During the All-Star break last week, York Revolution manager Andy Etchebarren sat down and looked over his roster.
One thing became clear: If the Revs had a shot at winning the second-half Freedom Division title, they would need to improve the starting pitching.
"The problem with that is. ... I got three guys who are coming from foreign countries but that's not going to be until the first week of August," Etchebarren said Wednesday. "We can't get buried until they get here. We gotta get to .500 and then when we get those pitchers, we'll have a pretty good shot, I would think. But we can't bury ourselves like we did the first half."
Etchebarren made those comments following York's tough 8-4 loss to the Bridgeport Bluefish on Wednesday in front of 2,407 fans under a hot sun at Sovereign Bank Stadium in game that started at 11 a.m. It marked the seventh loss in the last eight games for York (37-39 overall, 1-5 second half). And again, the Revs had trouble with their starting pitcher.
Left-hander Chris Cody (4-11) gave up two runs in the first inning, but recovered nicely by holding the Bluefish (35-41, 4-2) scoreless the next four innings before he gave up five runs in the sixth. The scoring was capped off by a three-run homer from Shea Hillenbrand followed by a solo homer by James Simmons.
As Revs' pitching coach Mark Mason pointed out, though, Cody has been pitching from behind in most of his starts. For the season, York is averaging just 3.6 runs in Cody's 16 starts through Wednesday, which is the lowest run-support average of all of York's starters.
"Today it's an early game. It's 100 degrees. Maybe he ran out of gas there at the end," Mason said. "Overall I think he's been throwing the ball well all year but when he has a tough inning he seems to have a big inning, more than two runs usually."
Revs' offense: For the most part, Bridgeport starter Paul Oseguera (6-2) kept York's offense in check to improve his ERA to a stellar 2.75. Though he left with two outs in the sixth inning with an injury to his left leg during an at-bat against Scott Grimes, Oseguera was credited for a full six innings, allowing just two earned runs on five hits with three strikeouts and two walks.
York added two runs in the seventh inning off of reliever Juan Rincon.
Roster moves: Etchebarren isn't waiting until August to upgrade the Revs' starting rotation. Earlier in the week, York acquired left-hander Derrick Gordon from Sugar Land to replace lefty Matt Chico, who the club released Tuesday. Gordon is slated to start Thursday in the series finale against Bridgeport.
York also made a few more moves on Wednesday by activating outfielder Brandon Haveman and signing left-hander Victor Garate. To make room for the two players, the Revs released infielder Kyle Haines and right-handed reliever Dumas Garcia.
Haveman will return to the team on Thursday after missing the last six games for personal reasons. Garate is a former major leaguer who comes to York after pitching in 29 games earlier this year for the Milwaukee Brewers' Class AAA Nashville club, where he accumulated a 7.78 ERA in 29 games out of the bullpen. Garate's only time in the majors came in 2009 when he pitched in four games with the Washington Nationals.
Mason said he plans to work Garate into the starting rotation "within the next 10 days."
Haines leaves York with a .217 batting average and two RBIs in eight games. Garcia had a 6.00 ERA in 27 relief appearances for the Revs.
-- Reach John Walk at email@example.com.