Sugar Land Skeeters (60-31) vs. Southern Maryland Blue Crabs (35-54)
RHP Dallas Beeler (6-1, 1.89 ERA) vs. LHP David Wayne Russo (1-3, 4.36 ERA)
Thursday, August 9, 2018 • Regency Furniture Stadium • 5:35 p.m.
LAST TIME OUT: The Skeeters won both of ends of Wednesday's doubleheader at Southern Maryland, winning Game 1 by a score of 12-2 and Game 2 by a score of 7-0. Yasutomo Kubo picked up the win in Game 1 while Jean Machi collected the win -- his first since joining the Skeeters -- in Game 2. Former Skeeter Brett Marshall took the loss in Game 1 while Craig Stem took the loss in Game 2 for the Blue Crabs.
DEJA VU: The Skeeters won Game 1 Wednesday's doubleheader, 12-2, matching the most runs they've scored in a doubleheader game this season. They also scored 12 runs in a 12-2 win at York in Game 1 of a doubleheader on July 22. Barrett Barnes and Derek Norris, who both homered in Game 1 on July 22 at York, also both homered in Wednesday's Game 1 win over the Blue Crabs. The Skeeters collected a season-high 18 hits in Game 1 on July 22 at York. In Wednesday's Game 1, the Skeeters racked up 17 hits. The 19 runs scored between both of Wednesday's games ties the franchise record for combined runs scored in a doubleheader, matching the record of 19 runs set in a doubleheader on May 10, 2013, at Camden.
BASH BROS: Barrett Barnes, Derek Norris and Anthony Giansanti each homered twice Wednesday's doubleheader and went a combined 13-for-21 (.619) with 13 runs, two doubles, six home runs and 15 RBIs throughout the doubleheader. Over their last four games, Barnes, Norris and Giansanti have gone a combined 22-for-39 (.615) with 18 runs, six doubles, six home runs and 18 RBIs.
BARNES BOMBS: With Barrett Barnes' two home runs in Wednesday's doubleheader, the seventh-year pro set his professional single-season career high for home runs with 11, surpassing his previous high of nine home runs, which he's accomplished twice, with the last time coming in 2016 with Double-A Altoona. Barnes' 11 home runs place him in a tie for ninth in the Atlantic League and has hit seven home runs over his last 17 games. Barnes is also in the midst of a six-game hitting streak and has gone 9-for-18 with nine runs, two doubles, three home runs seven RBIs over that span. The Sugar Land native leads the league with 55 walks and is second with a .411 on-base percentage.
SHUT-DOWN: The Skeeters picked up their 11th shutout win of the season with Wednesday's Game 2 victory and lead the Atlantic League in shutout wins. The Skeeters' 11-4 record in shutout contests this season also leads the league. They've picked up two shutout wins in their last three games. The Skeeters' 11 shutout wins are the second-most in a season in franchise history, trailing the 2014 squad, which had 15 shutouts.
90 GAMES: The Skeeters played their 90th game of the season in Game 1 of Wednesday's doubleheader and their 59-31 record is the team's second best record through 90 games in franchise history. The 2013 Skeeters went 62-28 through their first 90 games. The 2013 Skeeters set Atlantic League records with 95 regular-season wins and a .679 regular-season winning percentage.
FEAR THE BEARD: Felipe Paulino threw a scoreless inning in Game 2 of Wednesday's doubleheader and the former Major Leaguer has not allowed a run over his last 20 appearances, spanning 20 innings pitched. The 20-inning scoreless streak is the longest scoreless streak from a Skeeters reliever this season, surpassing Danny Reynolds, who threw 15 scoreless innings before having his contract purchased by the Milwaukee Brewers on June 1. Paulino's 0.46 ERA is the lowest of any pitcher in the league with at least 35 innings pitched and the he's also struck out 43 batters over his last 24 outings (25.1 IP). Paulino leads the Atlantic League with 23 saves on the season. Derrick Loop set the Skeeters' single-season saves record in 2016 with 32, not including four saves in the 2016 postseason.
GIANSANITY: Anthony Giansanti belted two home runs in Game 2 of Wednesday's doubleheader, pushing his season total to a career-high 15 home runs. Giansanti's 15 home runs place him at fourth in the Atlantic League. Prior to the 2018 season, Giansanti's career high for home runs was 11, which he set in 2011 with Single-A Peoria while in the Chicago Cubs Minor League system. In seven seasons at the affiliated level in the Cubs' system (2010-16), totaling 497 games, Giansanti had 19 home runs. Giansanti is also fourth in the league this season with 60 runs, fifth with a .489 slugging percentage and is tied for fourth with 24 stolen bases.
2018 VS. SOUTHERN MARYLAND: The Skeeters are 8-4 against the Blue Crabs this season, going 3-2 at Regency Furniture Stadium and 5-2 at Constellation Field. The Skeeters have hit .292/.387/.536 with 20 home runs against Southern Maryland while the pitching staff has owned a 3.69 ERA over 105 innings pitched. The Skeeters scored a season-high 17 runs in a 17-3 win over the Blue Crabs on May 18 at Constellation Field. Albert Cordero has hit .380 (19-for-50) with three home runs and 13 RBIs in 12 games against the Blue Crabs and Derek Norris has hit .361 (13-for-36) with three home runs and eight RBIs in 11 game.
SECOND-HALF STRONG: The Skeeters moved to 19-9 in the second half after winning both games of Wednesday's doubleheader and are tied with Somerset with the Atlantic League's best record in the second half. The Skeeters' 60-31 overall record is the best in the Atlantic League, seven games ahead of Somerset (54-39). The Skeeters won the first-half Freedom Division title with a 41-22 record. The Skeeters hold a 5 1/2-game lead over the Lancaster Barnstormers in the second half Freedom Division standings, which matches their largest first-place divisional lead in either half of this season.