For the first two months of the season, Charlotte Knights right-hander Reynaldo Lopez separated himself among a starting rotation that featured some of baseball’s best pitching prospects, posting a 2.94 ERA in his first nine starts.
A promotion to the Chicago White Sox seemed imminent. However, in his ensuing five outings, Lopez struggled, going 0-3 with a 7.46 ERA.
Lopez showed signs of regaining his stuff before last week’s Triple-A All-Star break. And in his first start since then, he continued his recent dominance, allowing one run on two hits across seven innings in Sunday’s 5-4 victory over the Gwinnett Braves. He also struck out a season-high 12 batters.
Over his past four starts, Lopez boasts a 1.75 ERA in 25 2/3 innings. He has registered a 33:5 strikeout-to-walk ratio during that span, making him a possible candidate to join the White Sox’ rotation after the club traded ace Jose Quintana to the Chicago Cubs on Thursday.
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Thursday: The Knights trailed 3-2 through five innings, but relievers Will Lamb and Colton Turner allowed 10 runs over the next two innings in a 13-4 loss against Gwinnett.
Friday: After entering the bottom of the ninth inning trailing 6-0, Charlotte loaded the bases with no outs. However, the threat came to an end after Grant Green hit into a double play, scoring a run, and Jason Bourgeois struck out, cementing a 6-1 loss.
Saturday: In celebration of the history and tradition of barbecue in the Carolinas, the Knights played Saturday’s game as the Charlotte Pitmasters. With the score tied at 3 through six innings, the Pitmasters’ bullpen faltered, surrendering six runs in a 9-4 defeat.
Sunday: Despite Lopez’s strong start, Charlotte entered the bottom of the ninth inning trailing 4-3. However, with two outs, Rymer Liriano and Tyler Ladendorf hit back-to-back RBI doubles to secure a 5-4 walk-off win.
What’s next: The Knights begin an eight-game road trip against the Rochester Red Wings and the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, starting with Monday’s doubleheader in Rochester.