The Sugar Land Skeeters continued their domination of the Atlantic League’s Freedom Division last week by taking five of seven games from the rival York Revolution.
The Skeeters held a comfortable six-game lead in the division going into this week, but face two of the best teams in the league this week on the road. They began Monday with four games at the Somerset Patriots (15-7), followed by three at the Long Island Ducks (16-8). Both teams are tied for the lead in the Liberty Division.
At home last week against the Revs, the Skeeters continued to ride the player carousel with the San Francisco Giants purchasing the contracts of outfielders C.J. McElroy and Courtney Hawkins and manager Pete Incaviglia replacing them with former major leaguer Willy Taveras (Houston Astros, Colorado Rockies, Cincinnati Reds) and journeyman minor leaguer Jabari Henry. That makes seven players called up in less than a month.
At Constellation Field, the visiting Revs took the first game 8-3 only to have the Skeeters rebound 10-9 in an 11-inning walk-off the next day. The Skeeters then delivered a pair of shutouts, including a pair of seven-inning shutout pitching performances by Kevin McGowan and Roy Merritt. McGowan got the 2-0 win on May 15 and the next day Merritt improved his record to 2-1 with a 4-0 victory. The win gave the lefty an ERA of 1.57. Skeeters closer Felipe Paulino, who set a team record last season with 33 saves, is on a blistering pace this year with six saves. He has given up only two hits, both to York’s Melky Mesa. Mesa hit a home run off Paulino on Saturday and followed on Sunday with a triple.
At the plate, a few of the Skeeters have been asserting themselves. Jared Mitchell is among the league leaders with five home runs, Denis Phipps leads the team with 15 hits and Juan Silverio has scored 14 runs and has a batting average of .306.
In the last week, along with outfielders Henry and Taveras, the Skeeters signed left fielder Zach Borenstein, right-handed pitcher Troy Scribner and shortstop Ryan Jackson. Catcher Jeff Allen was placed on the temporarily inactive list.
Back to the bigs
Austin Adams, who pitched for the Cleveland Indians from 2014-16, joined the Skeeters in 2018 and went 3-0 with a 2.22 ERA and a save in 30 relief appearances. The 32-year-old returned to the major leagues Saturday with the Minnesota Twins, throwing two scoreless innings in relief against the Seattle Mariners.
Adams is the seventh former Skeeters player to have appeared in a major league game after playing for the Skeeters.
The Skeeters return to Constellation Field on Monday, May 27, for seven games with the Somerset Patriots. On Friday, the Skeeters will host a blood drive before the game and have the Spazmatics in concert after the game. It is also Super Hero night and Candlelighters night.
Skeeter of the Week
Jared Mitchell earns Skeeter of the Week honors for his outstanding performance at the plate. Against York he scored three runs and had seven hits.