Knights Knotes — August 16, 2015

KNIGHT LIGHTS: The Charlotte Knights (Triple-A affiliate of the Chicago White Sox) will conclude their three-game series against the Toledo Mud Hens (Triple-A affiliate of the Detroit Tigers) at 6:00 p.m. tonight from Fifth Third Field in Toledo, OH. The two teams have split the first two games of the series and the Knights will look for the series win tonight with a win. The Knights are 27-33 on the road this year. Charlotte enters tonight’s game in third place — seven games behind the first place Norfolk Tides (Triple-A affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles) in the IL South Division. The Knights are 3.5 games out of the IL Wild Card race behind Columbus, who they will play a quick two-game series against in Columbus starting on Monday. The Knights have just 10 home games left during the 2015 regular season. knights knotes

LAST KNIGHTS GAME: The Charlotte Knights beat the Toledo Mud Hens last night by a score of 9-6 in the middle game of their three-game series. Charlotte used 10 hits and a solid outing from RHP Kyle Drabek (7-7, 3.27) to beat the ‘Hens. Dayan Viciedo had a terrific day at the plate, reaching base five times, including a solo home run in the ninth.

KNIGHTS STARTING PITCHER: RHP Brad Penny (6-6, 3.93) will make his 20th start of the season tonight in the finale against the Mud Hens from Toledo, OH. After winning four-straight decisions from 5/9-7/21, Penny lost three consecutive starts (7/26-8/6). The 14-year Major League veteran however was sharp in his last outing, tossing seven shutout innings in a win over the Gwinnett Braves at BB&T Ballpark on August 11.

Photo credit: Buren Foster

Photo credit: Buren Foster

Overall in July, Penny went 2-2 with a 3.32 ERA in the month (6 games). He began the month of July by tossing a complete game, nine-inning, masterpiece at BB&T Ballpark on July 3rd (game two of day-night doubleheader) – the first 9-inning complete game tossed by a Knights pitcher in BB&T Ballpark history. He was signed by the Chicago White Sox as a free agent on December 16, 2014 and was assigned to the Charlotte Knights at the start of the 2015 season. The 37-year-old right-hander is a two-time NL All-Star (2006 & 2007). He started the 2006 game.

PENNY vs. TOLEDO: He has faced the Mud Hens twice this season and is 1-1 with a 1.80 ERA (10.0 IP, 11 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 2 SO). He last faced the club on May 9 at Toledo and earned the win after six innings (W, 6.0 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 1 SO).

CAREER KNIGHT: Charlotte slugger Dayan Viciedo reached base five times last night going 3-for-3 with two runs scored, two RBIs, a solo home run, and two walks. The home run was his 42nd with the Knights, which is good for sole possession of eighth place on the franchise list for home runs. He moved into a three-way tie for 10th place on the franchise list for RBIs (130).

275 WINS FOR SKINS: Last night’s win was the 275th for Charlotte Knights manager Joel Skinner, who is already the all-time winningest manager in franchise history. He was recently named by Baseball America as the Best Manager Prospect in the International League by Baseball America. Skinner recorded his 250th career Knights victory on June 20.

: White Sox OF J.B. Shuck completed his rehab assignment and was reinstated by Chicago today. Shuck went 1-for-10 in three games with Charlotte (8/13-8/15).

Photo credit: Laura Wolff

Photo credit: Laura Wolff

FRANCHISE HISTORY: Infielder Drew Garcia is in his fourth season with the Knights and the California native is moving up in a number of offensive categories in Knights franchise history. Garcia totaled his 1,000 career Knights at-bat on Friday and now has 1,003 for his Knights career, which is eighth on the all-time at-bats list in franchise history. He is also in eighth place on the Knights all-time games played list (289) — just three games away from tying Josh Phegley for seventh (292). Garcia is also in sole possession of 10th place in Knights franchise history with 61 doubles (passed Casey Rogowski). He’s one away from tying Chris Clapinski and Joe Borchard (62).

2015 IL LEADERBOARD: 3B Matt Davidson is second in the IL in home runs with 19, one behind Durham’s J.P. Arencibia (20). He is tied for second in the IL in games played (119), third in the IL in at-bats with 448, and tied for fourth in walks (54). Defensively, Davidson leads all International League third baseman in fielding percentage (.972), as well as all IL third baseman in assists (232) and second in double plays (19). He was named by Baseball America as the Best Defensive 3B in the International League… OF/1B Matt Tuiasosopo is second in the IL in slugging percentage (.483), and second in best home run/at-bat ratio (1/18.13)… Catcher Kevan Smith leads all IL catchers in games (79).

SINCE JULY 1: Outfielder Jason Coats is hitting .299 with seven home runs and 29 RBIs since July 1 (41 games). Over that stretch, Coats has 50 hits, which is tied for the third most in that frame and his 29 RBIs are the fifth highest over that stretch… Matt Tuiasosopo has the third highest RBI total over that span (31), and the most home runs over that stretch (12) in 36 games played. For Tuiasosopo, he also has 81 total bases, which rank fifth. Coats has 82 (4th).

HOME RUN KNIGHTS: The Knights were the first IL team this season to go over the 100-home run plateau. The Knights currently lead the IL in long balls with 112 – 14 more than second place Durham (98). The Knights as a team have hit 79 of their 112 home runs this season at BB&T Ballpark. Last year, the Knights hit 105 of their 176 home runs at BB&T Ballpark. The Knights have hit the most home runs at their home ballpark in all of Triple-A.

ATTENDANCE LEADERS: BB&T Ballpark, which was named the Best Ballpark in Minor League Baseball by Baseball America, has welcomed 584,681 this year (62 games) – the most in Minor League Baseball this season. The Knights are averaging 9,430 fans per game – also the highest in MiLB in 2015. The Knights led the minors in attendance in 2014 – their first at BB&T Ballpark – with a mark of 687,715 fans (71 openings).

THAT’S ERIK WITH A “K”: Charlotte RHP Erik Johnson (9-8, 2.45) struck-out eight batters over six scoreless innings on Friday to earn his ninth win of the season. Johnson is the leader in strikeouts in the International League with 123 and is second in the IL in ERA with a 2.45 mark. His nine wins are currently tied for third and he leads the IL in the highest strikeouts per nine innings ratio (9.42). His 1.15 WHIP is ranks third in the IL. Earlier this season, Johnson became just the fourth Knights pitcher in franchise history to start the Triple-A All-Star Game. He joined Julian Tavarez (1994), Charlie Haeger (2006), and Carlos Torres (2010).

TRAINER OF THE YEAR: Trainer Scott Johnson was recently named IL Trainer of Year by PBATS (Professional Baseball Athletic Trainers Society). He also won it in 2001 & 2002.

COATS OF ARMOR: OF Jason Coats recorded his team-high 72nd RBI of the season on Friday which is tied for third in the IL this season. Coats is eight RBIs away from recording at least 80 RBIs in three consecutive seasons. He was drafted in 2012 by Chicago (29th round).

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