Series 1: York @ Camden

An odd thing will happen on Friday night inside the cozy confines of Campbell’s Field.

Chris Hoiles and the York Revolution will emerge from the dugout tunnel and there will actually be fans in the seats.

What a difference a year makes.

York returns to its home away from home for the first series of the 2008 season and its first chance to show off a talented roster. The Revs spent six weeks playing “home” games in Camden, N.J. last year before construction was complete at Sovereign Bank Stadium. Some nights there were as few as 12 fans in the seats and many other nights brought crowds of less than 100. I was there for the first “home” game, which was attended by 45 fans.

But York won’t have to deal with any lack of atmosphere this weekend. Instead, the Revolution will be able to concentrate on getting off to a better start than a year ago. Last season, the Revs went 0-4 to start the year before finally breaking through against the Riversharks. Hoiles is hoping it doesn’t take that long for the team to break into the win column this time around and he’ll turn to Aaron Myette (pictured) in the opener to start things off right.

Below is a breakdown of the opening series with some notes on both teams.

PITCHING PROBABLES (York’s starters first)

  1. Aaron Myette (RHP, 3-3, 2.90 ERA for Triple-A Louisville in 2004) vs. Kevin Walker (LHP, 4-6, 5.31 ERA for Triple-A Colorado Springs in ’07).
  2. Wayne Franklin (LHP, 8-3, 4.19 ERA for York in ’07) vs. Chris Young (RHP, 0-2, 6.17 ERA for Triple-A Albuquerque in ’07).
  3. Corey Thurman (RHP, 5-8, 4.36 ERA for Double-A Huntsville in ’07) vs. Darren Sack (RHP, 1-2, 4.22 ERA for Single-A San Jose in ’07).

Pitching Notes: Camden did sign Ryan Drese and Brian Lawrence this week, two former major leaguers who were a definite upgrade to the staff. But their addition doesn’t quite level the playing field with York’s arms. As has been stated here ad nauseum, the strength of York’s team in the early going this season should be its pitching. The club replaced Dan Foli with Travis Phelps on Thursday, giving the Revs seven pitchers with major league experience to start the year. Pete Munro and Landon Jacobsen are both having more difficulty stretching out their arms than Myette, Franklin and Thurman, so that is one reason for the decision to leave Munro and Jacobsen out of the first series. Pitching coach Tippy Martinez said Dave Veres will likely be the team’s closer in the early going. Myette had this to say about getting the opening-day start.

“I really have a different perspective on playing now,” the 30-year-old said. “This is something I’ve prayed about a lot and God opened this door for me. It’s something He lined up for me and it’s not a job, it’s a joy and a pleasure. I’m blessed that I get to play a game and get paid for it. It’s different after sitting back and realizing what I had before.”

Camden Notes: The Riversharks’ lineup will look different for the first time in awhile this season. Denny Abreu won’t be at the top of the order and Dwight Maness won’t be there in the middle to provide his usual solid numbers. Instead, the club will depend on the newly acquired Jason Phillips, a first baseman/catcher who you’ll remember from his days with the New York Mets. Catcher Randy McGarvey is also back to prove his performance from last year was not a fluke. The Savannah, Ga. native hit .355 in 89 games last year for the ‘Sharks after hitting .234 the year before that in 38 games. McGarvey has also played in the Frontier League. On the pitching side, opening-night starter Kevin Walker could be a real find for the ‘Sharks. Walker has major league time with San Francisco, San Diego and the Chicago White Sox. He has a 4.21 ERA in 808 1/3 career minor league innings.

York Notes: Chris Hoiles hinted that with a logjam at first base/third base/the corner outfield spots, he’ll play the matchups early in the season. So that could mean Matt Padgett could shift to third and Tyler Von Schell could get the start at first on Friday against the left-handed Walker. Hoiles said he’s comfortable with Padgett at third. The Revs’ skipper also made a point to tell the local media today that he has been impressed with the speed of Matt Esquivel. Esquivel is the biggest player on the Revs’ roster but moves pretty well for a big man. He stole 15 bases in 17 attempts last year.

“He’s a disciplined hitter and when he lets it go, he really lets it go,” Hoiles said of Esquivel. “There’s no holding back. But one of the biggest things is his speed. He hits the ball and he can run really well.”

I had my first chat with Esquivel this afternoon and he told me he’s comfortable hitting in the No. 3 spot. That is where he’s spent a lot of time in his career. On another interesting note, Esquivel was offered a scholarship to play baseball at the University of Nebraska and to walk on to the football team before he was drafted. Esquivel was a running back and you can just imagine what it would be like pulling down his 220-pound frame.


8 Responses

  1. Esquivel should be terrific. I’m not going to get too attached, though….

  2. That’s why I’ll be posting a feature on him on the site within the next week. That may be the amount of time it takes for him to move on.

  3. Thanks for the series preview, I’m anxiously awaiting the start of the season.

  4. Mike Ashmore over at Atlantic League Baseball News is picking the Revs to win it all in 2008. According to Ashmore, York’s pitching will dominate and Jason Aspito will be the league MVP.

    Your thoughts?

  5. I like the pick. I noticed he pretty much pegged Lancaster for last place in the division, too. Wasn’t there some agreement over on Barnstormin’ last week that Lancaster had the edge in the upcoming War of the Roses?

    Aspito is an interesting pick for MVP. I suppose part of the rationale for any pre-season Atlantic League MVP pick is that you have to expect that the guy will finish the year in the AL. Aspito could hit 20-25 homers in a full season. I wonder how many RBI opportunities Esquivel, Padgett, and Dryer will leave him, though?

  6. I guess the Ashmore guy in the AL Baseball News truly beleives in the team concept, because the individual player rankings below the teams were very unkind to the Revs. I’m upset that Munro won’t be starting in the series, but Tippy has many more years of baseball knowledge than I. See ya in Camden!

  7. “I guess the Ashmore guy in the AL Baseball News truly beleives in the team concept, because the individual player rankings below the teams were very unkind to the Revs.”

    I was thinking the same thing can you pick the Revs to win but then not have any of their players in the top 30?

  8. I still can’t get over the fact that he ranked all the guys in the first place. That must have been a ton of work.

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