Two division-leading teams that have been struggling the last week are battling for their respective second-half division titles this week as the Sugar Land Skeeters host the Long Island Ducks in the six-game regular season finale.
The Skeeters, 6-4 in their last 10 games, have already clinched a playoff spot by winning the first half of the Freedom Division and have the opportunity to knock the Ducks out of playoff contention and win the second half as well. As of Sunday, the Ducks (35-22 in the second half and 65-55 overall) are tied with The York Revolution (33-24, 65-55) for the second and final wild card spot behind the Lancaster Barnstormers (30-25, 68-50). The Ducks lead the Liberty Division in the second half by two games over the Somerset Patriots (33-24, 68-52). Somerset won the first half of the Liberty Division and a playoff spot.
According to Atlantic League rules, “the wild card team shall be the club, regardless of division, among all clubs that have not otherwise qualified for the divisional playoffs, that has achieved the best overall record for the entire regular season. That team will then face the club that has won both the first and second half championships in the first round of the postseason.
“Should both the Skeeters and Patriots win the second half championship in their respective divisions, a double wild card scenario will come into play. Atlantic League rules stipulate the wild card teams will be the clubs, regardless of division, among all clubs that have not otherwise qualified for the divisional playoffs, that have achieved the two best overall records for the entire regular season.”
The Skeeters have a magic number of two going into the series with the Ducks to clinch the second half of the Freedom Division over the red-hot Revolution. York is on a six-game win streak and has gone 9-1 in the last 10 games to surpass the Barnstormers for second place in the Freedom Division.
As of Sunday, Sugar Land and Somerset clinched playoff spots with the wild card leaders being Lancaster, York, and Long Island. Out of contention are the New Britain Bees, Southern Maryland Blue Crabs, and the Road Warriors.
Although the Bees are not contending, they still gave the Skeeters a fight on the road last week. Sugar Land started the road trip with three games against the Blue Crabs, taking all three, but then dropping the next two at New Britain. Sugar Land won the final road game against the Bees and return home to face the Ducks on Tuesday.
On Friday, Sept. 14, the Spazmatics will perform a post-game concert. Saturday’s game will conclude with fireworks, and Sunday is Fan Appreciation Day with all kinds of prizes and giveaways.
The Skeeters first two divisional playoff games will be held on the road Sept. 18-19. The Skeeters will host the third game Friday, Sept. 21, and the fourth and fifth games if necessary on Sept. 22-23.
The Atlantic League Championship will be played the following week between the Freedom and Liberty division winners. Should Sugar Land win the Freedom Division, they would host the first two championship games on Sept. 25 and Sept. 26. The last three games will be held at the home field of the Liberty Division champion.
Skeeter of the Week
Juan Silverio snapped his on-base streak at 25 games in Saturday’s loss to the Bees. It was the longest active on-base streak in the Atlantic League and the longest from the Skeeters this season, surpassing Matt Chavez’s streak of 23 games (July 30-August 25). Silverio went 35-for-98 (.357) with two home runs and 23 RBIs over the streak. Long Island’s Jordany Valdespin owns the longest on-base streak in the Atlantic League this season at 32 games.
Through his first 44 games with the Skeeters, Juan Silverio has hit .316/.357/.497 with 11 doubles, six home runs and 31 RBIs.
2nd Half Standings
Sugar Land Skeeters 38-19-0
York Revolution 33-24-5
Lancaster Barnstormers 30-25-7
S. Maryland Blue Crabs 20-35-17
Long Island Ducks 35-22-0
Somerset Patriots 33-24-2
New Britain Bees 26-30-8.5
Road Warriors 11-471-24.5