Knights Knotes – July 10, 2015

KNIGHT LIGHTS: The Charlotte Knights (Triple-A affiliate of the Chicago White Sox) will begin a three-day, four-game series against the first place Norfolk Tides (Triple-A affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles) today at 5:05 p.m. from Harbor Park in Norfolk, VA with a doubleheader. The Knights dropped two of three games on their latest homestand against the Durham Bulls and enter today’s game 1.5 games behind the first place Tides in the IL South Division. The Knights and Tides are 6-6 head-to-head this season and will wrap up the first half of the year with this series. The Triple-A All-Star Break runs Monday, July 13 to Wednesday, July 15. The Knights return home on July 16 to open an eight-game homestand. knights knotes

LAST KNIGHTS GAME: Charlotte native Richie Shaffer slugged two home runs in front of family and friends as the Durham Bulls beat the Charlotte Knights 10-8 last night in the finale of their three-game series from BB&T Ballpark. The Bulls used four long balls and 13 hits to beat the Knights. RHP Shawn Haviland (4-5, 4.09) allowed three runs (two earned) over six innings and was saddled with the loss. Tyler Colvin and Micah Johnson homered in the loss.

KNIGHTS GAME 1 STARTING PITCHER: RHP Erik Johnson (7-5, 2.86), who will start the Triple-A All-Star Game for the IL squad on Wednesday, will make his 15th start of the 2015 season, and appear in his 16th game tonight when he gets the nod against the Tides – his first start since June 26 at Rochester. Johnson leads theerik johnson IL in strikeouts (96), is averaging 10.21 strikeouts per nine innings, which is tops in the IL, and is eighth in the IL in ERA. Over his last 32.0 innings pitched, the 25-year-old has allowed just two runs (one earned). He was named as the IL Pitcher of the Week (week of June 15-21) after going 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA in two starts (14.0 IP, 7 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 20 SO). He is just the fourth Knights pitcher in franchise history to get the Triple-A All-Star Game starting nod — Julian Tavarez (1994), Charlie Haeger (2006), and Carlos Torres (2010), are the others. He made his 2015 debut on April 13 in relief against Durham and earned the win after three scoreless innings. He won his first start of the season (second appearance in 2015) on April 18 in five innings of one-run ball against the Gwinnett Braves. The 25-year-old right-handed pitcher entered the 2014 season ranked by Baseball America as the 2nd best prospect in the White Sox system.

KNIGHTS GAME 2 STARTING PITCHER: RHP Terance Marin (3-0, 0.96) will make his sixth start of the season today (seventh overall game). Marin did not allow a run over his first five games (29.0 IP) and had a 31.0 consecutive scoreless innings streak snapped in the third inning of his last start – back on July 5. Still, the Modesto, CA native tossed 8.2 innings to earn his third win of the season. Marin was assigned to Charlotte on Friday, June 5, 2015 after he was on loan to the Toros de Tijuana of the Mexican League earlier this year. He posted a 2-5 record with a 4.94 ERA in 10 games (nine starts) in 47.1 innings pitched for the Toros. Other notable names on that Toros team with Marin this season were Jose Contreras, Miguel Olivo, and Yuniesky Betancourt. Before returning this season, Marin last pitched in Chicago’s organization last season – going 4-3 with a 4.24 ERA in 14 games (70.0 IP) for the Winston-Salem Dash. He also spent time last season with Double-A Birmingham and was 0-2 with a 5.11 ERA in two games (12.1 IP). Marin, who was originally signed by the White Sox as a free agent on July 12, 2010, was released by the organization last year. He then signed with the Frontier League’s Evansville Otters, made six starts, and then was re-signed by the White Sox on June 19, 2014. Marin went undrafted out of Modesto Junior College.

DOUBLEHEADERS: The Charlotte Knights have played three doubleheaders this season (six games) – most recently a day-night doubleheader at BB&T Ballpark on July 3 – and are 1-5 this year in twin bills. Charlotte split the day-night doubleheader on July 3 against the Gwinnett Braves, but lost the other two twin bills. Today’s doubleheader is Charlotte’s third in less than two weeks. They dropped both games of their June 28th doubleheader in Rochester.Saladino_Tyler

SALADINO RECALLED: Tyler Saladino, who is third in the IL in stolen bases with 25 this season, has been recalled to the Chicago White Sox today. Saladino, a member of Chicago’s 40-man roster, earns his first promotion to the majors. Saladino, 25, was hitting .255 (50-for-196) with 28 runs scored, seven doubles, two triples, four home runs, 29 RBIs, and 25 stolen bases this season for the Knights. The San Diego, CA native was enjoying a solid month of July with the Knights. In eight games this month, Saladino was hitting .323 (10-for-31) with six runs scored, two doubles, two home runs, and 12 RBIs. He homered in back-to-back games (July 7-8).

FLURRY OF ROSTER MOVES: A flurry of roster moves have been announced today including RHP Shawn Haviland being placed on the DL, RHP Matt Lindstrom released by Chicago, as well as RHP Scott Carroll and infielder Ethan Wilson have been added to the roster, which is now at 24 active players. RHP Scott Carroll, who was optioned down to the Knights on Thursday from Chicago, takes the roster spot of Lindstrom. Carroll posted a 1-1 record with a 3.28 ERA in 12 games for the White Sox. The Kansas City, MO native began the 2015 campaign with the Knights and is 3-2 with a 2.67 ERA in six games with the club this year. Lindstrom, 35, posted a 2-1 record with two saves and a 5.56 ERA in 18 games out of Charlotte’s bullpen this season. Infielder Ethan Wilson, 26, has appeared in 17 games with the Dash this season and was hitting .170 (8-for-47) with seven runs scored, one home run, and eight RBIs. Haviland is 4-5 with a 4.09 ERA in 18 games this season.

ATTENDANCE LEADERS: BB&T Ballpark, which was named the Best Ballpark in Minor League Baseball by Baseball America, has welcomed 21 sell-out crowds in 44 Knights games this season – nearly half of the team’s games. Adding in the White Sox Exhibition Game (April 3) and the Team USA Game (July 4), BB&T Ballpark has welcomed 23 sell-out crowds this season. Overall during the 2015 regular season, BB&T Ballpark has welcomed 417,089 fans – tops in all of Minor League Baseball. The Knights led the minors in attendance last season – their first at BB&T Ballpark – with a mark of 687,715 fans (71 openings).

ALL-STAR GAME NOTES: 3B Matt Davidson, OF Trayce Thompson, and pitchers Erik Johnson, and Zach Phillips, will take part in the 28th Annual First National Bank Triple-A All-Star Game, presented by Gildan.Davidson_Matt The Charlotte foursome will represent the Knights and the International League against the Pacific Coast League All-Stars at Werner Park in Omaha, Nebraska on Wednesday, July 15. The Knights are one of just two IL teams with four All-Stars, along with the Norfolk Tides. Both Thompson (outfield) and Davidson (DH) were elected to start the game, while Johnson and Phillips were selected. Davidson will participate in the 2015 Triple-A All-Star Home Run Derby on Monday, July 13 — his second career Triple-derby. In 2013 — as a member of the Reno Aces — he won the Triple-A All-Star Home Run Derby at Aces Ballpark in Reno, NV. His 2013 title came just a day after he competed in the Futures Game at Citi Field in New York, where won the game’s Most Valuable Player Award. Other Knights to take part in the Triple-A All-Star Game Home Run Derby over the years are: Jim Thome (1993), Russ Morman (1997), Joe Crede (2002), and Dayan Viciedo (2011), and Dan Johnson (2012). Knights manager Joel Skinner will leave the team after tonight’s doubleheader and make his way to Cincinnati, OH to coach the U.S. Team on Sunday in the SiriusXM Futures Game for the second time in his career.

2015 IL LEADERBOARD: 3B Matt Davidson is second in home runs (14) and first in walks (46)… OF Trayce Thompson is first in games played (88), tied for second in runs scored (47), second in at-bats (329), and third in extra-base hits (34)… Tyler Saladino is third in the IL in steals (25) and Leury Garcia is fourth (23)… RHP Kyle Drabek (4-5, 2.64) has the third lowest WHIP (1.11) and fourth lowest ERA (2.64).

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