Saturday — Game Four Set for Tonight!
SAT: CHA RHP Matt Zaleski (7-6, 3.70) vs. IND LHP Kris Johnson (5-2, 4.53)
Charlotte Starter: RHP Matt Zaleski has been on the mound in some important games this season. Tonight is another very important start. He was on the hill on 8/24 and beat the Pawtucket Red Sox with six solid innings. The win was a special one for Charlotte, who clinched the IL South Division that night. He also started the 2012 regular season finale on 9/3 vs. Durham and beat the Bulls with five good innings to lead the Knights to their 83rd win – the second highest total in Knights franchise history. Zaleski is coming off his best month of the season during the month of August. The Illinois native won his most games in August and posted a 3-1 mark with a 2.54 ERA in six games (four starts). More information on Zaleski can be found on page six of today’s notes.
Indianapolis Starter: LHP Kris Johnson will toe the rubber for the Indians in tonight’s game four matchup. Johnson, a native of West Covina, CA, appeared in 20 games for the Tribe this season and made four starts. His last two appearances of the regular season with the Indians was as a starter and he won his last start on 8/20 with 5.1 scoreless innings. Johnson also appeared in 15 games with the Curve – the team he last pitched for before coming back to the Indians. He made his last Altoona start on 8/30 and beat the Akron Aeros with five shutout innings. In all, with Altoona, Johnson made nine starts and went 2-2 with a 1.66 ERA. He was 3-2 with a 1.93 ERA in five games (four starts) with the Curve in August. Johnson entered the 2012 season with a career MiLB mark of 28-49 with a 5.10 ERA in 129 games (119 starts). He spent 2011 with Pawtucket and went 2-2 with a 12.63 ERA in just eight games (three starts). He did not pitch against Charlotte in 2011. He also spent the 2010 season with Pawtucket and made one start against the Knights that season. On 5/8 at Knights Stadium, he was saddled with the loss after allowing six runs (five earned) on seven hits over 4.1 IP.
SERIES INFO: The Charlotte Knights and Indianapolis Indians will continue their best-of-five first round playoff series tonight as both teams look to take home the Governors’ Cup in 2012. Charlotte took a commanding 2-0 lead after a 14-13 slugfest win on Thursday in the game two. The Knights returned home to Fort Mill for Friday’s game three matchup, but had just two hits and lost 8-0. The Knights still hold a 2-1 advantage in the series, however with two possible games to earn their elusive win. Both teams battled eight times in the regular season, with the Knights winning five of the eight games. During the regular season, the Knights went 3-1 at
Victory Field and overall, went 5-1 with the two playoff wins there. The Knights and Indians split a four-game regular season series at Knights Stadium earlier this season. With the Indians win on Friday, they now have won three of five games at Knights Stadium in 2012. Overall, last season, the Knights went 3-5 against the Indians.
Shut Out: The Knights mustered just two hits on Friday and were shut out for the 11th overall time in 2012. Charlotte shut out their opponent 13 times during the regular season. Charlotte’s last shutout loss of the season was on September 1 at Durham (L, 2-0).
Z-Man vs. Indians: RHP Matt Zaleski gets the nod in tonight’s game four matchup and it will be the third start against the Indians in 2012. In two regular season games (one start), Zaleski posted a 0-0 mark with a 2.57 ERA (7 IP, 8 H, 2 R, 2 ER). Last season, Zaleski went 1-0 with a 1.29 ERA in one start against the Indians (7 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 ER). He also made a start against the Indians in 2010 for the Knights and tossed five scoreless innings in a no-decision.
Where He Ranks: Matt Zaleski made his Knights debut in 2009 and has been a member of the club in parts of four seasons. All-Time in Knights franchise history, Zaleski ranks second in games started (65), behind Charlie Haeger (73), second in innings pitched (374.1), behind Haeger (495.2), seventh in strikeouts (243), and tied for fourth in walks (138).
Still Pheelin’ It: Josh Phegley continued his torrid pace the past few weeks with a 1-for-2 game last night. He led off the second inning with a double but was stranded on second base. The Indiana native has a hit in each game of the series and is batting .500 (5-for-10).
Continue the Trend: The Knights won the season series with Indianapolis five games to three and have not lost two in a row to the Indians in 2012. Their first loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates Triple-A affiliate at Knights Stadium was followed by consecutive Charlotte victories, and the other loss at home was followed by three straight Knights’ wins. If that pattern holds true to form, Charlotte could be in good shape Saturday night.
What a Difference a Knight Makes: In the first two games of the series, the Knights totaled 22 runs and 29 hits at Victory Field in Indianapolis. Friday night at Knights Stadium, Charlotte managed only two hits in the shutout loss. The Knights are 5-5 this year in games following a shutout loss.
Saturday Knights Live: Saturday has been one of Charlotte’s favorite days or nights of the week all season. The Knights are 15-9 in Saturday games to this point in the year.
A Look at a Possible Opponent: If the Knights win tonight’s game, the club will move on to the finals of the 2012 Governors’ Cup playoffs.. They would face the winner of the Pawtucket/Scranton/Wilkes-Barre series. So far in that series, the PawSox won the first two games, but lost on Friday 4-3. The PawSox have a chance to win the series tonight in Rochester. Pawtucket won game one 7-4 and game two 3-2. Both wins came at McCoy Stadium in Pawtucket.