His ace pitcher left for Taiwan last week.

Another starting pitcher is still injured and won't return anytime soon.

And the free agent market is a bit thin.

So before York Revolution fans start to judge Manager Mark Mason on his decisions this week, just know he doesn't have many other options.

In the final week of the first half, the Revs are in a battle with Lancaster for the first-half Atlantic League Freedom Division title, with the winner receiving a playoff berth in September and the luxury of resting in the second half. And given Mason's decision this week, his team is going to need rest.

Well, at least the pitching staff will.

Mason is down to four starting pitchers. And he's throwing all of them on three days rest this week. And then he's doing it again this weekend in Lancaster.

"That's kind of the plan. We'll see how it works out," Mason said before Monday's game.

His plan got off to a rousing start Monday night in York's 9-2 win in the series opener against Southern Maryland in front of 3,281 fans at Santander Stadium. With the victory, York (38-26) extended its winning streak to four games and stayed a game up on Lancaster (37-27) for first place with six games left in the first half. York went 17-11 in the month of June. The Revs have three more games left at home against Southern Maryland (26-38) this week before ending the half on the road at Lancaster this weekend. The Barnstormers are in Somerset (41-23) this week.


Pitching: Starting on three days rest Monday night, Revs right-hander Jorge Martinez (4-2) put at least a runner on base in each frame but ended up holding the Blue Crabs scoreless in five innings. He surrendered six hits while striking out five, walking three and tossing 53 of 85 pitches for strikes. Martinez finished the month of June with a 1.63 ERA in six starts.

Revs' relievers Edward Paredes and Bryan Morgado each gave up a run in 1.2 combined innings, while relievers Beau Vaughan, Ian Durham and Stephen Penney combined to toss 2.1 scoreless innings.

Hot streak: The offense, meanwhile, is on its hottest streak of the year in what is currently the most important stretch of games to this point. Infielders Chad Tracy and Travis Garcia and catcher Salvador Paniagua each drilled a solo homer over the left-field wall in Monday's win. York has now clobbered 11 homers in the last four games, having sent multiple bombs out of the park in each game and improving to 13-0 this season when hitting multiple homers in a game. The Revs have also scored 35 runs in the last four contests (8.75 average). All nine batters had a hit Monday and the Revs tied a season-high with 16 hits in a game.

Garcia went 3-for-4 with the homer, RBI single and RBI double. In his last six games, Garcia is hitting 12-for-22 (.545) with three homers, four doubles and 10 RBIs, pumping up his season batting average to .250 after hitting .208 in the first 41 games of the year. The 32-year-old Garcia missed all of last season recovering from Tommy John surgery and came to York this year after playing for Southern Maryland in parts of 2008 to 2012.

"It's hard coming back from an injury like that. You need a lot of at-bats to see where I stood with my arm. I think with the slow start, I had I lost a lot of confidence," Garcia said. "It just gets to the point where you're just over being a terrible ballplayer and you just go out there and say 'what the hell, lets go.'"

Of course, York should be taking advantage of a four-game series against the Blue Crabs, who sit in last place in the Freedom Division and started right-hander Brad Meyers (0-1) for the first time in Monday's loss. Meyers came to Southern Maryland three weeks ago after posting a 7.13 ERA in six starts with the Nationals' double-A Harrisburg affiliate. Southern Maryland will start right-hander Brian Grening on Tuesday. He has a 7.94 ERA.

For York, left-hander Alain Quijano (5.4, 4.12 ERA) will start on three days rest Tuesday. Starters Corey Thurman (3-1, 3.97 ERA) and Logan Williamson (1-1, 3.10 ERA) will then each go on three days rest Wednesday and Thursday. And then it'll all start over again with Martinez getting the nod Friday in Lancaster.

— Reach John Walk at jwalk@yorkdispatch.com.