This notebook covers the period of Tuesday, May 26 through Monday, June 1.
The Peoria Chiefs (26-26) went 3-4 through the week in what was definitely an up-and-down stretch at home. Despite a few bumps, starting pitching paved the way for the Chiefs through the home stand.
5/26/15: Peoria Chiefs 4 vs. Clinton Lumber Kings 3
With Collin Radack called up to Palm Beach, the Peoria Chiefs received some brief outfield help with St. Louis Cardinal Jon Jay. The 30-year-old outfielder led off for the Chiefs and went 0-for-4 in part of his three-day rehab assignment from a wrist injury.
Daniel Poncedeleon shook off a rocky start, giving up two runs in the first frame, to cap off the evening with two runs, one earned, on four hits, two walks, and four strikeouts through six innings.
The Chiefs snagged the lead with a three-run bottom of the sixth. Justin Ringo kicked things off with a game-tying RBI-triple, and was brought home on a single from Danny Diekroeger to make it 3-2. With two outs, Blake Drake joined the party with a single to left, raising the lead to 4-2.
Poncedeleon remained perfect on the season with a 5-0 record. Blake McKnight received the hold and Tyler Bray earned his first save of the year.
5/27/15: Peoria Chiefs 2 vs. Clinton LumberKings 8
It was a tale of two offenses as the LumberKings demolished the scoreboard with eight runs on 12 hits with eight of those hits extra-base knocks.
Matt Pearce surrendered five runs on seven hits through 5 2/3 innings while walking five and striking out four as he took the loss, going 3-4 with a 3.20 ERA. Nick Frey went 2 1/3 with three runs on four hits, and Jhonny Polanco pitched a scoreless ninth, striking out the side.
Jon Jay, who went 0-for-4, tacked on the first run for the Chiefs in the bottom of the third with an RBI groundout. Blake Drake hit his sixth homer in the sixth to make it 7-2, but that was all she wrote as the Chiefs fell, 8-2.
5/28/15: Peoria Chiefs 8 vs. Clinton LumberKings 11 (F/15)
Jon Jay’s third and final game with the Chiefs ended early, as he went 0-for-2 and walked in his final at-bat. Vaughn Bryan came in to pinch run for the Cardinals outfielder.
The LumberKings brought out the big bats early, scoring eight runs in the first two innings and chased Chiefs starter Fernando Baez, who went 1 1/3 with eight runs on four hits and four walks. However, the Chiefs bullpen cooled down the hot LumberKings bats as Clinton went hitless through 12 consecutive innings.
The Chiefs erased a six-run deficit and set the stage in the bottom of the ninth down 8-6. After being out of the lineup for two straight games, Nick Thompson proved that he wasn’t rusty. Thompson unloaded on a 1-1 pitch right down the pipe and drove it out to deep center to tie the game up.
The wheels came off in the top of the 15th inning as Tyler Bray gave up three runs with two outs in the inning. First baseman Alex Deleon came in to finish off the 15th on the mound, making him the second position player to pitch for the Chiefs this season.
Steve Bean led off the bottom of the inning with a single, but the offense couldn’t pull together another comeback as they were handed the 11-8 loss.
5/29/15: Peoria Chiefs 5 vs. Kane County Cougars 0
Luis Perdomo brought his A-game as he finally received enough offensive support to get another win. Perdomo threw eight shutout innings with three hits and three walks while fanning nine to bring his record to 2-4 with a 1.48 ERA.
The Chiefs runs came in a three-run third and a two-run eighth. Danny Diekroger led the way for the offense with a 3-for-4 day with two RBI. Magneruis Sierra and Vaughn Bryan also drove in a run each.
Jhonny Polanco secured the win for the Chiefs with a scoreless ninth, striking out one.
5/30/15: Peoria Chiefs 3 vs. Kane County Cougars 4
The Chiefs put on their rally caps again as they scored three in the bottom of the eighth to knot the score at three. The Cougars struck back though in the top of the ninth to get the slim victory, 4-3.
With two outs in the eighth, Danny Diekroeger’s two-run single brought in Blake Drake and Darren Seferina. Vaughn Bryan singled in Diekroeger to tie it up.
It was a pitcher’s duel with Austin Gomber going 6 1/3 innings with three runs allowed, two earned, on two hits. Blake McKnight’s efforts weren’t enough as he absorbed the loss with his 2 2/3 innings of relief while surrendering the go-ahead run to Kane County.
5/31/15: Peoria Chiefs 1 vs. Kane County Cougars 7
Sixth-ranked Cardinals prospect Jack Flaherty returned to Peoria for the first time since Opening Day. Despite the lopsided loss, the 19-year-old hurled a respectable four innings with two runs, one earned, on three hits and an impressive seven K’s but did take the loss.
The Chiefs tied the game at 1-1 with a balk in the bottom of the third that scored Blake Drake.
6/1/15: Peoria Chiefs 3 vs. Kane County Cougars
In the series finale, the Chiefs took a split with Kane County and were led by a tremendous gem thrown by Daniel Poncedeleon, who improved to 6-0.
Poncedeleon pitched eight shutout innings on three hits with five strikeouts and one walk. After giving up a hit to Cougars leadoff man and former Cardinals farm hand Ildemaro Vargas in the first, Poncedeleon retired 11 in a row.
All three Chiefs runs came via heads-up base running and a bit of small ball. Andrew Sohn and Darren Seferina contributed sacrifice flies, and Vaughn Bryan scored on a wild pitch.
Tyler Bray closed the door in a perfect ninth inning to get his second save of the campaign.
Luis Perdomo – Perdomo’s efforts won him the Midwest League Pitcher of the Week award for the period of May 25-31. On Friday, the righty threw an impressive outing of eight innings with only three hits and nine strikeouts that could also make a huge case for him to make an all-star appearance.
Daniel Poncedeleon – 6-0. That’s all we have to say. Dominance would be a modest way to describe the year the 23-year-old is having right now. Poncedeleon’s stats also make him a great candidate for the Midwest League All-Star Game, highlighted by 45 strikeouts with a 1.51 ERA.
Danny Diekroeger – The Chiefs third baseman currently holds a nine-game hit streak, batting .421 through this span. In six of those nine games, Diekroeger has collected multiple hits.
Blake Drake – The 21-year-old outfielder is on a hitting streak of six games. Drake added his team-leading sixth home run during the home stand. While batting only .219, it’s actually a big step forward for Drake as he struggled at the plate earlier this season.
Fernando Baez – Baez has had a bit of a roller coaster season on the mound. His last start lasted barely over an inning with his line of eight runs on only four hits. Command control was also the issue for Baez as he walked four during his 1 1/3 innings. Baez’s ERA is currently at 6.69 and he was placed on the disabled list this week.
Jon Jay – Heed not this warning, Cardinals fans. Jon Jay is just fine. The Cardinals outfielder did not collect a hit through his rehabilitation assignment for his left wrist, going 0-for-10 with a walk. However, his impact off the field is what the fans and players will remember the most. Jay signed all autographs, spoke with every member from the media, and also provided post-game steaks for the clubhouse each evening he was present. Jay returned to St. Louis and went 1-for-3 in his first game back in the lineup on 5/30.
5/26 - St. Louis Cardinals sent OF Jon Jay on a rehab assignment to Peoria Chiefs.
5/29 - RHP Ramon Santos assigned to Peoria Chiefs from GCL Cardinals.
5/29 – RHP Nick Frey assigned to Cardinals Extended Spring Training from Peoria Chiefs.
5/29 – RHP Julio Mateo assigned to Peoria Chiefs from Johnson City Cardinals.
5/29 - Peoria Chiefs placed RHP Fernando Baez on the 7-day disabled list with right elbow strain.
5/30 - Peoria Chiefs released 1B Justin Ringo.
5/30 - Adam Ehrlich assigned to Peoria Chiefs from State College Spikes.
5/31 – RHP Ramon Santos assigned to Cardinals Extended Spring Training from Peoria Chiefs.
5/31 - Peoria Chiefs activated RHP Jack Flaherty from the 7-day disabled list.
The Peoria Chiefs are now at .500 with a 26-26 record and sit in a three-way tie for third place with the Burlington Bees and the Kane County Cougars. The Quad Cities River Bandits proved that they’re human after all and have cooled down. They stand in a battle for the best record in the league with the Cedar Rapid Kernels, who are only two games behind Quad Cities.
Stat of the Week
Jhonny Polanco’s appearance on 5/27 against Clinton marked his 60th appearance in a Chiefs uniform. Polanco is the 20th player in Chiefs history with 60 games played.
The Chiefs have the day off Tuesday and will start a six-game road trip with three against the Great Lakes Loons and the Lansing Lugnuts. The Chiefs will return next Wednesday (6/10) to open a six-game home stand. Wednesday’s probable pitchers at Great Lakes for both teams are TBA.
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