Three years ago, the help came in the form of starting pitchers Chris Salberg and Kevin Angelle.
They both came to the York Revolution from the independent American Association.
Two years ago it was starting pitcher Nick Schumacher coming from the American Association and Lorenzo Barcelo from the Mexican League.
The moves paid dividends both seasons, contributing in some form to York winning back-to-back Atlantic League titles in 2010 and 2011.
With the Revs again in need of starting pitching late in the season, the question looms ... where will the upgrades come from this time?
One might wonder why that question even matters, given York's performance this season. With Sunday's 3-1 loss to Sugar Land (65-28 overall, 18-5 second half) in front of 2,661 fans at Sovereign Bank Stadium, York (44-50, 8-16) now trails the Skeeters by 101/2 games in the second-half Freedom Division race.
However, the Revs haven't yet hit rock bottom. There are 46 games still on the schedule. Plenty could happen between now and Sept. 15, the final day of the regular season.
But York will have to make some upgrades soon if it has any hope of the season being alive on Sept. 16.
The Revs rank at or near the top of nearly every offensive statistical category in the league. The bullpen has proved its worth. York is 38-5 this season in games where the club leads after six innings.
The starting pitching, meanwhile, is a question mark. Well, at least that's the case for starters Corey Thurman, Nick Green and Pedro Liriano. The trio has combined for a 7.22 ERA in 16 games this month. That covers nearly 70 percent of York's games in July.
Left-hander Chris Cody and right-hander Brett Tomko have been solid, if not great, in the last month or so.
York hopes recent acquisition Zach Segovia, a former major leaguer, will work his way into the rotation as he builds back into a starter after not having pitched for a month. Beyond that, though, the outlook appears cloudy.
The Revs' white horse is Barcelo, the hard-throwing righty who contributed to York's 2011 championship team. But Barcelo's Mexican League club appears to be playoff bound. So it's unlikely he'll return to York anytime soon.
Revs' manager Mark Mason said Sunday pitchers in the American Association or Can-Am League likely won't be available for another month. And Revs' baseball operations manager Andrew Ball said some pitchers available on the free-agent market are debating whether it's worth coming to the Atlantic League, since there's only about a month left in the affiliated minor league season.
Which likely leaves the solution up to the current crop of starters to turn things around. Green (3-5) did so Sunday, going 62/3 innings, holding Sugar Land to three runs on seven hits. It was a reminder of what Green did earlier this season when he compiled a 3.64 ERA in his first 10 games. Now he'll just have to keep it going. And Thurman and Liriano will have to follow suit.
Otherwise, York's season could be over rather soon.
"The guys that are here are capable of doing it," Mason said. "They're just gonna have to do it."
Game notes: York's back-up catcher, Patrick Arlis, went 0-for-4 in the final game of his 12-year pro career. Arlis, 33, retired after the game so he could begin working full-time next month as a physical education teacher at Kankakee (Ill.) Middle School. ... A day after York lost infielder Ofilio Castro (oblique) to injury, infielder Wilson Batista (groin) left Sunday's game in the eighth inning after legging out an infield single. Castro is expected to be out about seven days while Batista is day-to-day, Mason said. ... Batista (2-for-3), Andy Marte (2-for-4) and Kody Kirkland (3-for-4, RBI, run scored) had multiple hits for the Revs. ... Cody (9-6, 3.63 ERA) will start for the Revs in the series opener Monday against visiting Camden, with first pitch slated for 6:30 p.m.
-- Reach John Walk at firstname.lastname@example.org.