Knights Knotes — May 21, 2015

KNIGHT LIGHTS: The Charlotte Knights (Triple-A affiliate of the Chicago White Sox) continue a seven-game road trip and open a four-game series with the Lehigh Valley IronPigs (Triple-A affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies) from Coca-Cola Park in Allentown, PA at 7:05 p.m. tonight. Charlotte concluded their three-game series against the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (Triple-A affiliate of the New York Yankees) yesterday with a win to take the three-game road series (2-1) and seven-game season series (4-3). The Knights, who won five of seven games on their last homestand, enter today in first place in the IL South Division – 2.5 games ahead of Norfolk and 3.5 games ahead of the Durham Bulls. Charlotte has won seven of their last 10 games and six of 10 games against the North Division this season. knights knotes

THE LAST KNIGHTS GAME: The Knights scored five runs on 12 hits – including a two-run homer by OF Tyler Colvin – behind a dominant performance by RHP Erik Johnson (4-3, 3.96) to win the rubber match against the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, 5-2 at PNC Field.

KNIGHTS STARTER: RHP Kyle Drabek (0-1, 1.80) will make his sixth Knights start of the season tonight and first career start at Coca-Cola Park. Drabek tied a season-high with six innings in his last start – back on May 16 at BB&T Ballpark and did not factor in the decision and was saddled with the loss (6.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 2 SO). Drabek has had some tough-luck this season – especially over his last three starts. Over that three-game span, he has allowed just two runs over 17.0 IP while striking out 15 batters. He’s 0-1 with a 1.06 ERA over that span. The former Phillies farmhand was designated for assignment by the Chicago White Sox (April 20) and officially outrighted to Charlotte on April 22. He made his Knights debut on April 24 at Norfolk (4.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 SO) and was sharp in his first start at the Triple-A level since August 31, 2014 when he made his final appearance of the season with Buffalo at Syracuse (1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB). In three games with the White Sox this year, the 27-year-old Texas native posted a 5.06 ERA (5.1 IP, 9 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 3 SO). He was claimed by the White Sox on March 27, 2015 off waivers from the Toronto Blue Jays. Last season with the Triple-A Buffalo Bisons, Drabek appeared in 32 games and started 13 – posting a 7-7 mark with a 4.18 ERA (99.0 IP, 116 H, 57 R, 46 ER, 30 BB, 68 SO). With the Bisons, Drabek faced the IronPigs once last season in a relief role and allowed one run over two innings pitched. A season earlier, Drabek started for the Bisons against the ‘Pigs on August 25, 2013 and allowed three runs on seven hits over 3.1 IP and was charged with the loss. In two career games against the ‘Pigs (both in Buffalo) Drabek is 0-1 with a 6.75 ERA (5.1 IP, 4 ER). In six Major League seasons, Drabek owns a career mark of 8-15 with a 5.27 ERA in 42 games (30 starts). He’s appeared in 177.2 IP during that span in the majors. In eight seasons at the Minor League level, Drabek has compiled a 46-35 mark with a 3.92 ERA (142 games, 117 starts). He won a career-best 14 games with Double-A New Hampshire in 2010. That season, he went 14-9 with an impressive 2.94 ERA in 27 games (all starts). He earned 2010 Eastern League Pitcher of the Year honors for his efforts. He was also a mid-season and postseason EL All-Star as well as an Organization All-Star. Kyle is the son of former Major League Doug, who won 155 games over his Major League career. Doug was the 1990 Cy Young Award winner while pitching for the Pittsburgh Pirates.

DANKS FOR THE MEMORIES: IronPigs OF Jordan Danks spent parts of five seasons with the Knights (2010-14) and holds the Knights franchise record for hits with 449. He is also the all-time Knights franchise leader in games played (463), runs scored (250), triples (12), walks (215), and at-bats (1682). He is second in doubles (95) and RBIs (221) and fourth in home runs (52). Only Danks and Joe Borchard have compiled 1,600+ at bats, 400+ games played, 400+ hits, and 200+ runs in franchise history. He broke the Knights hit record on August 1, 2014 during the resumption of the July 31st suspended game at BB&T Ballpark.

ERIK WITH A “K”: With seven solid innings yesterday, RHP Erik Johnson (4-3, 3.96) notched his fourth win of the season (tying Jarrett Casey for the team-high). Johnson allowed just one run on six hits over seven innings while fanning a season-high nine batters. He last fanned nine batters on April 15, 2014 with Chicago vs. Boston. His career game-high is 10.

BASH BROTHERS: 1B/DH Dan Black and 3B Matt Davidson are tied for second in the IL this season in home runs – one behind Ian Stewart of SYR and Kyle Roller of SWB. Black is now hitting .318 (34-for-107) and is first in the IL in on-base percentage (.439) and tied for first in slugging percentage (.561). He is second in HR/AB with a home run every 17.83 at-bats, first in intentional walks with five and third in walks with 23. Black had a 25-game on-base streak snapped with a 0-for-4 game on May 8. During his 25-game on-base streak, which began on July 28, 2014 (five games from last year and 20 from this year), Black hit .342 with four homers and 16 RBIs. Davidson has hit safely in nine of his last 10 games.

THOMPSON’S SEAL: OF Trayce Thompson scored the go-ahead run in Tuesday’s game, which sealed the victory for the Knights. Yesterday, Thompson recorded two hits and is beginning to heat up. Over his last four games, the former White Sox second-rounder (June 2009 draft) has seven hits with one home run and five RBIs. He hit .325 (25-for-77) in 20 games during the month of April.

COATS OF ARMOR: OF Jason Coats extended his hit-streak to 11-straight games yesterday and finished the game with two hits (2-for-5) for the second-straight game. Coats, who is now hitting .309 (30-for-97) this season in 24 games with the Knights, has hit safely in 16 of his last 18 games. During the month of May, he is hitting .329 (23-for-70). Overall, Coats has hit safely in 20 of his 24 games with the Knights.

THRIVING IN MAY AND ON-THE-ROAD: In 14 games this month, infielder Leury Garcia is hitting .333 (19-for-57) with four doubles and four RBIs. He continued his hot-hitting on the road as well. Through 15 road games this season, Garcia owns a .344 batting average (21-for-61) with eight runs scored, four doubles, and four RBIs.

THE SKIPPER TOO: Joel Skinner has compiled a total 234 Knights wins — the most in franchise history in four seasons. Skinner and former Knights manager Nick Leyva (202) are the only two managers in franchise history to win 200 games. In 12 seasons as a Minor League manager (including this season), he owns a career 827-727 record. At the Triple-A level (five seasons including this year), he has a 320-294 record.


It’s been a great week for our Knights, Tommy!

Yes, it has Philip! Hope all is well with you!

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