Whoa! Finally, a new blog post. I know this your reaction to me finally reporting something about the York Revolution after weeks of silence as I have instead been busy covering high school football. So go ahead and get the shock and bewilderment out of you.
Done yet? Good. Now lets get down to business. As you likely know, York this week is in Sugar Land, where the Skeeters took four of the final six regular season games last week. The Revs stayed in Texas, as both clubs are set to begin the best-of-five Freedom Division Championship Series on Tuesday night at 8:05 p.m. (7:05 p.m. central time in Texas). I chatted by phone early Monday with Revs’ skipper Mark Mason about his preparations for the post-season. Click here to check out the article that resulted, which will be printed in Tuesday morning’s York Dispatch newspaper previewing the upcoming series.
Left-hander Alain Quijano will get the Game One start for York on Tuesday night. John Pavoncello file photo.
Below, in Q&A format, is the rest of that conversation with Mason. You might be wondering what the plans are from me as far as covering the Revs in the playoffs. Well, I’ll be flying to Texas tonight. JUST KIDDING! I know your heart probably stopped for a second reading that. No. I’ll be staying right here in York, listening to and watching the first two games Tuesday and Wednesday night, then posting game wraps of the results you can read here. Ditto for Friday’s Game Three in York (yes, high school football is taking the priority this Friday). Should the series go to a Game Five on Sunday in York, I will be covering that. Should York advance to the league championship series next week (probably just jinxed them by writing that, sorry), the Revs will face either Lancaster or Somerset, with Games One and Two being played in York on Wednesday and Thursday, which I would cover if that happens. If the opponent is the Barnstormers, I would then cover the remainder of the series over the river in Lancaster. And if it’s Somerset? Well, I’m not really sure yet what would happen. But lets not get ahead of ourselves just yet. York has to make it through Sugar Land first….
(By the way, Lancaster Newspapers’ Barnstormers beat writer Burt Wilson chatted with Atlantic League president Rick White recently. His Q&A with White is definitely worth a read, touches on several topics, including future of league involving expansion locations and possible name change to the league)
York Revolution manager Mark Mason:
Q: Starting pitching staff, going with what got you here, and it’s been solid all year, sure guys have ups and downs but it seems like most starters have been doing pretty well coming into the playoffs. Still, has there been a part of you that has been looking around to improve the starting pitching staff but just haven’t found much available?
A: “The only chance to do anything with starting pitching basically maybe if (Chris) Cody or (Anthony) Lerew would come back. There really wasn’t a whole lot of starting pitching out there. Even the American Association there weren’t a lot of starting pitchers. And Mexico, a lot of those guys go home to get ready for winter ball. Our playoffs run into start of winter ball in other places.”
Q: What is it about Sugar Land that has presented troubles for you guys?
A: “I just think they’re a team that especially down here yesterday we lost a 3-2 game with three unearned runs. I think what you have to do you have play a clean game. Yesterday we gave up three unearned runs, the other night was another unearned run. Two of the four we lost here were on unearned runs. Was I playing my regular lineup? No, I wasn’t. But no matter who’s out there you can’t walk them and you gotta play clean. They play clean and their pitching is solid. It’s one of those things you made an error and you walked a guy before the error or whatever it is. It’s a little thing here and there. The other thing down here, we left eight or nine guys on base every game. That’s just kind of the way the week went for us.”
Q: Because, for the most part, your team didn’t go in the tank after winning the first-half title. They still kept coming and showing up, until this past week in Sugar Land. Do you think it is because Sugar Land has your number this year or was it the lineups you were throwing out there so you weren’t at full strength?
A: “It’s hard to say. We were resting a lot of guys this week. I’m not gonna make excuses for that. We had good enough lineups out there to win games. When you lose 2-1 or 3-2 without your best lineup out there…it’s just one of those things for us against Sugar Land it’s the same thing it was against Southern Maryland. For whatever reason it was for those particular games we made an error or a walk or didn’t get productive hit.” “I think it’ll be a fun series. The fact we’ve already been here for six or seven days it’s not a factor. It actually gives us a chance to get more acclimated and settled into here. If we would’ve finished the season up north then that would’ve meant we would’ve flown here today. We’re gonna go over and have a little workout today and get the party started tomorrow.”
Q: What exactly will you guys be working on at practice today?
A: “Some pitchers will go out and get their regular throwing program in. It’s 95 degrees today with the field 101 (degrees). We took batting practice on the field like two days ago. We did have batting practice Saturday. I may just hit in cages today. Tomorrow it’ll be a little cooler. Today is basically treatments. Bunch of guys that need treatments.”
Q: I saw Ricardo Gomez came back recently. Is he your closer now or are you sticking with Mark Hendrickson?
A: “Hendrickson is still gonna close.”
Q: What is it about Hendrickson you like as being a closer (Hendrickson took over the role when Rommie Lewis left to pitch overseas last month and has since converted on all nine save opportunities. Since Aug. 4, Hendrickson has allowed just two earned runs over 18.2 innings, a 0.98 ERA. For the year, he has a 1.53 ERA in 55 games)
A: “One thing he does is he throws strikes on both sides of the plate, keeps the ball down and has good movement. He has a lot of experience. That role, he’s been terrific all year. Home or away, right or left.”
Q: What’s the plan for the eighth inning pitching? Will you have a designated set-up guy or will it vary depending on who is at the plate?
A: “Eighth inning will depend on where other team is in the lineup, either Beau Vaughan or Mike DeMark (will likely pitch the eighth inning). Probably Joe Harris, Edward Paredes, Ricardo Gomez and Ian Durham, those guys are gonna be more matching up in sixth, seventh innings somewhere in there. The starters obviously will have a little shorter leash, especially when you’re playing teams with really good pitching. I think three of the four playoff teams are the best pitching teams in the league“
Q: What happened to Stephen Penney (inactive since Aug. 30)?
A: “He’s just been dealing with a little of an arm thing. He’s sore, for lack of a better word. He’s gonna be inactive for this series but could pitch for us next week if we make it that far.”
Q: What happened to Ofilio Castro (inactive since Aug. 18)?
A: “We lost Ofilio to the knee surgery. That’s why his season ended. Four or five weeks ago he had knee surgery. So when he went down we had to get another infielder (Omar Luna) so that way we’d be able to rest some guys. He (Luna) was in the American Association playing.”
Here’s a look at what York has done to the roster since mid-August:
RHP Mike DeMark
–Reliever Ricardo Gomez (four scoreless outings since being added Sept. 13)
–Reliever Mike DeMark (six scoreless outing since being added early September)
–Reliever Joe Harris (2.84 ERA, seven relief appearances)
–First baseman/DH/OF Johan Limonta (18-for-63, .286 in 17 games since return in late August)
–Infielder Omar Luna (.265 in 17 games, 1 SB)
RHP Stephen Penney
Put on inactive list:
–Reliever Greg Miler (5.72 ERA in seven relief appearances)
–Reliever Dan Cortes (13.50 ERA in eight relief appearances)
–Reliever Stephen Penney (2.31 ERA, 45 relief appearances)
–Catcher Steve Sulcoski (batted .176 in six games, was cut once Salvador Paniagua returned to the roster after injury)
–Infielder Ofilio Castro (.247 in 95 games, 1 SB)
Sold: Closer Rommie Lewis (3-1, 2.15 ERA, 28 saves, 45 games) to EDA Rhinos (Taiwan) in mid-August