Games 54 and 55: Knights at Jumbo Shrimp
Thursday, July 8, 2021–7:05 p.m. ET
Charlotte Knights (22–31) at Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp (29–24)
121 Financial Ballpark — Jacksonville, Fla.
LAST TIME OUT:
The Jumbo Shrimp lost yet another one-run game, this time to the Charlotte Knights in extra innings on Tuesday 5–4. Jacksonville jumped out to an early lead thanks to a Lewin Díaz two-run home run in the bottom of the first inning and a Brian Navarreto sac fly in the bottom of the fourth. Isan Díaz hit a solo home run of his own in the sixth inning to put the Jumbo Shrimp up 4–1. That’s when the game started to go south for the Jumbo Shrimp. Charlotte scored three runs in the top of the eighth to tie the game at four. Neither team scored in the ninth or the 10th, so they entered the 11th still tied at four. In the top of the 11th, Charlotte broke the tie with a Ti’Qwan Forbes RBI single. The Knights then kept the Jumbo Shrimp off the scoreboard in the bottom half and won the game 5–4.
Wednesday’s game was postponed due to the threats of Hurricane Elsa and will be made up today as part of a doubleheader.
This is Jacksonville’s fourth double header of the season. The Jumbo Shrimp split the first two doubleheaders of the season and won both games in their most recent one against Memphis. This will be Charlotte’s first doubleheader of the season.
MEET THE KNIGHTS:
The Charlotte Knights are the Triple-A affiliate of the Chicago White Sox. They are located in Charlotte, North Carolina, and play their home games at Truist Field, which opened in 2014 and is located in Uptown Charlotte.
The Knights boast several of the White Sox top prospects, including right-handed pitcher Jonathan Stiever, and outfielders Blake Rutherford and Luis Gonzalez.
Stiever was drafted in the fifth round in 2018 out of Indiana University, and this season has struck out 49 in 40.1 innings, but his ERA sits at 6.02. He made his MLB debut for the White Sox in 2020, and appeared in one game for the Southsiders this season as well.
Rutherford was originally drafted by the New York Yankees in the first round of the 2016 draft out of Chaminade College Preparatory School (West Hills, Calif). In 2017, the Yankees traded Rutherford, Tyler Clippard, Ian Clarkin, and Tito Polo to the Chicago White Sox for David Robertson, Todd Frazier, and Tommy Kahnle. This season, he is slashing .224/.273/.333 with two home runs and 22 RBIs in 47 games played.
Gonzalez grew up in Mexico, went to high school in Arizona and played college ball in New Mexico. Gonzalez plays his best when he focuses on hitting line drives and getting on base. In Double-A, Gonzalez tried to hit more home runs and saw his strikeout rate go up. He made his MLB debut in 2020 and has played six games for the White Sox this year.
The squad also boasts some major league talent, including Tim Beckham, who played six seasons in the big leagues for the Rays, Orioles, and Mariners.
The Knights are skippered by former major league infielder Wes Helms, who is in his first season in Charlotte. He previously served as the bench coach of Double-A Birmingham in 2019, after one season in 2018 in the same season for Triple-A Lehigh Valley (Phillies). Helms played 13 seasons in the big leagues, suiting up for the Braves, Brewers, Marlins, and Phillies.
The Jumbo Shrimp and the Knights will play 30 games against each of this season. Add that to the 36 games Jacksonville will play against Durham and Norfork, and the Jumbo Shrimp will play 102 games of their 120-game season against the same three teams. The other 18 games will be played against the other three teams in the Southeast Division. Jacksonville has already played its lone series against Gwinnett and Memphis, and will play Nashville in two weeks.
RHP Jonathan Stiever (2–4, 6.02 ERA)
Jonathan Stiever will make his eleventh start for the Charlotte Knights tonight. Stiever was drafted by the Chicago White Sox in 2018 and quickly worked his way up through their farm system. In 2020, Stiever made his MLB debut with the White Sox and tossed 3.2 innings against the Detroit Tigers. Stiever pitched a game for Chicago earlier this season, but gave up three runs without recording an out. He was then sent to Charlotte and has become a mainstay in the Knights starting rotation. In his last appearance, Stiever tossed four innings and gave up three runs on six hits to the Norfolk Tides in a losing effort. The bright side for the start though was that he struck out eight batters. Stiever has a four-pitch repertoire: a fastball, slider, changeup, and curveball.
LHP Brandon Leibrandt (0–1, 2.89 ERA)
Brandon Leibrandt will make his second start for the Jumbo Shrimp tonight in the second game of the doubleheader. Leibrandt was drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies in 2014, and was picked up by the Marlins as a free agent before the 2020 season. He made his MLB debut in the shortened 2020 season on August 23, and pitched in five games for the Marlins. Leibrandt did not allow a run to score in his first four games over 7.1 innings of work. In 2021, Leibrandt was initially assigned to Miami’s Double-A affiliate, the Pensacola Blue Wahoos. He made seven starts for the Blue Wahoos and compiled a 2–3 record with a 6.61 ERA. Leibrandt joined the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp on June 15 and made his first start last Friday. He tossed four scoreless innings and struck out eight innings against the Memphis Redbirds. Leibrandt has four pitches in his repertoire: a fastball, slider, changeup, and a curveball.
RHP Parker Bugg (3–0, 3.95 ERA)
Parker Bugg will make his fourth start for the Jumbo Shrimp tonight. Bugg’s last start for Jacksonville was June 18th at the Charlotte Knights. He pitched 2.1 innings, gave up one run on three hits, and struck out five batters. Bugg was drafted by the Marlins in 2016 out of LSU. He is just one of a handful of players on the Jumbo Shrimp roster right now who were actually drafted by the Marlins. The rest of the team has been acquired through trades and free agency. Bugg has three pitches in his repertoire: a fastball, slider, and changeup.
RHP Jimmy Lambert (2–0, 3.48 ERA)
Jimmy Lambert will make his tenth start of the season for the Charlotte Knights tonight. His last start was July 2 against the Norfolk Tides. He tossed 5.2 scoreless innings and struck out eight batters. Lambert was drafted by the Chicago White Sox in 2016 and has worked himself up the farm system. He made his debut last year for the White Sox in a game against the Minnesota Twins. Lambert has also made one appearance for South Siders this year against Cleveland, but gave up three runs off seven hits in 3.2 innings and suffered his first loss of his Major League career. Lambert has four pitches in his repertoire: a fastball, changeup, slider, and a curveball.
- Bryson Brigman, SS
- Jose Devers, 2B
- Lewin Díaz, 1B
- Monte Harrison, CF
- Isan Díaz, 3B
- Chad Wallach, C
- Lorenzo Quintana, DH
- Brian Miller, LF
- Zack Zehner, RF
NEWS FROM THE TROUPE:
- Jesús Sánchez played a big role in the Marlins’ 9–6 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers last night. Sánchez hit a home run in the bottom of the second to extend Miami lead to 2–0 and then hit an RBI single in the bottom of the eighth to put the Marlins up 6–5.
- Jordan Holloway, who was recalled last Sunday, also helped lead the Marlins to their win last night. Holloway pitched 4.1 scoreless innings in relief and struck out six batters.
TRIPLE-A SOUTHEAST DIVISION STANDINGS
Here is a look at the other Marlins’ Affiliates:
Low-A: Daytona Tortugas (27–29) at Jupiter Hammerheads (23–32) @ 6:30 p.m. ET
High-A: Beloit Snappers (26–30) at South Bend Cubs (24–31) @ 7:05 p.m. ET
Double-A: Pensacola Blue Wahoos (33–22) at Mississippi Braves (33–22), Completion of a suspended game will start at 6:35 p.m. ET with the regularly scheduled game starting 30 minutes afterwards.
MLB: Los Angeles Dodgers (53–34) at Miami Marlins (38–47) — L, 6–1
Thursday’s games will be broadcast on the following platforms:
Radio: ESPN 690 AM
Online Stream: MiLB.TV
Phone/Tablet: ESPN690.com, JaxShrimp.com, MiLB First Pitch App