Last Friday we hosted the Cardinals Caravan and you can catch up with all the local media from the event in Monday’s post. During the Caravan I caught up with 2000 Chiefs manager Tom Lawless and Cardinals 2014 1st round pick Luke Weaver. Here’s the audio from those interviews
Tom Lawless Interview:
Luke Weaver Interview:
On Saturday of last week we went with the members of the Caravan to the Children’s Hospital of Illinois. Our staff member Allison Rhoades documented the trip with some photos for this slideshow.
The Cardinals Caravan came through Peoria last weekend and over the next couple of days I’ll have interviews, photos and behind the scenes info. Carlos Martinez, Luke Weaver, Mitch Harris, Michael Ohlman, Andy Benes, Tom Lawless and Mike Claiborne comprised our 2016 Caravan stop.
Let’s start with a general primer and a feature story on former Navy Lieutenant Mitch Harris from the Peoria Journal Star, in the Pekin Times and also in the Bloomington Pantagraph. Harris was quite the popular interview Friday night with the local media and he received a very richly deserved standing ovation from the capacity crowd at the Embassy Suites for his Naval service.
WMBD Channel 31 came out and got some great video of the event along with interviews. You can see Dan Molloy’s report here.
Carlos Martinez was also a popular interview as he talked through interpreter Tony Ferreira of the Cardinals front office staff. Martinez was the feature subject in this Bloomington Pantagraph article about his offseason shoulder recovery.
Check back later in the week for some audio interviews from the Caravan plus photos from our visit to the Children’s Hospital of Illinois!
The Awards season in MLB is officially over after the announcements of the MVP awards Thursday night. With everything handed out let’s take a look at how former Chiefs did in the MLB Awards.
Josh Donaldson, who was the Chiefs catcher in 2008, won the American League MVP Award on Thursday night with 23 of the 30 first place votes as he outdistanced Mike Trout. In his first season with Toronto, Donaldson hit .297 with 41 home runs and a MLB-best 123 RBI. He is the second former Chief to ever win a MLB MVP, following Albert Pujols. Donaldson also won the 2015 Silver Slugger Award at 3rd base for the AL.
Joe Maddon, the Chiefs skipper in 1984 as an Angels affiliate, won his third Manager of the Year Award on Tuesday night after leading the Cubs to the NLCS. Former Chiefs player Joe Girardi finished 5th in the American League MOY voting.
Yadier Molina won his 8th consecutive Gold Glove earlier this month and was also named the Platinum Glove winner for a record 4th time. While the Gold Glove is given to a player at each position in both leagues, the Platinum Glove goes to just one player in each league.
Elsewhere, former Chiefs Chris Archer (AL Cy Young) and Justin Bour (NL Rookie of Year) both finished 5th in their voting categories this week. Archer is only the third former Chiefs pitcher to finish in the top 5 in the Cy Young voting joining Greg Maddux and Danny Haren.
FORMER CHIEFS AWARD HISTORY
- 47: Gold Gloves won by former Chiefs. Greg Maddux leads the way with 18 while Molina has 8 (and counting). Devon White won 7 and Mark Grace won 4. Tied with 3 Gold Gloves each are Rafael Palmeiro and Placido Polanco. Albert Pujols has 2 GG’s while Darwin Barney and DJ LeMahieu each have won one.
- 11: Silver Slugger Awards won by former Chiefs. Of course Pujols leads the way here with six awards (coming at three different positions) while Palmeiro won two in the 1990s. Polanco, Molina and Donaldson each have one win.
- 5: Manager of the Year Awards: Maddon now has 3 awards while Girardi and Jim Tracy each won one.
- 4: Most Valuable Player Awards: In addition to Donaldson’s win this season, Pujols won the award three times from 2005-2009 while also finishing twice four times.
- 2: Rookie of the Year Awards: The first of these was won by Jerome Walton in 1990 while Pujols took home the award in 2001.
With the MLB regular season over and the Playoffs starting tonight (Tuesday) with the A.L. Wild Card Game, lets take a look at former Chiefs who could make an impact this October. (*Note: Not all the playoff rosters are officially set but we can preview each team). Last season eight former Chiefs played in 22 MLB post-season games and at least one former Chiefs player has appeared in the MLB playoffs every year since 1990.
St. Louis Cardinals: The Cardinals got good news Monday regarding former Chiefs catcher Yadier Molina who they hope is ready to go Friday in the NLDS after suffering a September thumb injury. Molina has played in more MLB Playoff games (86) than any other player in Chiefs history. In those 86 games he has 307 at-bats with a .290 average, three homers, 17 doubles, 31 RBI and 25 walks. This season he hit .270 with four homers, 23 doubles and 61 RBI with a .310 OBP in 136 games. The only other former Chiefs player on the Cardinals is RHP Sam Tuivailala who is unlikely to be on the post-season roster. Cardinals pitching coach Derek Lilliquist was the Chiefs pitching coach in 2003.
AL Wild Card matchup: Tuesday Houston Astros at New York Yankees
There are potentially two former Chiefs player who will play in Tuesday night’s playoff opener between Houston and New York. Houston utility player Marwin Gonzalez played 33 games for the Chiefs in April and May 2008. This season he hit .279 for the Astros in 120 games with 18 doubles,
12 homers, 34 RBI and 44 runs scored. Gonzalez played 43 games at first base, 32 games at shortstop, 21 games at third base, 15 game at second base, 15 games in the outfield and three games at DH in 2015.
The Yankees have former Chiefs shortstop Brendan Ryan (2004) as a backup infielder. He played in 47 games this season after coming back from an injury and hit .229 with six doubles, two triples and eight RBI. New York also has former Chiefs player and Peoria native Joe Girardi as manager. He has 38 playoff games managed and 21 playoff wins, more than anyone else connected to the Chiefs in team history.
NL Wild Card matchup: Wednesday Chicago Cubs at Pittsburgh Pirates.
The Cubs wild card roster is a little trickier to predict since they will likely go more position players and less pitchers with NL Cy Young candidate Jake Arrieta on the mound there is little need for more starting pitching in a one game series. So don’t expect 2002 Chiefs pitcher Dan Haren to be on the roster but if they win Wednesday he will very likely be added for the NLDS. Haren went 4-2 in a Cubs uniform in 2015 with a 4.01 ERA in 11 starts while overall this season he was 11-9 with a 3.60 ERA in 32 outings. In his 12-year career, Haren has made seven playoff appearances with two starts going 2-0 with a 3.26 ERA. He last pitched in the playoffs with Oakland in the 2006 ALCS and had five outings with the Cardinals in 2004.
I’d expect former Chiefs Jorge Soler (2012) and Javier Baez (2012) to be on the Wild Card roster for Wednesday. Soler battled a late season injury and hit .262 in 101 games with 10 homers, 18 doubles and 47 RBI this season. Baez was called up late in the season from Triple-A Iowa and hit .289 with one homer, six doubles and four RBI in 28 games. A question mark for the outfield will be former Chiefs OF Matt Szczur (2010-11) who hit .222 with a homer and five doubles in 47 games this season. Szczur’s speed as a pinch runner may get him added at least for the Wild Card game. LHP Zac Rosscup (2012) was 2-1 with a 4.39 ERA in 33 games this season and may get added to face a Pirates lefty in a key situation. Jason Motte (2003) is injured with a shoulder strain and could possibly be added for the NLCS if the Cubs advance that far. Motte was 8-1 with a 3.91 ERA and six saves in 57 games this season. Skipper Joe Maddon has a team in the playoffs for the fifth time. He was the Chiefs manager in 1984 and has managed 30 MLB playoff games with 13 wins. Bullpen coach Lester Strode is a former Chiefs pitching coach and bullpen catcher Chad Noble played for the Chiefs in 2011-12.
Pittsburgh – The Pirates have utility player Josh Harrison ready to go for the Wild Card game after a late-season injury. Harrison hit .287 in 114 games this season with four homers, 29 doubles and 28 RBI while also stealing 10 bases. Given the September injury to Jung-Ho Kang we may see Harrison start on Wednesday night. Last year Harrison was 2-for-4 in the Wild Card loss to Pittsburgh and he scored a run in the 2013 NLDS against the Cardinals while not having an at-bat. The Pirates also have former Chiefs pitching coach Ray Searage as their pitching coach.
Toronto – The Blue Jays have 2015 AL MVP front runner Josh Donaldson who was the Chiefs catcher for the first half of 2008 before being traded to Oakland. In his first year in Toronto, Donaldson hit .297 with 41 home runs, 123 RBI, 122 runs scored, 41 doubles, 73 walks and a .568 slugging percentage. He led all of MLB in RBI, runs scored, total bases and sacrifice flies. This will be Donaldson’s fourth straight season in the playoffs. Last year he was 2-for-5 in the AL Wild Card game for Oakland while scoring a run. In the DS he is 8-for-38 (.211) in 10 games, all against Detroit in 2012-13. Donaldson does not have a post-season home run or RBI in 43 at-bats. Toronto also has 2007 Chiefs shortstop Darwin Barney but he was acquired after the August 31 deadline to be on a playoff roster.
The Rangers have former Chiefs infielder Robinson Chirinos (2006) who is now a catcher. In 78 games this season he hit .232 with 10 homers, 16 doubles, 33 runs scored and 34 RBI. Another Chiefs connection with the Rangers is former Chiefs player and MLB Hall of Famer Greg Maddux whom they employ as a Special Assistant to the General Manager.
Kansas City – no Chiefs connections
New York Mets – The only former Chiefs player on the Mets roster is LHP Jerry Blevins (2005) who has been out for the season since an April injury. Blevins pitched seven times this season for the Mets going 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA in five innings of work.
Los Angeles Dodgers – no Chiefs connections
On the field game one didn’t go exactly as planned as the Chiefs fell to Quad Cities 7-3 Thursday night.
Here are the video highlights from last night
Our local media was all over the Opening Day game. Beat writer Dave Eminian filed a great story on two fantastic season ticket holders, Bob & Joan Gunderson. Meanwhile Dave Reynolds had the game recap for the Journal Star. WMBD TV-31 was at the game and WEEK TV-25 had coverage as well. If you are interested in the opposing view, the Dispatch Argus from the Quad Cities had a beat writer at Dozer Park last night.
Two great places I stop by every day to catch up on former Chiefs are TheCardinalNation.com and CardinalsFarm.com. Again this year they are doing a Cardinals Minor League report and the links in the previous sentence take you to today’s reports.
The beauty of baseball is there’s always another game and for the Chiefs, game two comes at 7:00 p.m. tonight against the River Bandits. LHP Austin Gomber will take the mound against QC lefty Bryan Radziewski. Below are notes on Gomber’s 2014 season.
- 2014: Went 2-2 with a 2.30 ERA in 11 starts for State College…Struck out 36 and walked 18 in 47 innings…Pitched once in the NYPL playoffs allowing two earned runs over two innings in a Game 2 Finals loss to Tri-City…Made pro debut June 22 with two shutout innings…Threw five innings on August 8 at Lowell in a no-decision…Earned first pro win August 27 with seven shutout innings and a career-high seven strikeouts against Williamsport…Also beat Williamsport September 1 with another seven shutout inning performance and four strikeouts…Held NYPL batters to a .200 average with runners in scoring position
Here are today’s GameNotes. And also Joe Kruzel’s Lineup:
On twitter we will post in-game updates at@PeoChiefsGame and other fun stuff on our regular @PeoriaChiefs account. Post-game look for video highlights on both of those accounts and they will also post to our YouTube page and website.
In game you can listen to the broadcast in a variety of ways, all listed on our ListenLive page which includes links to download apps, or listen on a regular computer, both a PC and a Mac.
Here we are, finally to opening day and looking forward to a fantastic 2015 season with the Peoria Chiefs…If the weather cooperates. The tarp has gone on and off the field all day and there is a chance of showers throughout the evening.
If we play, we get our first look at RHP Jack Flaherty, drafted by the Cardinals in the first round last June. Flaherty is the 26th 1st rounder out of the regular June draft in Chiefs history. This marks the second year in a row the Chiefs have received a Cardinals first round pick after having Rob Kaminsky last season. When including s the now defunct January draft and June supplemental draft plus the Supplemental First rounders in the current format, the tally is 38. Including the supplemental picks, the Chiefs have had a first rounder in each of the last five seasons and a first round pick from every year dating back to 2006 has come through Peoria.
When he takes the mound tonight, Flaherty will become the fifth youngest Opening Day Starter in Chiefs history. Rick Ankiel beat Kane County on Opening Day 1998 at the age of 18 years, 265 days. Hall of Famer Greg Maddux beat Springfield in 1985 at the age of 18 years, 363 days, with 12 strikeouts over eight shutout innings. Amaury Telemaco was 19 years, 79 days when he lost on Opening Day 1993 and Ryan Acosta was 19 years, 152 days when he took a no-decision in 2008. Flaherty takes the mound tonight at the age of 19 years, 176 days.
Here’s a look at the lineup backing Flaherty tonight with a great graphic by our designer Allison Rhoades
Also here are today’s GameNotes. And as always there are many ways to follow along in-game both via social media and with audio. On twitter we will post in-game updates at @PeoChiefsGame and other fun stuff on our regular @PeoriaChiefs account. Post-game look for video highlights on both of those accounts and they will also post to our YouTube page and website.
In game you can listen to the broadcast in a variety of ways, all listed on our ListenLive page which includes links to download apps, or listen on a regular computer, both a PC and a Mac.
Thanks for reading and please interact with us all season, looking forward to a fun 2015!!
Over the last two weeks we talked to a bunch of 2014 Chiefs players as they prepared for Spring Training. Today we talk to Manager Joe Kruzel. Kruzel returns for the 2015 season after leading the Chiefs to their most wins (72) in 2014 since the 2009 team made the playoffs as second half division champions. The 2014 Chiefs went 37-32 in the first half and 35-35 in the second half. In both halves the Chiefs were in a playoff spot until the final week and ultimately missed the post-season by one game in each half.
Thanks to Joe for the interview this morning. Below you’ll find some video interviews and photos from the 2014 season:
A pregame interview with Kruzel from June
Kruzel leads the Chiefs in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge
Here’s a photo gallery of Joe from 2014 season:
The 2014 Chiefs player interviews continue today with RHP Alex Reyes. In case you missed any of the earlier posts, catch interviews with Rob Kaminsky, Carson Kelly, Mason Katz Chris Perry and Jimmy Reed. Hoping to add to this list over the next week. Let me know in the comments who else you want to hear from!
A highly ranked prospect, Alex Reyes pitched for the Chiefs throughout 2014 going 7-7 with a 3.62 ERA in 21 starts. He finished the season with 137 strikeouts, the most by a Chiefs pitcher since Sean Gallagher struck out 139 in 2005, the 2nd most since 1996 and the 15th most in team history. He held MWL batters to a .207 average and in the month of August Reyes posted a 1.80 ERA in four starts while striking out 38 and walking just six batters in 25 innings.
Here is today’s interview with Alex as he prepares for Spring Training
Reyes beat Cedar Rapids on June 26:
A complete game win over Kane County on June 11
Pre-game interview from July
Reyes in photos from 2014
The 2014 Chiefs player interviews continue today with RHP Chris Perry. In case you missed any of the earlier posts, catch interviews with Rob Kaminsky, Carson Kelly, Mason Katz and Jimmy Reed. Hoping to add to this list over the next week. Let me know in the comments who else you want to hear from!
Perry turned in one of the best seasons for any reliever in the Chiefs 32 year history. In 28 games he went 4-0 with a 2.20 ERA covering 49 innings of work. Perry saved three games, earned five holds and finished off eight contests. He struck out 80 batters while walking just 15 over his 49 innings. The numbers lead to a 0.90 WHIP, a 14.7 K/9IP ratio and a .165 opponents average against.
Here is the interview of Perry from this week:
More on Perry’s 2014 season with Peoria
At the time of his promotion on July 6, Perry ranked 2nd in the league in reliever K/9IP, 4th in reliever opponents average against and fourth in relievers WHIP.
If you sort the 32 year Chiefs history by pitchers who threw at least 49 innings (Perry’s total) you’ll get 302 names. There are 70 who like Perry, pitched only in relief. Of those 302, Perry is #1 in strikeouts per 9 innings and his 14.7 number beats the previous high by one full strikeout. Ben Julianel posted a 13.7 number in 2003 over 51 2/3 innings.
Perry’s 0.90 WHIP ranks fourth among relievers behind Jared Blasdell 0.75 in 2002, Alex Maestri 0.87 in 2007 and Brian Reed 0.89 in 1995. Of those three Maestri made four starts in 48 games and totaled 83 2/3 innings while Reed pitched 60 times for 61 innings and Blasdell threw 65 2/3 innings in 53 appearances.
Perry’s .165 average against is also fourth behind Brandon DeJaynes .151 in 2003, Blasdell at .155 in 2002 and Heath Slocumb .162 in 1989.
Perry’s 80 strikeouts are tied for 8th among all Chiefs pitchers with zero starts. The other pitcher with 80, Keith Glauber, needed 64 innings in 1996 to rack up 80 strikeouts. How dominant are Perry’s K numbers? Well put it this way, Michael Sodders holds the Chiefs single season strikeout record at 177 in 1989. His K/9 IP ratio is 7.7, or nearly half of what Perry posted in 2014.
Perry closes out Kane County by striking out the side in the 9th (Starts at 2:40)
The on-field pregame interview with Perry from May 20
Photo Gallery of Chris Perry
The 2014 Chiefs player interviews continue today with LHP Jimmy Reed. In case you missed any of the earlier posts, catch interviews with Rob Kaminsky, Carson Kelly and Mason Katz. Chris Perry will be up next!
Reed, a 2013 6th round pick out of Maryland, made 13 starts for the Chiefs between Opening Day and June 20. The lefty posted a 3-3 record and a 3.88 ERA while striking out 62 batters and walking just 18 in 72 innings of work. In his final eight starts in the MWL he allowed three ER or less in all eight and posted an ERA of 2.05 in June. With Palm Beach, Reed was 6-2 with a 3.58 ERA in nine starts and he struck out 35 and walked just seven in 55 1/3 FSL innings. He also went to Double-A Springfield for two starts, beating Tulsa July 28 and losing to Arkansas August 3. Overall for 2014 he was 10-6 with a 3.84 ERA in 24 starts with 103k/28bb in 138 1/3 innings.
Here is the interview with Jimmy Reed
Reed struck out 7 against Kane County on June 12, here’s video of three of those strikeouts
Jimmy Reed Photo Gallery from 2014