"Relentless" Offense Carrying Chiefs

PEORIA - The Peoria Chiefs (67-51 overall, 29-20 second half) have continued their hot play since the All-Star Break and lead the Midwest League's Western Division for the second half.

The month of August has treated the Chiefs well, as they have won 11 of 16 games played. The surge into first place comes despite losing several key players to promotions (e.g. Josh Vitters, Josh Harrison – now with the Pirates organization via trade – and Chris Carpenter).

Call-ups and the signings of this year's draft picks have given the Chiefs a different face than the one they started the season with, but team chemistry is just as strong as ever.

Peoria manager Marty Pevey has been singing the praises of his team all season, even as new players find their way into the Chiefs' lineup.

"These guys are good guys. They are such good teammates and they're unselfish," Pevey said. "They would fit in with anybody because they are good people."

Fresh faces that have made their way to Peoria include top 2009 draft picks D. J. LeMahieu (second round, LSU) and Brett Jackson (first-round, 31st overall, Cal).

Mixed in with more veteran Midwest League players Ryan Flaherty, Kyler Burke and Rebel Ridling, Peoria now has an offense that puts runs on the board every night and a lineup that gives opposing pitchers headaches.

The Chiefs put on a power display against the Burlington Bees recently by blasting a combined seven home runs in four games. The series included two-homer games by Burke and Jackson, plus a monstrous grand slam from Junior Lake, which was hit out of O'Brien Field and onto Jefferson Street adjacent to the stadium at well over 400 feet.

And on Sunday, the Chiefs tied a season high for runs and hits in a 15-0 shellacking of Quad Cities.

With such a potent offensive attack, and the season quickly coming to a close, Pevey feels his team is primed to make the Midwest League playoffs. The Chiefs lead both Clinton and Quad Cities by six games in the Wild Card race.

"Our lineup right now is relentless. (Opposing pitchers) don't get a break, that's for sure," Pevey said. "We need to get (the pitchers) hot going into the playoffs. We really need our starting staff hot. They need to hit their spots, hit the glove, and pitch to contact."

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