Quad Cities Report: Bandits Take Advantage of Chiefs’ Mistakes for Series Win
Despite striking out 14 times, the Quad Cities River Bandits scratched out a 5-3 victory over the Peoria Chiefs on Wednesday night. With this win, the River Bandits won the series with the Chiefs and now have won two in a row heading back home for a series with the Kane County Cougars. Taking the win was reliever Ralph Garza, who threw one and two thirds innings, allowing two hits, one earned run and a walk. Andrew Thome earned his first save, pitching one and two-thirds innings of hitless ball. The big hit of the night went to right fielder Pat Porter, who hit a 2 run triple in the eighth, and was able to score on an error by Chiefs’ right fielder Thomas Spitz.
Early on in the ballgame, the River Bandits could not get anything going against Chiefs’ starter Derian Gonzalez. The only run allowed by Gonzalez was in the third inning when, following back to back singles by Aaron Mizell and Osvaldo Duarte, Mizell scored from second on a wild pitch. With Duarte on third with no outs, though, Gonzalez was able to get Daz Cameron, Kyle Tucker and Anthony Hermelyn to strikeout, limiting the damage. Aside from the third inning, Gonzalez didn’t give up a hit and struck out 10 River Bandits in five innings.
In the seventh inning, Pat Porter was able to temporarily tie the game at two, after getting on base via a hit by pitch, being moved to third, and then scoring on another wild pitch. In the seventh, the River Bandits were finally able to take the lead with a two out rally. Kyle Tucker and Anthony Hermelyn both hit sharp singles to put first and second with Pat Porter up. Porter teed off on a fastball, hitting the right field fence and scoring both Tucker and Hermelyn. An errant throw from the Chiefs’ right fielder allowed Porter to easily score on the play, too.
On the pitching side, Rogelio Almenteros pitched well in the start, going five and two-thirds innings allowing two hits, two runs, and striking out six. The only thing that prevented him from a quality start was a dropped third strike that scooted far enough from catcher Anthony Hermelyn to allow Chiefs’ Magneuris Sierra to make it to first. Almenteros was lifted for reliever Ralph Garza after this play. While his pitching line was good overall, I actually thought Almenteros struggled at times throughout the night. There were times where he seemed to be visibly affected by the cool night and the umpire’s strike zone. Despite this, he continued to battle, with his fastball sitting around 90 mph and his off speed stuff in the high 70’s to low 80’s. Almenteros did throw a couple of really nice changeups throughout the night that had the Chiefs’ hitters looking silly, way out in front of them.
- I was very impressed tonight by second baseman, Aaron Mizell. In addition to scoring from second base on the wild pitch in the third inning, Mizell made two beautiful diving plays. In the third inning he robbed Chiefs’ number five hitter, Briane O’Keefe, of a single with a fully stretched dive to snag the sharp line drive. In the seventh inning, with the infield drawn in and a runner on third, he was able to make a diving stop on a groundball by Peoria Chiefs’ Craig Aiken. While he was unable to make a play at home, he was able to stop the Chiefs’ momentum by getting the out at first.
Defensive Play of the Night
- This one is actually a tie between Osvaldo Duarte and Kyle Tucker. The fact that neither of Aaron Mizell’s plays are on this list speaks volume about their quality.
- In the first inning, shortstop Osvaldo Duarte made a play at shortstop that was reminiscent of Derek Jeter. The Chiefs’ Briane O’Keefe hit a sharp ground ball in the hole between Duarte and third baseman, Bobby Wernes. Duarte went to his right, backhanded the ground ball and made an off balance leaping throw to nail O’Keefe out at first. Read more about Duarte here: Osvaldo Duarte Profile
- In the eighth inning, Peoria Chiefs’ first baseman RJ Dennard hit a shot to left field. Kyle Tucker had to go a long way to track it down and made a leaping catch on the warning track, crashing into the left field wall, but hanging on for the inning ending out.
- One thing I have noticed over the last two nights of watching the River Bandits is their use of the infield shift. Just like their parent club, the Houston Astros, the Bandits constantly shift their infield based off of their statistical reports. It was not uncommon to see shortstop Osvaldo Duarte on the right side of the infield, especially against left handed pull hitters like the Peoria Chiefs’ RJ Dennard.
- Kyle Tucker: 1-for-4, R, 3 K and one highlight reel catch in left.
- Daz Cameron: 0 -for-3, BB, 2 K
- Osvaldo Duarte: 1-for-3, BB, SB
- The River Bandits return home for a series against the Kane County Cougars. According to MiLB.com, Albert Abreu will take the bump for the River Bandits against the Cougars’ lefty, Alex Young.
**Photo Credit: Richard Guill**