STROHECKER: Road games could decide Revolution's fate
With the York Revolution sitting atop the Atlantic League's Freedom Division standings, it's little surprise that the team leads the league in several categories.
York is leading the way in home runs (42) and overall wins (23) and has a dazzling home record of 16-5. All of that has helped the Revs open a two-game lead in the division more than halfway into the first half of the season. Of course, that's important, considering the first-half champion of each division automatically qualifies for the postseason.
However, York has struggled this year on the road. If there's been an Achilles heel for this team, it's trying to win away from PeoplesBank Park. Sure, it's nice that the Revs have put on a good product for the loyal fans who have braved a relatively brutal spring, weather-wise, by winning a lot in front of them. But now they need to match that performance on the road.
York is just 7-10 away from home, not horrible by any means, but typically playoff-caliber teams aim to be at least .500 or better away from home.
For some reason, however, the Revs just haven't found the same consistency when they've loaded up their bus and trekked away from York. While this season hasn't been filled with long losing streaks, the two longest ones of the year, both three games, have come on the road. Those losing streaks are the difference between this team being a winning club away from home and a losing one.
"We've had some good road trips. We started the year 3-1 at New Britain," manager Mark Mason said. "Then we went to Somerset and lost three games and one of them was 1-0, then we went to Southern Maryland and won a series there. So, we've played well on the road (at times), but lately it hasn't been as much. ... It's just hard to win on the road. It's a fact. .500 on the road is a good trip, but I think we're better than that."
Over the next month, 17 of the Revs' next 32 games will be away from home. With the team currently clinging to the top spot in the division over the Sugar Land Skeeters, good road baseball could wind up being the difference between this team clinching the first-half division title and a postseason berth, or turning the second half into something more meaningful.
Even more significant is the fact that the Revs and Sugar Land have seven more meetings remaining in the first half of the season, all of which are in Sugar Land, including a four-game series to close out the first 70 games. A first half playoff spot could come down to what York can do away from PeoplesBank Park over the final 32 games.
"Usually the formula to keep you in contention and I like to use the term 'relevant,' relevant is two out of three at home and .500 on the road," Mason said. "If you can do that all year, then you're going to be in the hunt. ... We're relevant right now and we're in a good spot. I believe it's better to be the hunted than the hunter. I like to be the leader and let everyone come after you. I think it's easier when you control your own destiny, because then there's no excuses."
Revs win rain-soaked game: Josh Wilson played hero in Monday night's win over the Somerset Patriots, hitting a walk-off single down the third-base line, scoring Keith Castillo from third to give the Revs the 6-5 win in 13 innings.
The game was delayed for 38 minutes between the top and bottom half of the 10th inning for a rain shower that rolled through the area.
A lead-off double by Castillo to begin the 13th, followed by a walk to Andres Perez and then a James Simmons hit-by-pitch loaded the bases for Wilson. His single helped cap off a come-from-behind win for the Revs, who trailed 5-3 after five innings.
York turned the game around with a two-run bottom of the sixth. York, however, squandered a few good chances to take the lead after that.
The Revs did hold a 3-1 lead after two innings, scoring three times in the bottom of the second to erase a 1-0 deficit. However, Matt Neil, who battled control issues all night, couldn't protect it, getting lifted after just 2 2/3 innings. Reliever Michael Click then proceeded to allow three straight two-strike, two-out singles to not only relinquish the lead, but put York behind.
Castillo led all hitters with four-hits, followed by a 3-for-5 effort by Perez and two-hit games by Joel Guzman and Telvin Nash. Wilson's winning RBI was his second of the night.
The Revs now go on the road for a quick three-game trip to Bridgeport to take on the Bluefish beginning Tuesday. First pitch for that game is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. at Harbor Yard.
— Reach Patrick Strohecker at firstname.lastname@example.org