Lancaster Barnstormers (63-45, 25-20) vs. Sugar Land Skeeters (73-37, 32-15)
RHP Joe Gardner (5-9, 5.27 ERA) vs. RHP Yasutomo Kubo (3-1, 3.64 ERA)
Friday, August 31st, 2018 • Constellation Field • 7:05 p.m. CT
LAST TIME OUT: The Skeeters dropped their series finale against the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs on Thursday night at Constellation Field, 2-0. Dallas Beeler took the loss for the Skeeters while former Skeeters right-hander Brett Marshall threw six scoreless innings to collect the win for the Blue Crabs. Cody Eppley notched the save.
GOOD LUCK: The Skeeters pitching staff owns a 0.98 ERA (46 IP) over its last five games, with the Skeeters winning four of their last five games. Over that span, Skeeters pitching has struck out 36 batters to just eight walks. The Skeeters lead the Atlantic League with a 3.06 ERA as a team, with Somerset in second with a 3.54 ERA. James Russell leads the league with a 2.36 ERA and Konner Wade is fourth with a 3.29 ERA.
OBI JUAN KENOBI: Through his first 36 games with the Skeeters, Juan Silverio has hit .317/.353/.489 with seven doubles, five home runs and 25 RBIs. Silverio has a hit in 17 of his last 18 games, going 25-for-70 (.357) with a home run and 17 RBIs over that span. Silverio's 17 RBIs over the last 30 days are tied for the sixth-most in the Atlantic League over that stretch.
THE PUNISHER: Skeeters right-hander Mark Haynes threw a scoreless inning in Thursday's loss and has allowed just two runs over his first 15 2/3 innings pitched this season (1.14 ERA), striking out 16 batters and allowing just seven hits over that span. Out of his 16 appearances this season, Haynes has struck out a batter in 10 of them.
HOME SWEET HOME: The Skeeters own a 48-15 (.762) record at Constellation Field this season, which is the best home record in the Atlantic League. The Skeeters have won 26 of their last 32 home games and have hit .287/.364/.411 while the pitching staff owns a 2.37 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 Thursday's game with a 73-37 overall record, equaling a .664 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 13 of their final 16 games of the season to surpass their 2013 winning percentage.
PLAYER OF THE MONTH?: Anthony Giansanti has collected a hit in 21 of 24 games this month, going 33-for-98 (.337) with eight doubles, three home runs, 15 RBIs and seven stolen bases over that span. Giansanti ranks in a tie for fifth in the Atlantic League with 16 home runs, is fifth with 30 stolen bases and is third with 71 runs. He's the only player in Skeeters history to collect at least 15 home runs and 30 stolen bases in a single season.
PARTY OF FIVE: The Skeeters have five players hitting over .320 in the month of August, with at least 24 games played each: Anthony Giansanti (.347, 34-for-98, (8) 2B, 3 HR, 15 RBI, 7 SB); Alvaro Rondon (.333, 26-for-94, (2) 2B, 3B, 9 SB); Albert Cordero (.326, 30-for-92, (6) 2B, 10 RBI); Matt Chavez (.326, 31-for-95, 4 HR, 17 RBI); Juan Silverio (.320, 31-for-97, (4) 2B, 3B, HR, 17 RBI).
CHASING THE MAGIC: The Skeeters enter Thursday's game with a magic number of 12 over the Lancaster Barnstormers to clinch the second-half Freedom Division title. Any combination of Skeeters wins and Lancaster losses totaling 12 will result in the Skeeters clinching the second-half title.
AMAZING AUGUST: The Skeeters lead the Atlantic League with an 18-8 record in August. The Skeeters also lead the league with a 2.92 ERA and a .296 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. LANCASTER: The Skeeters are 9-6 against the Lancaster Barnstormers this season, going 6-1 at Constellation Field and 3-5 at Clipper Magazine Stadium. The Skeeters have hit .302/.375/.464 with 15 home runs in 15 games against Lancaster while the pitching staff owns a 3.33 ERA (127 IP).
STORMING THE BARN: Anthony Giansanti has hit .375 (18-for-48) with three home runs and 10 RBIs in 13 games against Lancaster this season. Matt Chavez has hit .333 (21-for-63) with a home run and nine RBIs in 13 games and Barrett Barnes has hit .327 (17-for-52) with four doubles, a triple, three home runs and 14 RBIs in 15 games. James Russell has gone 2-0 with a 0.64 ERA (14 IP) in two starts against Lancaster this season.
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 123 stolen bases.
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.