Peoria Chiefs Notebook: 2013 Week 4

The St. Louis Cardinals Single-A club struggled both with its' pitching and offense this week, sputtering to a 2-4 record. Patrick Wisdom and Jacob Wilson are swinging hot bats.

The Peoria Chiefs could not score runs or stop their opponents from scoring as they had a rough road trip. Patrick Wisdom and Jacob Wilson were bright spots for the team as they combined for five home runs this week.

The week that was

This report covers the period from Wednesday, April 24 through Tuesday, April 30.

Manager Dann Bilardello's ball club continued its inconsistent play that plagued them throughout the month of April. The Chiefs went just 3-5 on the road trip to finish the opening month. Peoria did earn its first shutout of the season but were also shut out offensively for the first time this year. The team scored just 22 runs in six games while allowing 37.

The Chiefs went just 2-4 on the week after a promising start that saw the team take two of three from Dayton (Cincinnati). But a road sweep by Midwest League Eastern Division leader Bowling Green ended Peoria's first month of the season on a sour note. The Chiefs are 10-12 to date, currently fifth in the MWL Western Division.

Game summaries

Thursday, April 25: Peoria 5 at Dayton 11

Joey Cuda had a rough start for the Chiefs to take his first loss of the season. The right-hander gave up eight runs in just four innings to up his ERA to 8.18. Peoria was down eight runs after four and were never in the game.

Carson Kelly, Charlie Tilson and Patrick Wisdom led the offense that collected 10 hits. Wisdom hit his fifth home run of the season, going 1-for-4 with 2 RBI. Kelly had two hits and two runs scored while Tilson added three hits.

Friday, April 26: Peoria 3 at Dayton 0

The Chiefs earned their first shutout of the season behind a fantastic start from Hector Hernandez. The lefty went 5 1/3 innings, giving up just three hits while striking out eight. Corey Baker and Zach Petrick were fantastic in relief to protect the victory.

C.J. McElroy went 2-for-5 and scored a run in his second game as a Chief. McElroy is experimenting as a switch hitter. Alex Mejia ended his streak of reaching base in all 15 of his starts, going 0-for-4. Jordan Walton had two hits to extend his Midwest League season-high hitting streak to 14 games. Jacob Wilson launched his third home run of the season with a two-run shot in the top of the first.

Saturday, April 27: Peoria 7 at Dayton 5

Peoria's offense rallied late in the rubber game of the three-game set to give the team the series win. The Chiefs trailed 5-3 heading into the eighth inning, but scored four runs over the last two frames to take the victory.

Jacob Wilson went deep for the second consecutive game on another two-run shot, this one in the ninth. Patrick Wisdom hit his team-leading sixth home run while also scoring twice. Alex Mejia followed up the end of his streak of 15 games reaching base by reaching four out of his five trips to the plate. The shortstop went 2-for-3 with an RBI.

Sunday, April 28: Peoria 4 at Bowling Green 9

Starter Tyrell Jenkins only pitched 2 1/3 innings, giving up five runs and allowing nine Hot Rods to reach base. The bullpen did not fare much better as Joey Donofrio and Dixon Llorens combined to give up four runs in 5+ innings of work.

Patrick Wisdom was the lone bright spot offensively as he had three of the Chiefs six hits. Peoria was just 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position and stranded five men on base.

Monday, April 29: Peoria 3 at Bowling Green 4 (11 innings)

Kyle Helisek was great on the mound, allowing only one run in 4 2/3 innings but Zach Petrick and Michael Aldrete could not hold the lead late.

The Chiefs scored a run in the top of the ninth to take a 3-2 lead. In the home half of the inning, Aldrete gave up a run, credited to Petrick, to send the game to extras. Both teams did not score in the tenth, then Aldrete gave up the game winner in the 11th inning. Peoria is 2-2 in extra inning games this season.

Breyvic Valera, Jacob Wilson and Charlie Tilson all had multi-hit games to lead the offense. Wilson hit his fifth home run of the year in the fourth inning. The offense went 1-for-12 with runners in scoring position and left nine men on base.

Tuesday, April 30: Peoria 0 at Bowling Green 8

The Chiefs suffered their first shutout loss of the season. The offense was shut down by Hot Rods pitching and only managed three hits on the afternoon. Breyvic Valera, Jacob Wilson and Carson Kelly were the three Peoria players with a hit.

The pitching did not fare much better. Josh Lucas, in his first start with the team, went just 4 1/3 innings, yielding six runs on nine hits. The loss marked the first time the Chiefs had been swept this season.

Who's hot

Patrick Wisdom. Wisdom came alive at the end of the month to give Cardinals' fans a glimpse of his potential. While the average is not where he would like it to be, at just .229, he is hitting .282 over the last ten games.

More importantly, the power is starting to show. Wisdom had two home runs last week and two more this week. He has six long balls on the season to lead the team and tie for first in the MWL. His 15 RBI trails only Jacob Wilson for team-best.

If Wisdom can continue to hit for power and drive in runs, the average will work itself out. It is likely he will never hit for a high average, but that is not his job, anyway. Wisdom's role is to be a big bat in the middle of the order.

Jacob Wilson. Wilson, like Wisdom, had a rough start to the season but has come alive as of late. He currently boasts a nine game hitting streak and is batting .343 over the last ten games.

Wilson is also hitting the long ball. He had three home runs this week and leads the team in RBI (18). That ties him for eighth in the MWL. When Wilson is hitting, it makes the Chiefs a much better offensive ball club, giving them needed pop in the middle of the batting order.

Who's not

The pitching staff. In the six games this week, the pitching staff combined to post an ominous 6.66 ERA. The starting pitching and bullpen both took lumps on the road trip. For the first part of the month, the Chiefs pitching was a strength. The bullpen was lights out and really carried the team. But the last couple of weeks have changed that. Peoria currently has a 4.32 team ERA, which is only ninth in the MWL. It's cliché but the Chiefs will only go as far as their pitching takes them. They need more production.


4/25 OF C.J. McElroy assigned from Johnson City to Peoria
4/25 1B David Washington assigned from Peoria to Cardinals Extended Spring Training
4/25 OF Nick Martini activated from the 7-day Disabled List
4/26 CF Michael Swinson placed on Peoria 7-day Disabled List (hamstring)
4/29 OF Jordan Walton placed on Peoria 7-day Disabled List (ankle)
4/29 OF Steven Ramos assigned from State College Spikes to Peoria
4/29 RHP Josh Lucas assigned to Peoria

Injuries and suspensions

INF Jeremy Schaffer remains on the Disabled List
LHP Dail Villanueva remains on the Disabled List
2B Ildemaro Vargas remains on the Disabled List

Team stats – Season to date

A poor week from the Chiefs dropped both the offensive and pitching stats to the bottom half of the MWL.

Offense Season # MWL rank of 16
BA 0.250 T-7th
Runs 97 12th
OPS 0.691 10th
Doubles 33 14th
HR 12 8th
Steals 18 14th
Pitching Season # MWL rank of 16
ERA 4.32 9th
Ks 186 5th
Walks 80 10th fewest
HR allowed 9 5th fewest
Saves 7 4th

Midwest League Western Division Standings

Club W L PCT GB L 10 Streak
Cedar Rapids Kernels (MIN) 18 5 .783 - 9-1 W9
Quad Cities River Bandits (HOU) 15 8 .652 3.0 6-4 W2
Beloit Snappers (OAK) 11 11 .500 6.5 6-4 W2
Clinton Lumber Kings (SEA) 11 12 .478 7.0 6-4 L1
Peoria Chiefs (STL) 10 12 .455 7.5 4-6 L3
Burlington Bees (LAA) 9 12 .429 8.0 3-7 W1
Kane County Cougars (CHC) 9 13 .409 8.5 5-5 W1
Wisconsin Timber Rattlers (MIL) 8 13 .381 9.0 4-6 L3

What's next

The Chiefs finally return home after a 10-game road swing Wednesday night in game one of three against Lake County (Cleveland). Peoria will continue a six-game home stand this weekend against Fort Wayne (San Diego) before heading back on the road against Beloit (Oakland).

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