May 2014

Good Morning From the Ballpark

Tough loss for the Chiefs yesterday afternoon with two blown leads in the 9th and 11th innings. The Chiefs did get great staring pitching from Jimmy Reed on Monday and have three straight quality starts from Arturo Reyes, Alex Reyes and Reed. Reed threw 88 pitches on Monday over a career-high 7 1/3 innings and started batters with first pitch strikes on 20 of the 25 Cougars he faced. He also retired 15 straight from the 3rd to the 8th innings.

VelazcoINST copyIt was great seeing Gerwuins Velazco star in his first action of the season. The dugout celebrated in a big way during his 4th inning home run and you can tell Velazco is popular with his teammates. He has come to the park every single day of the season, put in his work and caught bullpens all while being on the DL and not playing in games. Monday was his chance and he had four hits with a homer and a double that helped the Chiefs get the lead in the 11th. He is back in the lineup today as you can see to the right.

The Chiefs have not been swept in Kane County since September 1-3, 2010 and have not been swept by a Cubs affiliate was a two game series against Lansing on the road July 26-27, 1999. The last sweep by a Cubs affiliate in more than a 2-game series was by Rockford June 9-12, 1995.

After Tuesday’s game the Chiefs will have 18 games left in the half, 12 at home. We will host Burlington and Kane County the next six days before a June 3 off-day. The Chiefs travel to Beloit and Quad Cities (3 each) before hosting Kane County and Clinton to finish the half. Hopefully we’ll see Justin Ringo back in the homestand and possibly IMG_3068Ronald Castillo soon as well.

As you’ll see in Tuesday’s Game Notes there is some uncertainty with the Chiefs rotation in the coming homestand. Michael Holback starts on Wednesday but the rest of the Burlington series is TBA.

Here are the updated Western Division Standings. With the two losses here in Kane County it is getting quite packed in the 2-5 slots as the Cougars pull away.

Team W L Pct GB
Kane County 34 17 .667
Peoria 27 23 .540 6.5
Clinton 25 23 .521 7.5
Burlington 25 24 .510 8
Quad Cities 24 26 .480 9.5
Wisconsin 23 26 .469 10
Beloit 23 27 .460 10.5
Cedar Rapids 23 28 .451 11

Tuesday’s schedule
Cedar Rapids at Beloit 11am
Wisconsin at Clinton 5pm (resuming Monday’s suspended game Wis 2, Cli 0 in 4th)
Quad Cities at Burlington 6:30 pm

Burlington at Peoria
Kane County at Clinton
Wisconsin at Cedar Rapids
Beloit at Quad Cities

Monday Game Notes, Lineup & More

The Chiefs dropped the opener of this crucial three-game series last night to Kane County 7-3. Check out the Game Recap if you missed any of the action. More importantly the Chiefs lost red-hot first baseman Justin Ringo to a ninth inning shoulder injury and he is not in the lineup today. Ringo doubled in the ninth and looked like he was going for third when he got a stop sign from 3rd base and dove back into second ahead of the relay throw. Ringo dislocated his shoulder but stayed in to finish the game after getting medical treatment at second base. With the holiday today and an 11 am game tomorrow, its unlikely Ringo will see a specialist until Wednesday about his shoulder. He injured it before and is not taking BP today. I’d make an (educated) guess that we won’t see him play before Wednesday at the earliest. With Ronald Castillo also on the DL, that’s a lot of firepower on the bench for the Chiefs right now (5 HR, 14 2b, 34 RBI).

Here are today’s Game Notes for a 1pm holiday start and the lineup as we see Gerwuins Velazco for the first time in 2014. Velazco hit .206 with a homer and 11 RBI in 77 games last season. His lone home run was against the Cougars at Dozer Park in July.



Here are some photos from last night, Cougars autographs and the ZOOperstars in action:

And here are the updated standings with today’s matchups. The Chiefs and Cougars play at 11am Tuesday.

Team W L Pct GB
Kane County 33 17 .660
Peoria 27 22 .551 5.5
Clinton 25 23 .521 7
Burlington 24 24 .500 8
Quad Cities 24 25 .490 8.5
Wisconsin 23 26 .469 9.5
Cedar Rapids 23 27 .460 10
Beloit 22 27 .449 10.5

Cedar Rapids at Beloit 2pm (Tuesday 11am)
Quad Cities at Burlington 2pm (Tuesday 6:30 pm)
Wisconsin at Clinton 2pm (Tuesday 6:30 pm)

Sunday Game Notes, Lineup & More

Nate's Stat Line Sunday A tough loss for the Chiefs last night in Burlington which you can read about in the Game Recap. While we were losing in Burlington, Clinton was winning here at Kane County to avoid a sweep. The Chiefs came straight up to Geneva last night and got to the hotel at about 2:15 am. It’s strange having a Sunday night game, but nice at the same time with the late travel. Already today Clinton lost to Wisconsin 3-2 and Burlington won game one of a DH against Quad Cities 12-4 so here are the updated standings

Team W L Pct GB
Kane County 32 17 .653
Peoria 27 21 .563 4.5
Clinton 25 23 .521 6.5
Quad Cities 24 24 .500 7.5
Burlington 23 24 .489 8
Wisconsin 23 26 .469 9
Beloit 22 26 .458 9.5
Cedar Rapids 22 27 .449 10

Cedar Rapids is playing Beloit while Quad Cities and Burlington have game two today as well. Those games are not updated in the standings.

Here are today’s Game Notes and our lineup listed next to a photo of the Chiefs taking BP in Kane County.

IMG_3057 IMG_3046The Chiefs will play Kane County six times in the next nine games and nine times in the next 18 games. How the Chiefs do against the first place Cougars will likely determine whether a playoff spot in clinched before June 15.

Saturday Game Notes & Lineup

Nate's Stat Line SaturdayThe Chiefs fell last night 8-3 here in Burlington and have a chance to win the series with Arturo Reyes on the mound tonight. After the game tonight we will head straight to Kane County instead of commuting back to Peoria and leaving tomorrow. It’s a nice bonus to be able to get straight to the next destination and get some sleep before a 6:30 Sunday night series-opener against the Cougars.

Here are today’s Game Notes and lineup


Here are the updated standings after last night’s MWL action. With Clinton and Kane County going head to head tonight it is important for the Chiefs to win this game against an under .500 Bees team so they either add to the Wild Card lead over Clinton or pick up a game on Kane County.

Team W L Pct GB
Kane County 32 16 .667
Peoria 27 20 .574 4.5
Clinton 24 22 .522 7
Quad Cities 23 23 .500 8
Wisconsin 22 25 .468 9.5
Burlington 21 24 .467 9.5
Cedar Rapids 22 26 .458 10
Beloit 21 26 .447 10.5

Friday Game Notes, Lineup & More

Nate's Stat Line FridayA great win for the Chiefs last night, check out the recap and the fantastic outing by Rob Kaminsky. Was nice to see the Chiefs bounce back as well with the two runs in the 9th. The Chiefs have won 15 road games, more than any other Midwest League team. The Chiefs have also won six straight road games for the first time since 2010. The last time the Chiefs won 7 straight road games was June 24-July 4, 2008, Ryne Sandberg’s second year as manager. That stretch was part of an overall 11-game win streak as the Chiefs started the 2008 second half 17-7.

Here are the longest road win streaks in team history

  • 9 – May 27-June 17, 2006: includes the Chiefs clinching the First Half Western Division title with a series win over 2nd place Kane County. The steak ended on the final day of the first half, the day after the Chiefs clinched the division
  • 8 – July 19 – August 8, 1992. Streak ended August 15 with a 4-1 loss at Burlington
  • 7 – June 24 – July 4, 2008. Streak ended July 5 with a 9-2 loss at Quad Cities as Cardinals first-round pick Brett Wallace hit his professional Home Run.
  • 6 – August 4-21, 2010. Streak ended August 22 with a 4-2 loss at Clinton
  • 6 – August 7-23, 1988. Streak ended August 23 with a  3-0 loss at Burlington in game 2 of a double header

Here are tonight’s Game Notes. Note that since the Game Notes were printed Burlington has changed starting pitchers from Garrett Nuss to Yancy Almonte. Nuss has left the team on paternity leave for the birth of his child. Tonight will mark Almonte’s Burlington debut and first start of the season. Burlington is also switching Saturday’s starter from Eliot Morris to Victor Alcantara. Here is tonight’s lineup with Vaughn Bryan in CF for the first time and both Carson Kelly and Juan Herrera back in the lineup.

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The Chiefs are currently taking BP (pic to the right) and below is a look at up to date standings after the Chiefs won here last night and Kane County took game one from Clinton lats night. Remember the top two teams when the half ends on June 15 make the playoffs. The Chiefs have nine games against Kane County (6 at home) and three at home against Clinton. Clinton and Kane County have eight games left head-to-head this half.

Kane County Cougars 31 16 .660
Peoria Chiefs   27 19 .587 3.5
Clinton LumberKings 24 21 .533 6.0
Quad Cities River Bandits 22 23 .489 8.0
Cedar Rapids Kernels 22 25 .468 9.0
Beloit Snappers 21 25 .457 9.5
Wisconsin Timber Rattlers 21 25 .457 9.5
Burlington Bees 20 24 .455 9.5

Thursday Game Notes & More

Nate's Stat Line May 22Good afternoon from Burlington, Iowa where the Chiefs start an important 12-game stretch heading into the final off-day of the first half (June 3). These next 12 days the Chiefs will exclusively play the only two teams in the Western Division we have yet to see: Burlington (Angels) and Kane County (Cubs). Burlington started the season 15-9 but is now just 20-23 after a 1-12 stretch from May 1-14. They have won 4 of 6 coming into this series with last night’s game in Quad Cities being suspended after Modern Woodmen Park lost power.  We will host Burlington next Wednesday – Friday.

Kane County is in first place at 30-16, 3,5 games ahead of the Chiefs. In addition to the three games in Geneva over the Memorial Day weekend, the Chiefs will welcome the Cougars to Dozer Park May 30 – June 2. The Cougars will also return to Peoria June 10-12 so the current 1st and 2nd place teams in the West will go head-to-head 9 times over the next 21 games. Clinton and Kane County have not played yet either, though that changes tonight. In fact Kane Count’s next 15 games are against Peoria and Clinton so the top 3 will go head to head quite a bit over the next three weeks which will either shake things out for the two playoff spots, or allow one of the other teams to get hot and move into the race. Here are the standings at the moment

Kane Co. 30 16 .652
Peoria 26 19 .578 3.5
Clinton 24 20 .545 5
C. Rapids 22 24 .478 8
Q. Cities 21 23 .477 8
Wisconsin 21 24 .467 8.5
Burlington 20 23 .465 8.5
Beloit 20 25 .444 9.5

The top two teams make the playoffs in each half.

Here are Thursday’s  Game Notes. Michael Holback starts for the Chiefs tomorrow here in Burlington and Arturo Reyes gets the ball on Saturday. Today’s lineup is rather unique. It is the first game without Herrera, Kelly and Castillo (DL) and Mason Katz jumps up to the 4 slot while the Chiefs have all 3 switch-hitters in. In fact there are just two right-handed hitters.

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Check out this article on Chiefs Clubhouse Manager Patrick Cramer who has 7 Championship rings through the Cardinals organization. Here’s a nice piece on Jason Motte’s return from the DL to St. Louis last night where he threw 1 2/3 scoreless.

Day Baseball with Game Notes

Looking forward to an 11:00 a.m. game today with a few thousand school kids at the stadium. LH Rob Kaminsky makes his home debut after pitching in Cedar Rapids and Clinton on the last two road trips. The weather isn’t cooperating at the moment with cool temperatures and rain. The tarp is on the field and hopefully will be off soon.

Here are today’s Game Notes and the lineup is the same as yesterday with just the C and DH switched:

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The Chiefs lost 4-3 last night to the Rattlers, here are highlights:

and here is the pre-game interview on field with Chiefs Manager Joe Kruzel

Welcome Home Game Notes & Lineup

Home sweet home. The Chiefs are back at Dozer Park and ready for a 7-game homestand after earning the franchise’s first ever 4-game sweep at Cedar Rapids last night. In case you missed them late last night, here are the game recaps.

Notes about the road trip and the Chiefs 23-15 record

  • First 4-game sweep in CR ever
  • First 4-game sweep anywhere outside of Peoria since July 1-4, 2008 at Wisconsin
  • First 5-game road win streak since April 20-27, 2011
  • Chiefs just played 14 of 17 on the road going 10-7 in that stretch, 9-5 on the road.
  • At 9-5 the Chiefs have the 2nd best win percentage in the MWL in home games. The Chiefs play 13 of the next 19 games at home
  • With just 14 home games played the Chiefs have played the least amount of games at home in the MWL. All other teams have played at least 17 home games while Wisconsin (tonight’s opponent) has played 22 home games
  • At 14-10 on the road the Chiefs have the most road wins in the MWL
  • Overall the Chiefs have the 2nd best record in the MWL. If we were in the East, the Chiefs would have a 1/2 game lead on first place Dayton.
  • At 23-15 the Chiefs are off to their best 38-game start since the eventual 2002 MWL Champions went 24-14 through 38 games. Last year the Chiefs were 19-19 after 38 games. The last two Chiefs playoffs teams as a Cubs affiliate, 2009 and 2006, were both 21-17 after 38 games.

Here are today’s Game Notes and a Roster Move that sees Silfredo Garcia and Chris Thomas promoted to Palm Beach and Brandon Lee and Michael Holbeck joining the Chiefs.

Also here is tonight’s lineup:

McElroy CF
Herrera SS

Kelly C
Castillo RF
Peoples-Walls LF
Bean DH
Katz 2B
Stone 1B
Schulze 3B
McKnight RHP

With the Garcia promotion, Rob Kaminsky will start Friday at 11am. The Chiefs have not announced a starter for Saturday while RHP Arturo Reyes takes the hill Sunday afternoon in the series finale. Thanks for reading!

Another DH with Game Notes

The Chiefs and Kernels played two yesterday, with the Chiefs winning both games. Here is the Peoria Journal Star coverage as well.  Cedar Rapids had two injuries last night and made two roster moves today. They also changed their game two starter as you can see in today’s Game Notes.

Wisconsin just sent their rotation over and will go like this with their piggyback tandems:

THU:     RHP Tristan Archer/RHP Zach Quintana
FRI:      LHP Anthony Banda/RHP Victor Diaz
SAT:     RHP Preston Gainey
SUN:    RHP Taylor Williams/LHP Tyler Alexander

Here is today’s lineup for game 1:

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The Chiefs can have a very good roadtrip with a sweep today, going 5-2. One win gives the Chiefs a winning roadtrip and winning series. After today 13 of the next 19 games are at home, a place where the Chiefs have played just three times since April 27.

Double Header Take Two

Nate's Stat LineMay12We are set for a lot of baseball the next two days here in Cedar Rapids with now four games scheduled in the next 30 hours. With yesterday’s DH being rained out the Chiefs shuffled the rotation ever so slightly. Alex Reyes and Arturo Reyes were scheduled to throw yesterday and both will start today. LH Jimmy Reed starts game one tomorrow while LHP Chase Brookshire will spot start in game two, his first start since April 27. That pushes Silfredo Garcia back to Thursday against Wisconsin and likely pushes Blake McKnight and Rob Kaminsky back a day as well. Manager Joe Kruzel said he would have the full Wisconsin rotation tomorrow.

Today’s game 1 lineup stays the same as what was scheduled yesterday and here are the Game Notes plus that lineup

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With our two visits to Cedar Rapids in the last 10 days I’ve taken a lot of pictures so get to know Perfect Game Field with this slideshow. Tonight’s DH starts at 5:05 and the broadcast is on all the apps.

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