Knights Knotes — August 2, 2015

KNIGHT LIGHTS: The Charlotte Knights (Triple-A affiliate of the Chicago White Sox) will conclude a three-game series against the Indianapolis Indians (Triple-A affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates) today at 1:35 p.m. from Victory Field in Indianapolis, IN. Today’s finale will also be the finale of a 10-game road trip in which the Knights have gone 2-7. The Knights will have an off day on Monday before opening a 10-game homestand on Tuesday. The Knights enter today’s matinee 4.5 games back of the first place Norfolk Tides (Triple-A affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles) in the IL South Division and 1.5-games out of the IL Wild Card race behind the Columbus Clippers.knights knotes

LAST KNIGHTS GAME: Josh Bell lined a walk-off, game-winning RBI single in the bottom of the 13th inning off Charlotte reliever Zach Phillips (1-1, 2.62) to lead the Indians to a come-from-behind 6-5 win on Saturday in the middle game of the three-game series from Victory Field in Indianapolis, IN. The Knights will look to avoid a series sweep today in the finale.

EXTRA BASEBALL: The Knights have played 11 extra-inning games this season and fell to 5-6 in those games with last night’s loss in 13. Charlotte’s longest game was a 15-inning affair in which they lost 4-3 at BB&T Ballpark on July 18 to Norfolk.

KNIGHTS STARTING PITCHER: RHP Erik Johnson (8-6, 2.43) will make his 18th start of the 2015 season and appear in his 19th game today when he gets the nod against the Indians today in the finale of the 10-game road trip. Johnson currently leads the IL in strikeouts (107), is averaging an IL best 9.65 strikeouts per nine innings, and leads the IL in ERA with a 2.43 mark. Johnson has allowed just one earned run (three runs total) over his last 47.0 IP. 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 went 3-1 with a 1.03 ERA in five June starts and went 1-1 with a 0.00 ERA in three July starts. DSC05248Johnson became just the fourth Knights pitcher in franchise history to get the Triple-A All-Star Game starting nod joining Julian Tavarez (1994), Charlie Haeger (2006), and Carlos Torres (2010). He tossed two scoreless innings at the 2015 Triple-A All-Star Game at Werner Park in Omaha, Nebraska earlier this month. 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.


JOHNSON AGAINST THE INDIANS: This is his second start of the season against the Indians and fifth in his career since 2013. Back on June 21, 2015 at BB&T Ballpark, Johnson beat the Indians after he tossed eight shutout innings and struck-out nine batters in a 13-1 victory. Last season, Johnson went 1-1 with a 6.00 ERA in two starts against the Indians. His last start at Victory Field was on July 22, 2014 (W, 6.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 4 SO) in which he won. Johnson made his Triple-A debut on June 23, 2013 at Victory Field (ND, 6.0 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 5 BB, 6 SO). Overall in four career starts against the Indians, Johnson is 2-1 with a 3.12 ERA (26.0 IP, 20 H, 9 R, 9 ER, 24 SO).

WIN, LOSE, OR DREW: Infielder Drew Garcia had three hits last night to extend his hit streak to four-straight games. He has also scored a run in four-straight games. Garcia has hit safely in eight of his last 10 games. He is hitting .271 (13-for-48) with six runs scored, three doubles, one home run, and five RBIs after the All-Star Break. Back for his fourth season with the Knights in 2015, Garcia is ninth on the Knights all-time games played list with 276 career games – six away from moving into a tie for eighth place all-time with Josh Fields (282). He is also inching closer to another mark as he now has 963 career Knights at-bats – 35 away from a 10th place tie with Rusty Crockett.

TANK RETURNS: Dayan Viciedo was signed by Chicago yesterday and assigned to the Knights. He went 2-for-6 last night in his 2015 debut. Viciedo hit .254 with 66 home runs and 211 RBIs over parts of five seasons with the Chicago White Sox from 2010 to 2014. The former Knights slugger mashed 20 home runs in back-to-back seasons for the club (2010-11) and was named to the All-Knights Stadium Team in 2013.viciedo_dayan_full

2015 IL LEADERBOARD (HITTERS): 3B Matt Davidson is tied for third in home runs (16), tied for third in walks (50), third in at-bats (398), and tied for first in games (106)… OF Jason Coats is third in the IL in RBIs (65)…. Outfielder Trayce Thompson is tied for third in the IL in games (104), third in extra-base hits (40), fifth in total bases (171)… The Knights lead the IL in home runs (99), tied for first in RBIs (451) with SWB, and second in runs (482)… 1B/OF Matt Tuiasosopo has homered once every 20.62 at-bats, which is the third best HR/AB ratio in the IL… 2B Micah Johnson, who is currently on the DL, is batting .328 on the season in 66 games this year (2nd in IL) behind Buffalo’s Matt Hague (.346). He is also second in the IL in OBP (.383), second in slugging percentage (.487), and tied for third in stolen bases with 26… Infielder Leury Garcia, who is now with Chicago, is 10th in the IL in batting average with a .296 mark.

2015 IL LEADERBOARD (PITCHERS): RHP Kyle Drabek (5-6, 2.71) is fourth in the IL in ERA (2.71), second in WHIP (1.12), and opponents are batting just .221 against Drabek this season – the third lowest mark in the IL this season. Drabek has also allowed the second fewest baserunners per nine innings this season in the IL (10.37).

WHO’S HOT: OF Jason Coats is hitting .317 (13-for-41) with one home run and four RBIs over his last 10 games. He is hitting .450 (9-for-20) with three runs scored, one home run, and four RBIs over his last five games.… Charlotte 1B/OF Matt Tuiasosopo had a solid month of July and finished the month by leading all IL batters in home runs (9) and third in RBIs (22). Also in July, he finished with the fifth most runs scored (19) behind leader and teammate Micah Johnson (26) over that span…RHP Hector Noesi has 16 strikeouts over his last two starts (13.0 IP). He has a season-high nine strikeouts in his last outing over seven innings.

: LHP Jarrett Casey (9-2, 4.11) is in a four-way second-place tie in the IL in wins with nine (Scott Diamond, Dylan Floro, and Brian Johnson)… Opposing batters are hitting .172 against RHP Maikel Cleto – the second lowest opponents’ batting average in the IL among relievers. Cleto, who is currently on the DL, also has the third highest strikeout per nine inning ratio (10.76) in the IL… LHP Zach Phillips has allowed the second fewest base runners per nine innings in the IL this season (10.07)… Chicago White Sox RHP Nate Jones, who is recovering from Tommy John surgery, has not allowed a run in five rehab appearances with the Knights this season (5.0 IP).

D-E-F-E-N-S-E: 3B Matt Davidson leads IL third baseman in fielding percentage (.969), as well as all IL third baseman in assists (210) and double plays (18) … Catcher Kevan Smith leads all IL catchers in games (73), assists (46), total chances (570), and putouts (517)… OF Trayce Thompson is first in games (103), first in total chances (249), and first in putouts (243) among IL outfielders. As a team, the Knights are tied for the fourth best fielding percentage in the IL (.981) and are first in the IL in assists (1171) and third in putouts (2898).

10-GAME HOMESTAND ON TAP: BB&T Ballpark, which was named the Best Ballpark in Minor League Baseball by Baseball America, will open for a 10-game homestand starting on Tuesday, August 4. The ballpark has welcomed 25 regular season sell-out crowds and 27 overall in 2015 (April 3rd White Sox Game and July 4th Team USA Game).

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