Andrew Knizner (Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports Images)

Insider news from the St. Louis Cardinals’ Midwest League affiliate in Peoria for the period of May 9-15.

The Peoria Chiefs continue to struggle, including being swept in a series for the first time this season as part of a 2-5 week. Andrew Knizner is providing some bright spots however, as the catcher leads the offensive charge with a 12-game hitting streak.

Game Summaries

Tuesday, May 9: Peoria Chiefs 3 vs. Western Michigan Whitecaps 1

Second baseman Andy Young led the way offensively, going 3-for-4 including his fourth home run of the season. Nick Plummer made his first hit since coming off the DL and scored on a throwing error, which was the deciding run.

In his first start of the year, Mike O'Reilly threw five innings, allowing one run on two hits with six strikeouts in a no-decision. Austin Sexton earned the win, going three innings without allowing a hit or run with two strikeouts and Brady Bowen picked up his first save of the season in one inning with a strikeout.

 

Wednesday, May 10: Peoria Chiefs 0 vs. Western Michigan Whitecaps 3

St. Louis lefty Tyler Lyons started for the Chiefs in a lone rehab appearance. Lyons threw 2 2/3 innings allowing two runs on four hits with a strikeout.

The offense was not there, as Peoria was held scoreless on just four hits. The team tried to mount a two-out, ninth inning comeback when J.R. Davis and Andrew Knizner each singled to put runners at first and second. The Chiefs were unable to capitalize however, as Young struck out to end the game.

Lyons took the loss. The lone bright spot was Ian Oxnevad’s work as the piggyback starter, as he allowed a run and three hits in five innings, striking out four and walking one.

 

Thursday, May 11: Peoria Chiefs 3 vs. South Bend Cubs 5

After missing all of last season with a wrist injury and being on the DL for a good part of this season, Plummer looks to be back at full strength as he hit his first home run in nearly two years. The Cardinals are being cautious with their 2015 first-round pick and rightfully so, because when healthy Plummer can make a major impact both on the field and in the batter’s box.

After Plummer’s home run which tied the game, the Chiefs offense stalled and righty Steven Farinaro gave up the deciding run in the fifth. Farinaro was charged with his second loss of the season, after allowing five runs, four earned, on 10 hits with two strikeouts over seven innings.

 

Friday, May 12: Peoria Chiefs 3 vs. South Bend Cubs 4

The Chiefs faced off against righty Dylan Cease, the No. 3 prospect in the Chicago Cubs organization. Cardinals fans should be happy about the outcome as Peoria was able to get to him early, knocking him out after 3 2/3 innings, his shortest start of the season. 

Knizner extended his hitting streak to nine games and put Peoria up with a two-run home run in the first inning.

Chiefs starter John Kilichowski made the not only the shortest start of his season, but his career, going just 1 2/3 innings. With two outs in the second and two runs scored on 41 pitches, manager Chris Swauger had seen enough and opted to bring in righty Frederis Para, even with a left-handed batter up.

Parra went 2 2/3 innings, giving up one run on a hit with two walks and three strikeouts. Ronnie Williams took his third loss of the season as he went 2 2/3 innings, allowing two runs on four hits with two walks.

 

Saturday, May 13: Peoria Chiefs 0 vs. South Bend Cubs 4

The Chiefs were swept for the first time this year in a three game series. Worse, it was at home. Once again, Peoria could not produce enough offense as they were shut out on eight hits. The Chiefs went 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position.

After walking the bases loaded, starter Bryan Dobzanski allowed two runs in the first inning before a double play prevented more damage. Defensively, the Chiefs were solid as they turned a season-high three double plays.

Dobzanski absorbed the loss, throwing five innings and allowing three runs on six hits with four walks and six strikeouts. Austin Sexton went two frames, allowing one hit with four strikeouts in his second appearance of the season, and Bowen did not allow a hit or run in one inning and struck out two.

 

Monday, May 15: (Game 1) Peoria Chiefs 12 at Cedar Rapids Kernels 8 (7 innings)

Looking at just the score, one would not suspect that this was only a seven inning game as the Chiefs blasted the Kernels with five home runs and 11 hits total, in route to a 12-8 victory.

Three Peoria hitters, Knizner, Vince Jackson, and Bryce Denton, all had multiple hits while Jackson produced four RBI via two home runs and Plummer plated three.

Since starting the year off incredibly strong, Chiefs starter Jordan Hicks had another rocky outing. The 20-year-old righty allowed seven runs on four hits over 2 2/3 innings while walking five and hitting a batter in a no decision. Hicks tied a career high with five walks and this was also his only other career start with no strikeouts. He has also hit a MWL leading seven batters this season. Eric Carter picked up the win with two shutout innings during which he walked one and allowed a hit while striking out one.

 

(Game 2) Peoria Chiefs 0 at Cedar Rapids Kernels 2 (7 innings)

Perhaps the Chiefs should have saved some offense for the second game of their doubleheader as they were shut out for the second time in three games.

Knizner kept his hitting streak going, now at 12 games, but other than that, there really were no other offensive bright spots for the team.

O'Reilly was solid in his second start of the season but took the loss as he allowed two runs on five hits over five innings of work. The right-hander struck out seven and did not issue a walk.

 

Who’s Hot

http://www.scout.com/player/209596-andrew-knizner?s=321

Andrew Knizner - The 22-year-old catcher is red hot as he is currently riding a 12-game hit streak. Thanks to this streak, Knizner leads the team in both home runs (6) and RBI (16). He is also leading the team in average (.313), slugging percentage (.539), and OPS (.897).

http://www.scout.com/player/209707-mike-o-reilly?s=321

Mike O’Reilly - O’Reilly has looked solid in his first two starts of the season. The right-hander has gone five innings each game allowing three earned runs and striking out 13.

http://www.scout.com/player/200930-brady-bowen?s=321

Brady Bowen - With bullpen issues plaguing the Chiefs all season long, Bowen has been consistent and provides some stability in the bullpen. The right-hander has the most innings pitched for any non-starter (12) and has a 2.30 ERA along with 18 strikeouts.

 

Who’s Not

Jordan Hicks - Hicks was the teams ace for the early part of the season, however has not looked like the same person in his last two starts. The Houston native has developed control issues which have led to him leading the team in walks as well as the MWL in hit batters.

Ronnie Williams - Williams lands on the "not" list for the second week in a row as being moved to the bullpen has not done much for him. The right-hander continues to struggle as he has the highest ERA on the team at 9.47.

 

Last Week’s Hot and Cold Players

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

Stefan Trosclair - The first baseman has slowed down a bit since last week and is not hitting as many home runs, yet remains consistent, posting 11 hits, three RBI and a .297 average in his last 10 games.

Dylan Carlson - Carlson is still struggling at the plate. The outfielder continues to lead the team in strikeouts with 36 and is batting just .211, but remains in the lineup for his solid defensive play.

 

Team Stats – Season to Date

Offense Season Stat MWL rank of 16 (Last
week’s rank)
BA 0.251 7 (5)
Runs 136 13 (12)
HR 36  2 (2)
Stolen Bases 25 T-11  (T-12)
OBP 0.319 8 (T-5) 
OPS 0.717 4 (3)
     
Pitching Season Stat MWL rank of 16 
ERA 4.75 15 (15)
Strikeouts 253 14 (15)
Walks 109 10 (13)
HR Allowed 38 1 (1)
Saves 4 T15 (T-15)

 

First-half standings – Midwest League Western Division 

CLUB (Previous rank) W L PCT GB
Kane County Cougars (ARI) (T-1) 20 14 0.588 -
Cedar Rapids Kernels (MIN) (T-1) 21 16 0.568 0.5
Wisconsin Timber Rattlers (MIL) (5) 17 17 0.5 3
Beloit Snappers (OAK) (4) 17 18 0.486 3.5
Quad Cities River Bandits (HOU) (3) 17 18 0.486 3.5
Clinton LumberKings (SEA) (7) 14 20 0.412 6
Peoria Chiefs (STL) (6) 13 22 0.371 7.5
Burlington Bees (LAA) (8) 11 22 0.333 8.5

Transactions

5/11 RHP Spencer Trayner assigned to State College Spikes from Peoria Chiefs

5/11 Peoria Chiefs activated RHP Eric Carter from the temporarily inactive list.

5/14 RHP Ramon Santos assigned to Palm Beach Cardinals from Peoria Chiefs.

5/15 LHP Dewin Perez assigned to Peoria Chiefs from State College Spikes.

5/15 SS Jose Martinez assigned to Peoria Chiefs.

5/15 RHP Estarlin Arias assigned to Palm Beach Cardinals from Peoria Chiefs.

5/15 Danny Hudzina assigned to Cardinals Ext. Spring Training from Peoria Chiefs.

5/15 LF Vince Jackson assigned to Peoria Chiefs from State College Spikes.

 

Injuries

5/10 St. Louis Cardinals sent LHP Tyler Lyons on a rehab assignment to Peoria Chiefs.

5/15 Peoria Chiefs placed 2B J.R. Davis on the 7-day disabled list retroactive to May 12, 2017. Right hamstring strain.

 

What’s Next

The Chiefs will finish off their four game series at Cedar Rapids on Wednesday then return home to face off in a four game set against Beloit starting Thursday. Following the weekend, the team will head out for over a week to take on Quad Cities and Burlington.

 

Follow Nick Konow on Twitter @NickKonow1.

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