EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — When the El Paso Chihuahuas take the field at Southwest University Park on Thursday night for their home opener, they will have gone 620 days in-between home games. Even with the long layover following the cancelation of the 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Chihuahuas fans expect to pickup right where they left off as one of the top Triple-A fan bases in all of Minor League Baseball (MiLB).
The Chihuahuas announcing on Tuesday that Thursday’s home opener will be considered a sellout, with capacity set at 70% (nearly 6,000 fans). Sellouts have been a common occurrence at Southwest University Park since MiLB arrived in El Paso.
“We are thankful to have baseball back in 2021 and judging by the response from Chihuahuas fans, so is El Paso,” said MountainStar Sports Group Senior Vice President and Chihuahuas General Manager Brad Taylor. “We cannot wait to welcome guests to what is sure to be a very energetic and emotional Opening Night and weekend.”
Chihuahuas fans are in for a real treat on Thursday night, as the top pitching prospect in all of Major League Baseball (MLB) is expected to start for El Paso. MacKenzie Gore, who is MLB.com’s No. 6 prospect and has drawn comparisons to some of MLB’s greatest left-handed pitchers.
“He [Gore] prepares himself physically and mentally to the game,” said Chihuahuas manager Edwin Rodriguez. “I think the Chihuahuas fans are going to get the chance to see, hopefully, another Clayton Kershaw. I’m telling you, man, we’re talking about 94-95 MPH with above average secondary pitches.”
Gore made his Triple-A debut last Friday with the Chihuahuas in Tacoma. He was roughed up by the Rainiers in four innings of work, giving up three runs on five hits. However, it’s hard to argue with his body of work in 2019. Gore went 9-2 in 20 starts between Single-A and Double-A. In 101.0 innings pitched, the former No. 3 overall draft pick by the Padres in 2017 had an earned run average (ERA) of 1.69 and struck out 135 batters.
First pitch at Southwest University Park is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. as the Chihuahuas play host to the Albuquerque Isotopes, the Triple-A affiliate of the Colorado Rockies.