Thursday, May 25, 2017

Chiefs Use Long Ball to Sink Knights

The final game of my minor league trip took me to BB&T Ballpark in Uptown Charlotte on Tuesday night.  It rained most of the day, but stopped in time to get the game started just a few minutes late.  It was a match-up of the AAA affiliates of the two big league teams I follow, the Syracuse Chiefs (Nationals) against the Charlotte Knights (White Sox).  BB&T is known as a great hitters park and Syracuse seemed to enjoy the confines on this particular night, hitting four home runs on their way to a 6-2 victory over Charlotte.

A theme of the games on this trip was early runs.  Once again, it didn't take long to put numbers on the board in this one.  In the top of the first, the Chiefs scored a pair of unearned runs following a dropped fly ball near the right field foul line by Cody Asche.  Asche, who managed to become a target of disgust from Sox fans in his brief stint in Chicago, seems well on his way to not becoming a fan favorite in Charlotte either.  Though in his defense, he hasn't been playing a lot of outfield lately.  To give him a little credit, I did capture him making a nice move to avoid a tag and pick up a stolen base on a botched hit-and-run play:

Anyway, two batters after the previously mentioned dropped catch, veteran left-handed hitter Clint Robinson launched a two run opposite field homer to left off Knights starter Carson Fulmer.  In the third inning, Fulmer would surrender another homer, this one by Brandon Snyder:

With Fulmer still on the mound in the sixth inning, the Chiefs went to work again.  Robinson hit his second dinger of the game, practically a re-run of the first, hitting the roof of the party area tent in left.  Immediately following that blast, catcher Pedro Severino absolutely destroyed a ball to left, banging it off the scoreboard.  While BB&T plays small, I'm pretty sure these four home runs would have been gone in most parks.

Meanwhile, Greg Ross stymied the strong Charlotte offense most of the night.  Ross entered the game with an 8.63 ERA, but surrendered just one run on five hits in seven strong innings.  The lone run he allowed was on a groundout by Knights outfielder Adam Engel in the bottom of the seventh:

Finally, leading off the bottom of the ninth, Nicky Delmonico scored on a very odd inside-the-park home run.  Left fielder Rafael Bautista made a leaping attempt to make a catch, but missed and evidently slipped in the corner and injured himself.  He would need assistance walking off the field.  I have not seen a report on the seriousness of the injury, but it didn't look good as he headed to the dugout.  I caught that play on video, but as you can see, I didn't catch what exactly happened to Bautista:

Following that unusual play, the Knights did record a couple more hits, but were unable to chase any additional runs home, so they dropped this one to the last place Chiefs by a score of 6-2.

Box Score

Scorecard (Syracuse)
Scorecard (Charlotte)

Photo Album

I already covered most of the key Charlotte prospects in the recap of the game in Norfolk, so I will briefly run through what those guys did in this game.  Also, I am pretty sure I spotted Yoan Moncada in the Charlotte dugout.  He has still not been activated from the disabled list, but I would expect that to happen soon.

Charlotte Position Players

Nicky Delmonico recorded the weird inside-the-park home run for his only hit of the game.  But he had a two home run game over the weekend in Norfolk too.  So I'm sticking to my prediction of him getting called up to Chicago in the next week.  Adam Engel flashed his speed with an infield hit and a stolen base.  Jacob May had another walk in this game, but grounded out in his other three plate appearances.  It really wasn't an impressive game for any of the Knights hitters against a pitcher with no track record of success at this level.  This lineup is definitely not the same without Moncada, although I guess they better get used to that since his days in AAA are numbered.

Carson Fulmer

The good news?  Fulmer allowed just five hits in six innings.  The bad news?  Four of those hits were home runs, and all of them were crushed.  I suppose if there is some consolation for Fulmer, it is that three of the homers were by guys who were on the Nationals playoff roster last season.  But if he is going to be a successful major league pitcher, obviously he can't afford to give up homers in bunches to players of that caliber.  Also, only striking out a pair of Chiefs hitters was another disappointing aspect of this outing.  I had thought Fulmer had perhaps nudged ahead of Lopez as the most likely of the big three Charlotte starters (Fulmer, Lopez, Giolito) to get the call-up to Chicago.  But as of now, I'd say that nod would go to Lopez.  Regardless, unless he continues to have gopher ball troubles, I'd expect Fulmer to be in the Sox rotation in the next month or so.  Whether his ultimate destiny is the rotation or bullpen remains to be seen though.

Syracuse (Nationals) Prospects

The top levels of the Nationals organization are a little short on big time prospects, in part because several of those guys are now members of the Sox organization thanks to the Adam Eaton trade.  Pedro Severino would probably be in the big leagues for most teams.  His home run in this game was an encouraging sign that he could be bouncing out of his early offensive struggles.  Outfielder Andrew Stevenson is an intriguing prospect, but has struggled early on at the AAA level.  Finally, Rafael Bautista would have had a good shot at another promotion to DC (he was with the Nats briefly following the Eaton injury), but his own health puts his short-term future in doubt.

So that's a wrap on my trip and my blog posts about the White Sox organization.  I will switch this back over to an archive of my MLB Stadium trips shortly, where I will also write a little bit about my weekend visit to SunTrust Park in Atlanta.  In the meantime, we'll see if the Sox can swing a few more trades this summer to add even more interesting prospects into the pipeline.

No comments:

Post a Comment