Peoria Chiefs Notebook: 2015 Week 15

The Peoria Chiefs continued their hot streak of play with a 6-1 record this past week, moving into second place in the second half standings. Austin Gomber continues to pitch well.

This notebook covers Tuesday, July 14 through Monday, July 20.

7/15/15: Peoria Chiefs 1 vs. Beloit Snappers 0

Jhonny Polanco earned his first win as a starter this season as he and the rest of the Chiefs staff combined for a one-hitter in the series opener.

The sole hit Polanco allowed came in the top of the first, but the righty cruised after that. Polanco finished off the evening with six innings of shutout ball including three walks and five punchouts.

The only run in the game scored in the bottom of the second via a Nick Thompson double that brought in Alex De Leon all the way from first.

From the bullpen, Cody Schumacher tossed a shutout seventh, Nick Lomascolo threw a perfect eighth with two strikeouts, and Kyle Grana earned his 11th save with two K’s and a walk in the top of the ninth.

7/16/15: Peoria Chiefs 3 vs. Beloit Snappers 1 (F/7)

A rain-shortened game favored the Chiefs as Luis Perdomo and Oscar Mercado led the way for the team’s sixth consecutive win. This marked Perdomo’s first start since his return from Cincinnati to represent the St. Louis Cardinals in the MLB Futures Game.

After surrendering a run in the third, Perdomo dominated the rest of the way with a complete game of seven innings with one run on seven hits while striking out eight.

Late lineup addition Jake Gronsky knotted the game up with an RBI double in the fifth inning. He replaced hot-hitting leadoff man Darren Seferina, who was scratched due to a thumb contusion.

In a 1-1 game with the rain coming down and the bases loaded with no outs in the seventh, Mercado answered the call with a two-run single up the middle to give the Chiefs the lead. The umpires called out for the tarp after the play and, then, declared the game complete after a 65-minute delay.

7/17/15: Peoria Chiefs 2 vs. Beloit Snappers 10

The Chiefs couldn’t finish off the sweep as the Beloit bats came back with vengeance against Dewin Perez.

It was once again an early exit for Perez as he allowed five runs on seven hits with four walks and also a first-inning homer in 3 1/3 innings. The bullpen couldn’t stop the bleeding as Nick Frey gave up four runs in 1 2/3 innings and Anderson Gerdel allowed another through his three frames.

The Chiefs clawed into Beloit’s lead in the bottom of the fifth to make it a 9-2 game. However, that was their only ray of hope as Beloit snapped the Chiefs six-game winning streak.

7/18/15: Peoria Chiefs 7 @ Burlington Bees 4

The Chiefs kicked off their short road trip with a win in Burlington, highlighted by a four-run fourth inning.

Austin Gomber took the mound for Peoria and dealt a seven-inning outing with one unearned run on three hits. The southpaw also struck out seven and walked two en route to his ninth win.

After scoring their first run in the second, the Chiefs really opened things up in the top of the fourth. With one out, Jake Gronsky launched a three-run blast and Kenny Peoples-Walls followed up with a solo blast of his own to make it 5-0.

A five-run lead suddenly turned into a two-run lead as reliever Kevin Alexander surrendered three runs, including a two-run homer, while only getting one out in the eighth.

Kyle Grana came in to put an end to Burlington’s late rally with a perfect 1 2/3 innings with four K’s to earn his 12th save and secure the 7-4 win.

7/19/15: Peoria Chiefs 14 @ Burlington Bees 6

The Chiefs caught a bit of a delay with their bus breaking down heading to the stadium but that didn’t slow them down in this offensive showcase.

Peoria got things rolling right away with four runs in the first with a two-run Alex De Leon double and back-to-back sac flies from Nick Thompson and Luis Cruz. De Leon added to the lead with his ninth homer to make it a 6-1 game.

Jack Flaherty didn’t have the right stuff as he went four innings with six runs allowed, five earned, on six hits while walking four and striking out three. The young righty exited in the fifth after allowing four to cross the plate, making it an 8-6 ballgame.

The Chiefs didn’t let the slim lead intimidate them as they scored six in the final three frames. Five of those runs came via a three-run shot from Kenny Peoples-Walls and a two-run homer from newcomer Brian O’Keefe. O’Keefe also went 3-for-5 with two runs, a home run, and two RBI.

7/20/15: Peoria Chiefs 6 @ Burlington Bees 3

The Chiefs finished off this sweep in Burlington, highlighted by a great performance from the pitching staff.

Matt Pearce earned his sixth win in his five innings of work with two runs, one earned, on six hits while striking out two.

Jhonny Polanco gave up a run over two innings, Kevin Alexander earned the hold in an inning of work, and Kyle Grana saved his 13th game with a perfect ninth inning.

Alex De Leon put Peoria on the board with a sacrifice fly in the top of the first, and he delivered again in the second inning with a bases loaded single to make it 2-0.

After a leadoff triple from Nick Thompson in the fifth, Luis Cruz doubled in Thompson and came around to score with Kenny Peoples-Walls via an Oscar Mercado double that made it a 5-0 lead.

Who’s Hot

Austin Gomber – The 2014 fourth-rounder continues his stellar season with another win this past week in his seven-inning shutout. The Midwest League All-Star leads the team with 95 2/3 innings pitched and 96 K’s to go with a 3.10 ERA in 17 starts.

Harrison Bader – The New York native has gotten quite comfortable with the Chiefs, jumping from cleanup to third in the lineup. Bader is hitting .318 with an OBP of .444 in his 12 games with the Chiefs.

Brian O’Keefe – While the 22-year-old backstop has played only one game, his first appearance in a Peoria uniform turned out to be a promising one. O’Keefe turned in a 3-for-5 day with a moonshot home run, 2 RBI, and two runs scored.

Who’s Not

Jake Gronsky – While filling in for the injured Darren Seferina, Gronsky unfortunately doesn’t bring that same spark at the plate. Gronsky is hitting .200 as the temporary everyday second baseman, where he will most likely remain until Seferina’s return.

Nick Frey – The reliever’s ERA moved up significantly, from 4.63 to 6.75, due to his last outing of four runs in 1 2/3 innings from Beloit’s rout at Dozer Park on July 17.

Jhohan Acevedo – After a nine-game hitting streak raised his average to .317, Acevedo has fallen into an 0-for-11 skid, which has dropped his average back down to .270.


7/18: Peoria Chiefs released C Adam Ehrlich.
7/18: C Brian O'Keefe assigned to Peoria Chiefs from State College Spikes.
7/19: SS Andrew Sohn assigned to Peoria Chiefs from Palm Beach Cardinals.
7/20: RHP Anderson Gerdel assigned to Johnson City Cardinals from Peoria Chiefs.
7/20: Peoria Chiefs placed 2B Darren Seferina on the 7-day disabled list retroactive to July 16, 2015. Left thumb contusion.

Transactions Highlights

With Seferina out for a short period, Oscar Mercado has come to the rescue to temporarily take over the leadoff spot. This has also given manager Joe Kruzel chances to shift the lineup as well. Recent call-ups Paul DeJong and Harrison Bader both have fit comfortably in the two and three holes.

Midwest League Western Division Second Half Standings

Club W L PCT GB Home Away L 10 Streak
Kane County Cougars (ARI) 21 4 .840 - 9-2 12-2 8-2 L1
Peoria Chiefs (STL) 16 9 .640 5.0 6-5 10-4 9-1 W3
Quad Cities River Bandits (HOU)* 15 10 .600 6.0 8-6 7-4 6-4 W2
Cedar Rapids Kernels (MIN) 13 12 .520 8.0 5-6 8-6 3-7 L2
Beloit Snappers (OAK) 12 12 .500 8.5 7-3 5-9 6-4 W4
Burlington Bees (LAA) 9 16 .360 12.0 5-9 4-7 4-6 L3
Wisconsin Timber Rattlers (MIL) 8 16 .333 12.5 6-8 2-8 3-7 W1
Clinton LumberKings (SEA) 5 20 .200 16.0 2-12 3-8 0-10 L11
* first-half division winner                

What’s Next

The Chiefs open up a six-game homestand with three against the Clinton Lumber Kings and three against the Kane County Cougars, who are the league’s best second-half squad to date.

Luis Perdomo (5-7, 2.67 ERA) takes the mound for Peoria Tuesday as Clinton sends out lefty Pat Peterson (4-5, 4.42 ERA).

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