It’s just been a colossally bad second half for the Charlotte Knights; truly, perhaps the worst of any affiliate since I’ve been paying close attention to the system. In the first half, the Knights were a respectable 35-40 — well out of playoff contention and with an astounding -103 run differential that suggests quite a bit of luck and/or Justin Jirschele magic was in the works. In the second half, Charlotte is 17-56. Not only is that good for last place in the International League’s East Division, but a full 12 games worse than any other team in the IL. Plus, the Knights have nearly doubled their horrendous run differential after midseason, putting up a -194 in the second half. For the full year, that means Charlotte has been outscored by 297 runs in 148 games. WOOF.
With the intro above, if you think we’re going to be celebrating a rare Charlotte win here, you’re wrong. It’s a typical four-run loss for the Knights here this Saturday, complete with all of the traits of our Triple-A affiliate’s play in 2023: poor starting pitching (sorry, Brent Honeywell), bad plate discipline (eight Ks) and on-base ability (one walk), awful fielding (three errors).
Truly, the lone highlight of the game was Tyler Naquin’s colossal home run as the third batter of the game:
A 442-foot— Charlotte Knights (@KnightsBaseball) September 23, 2023
Tyler Naquin gives us a 1-0 lead in the 1st pic.twitter.com/TOQr9oVFCV
Boy howdy, that ball is heading up the block to the corner drugstore for a malted. Think I’m joking? It was the farthest ball clubbed today in Triple-A.
The game had one relative oddity, that being the biggest WPA swing falling in Charlotte’s favor, when Laz Rivera dribbled a grounder the other way (upgraded to a “line drive” in the MiLB box) and off of the Memphis first baseman, tying the game and earning him a rare no-throw triple:
Other than that, typical Charlotte b.s. There will be players worthy of hype in Charlotte next season — José Rodríguez for another year, Wilfred Veras, Bryan Ramos, Colson Montgomery among them — but that might give the White Sox average offense; the pitching is destined to again be downright frightening, and is sure to keep Charlotte worse than .500 once more.
Better than 52-96? Well, we can hope.
Who stood tall as an MVP in another Charlotte loss on Saturday?
This poll is closed
Laz Rivera: 2-for-4, 3B, RBI, K, 2 HH, E, 8.6% WPA
José Rodríguez: 2-for-4, R, HR, RBI, K, 2 HH
Nate Mondou: 2-for-4, R, 2B, 2 HH
Tyler Naquin: 1-for-4, R, HR, RBI, 2 K
Chris Muller: IP, H, K
Andrew Pérez: IP, 2 K, HB, HH, 15-of-21 strikes
Who mailed it in as a Saturday Cold Cat?
This poll is closed
Brent Honeywell: 5 IP, 7 H, 6 ER, BB, 2 K, HR, 4 HH, 2 HB, LOSS
Oscar Colás: 0-for-4, K
Alejandro Mateo: IP, 2 H, ER, K, E, HH, 17-of-22 strikes
Adam Hackenberg: 0-for-4, K, HH, 0-for-3 CS