Could it be that all the players getting their contracts purchased by Major League organizations has finally caught up with the Sugar Land Skeeters?
Last season, the Skeeters won the league championship despite having a record 14 contracts purchased. This year it looks as if the next-man-up magic has worn off.
Closer Felipe Paulino – who led the team with 14 saves – became the 12th Skeeter this season to have his contract purchased by an outside organization, and the 11th by a Major League team, when the Houston Astros picked him up a week ago. Those acquisitions lead the Atlantic League this season.
Not coincidentally, the Skeeters went 1-5 on the road last week and suffered their first sweep of the season. The first three games at the York Revolution saw the Skeeters win one but drop two to help the Revs close the gap in the race for the first half Freedom Division championship and a playoff spot this fall. The Skeeters magic number is six and they’re six games ahead of the Revs with 12 games to go.
The Skeeters then went to New Britain where the Bees broke out the broom, allowing the Skeeters only one run in three games. The Skeeters hold a season-worst four-game losing streak and are 3-9 in their last dozen games. It won’t get easier when the upstart High Point Rockers (33-25) come to town this week for six games, followed by the best team in the league right now, the Long Island Ducks (35-21).
The Skeeters will try to turn things around on the mound with the recent acquisitions of three pitchers. Leading the way is former Major Leaguer Robbie Ross Jr., who appeared with the Texas Rangers in 2012-14 and the Boston Red Sox in 2015-17.
Joe Lienhard, 22, made his pro debut on June 18 with the Skeeters at York. He allowed three runs on three hits in two innings of relief. He began 2019 season with Oklahoma State University, going 4-1 with a 4.39 ERA in 21 games (eight starts), striking out 41 batters to 22 walks in 53 ⅓ innings pitched. He’s the only player on the Skeeters’ roster who had yet to make a pro appearance prior to joining the team.
When the Skeeters take on the Rockers, left-handed pitcher Daniel Gibson will go against his former team. He was traded to the Skeeters for a player to be named later.
The Sugar Land Skeeters released pitcher Luke Irvine, and first baseman Chris Colabello retired.
After having Monday off, the Skeeters return home June 25 for six games against the High Point Rockers, a new team making their first visit to Constellation Field. June 28 will have post-game fireworks. June 29 will feature a patriotic hat giveaway. June 30 is Swatson’s birthday, featuring area mascots.
Skeeter of the Week
Skeeters outfielder Jared Mitchell extended his hitting streak to 11 games in Sunday’s loss. Mitchell has hit .368 with a .432 on-base percentage to go with a homer and eighth RBIs throughout the streak. Mitchell went on an 11-game hitting streak (May 3-14), which is the longest from a Skeeter hitter this year.
Atlantic League standings
Wins – Losses – Games back
Sugar Land Skeeters 31-27-0
York Revolution 25-33-6
Lancaster Barnstormers 19-35-10
S. Maryland Blue Crabs 20-37-10.5
Long Island Ducks 35-21-0
Somerset Patriots 33-22-1.5
High Point Rockers 33-25-3
New Britain Bees 30-26-5
Revolution 10, Skeeters 9
Skeeters 7, Revolution 1
Revolution 8, Skeeters 6
Bees 6, Skeeters 1
Bees 3, Skeeters 0
Bees 2, Skeeters 0