Knights Knotes — August 18, 2015
KNIGHT LIGHTS: The Charlotte Knights (Triple-A affiliate of the Chicago White Sox) will conclude their five-game road trip through Ohio tonight and play game two of their two-game series against the Columbus Clippers (Triple-A affiliate of the Cleveland Indians) at 7:05 p.m. from Huntington Park in Columbus, OH. 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 on Sunday and dropped last night’s opener to the Clippers 10–6. The Knights are 27–35 on the road this year and 1–3 on the current road trip. Charlotte enters tonight’s game in third place — eight games behind the first place Norfolk Tides (Triple-A affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles) in the IL South Division. The Knights are 5.5 games out of the IL Wild Card race behind Columbus. The Knights will have a scheduled off day tomorrow, and then open a seven-game homestand on Thursday at BB&T Ballpark.
LAST KNIGHTS GAME: 3B Matt Davidson launched his 20th home run of the season, but the Columbus Clippers beat the Charlotte Knights by a score of 10–6 on Monday in the opening game of their three-game series from Huntington Park in Columbus, Ohio. Charlotte RHP Scott Carroll (5–4, 3.80) allowed six runs (five earned) on eight hits over five innings.
KNIGHTS STARTING PITCHER: RHP Erik Johnson (9–8, 2.45) will make his 21st start of the 2015 season and appear in his 22nd game today. Johnson currently leads the IL in strikeouts (123), is averaging an IL best 9.42 strikeouts per nine innings, third lowest WHIP (1.15), third in wins (9), and is second in the IL in ERA (2.45). From 6/10–7/28 (7 games), Johnson allowed just one earned run (44.0 IP).
He has already racked up an IL Pitcher of the Week nod this season (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. Johnson 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. 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 VS. COLUMBUS: Johnson has made three starts against the Clippers in his career and he is 0–2 with a 13.14 ERA (12.1 IP, 21 H, 19 R, 18 ER, 9 SO). This season, Johnson has gone 0–1 with a 10.80 ERA in two starts against the Clippers (8.1 IP, 13 H, 11 R, 10 ER, 9 SO).
HOME RUN MATT: 3B Matt Davidson tied Durham’s J.P. Arencibia for the IL lead in home runs last night with his 20th of the season and the 120th of his minor league career. The home run was also his 40th with the Knights over two seasons, which ranks 10th all-time on the Knights franchise list for homers. Davidson has recorded at least 20 home runs in each of the last five seasons. He is tied for first in the IL in games played (121), third in the IL in at-bats (456), and tied for third in walks (55). Defensively, Davidson has also had a terrific year. He leads all International League third baseman in fielding percentage (.973), as well as all IL third baseman in assists (239) and second in double plays (21). He was named by Baseball America as the Best Defensive 3B in the International League.
HOME RUN KNIGHTS: The Knights currently lead the IL in long balls with 115–16 more than second place Durham (99). Matt Davidson, Leury Garcia, and Rob Brantly all homered in last night’s game. The Knights as a team have hit 79 of their 115 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.
BAKER’S DOZEN: Catcher Rob Brantly launched his third home run of the season last night with the Knights in his 13th game with the club since being promoted from Double-A Birmingham. Brantly, who is a member of Chicago’s 40-man roster, is now hitting .340 (17-for-50) with 10 runs scored and 11 RBIs. He has recorded at least two hits in six of his 13 games and has three games of three hits.
HIT PARADE: Leury Garcia had two hits last night including his second home run of the season and is now batting .297 (90-for-303) this season in 78 games, good for sixth highest in the IL in 2015. He is also currently third in the IL this season in stolen bases with 29.
2015 IL LEADERBOARD: OF Jason Coats recorded his team-high 73rd RBI of the season on Sunday which is now third 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 fifth highest total over that span. Teammate Matt Tuiasosopo has 31 RBIs over that span (fourth highest). Coats also has seven home runs over that span, which is fifth highest. Tuiasosopo has 12, which is the most. OF/1B Matt Tuiasosopo is tied for second in the IL in slugging percentage (.478), and is second in the IL in best home run/at-bat ratio (1/18.31)… Catcher Kevan Smith leads all IL catchers in games (79)… 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: BB&T Ballpark, which was named the Best Ballpark in Minor League Baseball by Baseball America, has welcomed 584,681 this year (62 games) — which is second to Indianapolis, who has welcomed 586,088 in more openings that the Knights (63 games). The Knights are averaging 9,430 fans per game –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).