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Sugar Land Skeeters (69-34, 28-12) vs. Somerset Patriots (57-47, 22-19)
RHP Lucas Irvine (0-0, 0.00 ERA) vs. RHP Kyle Davies (5-7, 4.28 ERA)
Thursday, August 23, 2018 • TD Bank Ballpark • 6:05 p.m.
LAST TIME OUT: The Skeeters took Game 2 of their three-game series at Somerset on Wednesday night with a 9-7 win. Derek Norris led the way on offense, going 3-for-5 with a double and two RBIs. James Russell picked up the win while Felipe Paulino notched the save for the Skeeters. Duane Below took the loss for Somerset.
FEAR THE BEARD: Felipe Paulino picked up his 27th save of the season in Wednesday's win and leads the Atlantic League in the category. The former Major Leaguer has allowed just three runs (one earned) over his last 24 appearances, spanning 24 innings pitched, and his 0.60 ERA is the lowest of any pitcher in the league with at least 40 innings pitched. Paulino has also struck out 49 batters over his last 29 outings (30.1 IP). Derrick Loop set the Skeeters' single-season saves record in 2016 with 32, not including four saves in the 2016 postseason.
PARTY OF FIVE: The Skeeters have five players hitting over .320 in the month of August, with at least 17 games played each: Albert Cordero (28-for-74, .378, (6) 2B, 10 RBI); Matt Chavez (26-for-69, .377, 4 HR, 14 RBI); Alvaro Rondon (22-for-62, .355, (2) 2B, 3B, 8 SB); Juan Silverio (24-for-73, .329, (3) 2B, HR, 14 RBI); Anthony Giansanti (23-for-71, .324, (6) 2B, 2 HR, 9 RBI).
GIANSANITY: Anthony Giansanti has 15 home runs and 27 stolen bases on the season and is the only player in Skeeters history to hit at least 15 home runs and steal at least 25 bases in a single season. Giansanti ranks in a tie for fourth in the Atlantic League in home runs and his 15 homers are a professional career high, surpassing his previous high of 11 set in 2011 with Single-A Peoria (CHC). Giansanti set his career high with 31 stolen bases in 2017 with the Skeeters and has stolen at least 20 bases in back-to-back seasons for the first time in his nine-year pro career.
HOT COCO: Albert "Coco" Cordero went 3-for-5 with three runs and a double in Wednesday's win and is in the midst of a 10-game hitting streak, going 19-for-40 (.475) with four doubles and five RBIs throughout the streak. Cordero also has a hit in 17 of his last 18 games, going 28-for-70 (.400), with 13 runs, six doubles and nine RBIs over that stretch. Cordero ranks 10th in the Atlantic League with 54 RBIs and is tied for ninth with 58 runs. Cordero's 54 RBIs on the year stand as a career high in his 11th professional season, surpassing his previous high of 44 RBIs in 2011 while playing for Single-A Savannah (NYM). Cordero's 10 home runs on the 2018 season also constitute a professional career high, surpassing his previous high of eight home runs while playing for the Kingsport Mets of the Appalachian League in 2010.
TRUE ROAD WARRIORS: The Skeeters lead the Atlantic League with a 25-21 record on the road this season and have won seven of their last eight road games. The Skeeters also lead the Atlantic League with a 44-13 record at home this season. The Skeeters' best road record in franchise history came in 2013 when the team went 45-24. Albert Cordero has hit .311 (52-for-167) with four homers and 20 RBIs in 43 road games this season and Juan Silverio has hit .317 (19-for-60) with three home runs and 10 RBIs in 15 road games this season.
HOT CHAVY: Matt Chavez is in the midst of an 11-game hitting streak, going 15-for-43 (.349) throughout the streak. Chavez also has a hit in 29 of 35 games since the All-Star Break, including 13 multi-hit games, and has gone 48-for-140 (.343) with six home runs and 22 RBIs over that span. Chavez ranks fourth in the Atlantic League in hitting (.334), second in hits (133), tied for seventh in on-base percentage (.387) and is sixth with 62 RBIs.
JUAN OF A KIND: Through his first 29 games with the Skeeters, Juan Silverio has hit .322/.361/.522 with five home runs and 22 RBIs. Silverio has driven in a run in eight of his last 11 games, while also going on an 11-game hitting streak, and has gone 18-for-46 (.391) with 14 RBIs over that span.
ATLANTIC LEAGUE LEADERS: The Skeeters enter Thursday with a 69-34 record, leading Lancaster by 9 1/2 games for the best record in the Atlantic League this season. Having already won the first-half Freedom Division title, the Skeeters' 28-12 record in the second half is also tops in the Atlantic League. The Skeeters as a team lead the league in the following hitting categories: Batting Average (.281), Runs (542), Hits (973), Doubles (182), Home Runs (97), Total Bases (1,468), On-Base Percentage (.357) and Slugging Percentage (.424). The Skeeters also lead the league in the following pitching categories: ERA (3.05), Shutouts (12) and Opponents Batting Average (.239).
AMAZING AUGUST: The Skeeters lead the Atlantic League with a 14-5 record in August. The Skeeters also lead the league with a 2.84 staff ERA and a .310 team batting average this month. The Skeeters led the Atlantic League with a 17-8 July record as well and were tied for the league lead with an 18-10 record in June.
2018 VS. SOMERSET: The Skeeters are 10-8 against the Patriots this season, going 6-4 at Constellation Field and 4-4 at TD Bank Ballpark. After winning just three of their first nine games against Somerset, the Skeeters have won seven of their last nine against Somerset . The Skeeters have hit .279/.335/.392 against the Patriots this season while the pitching staff owns a 3.17 ERA. Juan Silverio has hit .378 (14-for-37) with three doubles and 10 RBIs in nine games, Denis Phipps has hit .362 (17-for-47) in 14 games and Albert Cordero has hit .373 (28-for-75) in 18 games.
FIRST-HALF CHAMPS: With the Skeeters' victory over Lancaster on July 1, they clinched the first-half Freedom Division title -- their first division title under manager Pete Incaviglia. The only other time the Skeeters have won a first-half title came in 2013 when they won the Freedom Division with a record of 47-23. The Skeeters' last division title came in the second half of 2016 when they went on to win the Atlantic League Championship. The Skeeters have now won four Freedom Division titles in franchise history (2013 X2; 2016 (second half), 2018 (first half). They also appeared in the postseason in 2014 via a Wild Card berth.