Just two York Revolution starting pitchers have gone a full six innings in the team's first 16 games.
That's mostly because they are still building up arm strength in what is currently the third week of the Atlantic League season following a short, 10-day spring training.
It's exactly why Revs' starter Anthony Lerew didn't return for the sixth inning Sunday in what turned out to be an 8-4 loss in the rubber game of a series against visiting Southern Maryland in front of 3,447 fans at Santander Stadium.
Lerew's effort had little to do with the defeat. The Revs (8-8) squandered his impressive outing because of a lack of productivity at the plate and questionable defense in the field.
Lerew: Lerew, a Northern York High School graduate, cruised through the first four innings, facing just 13 batters and collecting five strikeouts. The former big leaguer faced the minimum nine batters in the first three innings and issued his only walk in the fourth inning.
He still had a no-hit bid going into the fifth. The veteran righty said he's thrown one no-hitter in his career, accomplishing the feat in 2010 when playing winter ball in Venezuela. No Revs' pitcher has ever thrown a no-hitter.
But the no-hitter and the shutout disappeared in the fifth inning, when Southern Maryland's lead-off batter reached on an error by York shortstop Wilson Valdez and the Crabs later scored on a two-run triple down the right-field line, which right fielder Johan Limonta took awhile to track down.
Lerew would go five innings, giving up the pair of runs (one earned) on two hits while striking out eight and walking one. He threw a total of 81 pitches, 54 of them for strikes.
"I threw 79 (pitches) last time and then after five days off I was still a little sore," Lerew said. "I was working on some stuff and had some tenderness on my forearm. I don't want to miss any starts. As long as I can get to five (innings) then eventually I can build up."
The right-hander took over the league lead in strikeouts (20) while also improving his ERA to 2.37, the second-best mark among Revs' starters behind left-hander Alain Quijano (1.20).
Defensive woes: Lerew left the game with York leading, 4-2. The Blue Crabs (9-7) later tallied four runs on four hits, one error and one walk in the seventh off Revs' relievers Julio DePaula and Stephen Penney to take a 6-4 advantage.
Southern Maryland scored the last two runs of the frame on a two-run double to right field, where Limonta misplayed a fly ball and let it drop in front of him and roll past his glove.
Revs' manager Mark Mason didn't make much of Limonta's rough play in right field, though. He instead blamed the loss on York's offensive struggles and four errors. The Revs' four runs all came in the third inning, but all were unearned thanks to a pair of Southern Maryland errors. Outside of the third inning, York managed to get just one hit and draw three walks.
On the road: York went 2-4 on the six-game homestand and has yet to win a series since they began the year by sweeping Camden (3-13) in four games. The Revs now hit the road for a 10-game swing, beginning Tuesday at Freedom Division leader Lancaster (11-5), when Quijano (1-1, 1.20 ERA) faces right-hander Chad Beck (1-1, 4.70).
— Reach John Walk at email@example.com.