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Why York can win it all

I already played devil’s advocate last week while arguing why York has no shot at a playoff berth. So now it’s time to turn the tables. Here are four reasons why the people of York will be treated to the first playoff berth in Revolution history just a couple months from now.

1) A formidable offense

No team has hit the ball better than the Revs the last six weeks (.318 in the last 29 games). York has tied its franchise record for hits (20) three times in the last month alone and even when Bridgeport scored 15 runs on 21 hits Monday night, York really wasn’t out of the game until the seventh inning. The Revs kept battling back, which has become a common theme with this team.

Shea Hillenbrand has been lights out since his signing — .383 average, 13-game hitting streak and nine multi-hit games in 14 outings. But the rest of the offense has really come along as well. Jose Enrique Cruz (pictured) is hitting an insane .397 in July and has already eclipsed his best RBI production for a month (9) with nine days to go. Matt Padgett is hitting .373 in July with four doubles and eight RBIs. And Keoni De Renne has seemingly put his struggles behind him and has hit .328 with 11 runs and eight RBIs in July.

But here’s the true testament of York’s potent lineup: Team RBI leader Matt Esquivel hit seventh Monday night and Matt Dryer, who hit fifth on opening day, can’t even crack the lineup lately. But even when Dryer’s called on, he responds. Dryer had two hits and a run scored off the bench Monday night.

2) A starting rotation that’s better than most

The loss of Frank Castillo certainly hurts, but top-to-bottom, the Revs starting rotation is probably the best in the league. The group of Corey Thurman, Aaron Myette, Aaron Rakers, Dave Gil (pictured) and Wayne Franklin looks like quite the formidable quintet and the numbers back that up. Over the last 35 games, York’s starters are 14-7 with a 4.20 ERA in 210 innings. That’s superb for the Atlantic League.

But of course, there are a few question marks here — and I have to point them out even though this is supposed to be a post arguing in favor of York’s playoff chances. Franklin has just not looked like himself lately — he allowed six earned runs in his shortest start of the season Monday (2 1/3 innings). And while both can be brilliant on any given night, Myette (5.26 ERA) and Rakers (5.16 ERA) are capable of letdowns.

Still, York has to like its starting rotation, especially considering the other pitchers Atlantic League teams are rolling out there these days.

3) A favorable schedule

The Revs opened a seven-game homestand in historically bad fashion Monday night, but for the most part York has enjoyed success at home (20-16 record). That’s a good thing because York will be seeing a lot of Sovereign Bank Stadium in the near future. After finishing out the current seven-game set at home, York hits the road for six — with the final three at Lancaster. Then comes a stretch of 11 straight home games. That’s an obscene amount of time at home and a product of this year’s wacky Atlantic League schedule. But it’s music to the ears of York and manager Chris Hoiles.

4) The Revs play in the right division

Bridgeport (8-2), Southern Maryland (7-3) and Long Island (6-4) have all gotten off to good starts in the second half. But guess what? They all play in the Liberty Division and will be battling each other for a second-half playoff berth. Meanwhile, York is in a division that has looked truly pathetic through 10 second-half games. All four Freedom Division teams are 4-6 heading into Tuesday night and York has already enjoyed more days in first place (6) than it did the entire first half.

Certainly no one expects Newark to stay this bad for long. The Bears have rebounded nicely with three straight wins following a 1-6 start and recently added Ruben Mateo and Raul Gonzalez. But Somerset has lost four straight and with a playoff berth already secured, how hard will the Patriots push themselves to win a meaningless second-half title? It’s a fair question. But if there was ever going to be a time where York could overcome Somerset, this is it.


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