Sunday, May 4, 2014

Lots happening with Knights, who return to Charlotte Monday

The Knights opened up their scheduled eight-game road trip with a 9-4 win over Rochester on April 26. However, six consecutive losses sandwiched around a rain out have them returning to BB&T BallPark on Monday still looking for their first win in the month of May.

Five of the Knights six losses have come by two runs or less (four by one run and two walk-offs). Given that the roster has been fairly fluid over the past two weeks, the rapidly growing number in the loss column doesn’t fully represent the quality of baseball the Knights (10-19) have played.

Recapping the road trip:

April 27 – The Chicago White Sox promoted Knights RHP Scott Carroll to the Majors and optioned former Charlotte Ace Erik Johnson back to Triple-A.

Carroll, 29, dazzled in his long-awaited Major League debut at U.S Cellular Field, tossing 7 1/3 innings in place of the injured Chris Sale. He allowed two runs (one earned) and left the field to a standing ovation.

After spending parts of the last eight seasons in the minors (138 appearances in all) and battling back from Tommy John surgery two years ago, Carroll is truly one of the better stories in the Big Leagues right now.

Check out what White Sox DH Adam Dunn did for Carroll and his more than 30 family members following the White Sox 9-2 win on April 28.

May 1 – After tossing five hitless innings in his BB&T debut, Tommy Hanson regressed a bit. The former Atlanta Braves ace (and one-time No. 2 prospect in all of baseball according to Baseball America) allowed three runs on five hits over 4 1/3 innings of work. The 27-year-old struggled with his command, walking five and tossing 87 pitches.

May 2 – Erik Johnson, who had struggled in the Majors this season to the tune of a 1-1 record and a 6.46 ERA in five starts, looked liked his old self, shutting out the Bisons over six innings of work. The right-hander allowed just three hits and struck out six. He wound up with a no-decision, as the Knights fell, 1-0, in 11 innings.

May 3 – White Sox RHP Felipe Paulino began his Major League rehab assignment with the Knights. The 30-year old, allowed two runs (one earned) over two innings of work. He hadn’t pitched in a game since being diagnosed with right rotator cuff inflammation on April 28. 

During the game, the White Sox announced the promotion of Knights lefty Frank De Los Santos to Chicago. The Southpaw had not allowed a run in 5.2 innings pitched for Charlotte over three appearances this season.

May 4 – Conor Gillaspie, who is currently on the Chicago White Sox 15-day disabled list with a left hand contusion, begin a rehab assignment with Charlotte, going 1-for-4 with a home run.

On Sunday, De Los Santos was also optioned back to Charlotte by the White Sox, who added former Toronto Blue Jays OF Moises Sieraa to their Major League roster.

  • Knights 2B Carlos Sanchez will return to Charlotte riding a seven-game hitting streak. The switch-hitter is batting .333 (9-for-27) since beginning the hitting streak on April 26.
  • One of the bigger storylines of this season has been the continued struggles of Knights top prospect Matt Davidson. The third baseman is now hitting .165 (16 for 97) on the season with 3 HR and an International League-leading 42 Ks. He’s actually hit worse ahead in the count (.080) than he has behind (.250). The 23-year-old finished last season with a .274 batting average and 20 HR between Triple-A Reno and the Arizona Diamondbacks.   
  • Former Mets closer Frank Francisco has impressed in his quest to find a way back into a Major League bullpen. In four appearances (6 IP) for the Knights, the 34-year-old has yet to allow an earned run, while striking out 10.   

RHP Dylan Axelrod (1-3, 4.00) will start on Monday as the Knights host Barry Enright (0-2, 5.16) and the Lehigh Valley IronPigs at BB&T BallPark at 7:05 p.m..