Happy Thursday from NBT Bank Stadium. The Chiefs are hoping to avoid a four-game sweep today against the Gwinnett Braves. They’ll do so with Ross Ohlendorf on the mound for the first time after tying a career high with 11 strikeouts.
- Here’s the game story from Ohlendorf’s last 11-K game…complete with some Albert Pujols heroics.
- Partially thanks to Jason Grilli, there are sharks in the Pittsburgh Pirates’ clubhouse. Seriously- And.
- Speaking of…are those Pirates finally for real? Really for real?
- A look at how Gus Johnson’s learning on the job for the 2018 World Cup.
- Today’s Song of the Day comes from one of my favorite albums of 2013 – the self-titled album from Jake Bugg, a 19-year-old British singer-songwriter. Here’s “Lightning Bolt”, which you may have heard in a Gatorade commercial…
- And today’s Chief of the Day gets awarded to Alex Rios! Some fun facts…
- Rios is off to a red-hot start with the White Sox, posting a .284/.344/.505 line in 51 games. He’s swatted 10 homers and stolen eight bases. He’s 16th in the American league in slugging percentage and 17th in WAR (according to ESPN).
- In 46 games with the 2004 Chiefs, he sported a .259/.292/.373 line – not great, but good enough to get him up to Toronto that season.
- He inspired this from Hawk Harrelson.
Chiefs and G-Braves at 7:00 tonight. See you there.
Live from the Hyatt in Columbus, it’s today’s edition of Stuff You’ll Like…the first of which, for my allergies’ sake, is hopefully Claritin.
- In case you missed it yesterday: our first episode of Where Have You Been?, starring guest contestant Brent Axe.
- A look at the night Ted Turner managed the Braves.
- Why the Astros and Marlins are chasing history.
- For SNL fans: a comprehensive list of guests at Stefon’s wedding.
- The story behind some classic Arrested Development gags.
- Song of the Day: British singer-songwriter Thea Gilmore’s acoustic take on “Bad Moon Rising”.
- And finally, today’s Chief of the Day is Kevin Brown!
No, not me.
And not that one either…
That’s the one! Kevin’s a former Chiefs catcher who played 141 games for Syracuse from 1998 to 2000. Some other fun facts…
- He played parts of seven seasons in the major leagues, from 1996 to 2002, with Texas, Toronto, Milwaukee and Boston.
- He ranked fifth on the 1999 SkyChiefs with 13 home runs. (Kevin Witt’s 24 led the team.)
- He’s the highest draft pick ever from the University of Southern Indiana, as a second-rounder from 1994. (Darin Mastroianni, currently on the Twins, was a 2007 16th-rounder.)
- He never actually faced pitcher Kevin Brown. That’s really sad.
Chiefs and Clippers at 7:15 tonight. See you there.
Good morning from the hot box known as the Toledo press box, where we are baking in anticipation of the Chiefs’ 10:30 game vs. the Mud Hens. Here’s a look at the lineup in today’s edition of Card Notes…
Chris Rahl RF
Jeff Kobernus LF
Will Rhymes 2B
Chris Marrero 1B
Corey Brown CF
Micah Owings DH
Mike Costanzo 3B
Brian Bocock SS
Brian Jeroloman C
1. Zach Walters gets a rare day off, having played in 41 of the Chiefs’ first 43 games. He’s replaced at shortstop by Brian Bocock.
2. Today’s the 575th professional game for Bocock at shortstop – and his first as a Chief. That’s 502 more games than at his second-most-frequent position, second base (73).
3. Corey Brown’s now played center field in all five games since his return from the Disabled List.
4. After Chris Rahl in the leadoff spot, the Chiefs alternate left-handed batters and right-handers for every other batter, from Jeff Kobernus on.
5. Mud Hens starter Shawn Hill’s been a teammate of three Chiefs in today’s lineup: Bocock (2012 Las Vegas, Toronto’s AAA team), Jeroloman (2010 Las Vegas), and, for a grand total of three starts, Chris Marrero (2007-08 Potomac Nationals).
We come to you today from Toledo’s Fifth Third Field, where the Chiefs begin an eight-game road trip against the Mud Hens and Clippers. Time for some late-afternoon Stuff You’ll Like, after a post-bus ride nap which I loved…
- The Crunch continues its record-setting run through the postseason.
- Pawtucket stayed in a North Division tie for first place with a walkoff last night.
- So did the Pirates, over the Astros…in, shall we say, slightly bizarre fashion?
- A new teaser trailer for Anchorman: The Legend Continues.
- Get your musical fix with 20 of Billy Joel’s greatest underrated songs.
- In honor of Billy, today’s Song of the Day…”Summer, Highland Falls” off of 1976′s Turnstiles. Maybe his best song, definitely his best album.
- And finally, today’s Chief of the Day goes to Jason Phillips! Some fun Phillips facts:
- He’s been the Mariners’ bullpen catcher since 2009.
- He met his future wife during a game while in the bullpen. Seriously, read this story immediately if you haven’t already.
- He played on the 2008 Camden Riversharks with the great Jose Lima.
Catch the Chiefs and Mud Hens tonight at 7:00 on the Syracuse Chiefs Baseball Network. We’re on the air with our Clubhouse Show at 6:45.
Chiefs/Clippers, series finale, 7:00 tonight. The Syracuse starting 10:
Some notes of, well, note:
1. Brian Bocock’s the #9 hitter today in his Syracuse debut. He’s a former San Francisco Giant (2008) and Philadelphia Phillie (2010).
2. Two Chiefs are working on hitting streaks of a week or more: leadoff hitter Chris Rahl (nine games) and cleanup hitter Chris Marrero (seven).
3. Jeff Kobernus bats second for the 36th time this season. That’s the most of any Chiefs player in one position. (Marrero’s second with 35 games in the cleanup spot.)
4. Carlos Rivero’s starting at first base for the first time this season.
5. Kris Watts has been a Chief for eight games. He’s started seven of them.
Hope you can join us tonight at 6:45 on the Syracuse Chiefs Baseball Network or out at NBT Bank Stadium before the Chiefs hit the road for eight games.
Good afternoon from gorgeously sunny NBT Bank Stadium, where the Chiefs and Clippers are ready to play the fourth of a four-game set. Syracuse and Columbus are going to play five more times in the next 10 days, so it might be a good idea to get to know the Clippers a little bit with our latest edition of Triple-A Trickledown…
Catcher: Omir Santos, Chris Wallace
There’s good catching depth here with Santos, a 32-year-old veteran of 122 major league games, who’s on the Indians’ 40 man-roster, and Wallace, a 25-year-old acquired from Houston, who’s a .275 career hitter in four minor league seasons. Cleveland, however, is in terrific shape up in the major leagues. Behind Carlos Santana, who might be the best hitter in the American League so far this season, there’s 25-year-old catcher Yan Gomes, an intriguing prospect with six extra-base hits in 15 games. Veteran backstop Lou Marson’s also on the Disabled List with a sore right shoulder.
First Base: Matt LaPorta
LaPorta, the seventh overall pick back in 2007, is with Columbus for at last part of the season for the fifth straight year. He’s got a career .900 OPS in 225 Triple-A games, but he’s scuffled a bit with Cleveland. LaPorta’s posted just a .238 average and .694 OPS in his 291-game Indians career, and he was removed from the 40-man roster this offseason. Since no team claimed LaPorta, he’s back to terrorize the drawn-in fences at Columbus’ Huntington Park.
Second Base: Matt Lawson, Cord Phelps
Phelps, who went 0 for 8 with Cleveland this year, has gotten off to a rough start with Columbus this season. He’s hit just .229 in 25 games with 11 walks to 26 strikeouts. Phelps is a 40-man roster member, but he’s only 18 for 112 in his major league career. Lawson’s a 27-year-old career minor leaguer in his first-ever Triple-A season. Meanwhile, former Clippers standout Jason Kipnis has sported a .775 OPS in 31 games with Cleveland while batting largely out of the #2 spot.
Shortstop: Juan Diaz
Diaz, a 24-year-old switch-hitter, made his major league debut with five Cleveland games last season. He’s started slow in 2013, though, batting .209 in 36 Clippers games with 40 strikeouts to seven walks. The Indians, meanwhile, are in solid shape with Asdrubal Cabrera and Mike Aviles at shortstop. Diaz is a bit stuck – he’s not currently a good enough offensive player to work his way onto the major-league roster, and he’s never played a game outside of shortstop in his professional career.
Third Base: Adam Abraham, Lonnie Chisenhall, Ryan Rohlinger
Chisenhall is the big name here, a 24-year-old former first-round pick who sported just a .213/.253/.351 line in 26 games with Cleveland. He was sent down just in time for the start of this four-game series, and he’ll likely be back up at some point this season if he works out some swing issues. The Indians, though, are in fine shape right now with Mark Reynolds and his 11 home runs manning the hot corner. Abraham, a 26-year-old, and Rohlinger, a 30-year-old former major leaguer, provide infield depth.
Outfield: Ezequiel Carrera, Matt Carson, Tim Fedroff, Jeremy Hermida, Cedric Hunter
Carrera’s had a roller coaster ride to begin the season. He was claimed by the Phillies from Cleveland off of waivers and went for 1 in 13 in 13 games up in the big leagues. Philadelphia then designated Carrera for assignment, and the Indians scooped him back up – before later designating him for assignment again. So Carrera’s here in Columbus, but he’s no longer on the Tribe’s 40 man-roster. The only 40-man member in this group, strangely enough, is Fedroff – though he’s the only one of the five outfielders here not to appear in a single major-league game. Fedroff’s a 26-year-old who sported a .325/.393/.517 line in 69 games with Columbus last year. He’s on his way back there thanks to a .365 average to date in May. Fedroff could find his way in the majors with an injury to one of the Indians’ four outfielders – Ryan Raburn, Michael Bourn, Michael Brantley and Drew Stubbs, all of whom are off to solid starts.
Hermida, who’s been a major leaguer for at least some portion of the last eight years, leads the Clippers in most offensive categories at the moment. He’s joined by Hunter, a 24-year-old former top prospect in the Padres’ organization, and Carson, a 31-year-old who got some time last year up in Minnesota.
Starting Pitchers: Trevor Bauer, Carlos Carrasco, T.J. House, Joe Martinez, Toru Murata, Danny Salazar
Top prospect Bauer isn’t on the Clippers’ roster that’s in front of me right now, but he’s not on the Indians’ active roster right now, either, and he was only called up for a spot start. So, you figure it out. Bauer could certainly find his way to a regular rotation spot soon enough, considering three-fifths of the Indians’ rotation sports an ERA north of 5.00 (Ubaldo Jimenez, Scott Kazmir, Corey Kluber).
The rest of the rotation spells good fortune for the Indians’ future, with a pair of 23-year-olds in House and Salazar and a 26-year-old in Carrasco, all of whom are on the Indians’ 40-man roster. Martinez, a 30-year-old journeyman in his second tour of duty with the tribe, and Murata, a 27-year-old in his third season with the Indians’ minor leagues, round out the group.
Relief Pitchers: Scott Barnes, Jerry Gil, Preston Guilmet, Matt Langwell, Fernando Nieve, Giovanni Soto
Barnes, the lone 40-man member of the group, is a left-handed former starter with a 7.50 ERA in 10 games this season – far and away the worst ERA in a top-to-bottom strong bullpen. Closer Guilmet’s been a stalwart, with a 2.95 ERA and 13-for-14 save success rate in his first Triple-A year. Former big leaguer Nieve has a 0.99 ERA in 10 games, with a crazy 31-to-6 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Those two might be the first right-handers up if needed. In the majors, though, Cleveland’s well-stocked with right-handers, with Matt Albers’ 4.38 ERA the worst right-handed mark. Left-hander Nick Hagadone sports a 7.20 mark to bring up the rear for southpaws, so a good season from the 22-year-old Soto could find him knocking on Cleveland’s door.
The Chiefs and Clippers take the field tonight at 7:00. Our clubhouse show starts at 6:45 on the Syracuse Chiefs Baseball Network. See you there.
Good morning from sunny, not-as-chilly-as-yesterday NBT Bank Stadium, where the Chiefs and Columbus Clippers will begin a four-game series at 7:00. Starting today at the blog, we’ll be alternating posters for our daily “Stuff You’ll Like” routine…you’ll get opinions on who likes what from both Jason and I as well as our two interns, Jonny and Gabe.
Here’s what’s on tap for today…
- A recap of yesterday’s Chiefs game from Bud Poliquin.
- Grantland’s Jonah Keri looks at the underdog Yankees, among others, in his weekly power rankings.
- The greatest YouTube video you’ll see all day – a cover of “Space Oddity”…in space.
- Bill Hader prepares to say goodbye to SNL.
- The trailer of Season 4 of Arrested Development…no touching!
- Song of the Day: Boston’s “Peace of Mind”, for reasons that have nothing to do with the Bruins. (I just can’t stop humming it.)
- And finally, today’s Chief of the Day goes to former Chiefs starting pitcher A.J. Burnett! Some fun facts about Mr. Burnett…
- He pitched in one game for the Chiefs in both 2006 and 2007, giving up one earned run in 10 innings. Greatest Chief ever? Greatest Chief ever.
- He currently leads the National League in strikeouts with 72. At age 36.
- Dan Patrick recently mistook him for Bronson Arroyo. Oops.
Hope to have you join us tonight at 6:45 on the Syracuse Chiefs Baseball Network. Ross Ohlendorf takes the hill for Syracuse against the Clippers’ Joe Martinez. See you then.
That’s right, ladies, gentlemen, children and canines: it’s the return of the greatest blog segment in history that rhymes with “Muff Tool Pike”: Stuff You’ll Like! For those unfamiliar – and, frankly, for those familiar – this is our daily blog post where Jason and I post links we hope you will find interesting. We certainly like them – and we believe you will as well. (Hence the title.) On tap today…
- The syracuse.com game story from yesterday’s Danny Rosenbaum-pitched Chiefs win.
- What did Dan Haren change from his last poor start to yesterday’s good one?
- The New York Times profiles oft-maligned but commercially successful director Michael Bay.
- Brian Phillips’ astonishing long-form piece on the Iditarod for Grantland.
- ICYMI: The Boston Globe sat down for a harrowing read with the man who was carjacked last week by the Tsarnaev brothers.
- Song Of The Day: Oasis’ sprawling, seven-minute epic ”Champagne Supernova”.
Hope to see you and your pooch out at the park today for Dog Lovers Day sponsored by Romano Auto Dealership as the Chiefs play Durham at 2:00. Our pregame show on the Syracuse Chiefs Baseball Network kicks off at 1:45.
By this point in our “Meet The Chiefs” series, you should be as well-versed in the team as me or Jason. (If not more.) Time for the final piece – a look at the four-man outfield.
- International League ranks last season: 1st in runs, 2nd in homers, 2nd in total bases, 2nd in slugging percentage, 2nd in triples.
- Brown set a Syracuse franchise record last season with home runs in five straight games. Three of the four came to lead off the Chiefs’ portion of the game. The last of the five came in his final at-bat, with an eighth-inning blast vs. Columbus.
- Days off were few and far between for Brown last year, as Chiefs manager Tony Beasley wanted him to experience the grind of a full season. All in all, Brown played in a career-high 145 games between Syracuse (126) and Washington.
- Owings is a converted pitcher who’s decided to make a full-time switch to becoming a position player this season. In 205 career major league at-bats, he’s posted a slash line of .283/.310/.502 – so he can certainly do it.
- In fact, Owings won the National League Silver Slugger award – given to the best-hitting pitcher in the league – in 2007. He went 20 for 60 that season with 4 home runs and a crazy OPS of 1.032. (I know it’s a small sample size, but 1.032!!!!!)
- The semi-odd thing about this move – Owings can really pitch. He went 8-0 with a 3.57 ERA in 33 games for Arizona in 2011. So this isn’t quite a Rick Ankiel thing where a pitcher has trouble actually pitching.
- Speaking of Ankiel, Owings called him in the offseason to ask about the potential move. Before he could get the question out of his mouth, Ankiel told him to make the switch.
- Perez had a patently silly Triple-A debut season. He started his Chiefs tenure on a 19-game hitting streak, then went hitless in three of the next four games, and then started a 17-game hitting streak. He’s still technically on that 17-game hitting streak, having gone up to Washington as a September callup right at the conclusion of Syracuse’s season.
- Before last season, Perez had never played in a game above Single-A. He tore through Harrisburg and Syracuse en route to that callup, playing in 13 games with the Nationals – mainly as a pinch-runner. (He stole a combined 54 bases in the system last year.)
- Perez was part of the Dominican Republic’s World Baseball Classic-winning team this offseason, though he didn’t crack the loaded lineup much.
Jimmy Van Ostrand
- Speaking of the World Baseball Classic…JVO played for Team Canada this year. He’s also represented his country in the Olympics and Pan American Games. Not bad, eh?
- Van Ostrand played for the same team as Roger Clemens last season – the Sugar Land Skeeters of the independent Atlantic League. He missed Clemens by quite a few months, though, as the Nationals snatched him up in May.
- This’ll be Van Ostrand’s first Triple-A season. He spent parts of each of the last five seasons in Double-A – the first four of which came with Houston.
That’s all for the Chiefs’ Opening Day roster. Tune in tomorrow for Syracuse’s opener – 7:05 against the Lehigh Valley IronPigs on the Syracuse Chiefs Baseball Network or on syracusechiefs.com. See you there.
We haven’t been messing with you the past few days. There is actually baseball coming up in Syracuse. Despite the presence of all that white stuff outside your window. (It’s probably a good thing the season starts on the road this year, no?)
One of the more promising groups in Syracuse this season is the six-man infield…today, we’ll take a look at the lot.
- Costanzo’s a first-year member of the Nationals. He made his big league debut last season for Cincinnati, going 1 for 17, with the hit coming against the Yankees’ Ivan Nova.
- He played for Italy in the 2009 and 2013 World Baseball Classics. In fact, Costanzo hit what seemed to be a game-ending home run against Canada in a 14-4 win, before the hit was changed to a ground-rule double. (It would have been a game-ender because of the 10-run mercy rule in the WBC.
- 2007 was quite possibly the strangest year of Costanzo’s life. On November 8, he was traded from the Phillies to the Astros. His Houston career lasted all of one month and five days – on December 13, the ‘stros swapped him to Baltimore.
- Kobernus nearly went to the major leagues this season without ever playing in a Triple-A game. The Tigers selected him in the Rule V Draft, but Kobernus didn’t quite make the final 25-man roster. Just about a week ago, Detroit returned him to the Nationals, and here comes Kobernus to Syracuse.
- Stolen bases the last three years for Kobernus: 21 in 74 games (2010), 53 in 124 games (2011), 42 in 82 games (2012). So that’s fun.
- He’s a second-round pick from 2009 from California who excels with his versatility. He played center field as a freshman, third base as a sophomore and second base as a junior.
- Marrero basically had a lost season in 2012. He rehabbed a torn hamstring throughout the year and touched five different levels of the minor leagues, hitting just three home runs in 53 games – none with Syracuse.
- That’s certainly atypical – Marrero slugged between 14 and 23 home runs every season from 2007 to 2011, including a team-best 14 for Syracuse in ’11.
- His brother Christian plays in the Braves’ system as an outfielder and first baseman. His cousin Deven was Boston’s top pick last year. How’re your family bloodlines?
- Contrary to popular belief, Will is not related to Busta.
- He is, however, a career .289 minor league hitter with 130 games of major league experience under his belt. Those came from 2010 to 2012 with Detroit and Tampa Bay.
- Last season, he suffered a bizarre injury, when he was hit on the forearm with a fastball and subsequently fainted. Rhymes, however, was fine – in fact, he told his trainers he was Batman when they quizzed him upon regaining consciousness.
- At 5’9″, 155, he is the smallest Chief.
- Rivero was in major league camp throughout nearly the entirety of spring training. As a 40-man roster member who’s out of minor league options, the Nationals had to either keep him on the major league team or risk losing him to waivers. But no major league team claimed him when Washington sent him down to Syracuse, and Rivero is now off the 40-man roster.
- He’ll likely be on someone’s 40-man roster soon, though – Rivero led the Chiefs last year with a .303 average, good for fourth in the International League.
- His pre- and post-All-Star lines last season: .288/.318/.372 (before) and .329/.396/.545 (after). Hellooooo, adjustments.
- He has a particular disdain for keeping his hat on, apparently.
- Walters opened quite a few eyes at spring training this season, going 11 for 37 with a pair of home runs and some excellent defense. He also opened his eyes with some footwear.
- Walters came to Washington in 2011 in a straight-up deal with the Diamondbacks for starting pitcher Jason Marquis. Marquis had a 9.53 ERA in three starts for Arizona before getting injured. He’s now with San Diego.
Tomorrow: the outfielders.