padres to see continued success they have to have success at the minor league level, and it is easy to forget that even a guy like Will Middlebrooks is still just 26 years old. Sometimes a little more seasoning and the chance to make adjustments can salvage a promising career that was starting to get sidetracked. How the big league club will use potential reinforcements like Goebbert and Liriano remains to be seen with their older outfield and the question mark of where Justin Upton will be in 2016.
Every game matters from here on out for the Chihuahua’s – stay tuned to FriarsOnBase to find out what happens.
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