A trend has developed in the first full week of the Charlotte Knights’ season.
But the bullpen has been inconsistent.
Kopech, who is expected by most experts to be headed to the White Sox before the season ends, had two outstanding appearances during the past week.
On Monday, he went four innings against the Norfolk Tides, allowing only two hits and striking out eight. Charlotte won that game 4-1.
On Saturday, before a capacity crowd at BB&T Ballpark, Kopech went six innings against the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders and allowed only five hits and one run. But the RailRiders pounced on Charlotte’s relief pitching and won 10-5.
It was the same story Thursday, in an 11-1 loss to the RailRiders, the talent-loaded AAA affiliate of the New York Yankees. Starter Chris Beck pitched no-hit ball and struck out six over three innings, but the relievers were battered by Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
At other times during the week, the bullpen turned in strong performances.
Here’s a look at the Knights’ past week and the week ahead:
Monday: Kopech’s pitching, plus relief help from Rob Scahill, helped Charlotte win 4-1 at Norfolk. Shortstop Jose Rondon homered, and third baseman Patrick Leonard delivered an RBI triple.
Tuesday: Five Norfolk pitchers combined to limit Charlotte to four hits, and the Knights fell 7-1. Starter T.J. House was touched for six runs in four innings, but only three runs were earned.
Wednesday: The Knights closed the road trip with a 4-3, 11-inning loss to Norfolk. The bullpen had a good outing, with three Charlotte pitchers allowing only two hits and one run in four innings. Catcher Alfredo Gonzalez went 3-for-4.
Thursday: The Knights dropped their home opener 11-1 to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, before a capacity crowd of 10,320. Abiatal Avelino, one of the Yankees’ top prospects, went 3-for-3 and drove in five runs.
Friday: Another sellout crowd – this time 10,442 – watched Charlotte edge Scranton/Wilkes-Barre 6-5. The RailRiders led 5-4 entering the bottom of the 10th inning, but the Knights scored two runs when Scranton/Wilkes-Barre pitcher Cole Coshow threw wildly to third base on a ground ball. Jake Elmore and Casey Gillaspie raced home to score.
Saturday: A crowd of 10,587 watched the Knights fall 10-5 to the RailRiders. Daniel Palka homered for Charlotte – his third straight night with a home run.
Sunday: Charlotte lost the series finale to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre 4-3 in a game halted after five innings due to rain. Juan Perez hit a two-run homer for the Knights in the fourth inning.
The week ahead: The Knights close the home stand with 7:04 p.m. games Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday against Rochester, the Minnesota Twins’ top farm club. After a day off Thursday, Charlotte plays Friday through Sunday at Indianapolis (Pittsburgh Pirates’ team).
Steve Lyttle on Twitter: @slyttle