Peoria Chiefs Notebook: 2013 Week 21

The Peoria Chiefs lost six straight this week, putting the St. Louis Cardinals Single-A club on the outside looking in for the final postseason bid in the Midwest League.

The week that was

This report covers the period from Wednesday, August 21 through Tuesday, August 27.

Manager Dann Bilardello's ballclub may have seen their playoff chances dashed with a six-game losing streak this week. The Peoria Chiefs managed to go just 1-6 and have put themselves in a terrible position with six games remaining in the regular season. The offense was putrid again, scoring only nine runs in the seven games. The Chiefs were shut out three times.

Peoria began the week by winning the first of a three-game series with Burlington (Angels). But it all went downhill from there. The Chiefs followed up the series-opening victory with two losses in a row to the Bees. They were held scoreless in the final game of the series.

They then traveled to face Cedar Rapids (Minnesota) and were again exposed by the superior team. Peoria was swept by the Kernels for the second consecutive week. The team has lost eight straight games to the Cedar Rapids. In the four-game series, the Chiefs scored only four runs.

The Chiefs sit at 28-36 and are in sixth place in the Midwest League Western Division standings. Peoria is definitely on the outside looking in for a playoff berth. They must overtake both Clinton (Seattle) and Wisconsin (Milwaukee) in the final six games to earn the bid as the Wild Card participant. The Chiefs trail Wisconsin by one game and Clinton by three. The good news for Peoria is they begin a three-game set with Clinton Wednesday night.

Game summaries

Wednesday, August 21: Burlington 1 at Peoria 2

Starter Silfredo Garcia gave up one run in the first inning then was lights out for the next four in route to his fourth victory of the season. Thomas Lee and Dixon Llorens pitched in relief and did not surrender another run.

The offense struggled but was able to get it done with runs in the second and fourth innings. Nick Martini went 2-for-3 with a run and a RBI.

Thursday, August 22: Burlington 5 at Peoria 3 (13 innings)

The Chiefs were on the wrong side of this extra-inning contest despite having 14 hits. The offense struggled to score, going 2-for-14 with runners in scoring position and stranding 14 runners. Breyvic Valera went 3-for-6 as did C.J. McElroy.

Starter Brad Watson went 5 2/3 innings while striking out eight. Joe Scanio took the loss after giving up two runs in the 13th inning.

Friday, August 23: Burlington 3 at Peoria 0

As has been the case for most of the season, the offense struggled to get anything done as the Chiefs were shut out. Peoria had seven hits and were 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position. Trevor Martin went 3-for-4 as the only player with multiple hits.

Mike Mayers suffered his second loss of the season. The starter went six innings, allowing three runs on a home run in the second inning. Mayers struck out five.

Saturday, August 24: Peoria 0 at Cedar Rapids 1

For the second consecutive game, the Chiefs failed to score a run, and wasted a great pitching performance by Kyle Helisek. He went seven strong innings, allowing just one run while striking out seven. His only blemish was a solo home run in the third inning.

The offense managed just four hits in the contest, all singles.

Sunday, August 25: Peoria 1 at Cedar Rapids 9

Peoria was beaten badly for the sixth straight time against Cedar Rapids. Starter Cory Jones returned from injury and was ineffective against the Kernels' powerful lineup. He went 3 1/3 innings, giving up five earned runs.

The offense did not fare much better. Trevor Martin led the team with two hits. The rest of the team combined for just three.

Monday, August 26: Peoria 1 at Cedar Rapids 3

The offense for the Chiefs was again held to one run as the team lost in another low-scoring contest. Peoria managed nine hits but left eight men on base. Breyvic Valera and Ildemaro Vargas each had two hits.

Chris Perry's good start was spoiled. The righty pitched six innings and allowed just one earned run.

Tuesday, August 27: Peoria 2 at Cedar Rapids 4

The Kernels finished off the sweep to earn their eighth straight win over the Chiefs. Peoria scored just four runs in the series. Juan Herrera and Bruce Caldwell each had a two-hit game.

Silfredo Garcia again suffered a loss after pitching well. He gave up one earned in six innings.

Who's hot

Trevor Martin. The only Chiefs position player who is hot at the dish is Martin. The third baseman is currently riding a seven-game hitting streak and batting .333 in his last ten games. He went 9-for-24 this week and was by far Peoria's most effective hitter. Since joining the Chiefs in July, Martin is batting .381 in 23 games. The club's number three hitter has one home run and 13 RBI.

Silfredo Garcia. With Peoria's offensive woes this week, Garcia absorbed two losses despite pitching well in his starts. In outings against Burlington and Cedar Rapids, the righty gave up two earned runs in 11 innings of work. Garcia has been extremely solid for the Chiefs for most of the season but does not have much to show for it. In his last 10 starts, Garcia is 2-4 with a 3.28 ERA. Usually an ERA that low would yield a better record.

Who's not

The offense. The Chiefs have been one of the worst offensive teams in the MWL all season long. But this week, the offense may have had its worst week all season. The team managed just nine runs in seven games and failed to score in three of the contests. The pitching was good enough to win, but it is impossible to get the victory if you do not score runs. Just about every regular position player across the board is slumping at the plate.

Jordan Walton. It was the wrong time for Walton to go into his worst slump of the season. This week, in the team's most important games of the year, he went just 2-for-22. Walton had no RBI but scored two runs. In his last 10 starts, the first baseman is batting .147 with just two runs driven in. His offensive woes are one of the main reasons the team has struggled so much as well. The Chiefs need Walton to produce or runs are going to continue to be hard to come by.

C.J. McElroy. The outfielder joins the long list of Chiefs struggling to produce at the plate. McElroy was just 6-for-30 this week and is batting .171 over his last ten games. Worst of all is his .190 on base percentage at the top of the lineup. Peoria is struggling to get guys on base and that starts with McElroy. The speedster is batting just .237 on the season.


8/27 IF Leandro Mateo assigned to Peoria from Johnson City
8/26 RHP Thomas Lee promoted to Palm Beach from Peoria
8/24 OF Charlie Tilson promoted to Palm Beach from Peoria
8/24 LHP Ben O'Shea assigned to State College from Peoria
8/24 RHP Cory Jones activated from Disabled List


RHP Sam Tuivailala remains on the Disabled List
RHP Chris Thomas remains on the Disabled List
C Adam Ehrlich remains on the Disabled List

Team stats – Season to date

Offense Season # MWL rank of 16
BA .253 10th
Runs 547 14th
OPS .673 13th
Doubles 187 16th
HR 59 16th
Steals 88 15th
Pitching Season # MWL rank of 16
ERA 3.54 2nd
Ks 1062 2nd
Walks 375 Fewest in MWL
HR allowed 65 3rd fewest
Saves 36 T-7th

Midwest League Western Division Standings – second half

Club W L PCT GB Overall Stk
Cedar Rapids Kernels (MIN) * 44 20 .688 - 84-48 W4
Quad Cities River Bandits (HOU) * 38 25 .603 5.5 76-56 W1
Beloit Snappers (OAK) * 32 32 .500 12.0 75-59 W4
Clinton LumberKings (SEA) 31 33 .484 13.0 64-69 L6
Wisconsin Timber Rattlers (MIL) 30 34 .469 14.0 59-70 W3
Peoria Chiefs (STL) 28 36 .438 16.0 66-65 L6
Burlington Bees (LAA) 26 38 .406 18.0 52-77 L1
Kane County Cougars (CHC) 22 41 .349 21.5 52-77 L3
* already playoff qualified            

What's next

With just six games remaining and Peoria's playoff chances slim, every game is almost a must win. The Chiefs start a three-game series at home Wednesday night with Clinton (Seattle), which they trail by three games for the final postseason spot. Peoria will then finish the regular season on the road with a series against Kane County (Cubs).

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