Knights Knotes — April 15, 2015
KNIGHT LIGHTS: The Charlotte Knights open up a quick two-game series with the Gwinnett Braves starting tonight at 6:35 p.m. from Coolray Field in Lawrenceville, GA. Tonight’s game is the first for the Knights on the road this season and it kicks-off a five-game stretch against the G-Braves (the two teams will play a three-game series at BB&T Ballpark starting on Friday). The Knights went 28-44 on the road last season. Charlotte’s last win at Coolray Field came back on August 29, 2014 in a 7-2 win over the G-Braves. Charlotte starter Chien-Ming Wang – who is now a member of Gwinnett – earned the win. The Knights will face Wang on Saturday night at BB&T Ballpark.
ABOUT LAST KNIGHT: The Knights wrapped up their first homestand of the 2015 season last night in a 12-8 loss to the Durham Bulls. Charlotte and Durham split the two-game series – after the Knights and Tides split their four-game series. Through six games, the Knights are 3-3 on the season – which puts them in a four-way tie in the IL South Division (all four teams are currently 3-3). Last night, RHP Brad Penny (1-1, 8.68) was saddled with the loss after allowing six runs on 11 hits over 3.2 innings pitched.
KNIGHTS STARTER: RHP Chris Beck (0-0, 5.79), who is ranked as the number 11 best prospect in the Chicago White Sox system by Baseball America, toes the rubber tonight for the Knights in their first road game of the season. Beck, 24, started game two of the season back on April 10 at BB&T Ballpark and allowed three runs on four hits over 4.2 innings pitched in a no-decision. Before that, Beck last pitched for the Knights on August 31, 2014 – tossing five shutout innings against the Gwinnett Braves at BB&T Ballpark. In seven starts with the Knights last season, Beck posted a 1-3 record with a 4.05 ERA (33.1 IP, 36 H, 16 R, 15 ER, 13 BB, 28 SO). He began the 2014 campaign with the Double-A Birmingham Barons and posted a 5-8 mark with a 3.39 ERA in 20 starts before a promotion to Charlotte on June 26. He started his first career Triple-A game on June 26 against Louisville and was saddled with the loss after allowing five runs on five hits over 4.2 innings pitched. He was sent back to Birmingham the next day. He was promoted back to Charlotte on July 28. He went a combined 6-11 with a 3.54 ERA in 27 starts between both stops. He ranked among the White minor leaguers in shutouts (T-1st), ERA (4th) and IP (4th). He entered the 2014 season ranked by Baseball America as the number nine prospect in Chicago’s system and as possessing the Best Changeup in the organization. Beck was selected by the White Sox in the second round of the 2012 draft out of Georgia Southern University.
TRAYCE-ABILITY: CF Trayce Thompson has been on-fire to start the 2015 season. The 24-year-old is hitting .429 (9-for-21) on the season – which is good for second-best in the IL so far this year. His nine hits are third highest in the league – just two behind IL leader Jackie Bradley Jr. (Pawtucket) and he has a six-game hit-streak heading into tonight’s game. His current six-game streak is tied for the longest current streak in the IL with Dixon Machado (Toledo).
STRIKE CITY: RHP Maikel Cleto has started strong this season. He continued his solid stretch last night by striking out three batters over 1.2 scoreless innings. So far this season (two appearances), Cleto, 25, has fanned seven batters in just 3.2 scoreless innings. Dating back to July 18, 2014 – Cleto has not allowed a run with the Knights over his last seven games (11.1 IP). He has allowed just four hits and has fanned 19 batters over that span. He did not allow a run in his final three appearances with the Chicago White Sox last season either (9/20-26).
CHARLOTTE LEADERBOARD: The Knights enter play tonight with the top batting average in the IL after six games this season. Charlotte’s team mark of .296 is now 25 points higher than second place Pawtucket (.271). The Knights also lead in slugging percentage (.427), triples (5) and are in second place in total bases (88) – just one behind the PawSox.
UPDATE: ROSTER MOVES: Outfielder Matt Tuiasosopo, along with right-handed pitchers Brad Penny and Matt Lindstrom, have been placed on the disabled list. Tuiasosopo was placed on the DL retroactive to April 14. LHP Jarrett Casey, who appeared in one game with the Knights back on April 10 — was promoted back to Charlotte from Double-A Birmingham,. Casey was assigned to Birmingham on April 13. He struck-out three batters over 1.2 scoreless innings for the Knights on April 10 at BB&T Ballpark against the Norfolk Tides. Penny (1-1, 8.68) won the 2015 home opener on April 9, but was saddled with the loss in last night’s game. Tuiasosopo was hitting .357 (5-for-14) in five games.