I’m still working on the mystery of Chris Young, but I’m getting closer.
Although he had some high-strikeout years, the 2014 version strikes out no one. And hardly gets any swinging strikes.
Then there’s walks: even when he was an All-Star he walked a bunch.
And he gives up plenty of homers (3.8% this year; 3.0% career; 2.7% is league average).
So he gives up fly balls (yes) but is supremely talented at keeping them in the ball park? No. HR-per-fly-ball is pretty much league average.
He gives up fly balls but prevents line drives? No. League average there too.
What exactly does Chris Young prevent? Well, pretty much the only thing he prevents is ground balls.
And, indeed, he leads all qualifying pitchers in fewest ground balls.
So that’s what it comes down to: he makes you put the ball in play … in the air.
Which does seem to prevent a fair number of ground-ball singles … making him the Inverse-Ichiro!
OK, that’s it. The Ichiro of pitchers. Ichiro won by showing you could turn non-events (infield grounders) into events (lots of singles) — so much so that it added up into something substantial.
Young seems to be doing the inverse. Completely taking away the possibility of a ground-ball single, and thereby reducing offense just enough to prevail.
It’s just crazy enough to work! Sometimes.
Of course, when you put the ball in the air in Texas — sometimes it’s gonna fly out. And two of them did on Wednesday afternoon, and that was enough despite the newly scrappier Seattle offense putting up another fight.
And with virtually zero strikeouts, Young’s game seems quite dependent on hoping that fly balls and line drives get turned into outs. So far, frequently so good, but I still fail to see how it can keep working for a whole season.
- Hyper-detailed baseball-reference.com boxscore here.
And therein, you’ll find Robinson Cano with his fourth +1.0 run-or-more game in the last five on the “RE24” run-contribution scale. Wednesday he had his 2nd home run (finally) plus a double.
In other words, Cano is driving the bus this week, and the bus looks pretty good. Despite a 2-3 record, the Mariners have scored at least three runs in every game.
- Tacoma was held to just two hits, and both of them were from journeyman infielder Leury Bonilla.
- AA Jackson is in one of its confusing series against Jacksonville. The Ville got the win despite a homer from Daniel Paolini (his 3rd) and three more hits from Ketel Marte.
- High-A High Desert got the win for South African favorite Dylan Unsworth: 5.0 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 5 K. Catcher Tyler Marlette contributed a pair of doubles.
- Edwin Diaz had one of his best outings, but only recorded a lone strikeout: 7.0 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K.