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Southern Maryland Blue Crabs (42-65, 16-28) vs. Sugar Land Skeeters (72-36, 31-14)
RHP Craig Stem (6-7, 4.08 ERA) vs. RHP Lucas Irvine (0-0, 3.11 ERA)
Wednesday, August 29, 2018 • Constellation Field • 7:05 p.m.
LAST TIME OUT: The Skeeters won their series opener against the Blue Crabs on Tuesday night at Constellation Field, 4-2. Jean Machi collected the win in relief and Felipe Paulino nothed the save. Anthony Giansanti hit a two-run home run and drove in three runs. Sam Runion took the loss for the Blue Crabs.
100/100: Anthony Giansanti's two-run home run in Tuesday's win was the Skeeters' 100th home run as a team this season. The Skeeters have also stolen 120 bases as a team this season, giving them at least 100 home runs and 100 stolen bases in a season for the third time in franchise history. The other two occasions came in 2017 (121 HR/162 SB) and 2013 (126 HR/160 SB). The Skeeters' 162 stolen bases in 2017 and 126 home runs in 2013 both stand as franchise single-season records. The Skeeters are second in the Atlantic League with their 100 home runs this season and are third with the 120 stolen bases.
FEAR THE BEARD: Felipe Paulino picked up his 29th save of the season in Tuesday's win and leads the Atlantic League in the category. The former Major Leaguer has allowed just three runs (one earned) over his last 17 appearances, spanning 17 innings pitched, and his 0.57 ERA is the lowest of any pitcher in the league with at least 45 innings pitched. Paulino has also struck out 26 batters over his last 17 innings pitched. Derrick Loop set the Skeeters' single-season saves record in 2016 with 32, not including four saves in the 2016 postseason. Paulino 29 saves are second all-time in a single season in Skeeters history, surpassing Gary Majewski, who had 24 saves in 2014.
GIANSANITY: Anthony Giansanti has collected a hit in 19 of 22 games this month, going 29-for-91 (.319) with seven doubles, three home runs and 14 RBIs over that span. Giansanti ranks fifth in the Atlantic League with 16 home runs, is tied for fifth with 29 stolen bases, is third with 70 runs. He's the only player in Skeeters history to collect at least 15 home runs and 25 stolen bases in a single season.
POWER SURGE: Anthony Giansanti's 16 home runs this season have set a professional career high in his ninth professional season, surpassing his previous high of 11 set in 2011 with Single-A Peoria (CHC). In seven seasons at the affiliated level with the Chicago Cubs (497 games), Giansanti hit 19 home runs. Prior to this season, Giansanti had 15 home runs in 212 games through his first two seasons in the Atlantic League.
CRAB KILLER: Albert Cordero returns from his one-game suspension on Wednesday and has gone 21-for-54 (.389) with five doubles, three home runs and 14 RBIs against the Blue Crabs this season. Cordero went 4-for-5 with three runs, two doubles, two home runs and four RBIs in a May 17 contest against the Blue Crabs at Constellation Field, which still stands as the most single-game total bases from an Atlantic League player this season. Alvaro Rondon has gone 15-for-39 (.385) in 13 games against the Blue Crabs this year.
HOME SWEET HOME: The Skeeters own a 47-14 (.770) record at Constellation Field this season, which is the best home record in the Atlantic League. The Skeeters have won 25 of their last 30 home games and have hit .286/.362/.413 while the pitching staff owns a 2.42 ERA. The Skeeters went on a 12-game home winning streak (June 27-July 19), which is the longest home winning streak in the league this year. The Skeeters' best home record in franchise history came in 2013 when the team went 50-21 (.704) at Constellation Field.
CHANCE AT HISTORY: The Skeeters enter Tuesday's game with a 72-36 overall record, equaling a .667 winning percentage. The Skeeters set the Atlantic League records in 2013 with 95 total wins and a .679 winning percentage. The Skeeters need to win 14 of their final 18 games of the season to surpass their 2013 winning percentage.
RUSSELL THE MUSCLE: Skeeters left-hander James Russell allowed two runs over seven innings while striking out six in Tuesday's win and he currently leads the Atlantic League with a 2.33 ERA. Somerset's Vince Molesky is second in the league with a 2.78 ERA. Russell has won each of his last five decisions, dating back to July 15. He is one of two Skeeters in the top 10 in the league in ERA, with Konner Wade fourth in with a 3.29 ERA.
PARTY OF FIVE: The Skeeters have four players hitting over .315 in the month of August, with at least 21 games played each: Matt Chavez (.345, 30-for-87, 4 HR, 17 RBI); Albert Cordero (.345, 29-for-84, (6) 2B, 10 RBI); Alvaro Rondon (.324, 24-for-74, (2) 2B, 3B, 8 SB); Anthony Giansanti (.319, 29-for-91, (7) 2B, 3 HR, 14 RBI).
CHASING THE MAGIC: The Skeeters enter Tuesday's game with a magic number of 14 over the Lancaster Barnstormers to clinch the second-half Freedom Division title. Any combination of Skeeters wins and Lancaster losses totaling 14 will result in the Skeeters clinching the second-half title.
AMAZING AUGUST: The Skeeters lead the Atlantic League with a 17-7 record in August. The Skeeters also lead the league with a 3.09 ERA and a .294 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. SOUTHERN MARYLAND: The Skeeters are 9-4 against the Blue Crabs this season, going 5-2 at Constellation Field and 4-2 at Regency Furniture Stadium. The Skeeters have hit .300/.389/.534 with 22 home runs in 13 games against Southern Maryland while the pitching staff owns a 3.71 ERA (114 IP).