Peoria Chiefs Notebook: 2014 Week 6

The Cardinals' Single-A club is still dodging spring weather but lost four of five games played. As the offense struggles, pitching is leading the way.

The week that was

This report covers the period from Tuesday, May 6 through Monday, May 12.

Yet again, weather impacted the Peoria Chiefs schedule. A doubleheader against Cedar Rapids, scheduled for Monday, May 12, was cancelled.

Earlier in the week, the team dropped four of five total games. After losing a 1-0 affair to Beloit May 5, the team snapped its scoreless inning streak against the Snappers, leading to an 8-0 win. They dropped the next two, however, to the LumberKings before rallying to take the last game of the series.

On the season, the Chiefs sit at 19-15, good for second place in their division.

Game Summaries

Tuesday, May 6: Peoria Chiefs 8, Beloit Snappers 4
After a franchise-record 38 1/3 innings without scoring a run, the Chiefs offense exploded for eight runs in the seventh inning to defeat the Snappers.

After a leadoff walk by Jake Stone, Mason Katz was hit with a pitch. Stone scored on the RBI single to right field by Michael Schulze to end the streak. Schulze capped off the inning with another RBI single.

The eight runs were generated with just one extra base hit: Stone's two-out double. The Snappers made three errors in the inning, leading to four unearned runs.

Arturo Reyes started for the Chiefs but was unable to go five innings. The Washington native gave up three runs (two earned) in 4 1/3 innings. Kyle Barraclough picked up the win for Peoria, tossing 1 1/3 scoreless innings.

Wednesday, May 7: Beloit Snappers 5 at Peoria Chiefs 3
Peoria starter Jimmy Reed pitched well until a sixth-inning home run brought in the Snappers first two runs. The lefty allowed three runs on six hits in his five-plus innings, tallying four strikeouts in the process.

Kevin Herget took the loss in relief, allowing another home run in the sixth inning that erased a 3-2 Chiefs lead.

C.J. McElroy had a pair of hits from the leadoff spot and tallied an RBI. Carson Kelly was the only Chief not to record a hit, but he too had an RBI and scored a run as well.

Thursday, May 8: Clinton Lumber Kings 4, Peoria Chiefs 0
LumberKings starter Lars Huijer shut the Chiefs down, allowing just three hits in his seven innings pitched. Silfredo Garcia took the loss for the Chiefs, surrendering four runs (three earned) in 6 1/3 innings.

Peoria's offense was "led" by Juan Herrera, with two hits. A Mason Katz single, Jimmy Bosco double, and Matthew Young walk accounted for the Chiefs' only other baserunners.

Chris Thomas pitched 1 2/3 innings of scoreless relief, extending his streak to 3 2/3 scoreless innings over his last three appearances.

Friday, May 9: Clinton LumberKings 5, Peoria Chiefs 3
Neither starter fared well in the second game of the series. Blake McKnight failed to go five innings before exiting the game. The righty gave up five runs on six hits and three walks in 4 2/3 innings.

LumberKings starter Edwin Diaz gave up three runs on five hits in four innings. In the first inning, a two-out double by Ronald Castillo scored Herrera from third. Schulze gave the Chiefs a temporary 2-0 lead after doubling to score Cesar Valera in the second, and the Chiefs' final run came on a single by Katz.

Chris Perry and Barraclough combined to allow just one hit over the final 3 2/3 innings, striking out five between them, but the Chiefs' offense mustered just one hit over the last five innings of the contest.

Saturday, May 10: Peoria Chiefs 8 at Clinton LumberKings 6
For the first time since May 2, the Chiefs hit a home run. It was en route to an extra-inning win to salvage a game in the series against the LumberKings. Young hit his third home run of the season with two outs in the fourth inning, snapping the Chiefs' streak at 72 2/3 innings.

Seven Chiefs' collected at least one hit, while four (McElroy, Kelly, Young, Castillo) had two. Both of Castillo's hits were doubles and the outfielder also tallied three runs batted in.

Rob Kaminsky started for Peoria, yielding one earned run on five hits in 4 1/3 innings. Jhonny Polanco followed Kaminsky and gave up three runs (two earned) in 1 1/3 innings. The rest of Peoria's bullpen pitched 5 1/3 innings, giving up a run on four hits.

Sunday, May 11: No game (Mother's Day)

Monday, May 12: Peoria Chiefs at Cedar Rapids (DH) – RAINED OUT
The Chiefs were supposed to play two against the Kernels, including a makeup of the April 24 rainout. Unfortunately, the weather didn't cooperate in Iowa, so the games were rained out. They'll be made up as part of a doubleheader Tuesday and Wednesday, forcing the Chiefs to play four games in two days.

Lights Out

Even though the team struggled a bit, you can't blame the bullpen. Peoria's relievers put up a 2.55 ERA last week, and surrendered just five earned runs in 17.2 IP. The team struck out 19 batters while yielding just three walks and one home run.

The Long Run

If playing four games in two days isn't bad enough, the Chiefs don't have an off day scheduled until June 3, meaning over the next 23 days, the team will play 25 games. With the weather the way it has been, however (six of the team's games have been postponed or cancelled completely due to rain or, in one instance, snow), it wouldn't be surprising for at least one unscheduled day off to appear in that period.

Who's Hot

Rob Kaminsky. Welcome to Peoria, Rob. While he has yet to get through the fifth inning, the early returns for the lefty have been promising. Kaminsky currently sits with an 0-1 record and a 2.16 ERA, but the 19-year-old has shown great stuff on the mound. The New Jersey native has struck out six batters in just over eight innings pitched, and is poised to make an impact for the Chiefs as soon as he cuts down on his walks (five).

Who's Not

The offense. Nobody was hitting for the Chiefs this week. If the franchise-record scoreless streak wasn't a big enough indicator of that, the home run drought should be just as big of one. Numerous Chiefs offensive threats saw their batting average dip by at least ten points, including Peoples-Walls and McElroy. The latter's average dropped from .311 below .300 at .292 by the weekend.

Jhonny Polanco. Granted, he has only pitched in four games for the Chiefs this season, but Polanco has been by far the most ineffective reliever recently. The righty gave up three runs (two earned) in 1 1/3 innings against the LumberKings on May 10. That's it. In one of his earlier starts he did give up five earned runs in 1 1/3 innings, but he was lights out in his other two appearances. The Chiefs bullpen was so good this past week that Polanco's performance sticks out as the worst of the group.


Joe Scanio remains on the 7-day disabled list with a wrist injury.
Gerwuins Velazco remains on the 7-day DL with a knee injury.


Kyle Barraclough was listed as in the "Who's Hot" section last week, and it looks like the Cardinals agreed. Barraclough was promoted to Palm Beach Monday (5/12), and Steve Sabatino was assigned to Peoria to replace him. Sabatino, a 24-year-old lefty, pitched in seven games for Peoria last season, allowing two runs in 11 innings while striking out 15 batters.

Peoria Chiefs Team Stats

It's rather obvious the offense is struggling right now. Peoria ranks near the bottom in most offensive categories, including the second-fewest doubles in the Midwest League. The pitching has carried the team recently, and the stats show that.

Offense Season # MWL rank of 16
BA 0.247 12th
Runs 162 T-7th
OPS 0.673 T-11th
Doubles 48 2nd-Fewest
HR 14 T-9th
Steals 36 T-10th
Pitching Season # MWL rank of 16
ERA 4 7th
Strikeouts 281 7th
Walks 133 9th
HR allowed 23 4th-most
Saves 10 T-3rd

Midwest League Western Division Standings

Despite the rough week, the Chiefs actually moved up one spot in the standings. They'll have plenty of chances to distance themselves from the Kernels this week and a chance to gain ground on the Cougars when they square off against one of the teams near the bottom of the standings, the Timber Rattlers.

Club W L PCT GB L 10 Stk
Kane County Cougars (CHC) 26 11 .703 - 8-2 L1
Peoria Chiefs (STL) 19 15 .559 5.5 4-6 W1
Cedar Rapids Kernels (MIN) 19 16 .543 6.0 5-5 L1
Clinton LumberKings (SEA) 18 16 .529 6.5 7-3 L1
Quad Cities River Bandits (HOU) 18 18 .500 7.5 7-3 W6
Burlington Bees (LAA) 16 18 .471 8.5 1-9 L4
Wisconsin Timber Rattlers (MIL) 16 20 .444 9.5 4-6 L1
Beloit Snappers (OAK) 14 22 .389 11.5 5-5 W1

What's Next

Weather permitting, the Chiefs will play a four-game, two-day series with the Cedar Rapids Kernels (MIN) Tuesday and Wednesday. Right-hander Alex Reyes (2-1, 2.31 ERA) will face fellow righty Ethan Mildren (0-1, 2.25) in game one. Arturo Reyes (2-2, 2.83) is the likely starter for game two. The Kernels will counter with left-hander Josue Montanez (0-1, 8.66).

After the wrap up in Iowa, the Chiefs will return home to Dozer Park to kick off a seven-game home stand with a four-game set against the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers (MIL). The home stand wraps up with a three-game series against the LumberKings starting next Monday.

Follow Garth Shanklin on Twitter @GarthShanklin.

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