For the first couple of innings in Monday night's game against visiting Sugar Land, it appeared as though York Revolution left-hander Matt Chico would fit in just fine as Shawn Hill's replacement.
Earlier in the day, the Revs announced that the Toronto Blue Jays had picked up Hill, who left with a club-record, 272/3-scoreless-innings streak over five starts. York also announced the signing of Chico, who had been teammates with Hill back in 2008 with the Washington Nationals.
In his debut for York on Monday, Chico started off with two scoreless innings. He had command of his fastball, which topped out at 88 mph, and appeared to have control of his pitches.
Then the third inning came, and the same struggles Chico had
In the third inning Monday, Chico surrendered five runs on three doubles, a single and three walks. Those runs ultimately helped the Skeeters prevail over York, 7-3, in the first of a four-game series at Sovereign Bank Stadium.
"My mechanics got out of whack a little bit," Chico said. "(I was) rushing, so I tried to slow everything down so I could aim the ball. From there it went downhill."
With the loss, York (24-26) fell to six games back of first-place Lancaster (30-20) in the Atlantic League Freedom Division.
Cooling off: The Revs didn't give the 3,324 fans much to cheer about. The hitting woes that plagued York's offense earlier this season seem to have returned.
York has gone 2-3 over its last five games, while being held to a combined eight runs (1.6 per game) on 25 hits (five per game), while batting .157. Before that stretch, York had scored 115 runs in its previous 17 games (6.8 per game) while batting .304.
"When you get seven hits, and five of them are from your one- and two-hitters, and then you get guys at second and third twice with one out and got one in on a 6-3 (groundout), we gotta be better than that," Revs' manager Andy Etchebarren said. "We gotta execute better than that."
York scored its runs on a Ramon Castro RBI groundout in the sixth, and an RBI single from Liu Rodriguez and a Castro sacrifice fly in the eighth.
York reliever Dumas Garcia tossed two scoreless innings, while relievers Kris Regas and Stephen Penney surrendered two runs on three hits in three combined innings.
Surgery: Etchebarren returned to the Revs' dugout after sitting out the last four-games because of a league-issued suspension.
However, Etchebarren will be out of action the next two days. He's set to undergo back surgery at 7 a.m. Tuesday to repair a herniated disc and two bulging discs. He still hopes to return for the series opener against Lancaster on Friday.
Game notes: York is now 1-6 against Sugar Land this season, having lost six straight since winning on Opening Night back in April. ... York outfielder Scott Grimes will return to action on Tuesday. He missed the last two games after spraining his left thumb diving for a ball in the outfield on Saturday at Somerset. ... Revs' first baseman Chris Nowak was hit by a pitch in his left wrist on Monday, but said afterwards his wrist felt OK. ... York will host Sugar Land in a doubleheader on Tuesday, with the first game set for a 5:30 p.m. start. Revs' right-hander Corey Thurman (5-1, 4.24 ERA) will face lefty Ryan Ketchner (0-2, 13.50).
-- Reach John Walk at email@example.com.