Chiefs Clinch Playoffs, End Six-Year Drought

In the middle of the third inning of their contest with Quad Cities on Thursday, the Peoria Chiefs’ celebration commenced. Beloit had lost their game with Wisconsin, giving the Chiefs a spot in the Midwest League Playoffs. Of course, the real celebration would have to wait until the completion of their game with the River Bandits. The Chiefs would lose that contest 8-6 despite a valiant effort in the eighth inning, plating five runs in the frame. However, the loss was quickly put behind them as the entire team enjoyed a shower of champagne in the visitors locker room after the game to celebrate the Chiefs’ long-awaited return to the Midwest League Playoffs.

Chris Archer - 2009 Chiefs, 3rd in AL ROY

Chris Archer – 2009 Chiefs, 3rd in AL ROY

The last time the Chiefs made the playoffs came in the 2009 season, which sported major leaguers Chris Archer, Ryan Flaherty, Josh Harrison, Junior Lake and DJ LeMahieu on the squad. The Chiefs faced Cedar Rapids in the first round of the playoffs and were swept in two games. The Chiefs hosted game one and scored two runs in the ninth to send the game to extras, however, the Kernels plated a pair in the top of the 10th and secured the game one victory. Lake was three for four with a pair of doubles in the loss. Game two moved to Cedar Rapids where the Chiefs had an 8-7 lead headed into the bottom of the ninth, but the Kernels nabbed two runs in the frame to walk-off the Chiefs 9-8, eliminating them from the playoffs. LeMahieu went two for four with two RBI in the loss.

The Chiefs have not won a playoff series since the 2002 season, when they took home the Midwest League Championship with the help of current major leaguers Dan Haren and Yadier Molina.

2015 Chiefs LHP Austin Gomber

2015 Chiefs LHP Austin Gomber

This current Chiefs team looks poised for a deep playoff run after putting together a fantastic second half thus far. The majority of this team has won a championship last year, whether it was with State College in the New York-Penn League or Johnson City in the Appalachian League. This team has a dominant pitching staff; Austin Gomber has arguably been the best pitcher in the entire MWL, Jack Flaherty has been exceptional, Matt Pearce has turned his season completely around, and Ian McKinney has seriously impressed thus far. Finally, the addition of hitting prospects Harrison Bader, Paul Dejong, and Brian O’Keefe has jump-started the Chiefs offense and has made this team into a serious contender.

The Chiefs will face Kane County in the first round, however, who will possess home-field advantage has still yet to be decided; it will be determined by winning the Western Division. The Chiefs currently sit three games behind Kane County for first place in the division. Clinching the playoffs was just the first step, this team wants to be crowned division champs for the second half of the season and will do whatever it takes overtake the reigning MWL Champs and notch home-field advantage for the first round of the playoffs

Chiefs Sweep Snappers with 5-3 Win Thursday

Paul DeJong drilled a three-run homer to stun Beloit and complete the three-game sweep 5-3 on Thursday. Read all about it in the Game Story.

Here are the video highlights:

Here are the audio highlights:

Hear from Paul DeJong postgame:

Check out Peoria Chiefs Beat Writer Dave Eminian’s story from last night’s win.

Chiefs Pummel Snappers 15-2 Wednesday

The Chiefs smacked four home runs en route to a 15-2 blowout of Beloit on Wednesday. Read all about it in the Game Story.

Here are the video highlights:

Here are the audio highlights:

Hear from Harrison Bader postgame:

Check out Peoria Chiefs Beat Writer Dave Eminian’s story from last night’s win.

Chiefs Shutout Snappers 6-0 Tuesday

After an hour long rain delay, the Chiefs cruised to a 6-0 victory over the Snappers thanks to a grand slam by Nick Thompson and an excellent outing from starter Jack Flaherty. Read all about it in the Game Recap.

Here are the video highlights:

Here are the audio highlights:

Hear from Flaherty postgame:

Check out Peoria Chiefs Beat Writer Dave Eminian’s story from last night’s win.

Chiefs Host Snappers For Playoff-Implicating Series

The Peoria Chiefs (31-18, 64-53) host the Beloit Snappers (20-28, 46-72) for a three-game series to kick off a six-game home stand as we near the end of August. The Chiefs are in the thick of the playoff hunt, but are coming off a road trip, in which they went 3-3 and have lost two straight. The Snappers, who trail the Chiefs in the Midwest League Western Division by 10 1/2 games, desperately need to win this series to keep their playoff hopes alive.

Probable Pitching Matchups:

Tuesday, August 18: RH Jack Flaherty (7-1, 2.52) vs. RH Heath Fillmyer (1-13, 5.86)

Wednesday, August 19: RH Matt Pearce (8-10, 2.79) vs. RH Daniel Gossett (4-11, 5.06)

Thursday, August 20: LH Ian McKinney (1-0, 0.00) vs. RH Junior Mendez (3-10, 5.72)

Things To Watch For:

The Playoff Drought Is Nearly Over

The Chiefs have not made the Midwest League Playoffs since 2009; a team that featured current major leaguers Chris Archer, Ryan Flaherty, Josh Harrison, and DJ LeMahieu. In fact, the Chiefs have not won a playoff series since 2002 when they won the Midwest League Championship with the help of former Chiefs Dan Haren and Yadier Molina. This current Chiefs team looks poised for a deep playoff run after putting together a fantastic second half thus far. The majority of this team has won a championship last year, whether it was with State College in the New York-Penn League or Johnson City in the Appalachian League. This team has a dominant pitching staff; Austin Gomber has arguably been the best pitcher in the entire MWL, Jack Flaherty has been exceptional, Matt Pearce has turned his season completely around, and Ian McKinney has seriously impressed thus far. Finally, the addition of hitting prospects Harrison Bader and Paul Dejong has jump-started the Chiefs offense and has made this team into a serious contender this season.

Familiar Faces

In 13 out of the 15 games the Chiefs have faced Beloit this season, the Chiefs have faced either Heath Fllmyer. Daniel Gossett, or Junior Mendez, all of whom, the Chiefs will face in this series. The Chiefs lead the season series 11-4 and have hit these three particular pitchers rather well. Alex DeLeon and Nick Thompson have both homered off Fillmyer, DeLeon, Oscar Mercado, and Darren Seferina have all homered off Gossett, and DeLeon has smacked a pair of homers off Mendez. The Chiefs will look to drill some homers in hopes of sweeping Beloit and bolstering their playoff chances.

Chiefs Shutout Tin Caps 2-0 Friday

The Chiefs notched their ninth-straight home victory last night with the 2-0 win over Fort Wayne. Read all about it in the Game Recap.

Here are the video highlights:

Here are the audio highlights:

Hear from Matt Pearce postgame:

Check out Peoria Chiefs Beat Writer Dave Eminian’s story from last night’s win.

Chiefs Welcome First Place Tin Caps for Three-Game Set

The Peoria Chiefs (27-13, 60-48) host the Fort Wayne Tin Caps (24-16, 56-52) for a three-game set to conclude the home stand. The Chiefs swept Lake County with a dramatic 2-1 win last night while the Tin Caps are coming off a 5-4 win over Burlington.

Probably Pitching Matchups:

Friday, August 7: RH Matt Pearce (7-9, 2.94) vs. RH Dinelson Lamet (305, 3.58)

Saturday, August 8: LH Ian McKinney (0-0, 0.00) vs. RH Ernesto Montas (9-6, 3.28)

Sunday, August 9: LH Dewin Perez (2-3, 7.39) vs. RH Chris Huffman (6-6, 3.28)

Things to Watch For:

Home Field Advantage

The Chiefs have won eight straight and 13 of their last 15 games at home as they look to extend their torrid stretch against the Tin Caps. The Chiefs are 14-6 at home in the second half and have not lost at Dozer Park since July 21, a 7-5 extra-inning loss to Clinton. The eight-game home winning streak could be in trouble when facing the Eastern Division leaders who have gone 8-2 in their last 10 games.

Pin-Point Accuracy

Matt Pearce has not walked a batter since June 8th; a stretch that has spanned eight starts and over 50 innings, which is good for a Midwest League record that he keeps on extending. During that stretch, Pearce has gone 4-3 and lowered his ERA from 3.99 to 2.94. Pearce looks to continue his incredible accuracy on the hill in the opening game of this three-game set tonight.

Ian McKinney Makes His Chiefs Debut

The fifth round draft pick in the 2013 draft will make his Peoria Chiefs debut in game two of this series on Saturday. McKinney was 4-2 with a 2.76 ERA, 12 walks, and 40 strikeouts over 45 2/3 innings of work for State College this season before being promoted. McKinney started his 2015 campaign in Palm Beach where he tossed three scoreless innings of relief with five punchouts on May 19 against St. Lucie before being sent back down to Extended Spring Training where he remained until the start of State College’s season.

Youth Serves in Fort Wayne

A pair of 18-year olds have fueled the Tin Caps to the top of the Eastern Division in the second half with a playoff birth in their grasp. Ruddy Giron is batting .311 with eight doubles, four triples, nine homers, and 39 RBI this season and was ranked as the No. 6 prospect in the Padres organization according to MLB Pipeline’s Midseason rankings. Luis Urias began his 2015 campaign in Tri-City where he batted .355 with a double and an RBI in 10 games before being promoted to Fort Wayne. Since his promotion, Urias has continued his hitting success with a .351 average, three doubles, and 10 RBI in 28 games for the Tin Caps. Urias is ranked as the Padres No. 27 prospect according to MLB Pipeline’s Midseason Rankings.

Chiefs Complete Sweep of Captains with 2-1 Win

Nick Thompson drew the game-winning RBI walk in the bottom of the eighth inning to give the Chiefs the 2-1 win, their eighth-straight victory at home. Read all about it in the Game Recap.

Here are the video highlights:

Here are the audio highlights:

Hear from Jack Flaherty postgame:

Check out Peoria Chiefs Beat Writer Dave Eminian’s story from last night.

Chiefs Handle Captains 7-1 Wednesday

The Chiefs won their seventh straight home game after defeating the Captains 7-1 and go for the sweep tonight. Read all about last night’s win in the Game Story.

Here are the video highlights:

Here are the audio highlights:

Hear from Jake Gronsky postgame:

Check out Peoria Chiefs Beat Writer Dave Eminian’s story from last night’s win.

Streaking Captains Port in Peoria for Three-Game Set

The Peoria Chiefs (24-13, 57-48) are coming off a 3-3 road trip in the state of Wisconsin and begin a six-game home stand with a three-game series against the Lake County Captains (18-18, 54-50). The Captains have won five in a row and are 7-3 in their last 10 games.

Probable Pitching Matchups:

Tuesday, August 4: LH Dewin Perez (2-3, 7.42) vs. RH Jordan Millbrath (3-9, 4.84)

Wednesday, August 5: LH Austin Gomber (11-3, 3.21) vs. RH Sean Brady (7-7, 3.61)

Thursday, August 6: RH Jack Flaherty (6-1, 2.87) vs. LH Justus Sheffield (7-4, 4.21)

Things to Watch For:

Hot Hitting Fueling the Captains

The Captains have not only won five in a row, but are also winners of six of their last seven, and 11 of their past 14 games as they have climbed from the depths of the Midwest League Eastern Division to only 3.5 games out of first place in the second half. This hot stretch has been courtesy of some extremely consistent hitting by the Captains lineup. There have been numerous hitters contributing over the past ten games. Greg Allen is batting .421 with a homer and four RBI. Bobby Bradley, the MWL home run leader, is batting .333 with four homers and 11 RBI, Francisco Mejia is batting .425 with seven RBI, and Yu-Cheng Chang is batting .325 with two homers and 12 RBI.

Gomber Making a Name For Himself

Austin Gomber looks to continue his absolute domination of the Midwest League when he takes the mound in game two of this series. Gomber has not lost a game since April 31, and just finished up posting a 4-0 record with a 2.48 ERA in the month of July. Gomber’s incredible 2015 campaign hasn’t gone unnoticed either; MLB Pipeline recently ranked Gomber as the No. 22 prospect in the Cardinals organization in their Midseason Rankings. The lefty goes for his 11th straight win tomorrow night.

Young Hurlers Square Off In Series Finale

Two 19-year olds will take the mound in the final game of this series when Jack Flaherty faces Justus Sheffield. These two are both highly-touted prospects who were drafted out of high school in the first round of last year’s draft and are already excelling in the Midwest League. Jack Flaherty has not lost since May 31 and is coming off his sixth win of the season, in which he struck out a career-high seven batters. Sheffield is currently tied for third in the Midwest League with 105 strikeouts, but the All Star has gone 0-2 with a 4.41 ERA in his last four starts.

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