STROHECKER: Revs show some signs of life in Atlantic League second half
It's a common notion that in baseball — a game all about averages — numbers will level out over the course of the season.
A scorching hot hitter will come back to earth. A cold hitter will find his groove. And pitchers tend to pitch consistently to their career numbers.
The same can be said about teams as a whole. A team that goes on an unheard of streak of winning close games will eventually start to lose some of them, and vice-versa. It doesn't matter the level of baseball either. It can be the major leagues, Class AA, or, in this case, the Atlantic League.
Friday and Saturday, the York Revolution won back-to-back games in walk-off fashion against the Camden Riversharks to get back to .500 for the second half of the season. Sunday night's 5-3 victory vs. Camden helped the team complete the sweep and move to 9-8 on the young second half.
No matter what string of games you compare it to, it was by far one of the more exciting and inspiring series of baseball that York has played this season. After faltering to a first-half record of 24-46 and seemingly finding new ways to lose close games on a daily basis, the Revs finally showed that they have the capacity to win some tight ones, as well. The victories were the team's third and fourth walk-off wins of the season.
Even if you just think it's the numbers evening out in York's favor, what you can't deny is that this team is finally playing some encouraging baseball. Through the first 17 games of the second half, the Revs look like a team poised to take advantage of the second opportunity that the Atlantic League gives teams that perform poorly during the first half.
As it stands, York sits in second place in the Freedom Division, just a game behind its rival, the Lancaster Barnstormers. While it's still early, it's certainly a long way from the cellar that the team occupied for much of the first half of the season.
Consistency within the lineup is a driving factor in York's second-half success.
Getting healthy: York manager Mark Mason would never use his team's slew of injuries as an excuse for the poor first half. After all, every team will deal with the injury bug. But, to think that it didn't play a major role in his team's struggles would just be naive.
When talking before a Tuesday night game against the Sugar Land Skeeters a couple weeks back, Mason touched on just how many transactions the team has made to cope with its injuries. At the time, it was 80 and has since grown. But, while mentioning the transactions, he also noted just how much potential this squad has, if it can stay healthy.
"I think we can flip the second-half record to be the opposite of the first half," he said.
It's a pretty lofty goal, considering that, in order to do so, the Revs would have to make a 36-game turnaround from their dreadful first half. But, while the team isn't exactly at full strength and still has a number of men on the inactive list, York has gotten back many key players from injury and they're starting to get back to their typical numbers.
Players such as Mikey Reynolds and Eric Patterson have come back from their injuries in the first half of the season and seen their numbers improve, while Bryan Pounds and Nick Ferdinand are continuing to hit at a high clip. On the pitching front, starters Logan Williamson and Rommie Lewis are giving the Revs chances to win every time they take the mound, while relievers Stephen Penney, Edward Paredes, Ron Schreurs and Josh Judy have teamed up to provide the club with a strong bullpen.
So call this resurgence by York a product of whatever you want. If you think it's just the numbers evening out, then fine. If you think it's a product of the team finally beginning to get healthy, find consistency and live up to its potential, that works as well.
But, for the moment, one thing is undeniable: The Revs are finally starting to play inspired baseball and could make a second-half run all the way into the postseason.
— Reach Patrick Strohecker at email@example.com; follow on Twitter @P_Strohecker