Tommy Edman (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

Insider news from the St. Louis Cardinals’ Midwest League affiliate in Peoria for the period of April 18-24.

The Peoria Chiefs have lost eight of their last 11 and slid into last place as both starting and relief pitching have struggled. The offense, led by Tommy Edman, has done its best to try to make up for the pitching shortfall.

Game Summaries

 

Tuesday, April 18: Peoria Chiefs 0 vs. Cedar Rapids Kernels 5

The Chiefs dropped their fourth game in a row and were shut out for the third time, which leads the MWL. With the loss, the team also dropped to below .500 for the first time this season.

The Peoria offense has struggled to produce runs of late, only scoring two runs on17 hits in their last three games. J.R. Davis did his best to get the engine started by going 2-for-4 and two stolen bases.

In his second start, Bryan Dobzanski pitched well, holding the Kernels scoreless through six innings. Two walks in the sixth came around to score, which spoiled an otherwise solid outing for Dobzanski. The right-hander allowed two runs on six hits and two walks over seven innings; the longest outing by a Chiefs starter this year.

 

Wednesday, April 19: Peoria Chiefs 15 vs. Cedar Rapids Kernels 3

Tommy Edman lead the charge as the Chiefs broke out of their offensive slump, scoring 15 runs on 21 hits. Edman hit two triples, going 4-for-6 overall, with four runs and two RBI.  It really was a team effort for the Chiefs though, as all nine batters had at least one hit and eight had multiples.

As two Kernels outfielders collided, Dylan Carlson legged out an inside the park home run in the fourth inning, which scored two others. The Peoria offense then really exploded in the fifth inning as they batted around and plated four runs, a season high for runs in an inning, capped off by a Stefan Trosclair three-run home run.

The Chiefs not only dominated offensively, but the pitching was stellar as well. Starter Jordan Hicks struck out a career-high eight hitters over seven innings while allowing three runs on seven hits. The bullpen got the job done too as Eric Carter threw one perfect inning with a strikeout, and Estarlin Arias struck out two in one inning of work.

 

Thursday, April 20: Peoria Chiefs 8 at Wisconsin Timber Rattlers 11

Although the Chiefs offense continued to stay hot as they hit three home runs and picked up 15 hits, the team dropped the first of a four game road series to the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers.

Peoria’s offense was clicking as they scored 23 runs scored on 36 hits over the last two games. In the loss, the Chiefs also collected eight extra-base hits, a season high.

Not only did Peoria hit well, but Brian O’Keefe was solid defensively behind the plate as he threw out two Rattlers attempting to steal.

Edman continued to drive the offensive surge by going 3-for-5 and tripling for the third time in two games. Andrew Knizner, Danny Hudzina, and Carlson all homered but it was not enough as the Chiefs pitching struggled against the Rattlers.

On a rainy night, starter Ronnie Williams worked into the fifth and allowed five runs on five hits in a no-decision. Ramon Santos took the loss, allowing three runs on two hits over two innings.

 

Friday, April 21: Peoria Chiefs 1 at Wisconsin Timber Rattlers 4

With Friday’s defeat, the Chiefs have dropped four straight and six of their last seven.

Hudzina was the lone bright light as his second home run in as many days prevented Peoria from being shut out for a fourth time this season.

Starting pitcher Ian Oxnevad took the loss after allowing four runs on five hits over five innings. Oxnevad gave up a home run in the fifth. That is the team’s 11th home run allowed in six road games, including at least one in their last five.

 

Saturday, April 22: Peoria Chiefs 6 at Wisconsin Timber Rattlers 7 (10 innings)

Thanks to the productive tandem of O’Keefe and Knizner who went 2-for-5 and 3-for-5 respectively with a combined four RBI and three runs, the Chiefs jumped out to an early lead.

O’Keefe hit his first home run of the year and Knizner has four straight multi-hit games.

The 6-0 lead through three and a half innings turned out to be all for naught at the Chiefs ultimately lost 7-6 in 10 innings on a walk-off home run.

Despite having a commanding lead, Chiefs starter Steven Farinaro could not get comfortable and allowed five runs on five hits over 5 2/3 innings. Mike O'Reilly suffered the blown save as he yielded one run on two hits over 2 1/3 innings. Spencer Trayner took the loss as he gave up the walk-off home run in the 10th.

 

Sunday, April 23: Peoria Chiefs 6 at Wisconsin Timber Rattlers 5

J.R. Davis helped the Chiefs end a five-game road losing skid by going 3-for-4 with two runs and a stolen base.

The victory was a come from behind win as the Chiefs scored four unanswered runs. O'Keefe homered, the team’s fifth straight contest with a long ball. Peoria has 17 home runs in 16 games this season. O'Keefe also has driven in a run in four straight games.

http://www.scout.com/player/189832-brian-o-keefe?s=321

Eric Carter earned his first save of the season after striking out two and allowing one hit in two scoreless innings.

 

Monday, April 24 Peoria Chiefs 4 at Quad Cities River Bandits 14

After a solid showing in his prior start, Dobzanski was hit around by the Bandits, to the tune of eight runs, seven earned, on six hits over 2 1/3 innings.

The bullpen could not stop the bleeding as Tomchick and Trayner allowed six more runs.

In hopes of saving some arms, manager Chris Swauger had outfielder Matt Davis take the mound for the eighth. Perhaps Swauger should have made the move earlier as Davis got out of the inning with only one walk in a scoreless frame.

Trosclair hit his third home run of the season and Edman hit his first.

 

Who’s Hot

http://www.scout.com/player/206272-tommy-edman?s=321

Tommy Edman – In his last six games, Edman has helped to jumpstart the Chiefs offense, batting .393 with seven runs. The shortstop leads the MWL with four triples and his five doubles lead the team.

Jordan Hicks – Hicks has been lights out through three starts this season. Posting an ERA of 1.37 in 19 2/3 innings, the prospect right-hander has allowed just 16 hits, five walks, and struck out 15.

http://www.scout.com/player/209684-stefan-trosclair?s=321

Stefan Trosclair – The first baseman is leading the team with 11 RBI and behind only Ryan McCarvel with his three home runs.

Andrew Knizner – The catcher leads the team with a .377 batting average, fourth-best in the MWL.

http://www.scout.com/player/209667-j-r-davis?s=321

J.R. Davis – In his last six games played, Davis has 10 hits, three RBI and four runs scored. The second baseman is also leading the team in steals with four.

 

Who’s Not

John Kilichowski – The left-hander finds himself on this list for the second straight week after struggling in his third consecutive start. Kilichowski has posted an ERA of 6.43, sixth worst in the MWL, through 14 innings of work, giving up 23 hits and four walks.

Greg Tomchick – Tomchick is also on this list for the second week straight as the reliever has been charged with 10 earned runs in 9 1/3 innings for an untidy 9.64 ERA on 14 hits and eight walks.

Ian Oxnevad – Oxnevad has struggled to find his footing as well through his first three starts. The lefty has picked up two losses while posting an ERA of 5.93, eight worst in the MWL, on 13 hits and seven walks.

 

Stats

The Chiefs need to get their pitching figured out. Even with Hicks having the eighth lowest ERA, they currently have the highest team ERA in the MWL at 5.33. They also rank second in home runs allowed, seventh in walks, and dead last in strikeouts.

The offense is third in the circuit with its .255 batting average and 19 home runs (tied), though only tied for ninth in runs scored.

First-half standings – Midwest League Western Division 

CLUB W L PCT GB
Kane County Cougars (ARI) 12 6 0.667 -
Quad Cities River Bandits (HOU) 10 8 0.556 2
Cedar Rapids Kernels (MIN) 9 9 0.500 3
Wisconsin Timber Rattlers (MIL) 9 9 0.500 3
Burlington Bees (LAA) 8 9 0.471 3.5
Beloit Snappers (OAK) 8 10 0.444 4
Clinton LumberKings (SEA) 8 10 0.444 4
Peoria Chiefs (STL) 7 10 0.412 4.5

 

Transactions

4/20 RHP Mike O'Reilly assigned to Peoria Chiefs from GCL Cardinals.

4/20 RHP Dailyn Martinez assigned to Palm Beach Cardinals from Peoria Chiefs.

4/24 LF Vince Jackson assigned to State College Spikes from Peoria Chiefs

 

Injuries

4/24 Peoria Chiefs activated OF Bryce Denton from the 7-day disabled list (appendicitis).

OF Nick Plummer remains on the disabled list with an oblique strain.

 

What’s Next

The Chiefs will finish their road swing against Quad Cities (HOU) before returning to Peoria on Thursday to play a four game series against the Cedar Rapids Kernels (MIN) followed by a day off next Monday.

 

Follow Nick Konow on Twitter @NickKonow1.

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