Knights Knotes — August 17, 2015

KNIGHT LIGHTS: The Charlotte Knights (Triple-A affiliate of the Chicago White Sox) will continue their five-game road trip through Ohio and open a two-game series against the Columbus Clippers (Triple-A affiliate of the Cleveland Indians) tonight at 7:05 p.m. from Huntington Park in Columbus, OH. Last night, the Knights concluded their three-game series against the Toledo Mud Hens (Triple-A affiliate of the Detroit Tigers) from Fifth Third Field in Toledo, OH with a 6-1 loss. The Knights dropped two of three from the Mud Hens. The Knights are 27-34 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 4.5 games out of the IL Wild Card race behind Columbus. The Knights have just 10 home games left during the 2015 regular season. knights knotes

LAST KNIGHTS GAME: RHP Luis Cessa (1-1, 6.61) allowed just one run over five innings, Dixon Machado and Steven Moya had three hits apiece, and the Toledo Mud Hens beat the Charlotte Knights by a score of 6-1 on Sunday in the finale of the three-game series from Fifth Third Field in Toledo, OH.

KNIGHTS STARTING PITCHER: Charlotte RHP Scott Carroll (5-3, 3.38 ERA) will make his 13th start of the 2015 season with the Knights tonight and first against Columbus in 2015. Carroll has been promoted to the White Sox on three occasions this season and is 1-1 with a 3.41 ERA in 13 games for Chicago (29.0 IP). Since coming back to the Knights, Carroll has won two of his last three starts. He began the 2015 season with the Knights and started three games for the club before his contract was purchased by the White Sox on April 26. He posted a 1-1 record with a 3.12 ERA in eight games for the White Sox before being optioned down to the Knights on May 28. He returned to the Knights and won back-to-back starts (5/31 & 6/6) – both at BB&T Ballpark. He was also recalled to Chicago on June 18 and August 1.

Photo credit: Laura Wolff

Photo credit: Laura Wolff

Last season with the Knights in four starts, he won IL Pitcher of the Week honors before earning a promotion to Chicago. He entered his final 2014 start with the Knights without having allowed an earned run in 19.0 innings pitched. Carroll had his contract purchased by the White Sox on April 27 and made his Major League debut that day in a start against Tampa Bay (W, 7.1 IP, 2 R, 1 ER). It was the longest outing by a White Sox pitcher making his Major League debut since Gerry Janeski on April 10, 1970 (also 7.1 IP). Carroll spent part of the 2013 season recovering from Tommy John surgery and appeared in just 11 starts between Bristol and Birmingham.

CARROLL VS. COLUMBUS: Carroll has not faced the Clippers in his Knights career (25 games), but did face the Clippers a number of times as a member of the Louisville Bats (2011-12). His last appearances against Columbus came on April 15, 2012. His last appearance at Huntington Park came on April 6, 2012. In his career against the Clippers, Carroll is 2-1, 4.55 ERA (7 G, 4 GS, 29.2 IP, 35 H, 15 R, 15 ER, 14 SO).

COATS OF ARMOR: OF Jason Coats recorded his team-high 73rd RBI of the season last night which is tied for second in the IL this season. Coats is seven RBIs away from recording at least 80 RBIs in three consecutive seasons. He was drafted in 2012 by Chicago (29th round). Coats has 30 RBIs since July 1st, which is the fourth highest total over that span. Teammate Matt Tuiasosopo has 31 RBIs over that span (third highest). Coats also has seven home runs over that span, which is fifth highest. Tuiasosopo has 12, which is the most.

KNIGHTS ANNOUNCE 2016 SCHEDULE: Earlier today, the Knights announced the 2016 schedule, which features the 2016 Triple-A All-Star Game, which will be played on Wednesday, July 13th at BB&T Ballpark. The game will be televised to a national audience on the MLB Network. The Knights open next season on the road in Durham and Norfolk (April 7-13) and open their 72-game home slate on Thursday, April 14 with a nine-game homestand.

2015 IL LEADERBOARD (BATTERS): 3B Matt Davidson played in his 250th career Knights game last night. He is currently 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 (120), third in the IL in at-bats with 452, and tied for fourth in walks (54). Defensively, Davidson leads all International League third baseman in fielding percentage (.973), as well as all IL third baseman in assists (235) 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 leads the IL in slugging percentage (.483), and is second in the IL in best home run/at-bat ratio (1/18.13)… Catcher Kevan Smith leads all IL catchers in games (79).

Photo credit: Laura Wolff

Photo credit: Laura Wolff

2015 IL LEADERBOARD (PITCHERS): 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 ranks second in the IL and opponents are hitting just .223 against him (second lowest in the IL this season). 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)… International League opponents are hitting .233 against RHP Kyle Drabek (7-7, 3.27), the third lowest mark in the IL this season among qualifying starters.

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).

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 recently totaled his 1,000 career Knights at-bat (August 14) and now has 1,006 for his Knights career, which is eighth on the all-time at-bats list in franchise history (eight behind Chris Clapinski in seventh). Garcia is also in eighth place on the Knights all-time games played list (290) — just two 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)… Dayan Viciedo is in sole possession of eighth place on the Knights franchise list for home runs (42). He moved into a three-way tie for 10th place on the franchise list for RBIs (130).

: 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 homes at their home ballpark in all of Triple-A in 2015.

FIELD STAFF: Saturday’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… Trainer Scott Johnson was recently named IL Trainer of Year by PBATS (Professional Baseball Athletic Trainers Society). He also won it in 2001 & 2002.

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