The Sugar Land Skeeters are continuing their dominance over the rest of the Atlantic League.
With a 54-28 overall record, the Freedom Division first-half championship, and a 3.5-game lead in the second half of play, the Skeeters are 13-6 in the second half and lead their current opponent, the York Revolution, by 3.5 games in the Freedom Division.
The Skeeters are 36-10 (.783) at home this season, which is the best home record in the Atlantic League. They have won nine of their last 10 home games. Somerset owns the second-best home record at 34-17 (.667). The Skeeters had their 12-game home winning streak snapped with Friday’s loss, which is the longest home winning streak from an Atlantic League team this season.
The Skeeters began the week on the road in New Britain where they took two of three from the Bees. The Skeeters have gone 10-2 against the Bees this season, including a six-game sweep of the opening series for both teams this season from April 27-May 2 at Constellation Field. The 10-2 record is the Skeeters’ second-best winning percentage against an Atlantic League opponent this season, behind the Road Warriors (12-2).
The Bees took the game Tuesday 5-4, handing the loss to Pat McCoy. Anthony Giansanti went 3-5 with two hits, a home run, and two runs-batted-in. Konner Wade led the Skeeters on the mound Wednesday for a 7-0 blanking of the Bees. Matt Chavez went 2-5 at the plate with a double, a home run, and two RBIs. The Skeeters took the rubber game 12-4 behind the pitching of James Russell. Courtney Hawkins was outstanding at the plate, going 4-5 with three runs, a double, a home run, and three RBIs.
Returning to Constellation Field on Friday, the Skeeters took on division rival York, but fell 4-1 with Dan Runzler taking his second loss of the season. Alvaro Rondon was 1-4 with an RBI. The Skeeters rebounded Saturday, giving newcomer Matt Gage his first win with a 5-2 victory. Newcomer Juan Silverio was 2-4 with a home run and two runs scored. Closer Felipe Paulino notched his league-leading 21st save on the season. On Sunday the Skeeters took a 5-1 lead over York and held on to win 5-3. Kraig Sitton won and Denis Phipps went 1-3 for an RBI and two runs. Paulino picked up his 22nd save.
The Skeeters continue their series with York through Thursday. They then travel to Lancaster for three games with the Barnstormers. After taking Monday off they head to Southern Maryland for three games with the Blue Crabs. They return to Constellation Field Aug. 10 for seven games against the Somerset Patriots, who lead the Liberty Division.
On the promotional side, children get in free on Wednesday, Thursday is Thirsty Thursday with $2 beer and soda, and Aug. 10 is Friday fireworks. There are two giveaways coming up. Aug. 11 is the Tracy McGrady Skeeters bobblehead giveaway and Aug. 12 is football night with a football giveaway.
The Skeeters signed pitcher Matt Gage and re-signed Dallas Beeler. Slade Heathcott was placed on the restricted list.
The Atlantic League of Professional Baseball recently announced the name of the new team scheduled to start next season in High Point, N.C. After fan voting, the team will be called the Rockers in honor of the city’s history with furniture making.
Skeeter of the Week
Fear the beard! Felipe Paulino is the Skeeter of the week for picking up his 22nd save of the season in Sunday’s win. He leads the Atlantic League in that category. The former Major Leaguer has not allowed a run over his last 18 appearances, spanning 18 innings pitched.
The 18-inning scoreless streak is the longest scoreless streak from a Skeeters reliever this season, surpassing Danny Reynolds, who threw 15 scoreless innings before having his contract purchased by the Milwaukee Brewers on June 1.
Paulino’s 0.48 ERA is the lowest of any pitcher in the league with at least 30 innings pitched. The former Major Leaguer has also struck out 43 batters over his last 22 outings (23.1 IP). Derrick Loop set the Skeeters’ single-season saves record in 2016 with 32, not including four saves in the 2016 postseason.
Second Half Standings
Sugar Land Skeeters 13-6-0
York Revolution 9-9-3.5
Lancaster Barnstormers 7-10-5
S. Maryland Blue Crabs 7-11-5.5
Somerset Patriots 16-4-0
Long Island Ducks 10-8-5
New Britain Bees 9-9-6
Road Warriors 2-16-13