Sugar Land Skeeters (75-39, 34-17) vs. Southern Maryland Blue Crabs (45-67, 19-30)
RHP Lucas Irvine (1-0, 1.84 ERA) vs. RHP Craig Stem (6-8, 4.01 ERA)
Tuesday, September 4th, 2018 • Regency Furniture Stadium • 5:35 p.m. CT
LAST TIME OUT: The Skeeters dropped their series finale against the Lancaster Barnstormers on Sunday night at Constellation Field, 10-1. It was just the fifth time this season that the Skeeters allowed at least 10 runs in a game and was the first time since allowing 11 runs to the Somerset Patriots on Aug. 23. James Russell took the loss for the Skeeters on Sunday while Ty'Relle Harris picked up the win for Lancaster.
RUSSELL THE MUSCLE: Despite matching his season high of four runs allowed in Sunday's loss to Lancaster, James Russell leads the Atlantic League with a 2.61 ERA. Through five August starts, Russell went 2-0 with a 1.74 ERA, striking out 25 batters to just two walks over 31 innings pitched. The Skeeters have never ended a season with a pitcher owning the lowest qualifying ERA in the Atlantic League. David Pauley's 2.66 ERA in 2014 constitutes the lowest single-season qualifying ERA in the franchise's seven-year history.
MATTer OF FACT: Skeeters first baseman Matt Chavez is tied for fourth in the Atlantic League with a .326 batting average. Chavez is also second in the league in hits (142), sixth with 69 RBIs and tied for seventh with 21 doubles. Chavez's 21 RBIs over the last 30 days are tied for the third-most in the Atlantic League over that stretch. Chavez is on pace to set the Skeeters record for a qualifying batting average to end a season, surpassing Ricky Hague's .311 batting average in 2016. Chavez's 142 hits are fourth-most in a single season in Skeeters history. Anthony Godwin owns the Skeeters' single-season hits record, with 157 hits in 2013.
THE PUNISHER: Skeeters right-hander Mark Haynes threw a scoreless inning in Sunday's loss and has allowed just two runs over his first 17 2/3 innings pitched this season (1.02 ERA), striking out 20 batters and allowing just seven hits over that span. Out of 18 appearances this season, Haynes has struck out a batter in 12 of them.
JUAN OF A KIND: Through his first 39 games with the Skeeters, Juan Silverio has hit .315/.358/.497 with 10 doubles, five home runs and 27 RBIs. Silverio has a hit in 19 of his last 21 games, going 28-for-80 (.350) with a home run and 19 RBIs over that span.
M-V-P, M-V-P!: Anthony Giansanti has collected a hit in 23 of his last 28 games, going 36-for-110 (.327) with eight doubles, three home runs, 16 RBIs and nine stolen bases over that span. Giansanti ranks in a tie for sixth in the Atlantic League with 16 home runs, is fifth with 31 stolen bases, is third with 74 runs and is 10th with a .461 slugging percentage. He's the only player in Skeeters history to collect at least 15 home runs and 30 stolen bases in a single season.
2018 VS. SOUTHERN MARYLAND: The Skeeters are 11-5 against the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs this season, going 7-3 at Constellation Field and 4-2 at Regency Furniture Stadium. The Skeeters have hit .297/.385/.501 with 23 home runs in 16 games against Southern Maryland while the pitching staff owns a 3.26 ERA (141 IP).
CRAB DINNER: Alvaro Rondon has hit .378 (17-for-45) with three doubles, two triples and seven RBIs in 15 games against the Blue Crabs this season. Anthony Giansanti has hit .371 (23-for-62) with five doubles, four home runs and 15 RBIs in 16 games and Albert Cordero has hit .355 (22-for-62) with three home runs and 14 RBIs in 15 games. Kraig Sitton is 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA (10 IP) through seven games (one start) against the Blue Crabs.
AMAZING AUGUST: The Skeeters ended August with a 19-8 record, which led the Atlantic League. The Skeeters also led the league with a 3.00 ERA and a .300 batting average during the month. Excluding April, the Skeeters' .300 batting average was the highest of any month this season and the 3.00 ERA was the second-lowest of any month, with the Skeeters' lowest monthly ERA coming in June (2.85) 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.
CHANCE AT HISTORY: The Skeeters enter Tuesday's game with a 75-39 overall record, equaling a .658 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 11 of their final 12 games of the season to surpass their 2013 winning percentage.
CHASING THE MAGIC: The Skeeters enter Tuesday's game with a magic number of eight over the Lancaster Barnstormers to clinch the second-half Freedom Division title. Any combination of Skeeters wins and Lancaster losses totaling eight will result in the Skeeters clinching the second-half title.
BIG-LEAGUE CHOPS: The Skeeters have 13 players on their 2018 roster with Major League service time: RHP Dallas Beeler (CHC), RHP Vicente Campos (ARI), RHP Jean Machi (SF, BOS, SEA), RHP Michael Mariot (KC, PHI), C Derek Norris (OAK, SD, TB), RHP Felipe Paulino (HOU, COL, KC, CHW), OF Denis Phipps (CIN), OF Daniel Robertson (TEX, LAA, SEA, CLE), LHP Paco Rodriguez (LAD), LHP Dan Runzler (SF, PIT), LHP James Russell (CHC, ATL, PHI), Matt West (TEX, LAD) and RHP Alex Wimmers (MIN).
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.
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