Brian O'Keefe (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

Insider news from the St. Louis Cardinals’ Midwest League affiliate in Peoria for the period of April 25-May 1.

The Peoria Chiefs wrapped up their first month of the season. It was full of ups and downs as exemplified by their 9-13 record. Brian O’Keefe and Tommy Edman are leading the offense, but the pitching is struggling.

Game Summaries

 

Tuesday, April 25: Peoria Chiefs 9 at Quad Cities River Bandits 5

Starting pitcher Jordan Hicks notched his third win of the season in his fourth start. It was not pretty though, as Hicks allowed five runs, four earned, on six hits over 6 1/3 innings. The righty struck out five but also had command issues as he walked four and hit three.

The offense picked it up for their ace as they scored nine runs on 13 hits.

DH Ryan McCarvel launched his fifth home run, one shy of the Midwest League lead.  

J.R. Davis, Andy Young, and Matt Davis all contributed with multiple hits and two RBI each.

Wednesday, April 26: Peoria Chiefs 1 at Quad Cities River Bandits 6

The Chiefs continued their inconsistent ways. One day after scoring nine runs, the team only managed to put up one on nine hits.

Starting pitcher Ronnie Williams suffered his first loss of the season, allowing five runs for the second consecutive start, raising his ERA to 7.27. Williams gave up eight hits, including two long balls over 5 2/3 innings, walking three and striking out five.

Peoria batters continued to fail with runners in scoring position as they went 2-for-15 and left at least one runner on base every inning.

The pitching is no better, as Chiefs pitchers have now allowed 27 home runs on the season, which leads not only the MWL but all of Minor League Baseball.  

 

Thursday, April 27: Peoria Chiefs 3 vs. Cedar Rapids Kernels 5 (12 innings)

After giving up nine runs and suffering two losses in his last three starts, Ian Oxnevad put together his best performance of the season. The left-hander went seven solid innings, giving up two runs on six hits while striking out three.

Up 2-1, Oxnevad handed the ball off to the bullpen in the eighth inning after giving up a leadoff double. Ramon Santos was charged with a blown save as he allowed the inherited runner to score before getting out of the inning. He gave up another run in the ninth, however the Chiefs battled back as Stefan Trosclair drove in Shane Billings with two outs to tie the game.

Peoria left a base runner stranded in scoring position in both the 10th and 11th innings. The Kernels made the Chiefs pay in the 12th as Estarlin Arias gave up the deciding two-run homer.

 

Friday, April 28: Peoria Chiefs 5 vs. Cedar Rapids Kernels 2

Both the hitting and pitching got back on track as the Chiefs snapped a two-game losing streak.

Chiefs hitters put up nine hits good for five runs. The offense was led by Young and Tommy Edman who both went 2-for-4. Young picked up three RBI on his third inning home run while Edman plated the other two Peoria runs.

Starting pitcher Steven Farinaro earned his first win of the season, putting in seven innings of work while allowing one run on five hits and five strikeouts.

Spencer Trayner made things interesting coming out of the bullpen to start the eighth inning, allowing one run on three hits. When he walked a batter with two outs to load the bases, Eric Carter came in and got out of the jam with a ground out to third.

Carter earned his second save of the season as he allowed one hit and struck out one in 1 1/3 shutout innings.

 

Saturday, April 29: Peoria Chiefs vs. Cedar Rapids Kernels (Postponed: Rain)

The game was postponed due to heavy rain. The teams hoped to play a double header on Sunday with both games scheduled for seven innings.

 

Sunday, April 30: Peoria Chiefs 0 at Cedar Rapids 1 (5 innings)

The Chiefs dropped a five inning rain shortened game 0-1 to the Kernels. The second game was postponed and will be made up in May.

John Kilichowski took a no-hitter into the fourth inning. The 22-year-old left-hander hit the leadoff batter before allowing two consecutive hits which broke up the shutout and would decide the game.

Trosclair singled in the second inning but Kernels starter Clark Beeker retired the next 10 Peoria hitters. After the fifth, the field was deemed unplayable as heavy rain started to fall once again.

Kilichowski threw all five innings in the loss, allowing one run on three hits with two walks and three strikeouts. The game goes down as a complete game for the lefty, this first this season for a Chiefs pitcher.

 

Who’s Hot

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

Brian O’Keefe - The veteran catcher continues to be the most reliable hitter on the Chiefs. O’Keefe is batting .323 on the season, second best on the team behind Edman, with nine RBI and a .384 OBP. Before going hitless in the five inning rain shortened game, O’Keefe had a nine hit streak and has failed to reach base in just three games this year.

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

Tommy Edman - The 21-year-old shortstop is on this list for the second straight week.  Edman has only slightly cooled down from last week when he went 10-for-24 with five extra base hits while coming in to score seven times. This week Edman went 5-for-14 with four RBI. He’s in the top ten of the ML West in both average and OBP.

 

Who’s Not

Ronnie Williams - Williams (1-1) has not looked particularly strong in any one of his four starts this year. In his 17 1/3 innings of work, the 21-year-old right-hander has posted and ERA of 7.27, giving up 19 hits, issuing 10 walks, and striking out 15.

Bryce Denton - Denton has not made the most of his audition while filling in for the injured Nick Plummer. Through five starts, the outfielder is batting .100, going 2-for-20 with eight strikeouts and one walk.

 

Team Stats – Season to Date

With the Chiefs hitting 21 home runs combined with their solid OBP, one would expect to see better run production. They have been dependent on the long ball, however, as they have struggled to hit with runners in scoring position, and excluding home runs, only have 35 extra-base hits on the season. The lack of run production paired with the high ERA shows up in the win-loss column for the team and is the reason why they find themselves just a half game out of last place.

Offense Season Stat MWL rank of 16 
BA 0.254 5
Runs 89 T-11
HR 21 T-2
Stolen Bases 11 T-13
OBP 0.323  6 
OPS 0.722 4
     
Pitching Season Stat MWL rank of 16 
ERA 4.97 15
Strikeouts 149 16
Walks 69 9
HR Allowed 29 1
Saves 3 T-14 

 

First-half standings – Midwest League Western Division 

CLUB W L PCT GB
Kane County Cougars (ARI) 15 7 0.682 -
Cedar Rapids Kernels (MIN) 13 10 0.565 2.5
Quad Cities River Bandits (HOU) 12 10 0.545 3
Beloit Snappers (OAK) 11 11 0.500 4
Wisconsin Timber Rattlers (MIL) 10 11 0.476 4.5
Clinton LumberKings (SEA) 9 13 0.409 6
Peoria Chiefs (STL) 9 13 0.409 6
Burlington Bees (LAA) 8 12 0.400 6

 

Transactions

4/30 RHP Jorge Rodriguez assigned to Cardinals Ext. Spring Training from Peoria Chiefs disabled list.

 

Injuries

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

 

What’s Next

Peoria will begin a streak of games with opponents from the East Division, starting with a series on the road against the Lansing Lugnuts, kicking off at 6:05p.m. Tuesday night. The Chiefs will then head to Midland, MI to take on the Great Lakes Loons and will finally return home to face the West Michigan Whitecaps.

 

Follow Nick Konow on Twitter @NickKonow1.

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