Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Game Preview: Road to Wrigley 2010

Match Up
Peoria Chiefs VS Kane County Cougars
First Pitch: 7:05pm CT
Location: Wrigley Field

About the Road to Wrigley
This will be the third annual minor league baseball game held at Wrigley Field. The Chiefs and Cougars met in the first ever event which took place in 2008. Last year, the Triple-A Iowa Cubs hosted the Las Vegas 51s in a Sunday afternoon affair. The Road to Wrigley is designed to give minor league players in the Cubs organization a taste of the big league ballpark. In 2008, the game was called in the 9th inning of a tied contest due to rain. It would later be picked up back at O'Brien Field in Peoria and the Chiefs went on to win.

Chiefs Season to Date
Overall, the Chiefs have a winning record at 41-39, but they finished third in their division in the first half. The Chiefs are the Low Class-A affiliate of the Chicago Cubs and they are a part of the Midwest League. So far, their second half has been dreadful as a 3-8 record puts them in last in the 8-team Western division. Last night, Peoria's game against the Clinton LumberKings was rained out.

Cougars Season to Date
Kane County is the Class A affiliate of the Oakland A's. They are 38-43 overall but their second half mark is 6-6. That puts them just 1.5 games out of first, even though they have four teams ahead of them. The Cougars are coming off an 11-2 win over Beloit yesterday back in Kane County.

Peoria Players to Watch
Hak-Ju Lee is the most talked about prospect who is playing with the Chiefs. He is their starting short stop and lead-off man. Lee will play in the MLB Futures Game on Sunday at Angel Stadium. First baseman Justin Bour (9 homers, 51 RBIs) hits for power and is a force in the middle of the Peoria lineup. Outfielder Greg Rohan is the only Chief hitting over .300 as he checks into action tonight at .301. Also keep an eye on D.J. Fitzgerald, Logan Watkins, Matt Cerda, and 2010 draft pick Elliot Soto.

Chiefs Starting Pitcher: Rob Whitenack, RHP
Rob enters this start, his 16th of the year, with a record of 6-6 and an ERA at 5.95. In his last outing he went only 3 innings in Kane County on July 2 before being removed. Whitenack allowed 2 runs on 2 hits and four walks before he was chased and handed the loss. His best start of the year came against Lansing on June 9 when he went five shutout innings. Whitenack was drafted by the Cubs in the 8th round of the 2009 draft.

Cougars Starting Pitcher: Ian Krol, LHP
Ian enters this start, also his 16th of the year, with a sparkling 1.83 earned run average. he is 6-2 and limits opponents to a .204 batting average. Krol was selected by the A's in the 7th round of the 2009 draft out of high school. As a present for his 9th birthday, he got the throw out the first pitch at a Cougars game!

Affordable Prices
For fans, the Road to Wrigley is a major league experience for minor league prices. Tickets are still available and start at just $5 and the best seats in the house cost just $17. Parking is just $2 and concession prices are also reduced.

Family Fun
Mascots from both teams will be at the ballpark, contests will be held on the field in between innings, and even The Famous Chicken will be at Wrigley! Also, kids 14 and younger can go on the field during batting practice and run the bases after the game.

Weather Forecast
It's 84 and "fair" right now in Chicago, and but there is a chance of rain tonight. The hour-by-hour forecast shows rain starting at 5:00 and lasting through the night. There is a 60% chance of scattered thunder storms during the ballgame.

Radio Broadcast
If you can't make it out to the game, you can always tune in on or on 96.5 FM ESPN Radio locally in Peoria. The voice of the Chiefs Nathan Baliva will be at the mic!

Up Next
This is the first of a three game series between the two clubs. That set will finish up at O'Brien Field on Thursday (7:00 start) and Friday (6:30 start).

I'll have a full recap of the action posted on the blog tomorrow!

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