Knights Knotes — May 18, 2014
CHARLOTTE KNIGHTS (14-28, 4th, 2014) (65-78, 3rd South – 2013)
@ NORFOLK TIDES (15-27, 3rd, 2014) (77-67, 2nd South – 2013)
CHA RHP Felipe Paulino (0-2, 9.90) @ NOR RHP Eddie Gamboa (1-4, 5.40)
TODAY’S GAME: The Knights and Tides will conclude their quick two-game series today with a 1:05 p.m. game. The Knights enter play with a 5-3 record against the Tides this season after a tough 7-6 loss in 13 innings last night. The Knights are now 0-5 in extra-inning games and are 6-17 on the road this season. With a win today, the Knights will earn a series split with the Tides and will win their fourth Sunday game of the season – which would be the most wins for a day of the week (Charlotte has won three on Friday, Saturday and Sunday).
LAST KNIGHTS GAME: Charlotte reliever Nelvin Fuentes entered a tie game in the bottom of the 13th inning without having allowed a run in 18 consecutive innings. Brett Wallace broke his scoreless streak after seeing just one pitch. Wallace launched a walk-off home run in the bottom of the 13th inning, and the Norfolk Tides beat the Charlotte Knights 7-6 on Saturday in the opening game of a two-game series from Harbor Park in Norfolk, VA. Fuentes (0-1, 4.50) threw one pitch on the evening and Wallace sent the offering over the right field fence for his fifth home run of the season, which broke the 6-6 tie game. Wallace finished the game 4-for-5 with the home run and four runs scored. As for Fuentes, the Puerto Rican native was promoted to Charlotte from Double-A Birmingham on May 13 with a consecutive scoreless innings streak of 16 innings. He made his Knights debut a day later and threw two shutout innings. On Saturday, Fuentes came on in relief of Maikel Cleto, who did not allow a run or a hit in three innings. The Tides moved into sole possession of third place in the IL South with the win.
KNIGHTS STARTER: MAJOR LEAGUE REHAB: RHP Felipe Paulino will make his fourth rehab start of the season for the Knights. In each of his three starts, Paulino has added to his innings count. On May 3, he went just two innings and allowed two runs (one earned) on five hits in a no decision. In his second outing, back on May 8, Paulino lost against the Lehigh Valley IronPigs after allowing seven runs on seven hits over three innings. He lost his last start on May 13 in Durham (5.0 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 3 SO). He is currently on Chicago’s 15-day disabled list with right rotator cuff inflammation. Paulino, 30, made four starts for the White Sox this season before being placed on the DL on April 28. The Dominican native posted a record of 0-2 with an 11.29 ERA in 18.1 innings pitched. He was signed by the White Sox as a free agent on December 9, 2013. The 6’3” right-hander entered the 2014 season with a career Major League record of 13-32 with a 4.93 ERA in 93 games (61 starts). He was originally signed by the Houston Astros as a free agent on July 2, 2001 and spent parts of nine seasons in Houston’s system. On November 18, 2010, Paulino was traded to Colorado in exchange for infielder Clint Barmes. He was traded again on May 26, 2011 to the Kansas City Royals for cash considerations.
AFTER FELIPE: LHP Eric Surkamp, who has started five games this season, will piggyback Paulino today for the fourth time. As a starter, Surkamp was 1-2 with a 6.00 ERA (24 IP, 42 H, 19 R, 16 ER, 7 BB, 23 SO). As a reliever, Surkamp is 0-0 with a 1.80 ERA in three games (15.0 IP, 12 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 17 SO). Surkamp, 26, was originally selected in the sixth round of the 2008 draft by the San Francisco Giants. He made his Major League debut on August 27, 2011 for the Giants and allowed one run over six innings pitched in a start against the Houston Astros. He appeared in six games that season with the Giants and posted a 2-2 record with a 5.74 ERA. Surkamp missed the entire 2012 season as he recovered from Tommy John surgery. He is a product of NC State University (2006-08).
WELCOME TO TRIPLE-A: Micah Johnson was promoted to Charlotte on May 13 from Double-A Birmingham where he was leading the Southern League with a .329 batting average. In five games for the Knights, Johnson is hitting .318 (7-for-22) with a double and two RBIs. After going hitless in his first game (May 13), he has a four-game hit-streak (7 H over his last 4 G).
DANKS RANKS: Jordan Danks passed sluggers Sam Horn, Jeff Inglin, and Mario Valenzuela for sole possession of eighth place on the all-time Knights franchise home run list last night after ripping the 39th of his Knights career. Danks is now just one away from tying current White Sox slugger and former Knight teammate Dayan Viciedo for seventh all-time (40). Danks is the all-time Knights franchise leader in triples (12) and walks (172). He ranks second all-time in the following categories: games played (384), at-bats (1,383), hits (368), and runs scored (204). Danks is third in doubles (77) and fourth on the Knights all-time RBI list with 175. He also has 42 stolen bases – which ties him for 10th on the all-time list. The Austin, TX native is currently in his fifth season with the Knights.
YARD WORK: With another home run last night (Jordan Danks hit a solo home run in the eighth inning) the Knights have now hit a home run in 10-straight games – dating back to May 8 against Lehigh Valley at BB&T Ballpark. The Knights have hit 18 long balls as a team just half way through the month of May, after hitting just 17 in the whole month of April. Charlotte is now second as a team in the International League with 35 dingers. Only Toledo has more home runs this season (38).
ROAD WARRIOR: Third baseman Matt Davidson continued his hot hitting on the road this season – ripping two hits in last night’s game for Charlotte. It was his second multi-hit game of the road trip and he is now hitting .333 (6-for-18) with a run scored, one home run, one double, and three RBIs on the trip (five games). In 22 road games this season (compared to 13 home games), Davidson is hitting .238 (19-for-80) with six runs scored, six doubles, four home runs, and 12 RBIs. In fact, all of his runs scored, home runs, and doubles have come on the road this year. He’s hitting just .128 (8-for-33) at home (13 games).
2014 ATTENDANCE. The Knights are currently first in attendance in Minor League Baseball – both overall and average per game. The team is averaging 9,556 per game. The team welcomed 8,568 fans through the gates yesterday. They have 10sell-out crowds in 19 games. Overall, their 181, 557 number of fans is the most in Minor League Baseball this season. Charlotte could have had even more with a projected sell-out crowd expected on April 18 – but rain postponed that game. Last season, Charlotte needed 51 openings to get to 180,000. The Knights hit 180,000 officially on July 25 (183,081). The July 25th game was the game Andre Rienzo tossed a no-hitter in game one of a doubleheader. That’s 32 less openings this season to get to 180,000. The next closest team to the Knights right now is Sacramento, who drew 14,704 fans last night pushing their overall mark to 175,714 in 22 openings. Still, they are only avaerging 7,987 fans to Charlotte’s 9,556.
EIGHT PROMOTED IN 2014: So far this season, the Charlotte Knights have seen eight of their players promoted to Chicago. The first player was RHP Jake Petricka (April 4). Here are the remaining Knights to earn a trip to Chicago this season: outfielder Jordan Danks (April 10), RHP Zach Putnam (April 17). RHP Andre Rienzo (April 19), LHP Charlie Leesman (April 22), RHP Scott Carroll (April 27) and LHP Frank De Los Santos (May 3), and RHP Frank Francisco (May 10) have been promoted to Chicago this season. Danks and Leesman are the only two that have since returned back to Charlotte.