Knights Knotes — July 11, 2015

KNIGHT LIGHTS: The Charlotte Knights (Triple-A affiliate of the Chicago White Sox) will continue their three-day, four-game series against the first place Norfolk Tides (Triple-A affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles) tonight at 7:05 p.m. from Harbor Park in Norfolk, VA. The Knights split yesterday’s doubleheader and enter today’s game 1.5 games behind the first place Tides in the IL South Division. The Knights and Tides are 7-7 head-to-head this season and will wrap up the first half of the year with this series on Sunday. 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: The Knights dropped game one of Friday’s twin bill to the Norfolk Tides by a score of 4-3 when Dariel Alvarez came through with an RBI, walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth off reliever Blake Smith (0-2, 5.91). In the nightcap, the Knights came back to score six runs to beat the Tides 6-5. Reliever Jarrett Casey earned his eighth win.

DOUBLEHEADERS: The Charlotte Knights played their fourth doubleheader of the season yesterday and split the two games. In eight games this year in doubleheader play, the Knights are 2-6. Yesterday’s doubleheader was Charlotte’s third in less than two weeks.

KNIGHTS STARTING PITCHER: RHP Kyle Drabek (4-5, 2.64) will make his 15th Knights start of the season tonight. Drabek has limited opposing batters to a .221 batting average this season – fourth lowest in the IL among starters. He also has the third lowest WHIP (1.11), has allowed the fewest baserunners per nine innings (10.23) and his 2.64 ERA is third in the IL. Drabek_KyleThe 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 — his first start in Triple-A 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 Texas native posted a 5.06 ERA (5.1 IP, 9 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 3 SO). He was claimed by Chicago on March 27, 2015 off waivers from Toronto. Last season with the 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). 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. 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 a Organization All-Star. Kyle is the son of Doug Drabek, who won 155 games in the majors. Doug was the 1990 Cy Young Award winner while pitching for Pittsburgh.

99 K’S: RHP Erik Johnson (7-5, 2.73) made his return to the mound in game one of yesterday’s doubleheader and tossed four scoreless innings (4.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 SO). Johnson extended his season strikeouts total to 99 – tops in the IL this season. He is also tops in the IL in strikeouts per nine innings (10.05), while his 2.73 ERA is fifth lowest, and his 1.12 ERA is fourth lowest. Johnson will start Wednesday’s Triple-A All-Star Game for the IL squad — just the fourth Knights hurler to do so joining Julian Tavarez (1994), Charlie Haeger (2006), and Carlos Torres (2010). Johnson has allowed one earned run over his last 36.0 IP.

COATS OF ARMOR: OF Jason Coats had a doubleheader to remember on Friday. In game one, the former TCU standout went 3-for-4 with a home run and three RBIs. In game two, he went 2-for-4 with one RBI – combining to go 5-for-8 with a home run and four RBIs. He is now tied for third in the IL in RBIs with 51 and is hitting .333 (12-for-36) with six runs scored, two home runs, and eight RBIs in July (9).  Coats_Jason

WHO’S HOT: 1B/OF Chris Marrero went 1-for-3 in each game of Friday’s doubleheader and now has a nine-game hit-streak. Marrero homered in game two yesterday and now has four home runs with the Knights (two over his last five games). In 19 games with the Knights since being promoted from Birmingham, Marrero is hitting .359 (23-for-64)… 2B Micah Johnson had four hits over the course of Friday’s doubleheader and now has nine hits over his last four games. Johnson is hitting .313 (63-for-201) on the season with five home runs, 18 stolen bases, and 24 RBIs in 50 games with Charlotte… Matt Tuiasosopo slugged his third home run over his last eight games last night – his seventh of the season. The home run – a two-run blast off RHP Eddie Gamboa – was hit in game two of the doubleheader… Catcher George Kottaras has now reached base in 20-straight games dating back to 5/17. During that stretch, he is hitting .339 (20-for-59) with seven home runs, 18 RBIs and a .487 OBP.

2015 IL LEADERBOARD: 3B Matt Davidson is tied for third in home runs (14) and tief for second in walks (46)… OF Trayce Thompson is first in games played (90), second in runs scored (48), second in at-bats (337), and third in extra-base hits (34)… Tyler Saladino and Leury Garcia are tied for second in steals (25)…

CHARLOTTE’S PEN: Overall, RHP Jarrett Casey (8-1, 4.78) is tied for second in the IL in wins (8)… Among relievers, RHP Maikel Cleto (3-2, 2.74) is third in the IL in batting average against (.168) and fifth in strikeouts per nine innings (10.17)… IL All-Star Zach Phillips (1-0, 2.50) has the second-best strikeouts rate per nine innings ratio (10.25) and opponents are hitting .176 against him (fourth lowest).

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