Peoria Chiefs Notebook: 2015 Week 6

The Peoria Chiefs (21-18) featured heroics from the offense and starting pitchers during the five wins in this stretch. However, inconsistencies including lack of hitting with runners in scoring position, defensive errors, and pitching mishaps also shot through for four losses.

This notebook covers Monday, May 11 through Tuesday, May 19.

5/11/15: Peoria Chiefs 1 @ Cedar Rapids Kernels 3

The Peoria bats had no solutions in this one. While whipping up seven hits, the offense only brought in one while stranding 10 and going 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position.

With the bases loaded and no outs in the third, the Chiefs looked to be in business. In part of his five shutout innings, Kernels starter Jared Wilson got out of the major jam, however. Wilson secured an Oscar Mercado popup behind the plate, a Justin Ringo strikeout, and a deep Nick Thompson fly out that nearly cleared the bags.

The Chiefs received their shot at a bases-loaded redemption with two outs in the seventh. While an RBI from Steve Bean came across the plate, the effort just wasn’t enough as déjà vu struck the Chiefs.

Hard-throwing righty Luis Perdomo took the loss, surrendering two runs on seven hits and three walks over five innings of work with two punch outs. Kevin Alexander let in one run on two hits and struck out one in two innings. Blake McKnight threw a shutout eighth, only walking one.

5/12/15: Peoria Chiefs 5 @ Cedar Rapids Kernels 3 F/12

Late-game heroics were the story in this 11-inning affair. With their backs up against the wall, the Chiefs didn’t let the ninth-inning jitters get in their head. Luis Cruz knotted up the game with a single that went off the glove of Kernels first baseman Trey Vavra, scoring Oscar Mercado, who led off the inning with a single.

Nick Thompson answered the call with two outs and Mercado on third as he brought in the go-ahead run to make it a 4-3 game.

Collin Radack was the man of the evening as he went 5-for-6 including a double and an RBI. His sole RBI turned out to be a huge insurance run in the top of the 11th. Radack doubled high off the wall in left-center that scored Thompson, padding the lead 5-3.

Austin Gomber yielded three runs, two earned, on four hits in 5 1/3 innings pitched. The reigning Midwest League Pitcher of the Week hit tied his career-high with eight strikeouts. Five Chiefs relievers locked down the Kernels, allowing no runs on a combined six hits while striking out 12 through 5 2/3 innings.

5/13/15: Peoria Chiefs 5 @ Cedar Rapids Kernels 6 F/10

After pulling out an extra-inning win the previous night, the Chiefs bit the bitter end due to two crucial errors in the bottom of the 10th.

The bats didn’t go down quietly though, with a nice power spark. Nick Thompson muscled two out of the park, and Blake Drake added his own to the mix. However, the offense lacked a vital weapon as Collin Radack, who collected five hits the previous night, was given the day off.

In the bottom of the 10th, the Kernels threatened with runners on second and third. The Chiefs assembled a defense of five infielders that seemed to work to perfection. Justin Ringo snagged a groundball and fired home, but his throw bounced in the dirt and the Kernels walked off via the throwing error, 6-5.

Daniel Poncedeleon threw four innings in which he allowed two runs, one earned, on six hits as he received the no-decision. Robby Rowland was credited with the loss with two innings of one-hit ball and the unearned run that was the difference maker.

5/14/15: Peoria Chiefs @ Cedar Rapids Kernels (Suspended)

The Chiefs broke open the scoring with RBI singles from both Nick Thompson and Steve Bean in the top of the first. However, the Kernels came right back with their own early run support off of Chiefs starter Dewin Perez.

Perez had a rough outing surrendering six runs, three of those earned, over three innings pitched. The Kernels unloaded in the first two innings with two in the first and four in the second.

The weather kicked in the middle of the fourth inning with the rain coming down hard. The game was suspended at 6-2 with the completion to be played at Dozer Park on Monday, May 18.

5/15/15: Peoria Chiefs 6 vs. Beloit Snappers 0

A 91-minute rain delay didn’t kick Matt Pearce out of a groove in his start against Beloit. The 21-year-old righty hurled a seven-inning shutout with three hits and one walk while striking out three.

The sole threat from the Snappers in Pearce’s stellar outing came in the top of the sixth. Pearce worked himself out of a bases loaded jam with a flyout to right field and proceeded to throw a 1-2-3 seventh inning.

Timely hitting was the key for the Chiefs along with the help of a few errors from Beloit.

In the bottom of the third, Danny Diekroeger tripled down the right field line that scored in Alex De Leon, who led off the inning with a double. An overthrow from Beloit right fielder Shawn Duinkirk made it a 2-0 game as Diekroeger came all the way home for the little league inside-the-parker.

The Chiefs tacked on two more runs, including a Collin Radack fielder’s choice and a throwing error to second on a stolen base that scored Nick Thompson.

Another two runs crossed the plate in the bottom of the seventh, making it a 6-0 ball game.

Pearce earned the win, bumping his record up to 3-2 with a 2.12 ERA. Jhonny Polanco kept the shutout intact with two hitless innings and struck out five.

5/16/15: Peoria Chiefs 8 vs. Beloit Snappers 6

It looked like smooth sailing for the Snappers as they jumped out to what was once a 6-1 lead. Fernando Baez had a rocky start with 4 2/3 innings and gave up four runs on seven hits. Nick Lomascolo threw 2 1/3 innings with two runs on three hits.

The offense bailed out Baez though, as they scored seven of their eight runs in the sixth, seventh, and eighth.

All the drama occurred in the bottom of the eighth inning. Magneuris Sierra reached first on an infield single with one out. With two outs, a Danny Diekroeger walk set the stage for Collin Radack. On a 2-2 pitch, Radack unloaded and sent a three-run bomb that was gone as soon as it left his bat to give the Chiefs an 8-6 lead.

Kyle Grana had a great relief effort with 1 2/3 shutout innings, striking out three, and Robby Rowland closed the game out striking the only batter he faced.

5/17/15: Peoria Chiefs 5 vs. Beloit Snappers 8

The Chiefs sought a sweep in the finale but fell just short to the Snappers. Luis Perdomo took the mound for Peoria, throwing five innings. Beloit hung six runs on him, including a three-run first frame, however, all six were unearned.

The story in this game was the Peoria defense. The Chiefs knocked around the ball to the tune of four errors, including two by Danny Diekroger. Of the eight Beloit runs to cross the plate, only two were scored as earned.

Peoria’s offense chipped together runs to keep it close, but the problems in hitting with runners in scoring position deepened. The Chiefs went 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position in the 8-5 loss.

5/18/15: Peoria Chiefs 3 @ Cedar Rapids Kernels 7 (Resume Suspended Game)

In a part of an unorthodox double header, the Chiefs first finished off the suspended May 14th game against the Cedar Rapids Kernels at Dozer Park. The game resumed in the bottom of the fourth inning and the Chiefs were the road team in their own park.

Blake McKnight came out in relief, pitching a solid four innings with only one run on one hit with two strikeouts. Jhonny Polanco tossed a scoreless eighth inning, only walking one.

The bats couldn’t build momentum throughout the second half of the resumed game. A 3-for-12 string with runners in scoring position pulled in only one run on a Blake Drake RBI double in the top of the fifth, making it 7-3.

5/18/15: Peoria Chiefs 1 vs. Cedar Rapids Kernels 0 (F/7)

The dominance of Austin Gomber continued, as he pitched a complete-game one-hit shutout. The lefty threw just 77 pitches with 52 hitting the strike zone. Through his seven innings, Gomber notched four strikeouts and did not allow a base-on-balls.

The sole run came from new call up, Casey Turgeon, in the bottom of the third. The newbie doubled in Andrew Sohn, who led off the inning with a walk.

Manager Joe Kruzel did have action in the bullpen in the top of the seventh, but Gomber showed that there was no need for relief as he went 1-2-3 to finish off his complete game.

The one hour, 24 minute game was the shortest for the Chiefs since May 12, 2009.

5/19/15: Peoria Chiefs 7 vs. Cedar Rapids Kernels 5

A season-high crowd of 6,562 was in attendance in a game that was definitely a crowd-pleaser. Daniel Poncedeleon was a bit shaky early on, but still earned the victory as he finished the day with five runs allowed, three earned, on seven hits in 6 1/3 innings pitched.

A confusing moment occurred in the top of the third inning. With two Kernels on, Trey Vavra hit a gapper in to right-center that was lost under the outfield wall. Magneruis Sierra and Collin Radack threw up their arms to signify to the umpires they could not spot the ball. However, the play was not called dead and Vavra was given an inside-the-park homer to make it a 4-2 game.

The Chiefs used the long ball again to bring themselves back. In the bottom of the sixth with no outs and the bases loaded, Steve Bean ripped one over the right field wall for a grand slam to put Peoria back up 6-4.

Collin Radack, who also had an RBI, tripled and scored a big insurance run in the bottom of the eighth to make it 7-5.

Robby Rowland closed things out as the only reliever to appear in this game. Rowland tossed 2 2/3 scoreless innings with five strikeouts, nabbing his eighth save of the season.

Who’s hot

Matt Pearce – In his last two outings, the 21-year-old from Florida has not allowed a run through 13 innings pitched. Pearce only allowed eight hits, two walks, and struck out 11.

Austin Gomber – The lefty’s dominance is a thing of beauty as of late. With two shutouts within a two-week span in three total starts, Gomber has pitched 20 1/3 innings, during which he has only allowed two runs, for an ERA of 0.89. He has also punched out an amazing 19 batters in his last three starts.

Collin Radack – The outfielder has hit safely through his last eight of ten games, including his 5-for-6 game at Cedar Rapids on May 12. Radack has also come up in the clutch, hitting .302 with two homers and seven RBI in his last 10.

Robby Rowland – Rowland has been a great go-to guy in the late innings. In his last five appearances, he has thrown 6 2/3 scoreless innings along with only two hits, eight strikeouts, and converting all four save opportunities.

Jhonny Polanco – Polanco also added to the strong mix in his last three calls from the bullpen. The right-hander has not allowed a run through 4 1/3 innings while striking out eight with two hits and two walks.

Who’s Not

Magneuris Sierra – After being shifted around the lineup from leadoff to seventh, the 19-year-old still does not have any confidence at the plate. The batting average of .194 currently is continuing to decrease as the number of strikeouts continue to increase. With 38 strikeouts in total this season, Sierra has gone down via the K 10 times in his last eight games.

Dewin Perez – The lefty has yet to have shown true signs of improvement since coming off the DL a few weeks ago. In his last two starts, Perez has only thrown 4 1/3 innings with nine earned runs, an ERA of 18.69.

Standings

The Peoria Chiefs stand at third place with a 21-18 record in the Midwest League Western Division, trailing Cedar Rapids by two games and Quad Cities by ten games.

Transactions

May 13 – Darren Seferina was placed on the 7-day disabled list with a left thumb contusion.
May 15 – Casey Turgeon assigned to Peoria Chiefs from Johnson City Cardinals.

Stat of the Week

Steve Bean’s grand salami against Cedar Rapids on May 19 broke a bases-loaded cold streak during which the Chiefs went hitless in those last 15 at-bats. The last hit with the bags packed was on May 8 at Burlington when Oscar Mercado had an infield RBI single.

What’s Next

The Chiefs wrap up their four-game set with the Kernels Wednesday night with lefty Dewin Perez (0-2, 10.61 ERA) and Kernels southpaw Stephen Gonsalves (3-1, 1.75 ERA) duking it out. Peoria hits the road for the Memorial Day weekend with four against the Quad Cities River Bandits (HOU), and then come back for another seven-game homestand against the Clinton LumberKings (SEA) and the Kane County Cougars (ARI) that starts on May 26.



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