Tag Archives: Michael Young

Michael, We Hardly Knew Ye

1 Sep

In the wee hours of Saturday night,  In fact, only one hour before the end of August, which makes him eligible for post season play, the Phillies traded Michael Young to the Los Angeles Dodgers for Minor League left-handed pitcher Rob Rasmussen who is 3-4 with a 2.55 ERA at Double-A Chattanooga.

Now this was no great surprise.  There were many who wondered why the move wasn’t made sooner once it was clear the Phillies were out of contention.

There are also many who may be surprised (and you know who you are, JD!) by Young’s stats with the Phillies this season.  Young, who will turn 37 in October, played in 126 games, second only to Jimmy Rollins (135.)  His .276 batting average led all Phillies starters who played in at least 100 games.  He led the team in hits with 129 and was second in doubles with 24 behind only J-Roll who had 27.

Yes he also hit into more than his fair share of double plays, particularly early in the season, and he struggled a bit at third base since he was largely used as a DH in his last several years with his former team, the Texas Rangers.

But overall, I think it’s fair to say that Young’s performance was definitely above average on a below average team.  And I, as a fan of the game, was glad to have a chance to see this potential Hall of Famer play for my team.

It couldn’t have been an easy transition for a guy who had spent his entire career with the Rangers, who was really the face of that franchise and probably thought he’d end his career there, to be traded this past offseason.  But that’s just how baseball works these days.

And Young handled it all with the professionalism and class that has always been his trademark.  He played hard, he played smart, he never gave up an at-bat and even at 36, he did his homework.  Some said he displayed a Chase Utley– like intensity about playing the game right and that speaks for itself.

He would hit anywhere in the line-up without complaint and even provided some depth at first base when Ryan Howard went down.  It certainly wasn’t the season Young was hoping for but he was  a positive presence on and off the field from his first day to his last.

In fact he leaves the Phillies while in the midst of a torrid hitting streak going 4-5 Friday night, including driving in the winning run in the ninth, and he followed that with a 3 hit game on Saturday.  It was his fifth multi-hit game in his last six games.

Young grew up a Dodgers fan living only a half hour from the stadium so I guess you could say it’s a home-coming of sorts.  He joins a team who has all but wrapped up a play-off spot so perhaps he will get one more run at that ring which is one of the few things that has eluded him in a stellar career.  Young is a seven-time All-Star; he’s a .300 career hitter with 2,356 hits and six 200-hit seasons.

While Young will most likely be a utility player and a bat off the bench for the Dodgers, he could be much more than that in their clubhouse.  The Dodgers have a couple of talented young players struggling a bit with their maturity (yes, Puig, I mean you!) and they can’t help but learn from the way that Young, who will be 37 in October, still plays the game.

So, yes, we hardly knew ye,  Michael, but I, for one, enjoyed the acquaintance and wish you well in your quest for that elusive World Series ring.

 

 

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Phillies Have A Long Night at the Bank

1 Aug

I had a special correspondent in attendance at the Phillies game last night, my son!  Unfortunately the game he saw was far from special.  When he returned home, as I was struggling to come up with something for today’s post, I asked him to tell me about some of the game highlights.

He said that third baseman Cody Asche, in his first Major League start, made an amazing diving stop and long accurate throw to get Hunter Pence in the first inning, temporarily saving at least one run.

What else?  The double hamburger he ate in the third.

And that, my friends, tells you all you need to know about last night’s 9-2 loss to the Giants.

Actually there is one more highlight that involves last night’s losing pitcher Kyle Kendrick.  I know what you’re thinking, what did KK do last night that could possibly be called a highlight.  Well, it was more what Mrs. KK did the night before?

On Tuesday, Kyle’s wife Stephanie gave birth to their second child, Kyle, Jr.

And that is a highlight that trumps anything KK himself did on the mound.

For the Phillies: There’s No Place Like Home

31 Jul

There were reports last night of a Charlie Manuel sighting after the game.  According to bystanders, Manuel was clicking his heels together, his eyes were closed and he just kept repeating the phrase:

There’s no place like home.

Can you blame him?  His Phillies finally broke their season high eight-game losing streak (all eight losses were on the road) last night with a 7-3 win against the San Francisco Giants at Citizens Bank Park.

There’s no place like home.

According to Phils’ third baseman Michael Young, returning to the friendly confines of their home ballpark was just what this slumping team needed to ‘put one in the win column’ for the first time since July 19.

“Nice to get back and play in front of a home crowd .  They came out with some good energy; we fed off of that. There’s no way around the fact that we needed a win, so it was nice to get.”

There’s no place like home.

Ironically for Michael Young, last night’s win may be way too little, way too late.  The Braves, who had been struggling mightily, seem to have found their stride of late.  Last night was their fifth win in a row and the Phillies, who did not take advantage of the Braves post All-Star game slump, now find themselves 11 and a half games behind the Division Leaders.  (They are eight games back in the Wild Card.)

Trade Deadline speculation has been swirling around the Phillies third baseman although he has a no-trade clause, greatly limiting the Phillies options.  In fact, according to Young, who hit a two-run home run in last night’s win, his family is “a massive consideration in the decision-making process.”  The only place Young has agreed to go so far is to Texas where his family currently resides.

There’s no place like home.

Highlights of last night’s win included Carlos Chooch Ruiz’s first home run of the season.  That’s right, first.  But will Michael Young’s homer last night be his last as a Phillie?  The Trade Deadline ends at 4 p.m. today and it should be interesting to see who takes the field for game two tonight against the Giants.

But all this deadline speculation got me to thinking.  What if fans had their own Trade Deadline?  What if you could trade in your team and root for another?  What if…snap out of it!!!  If you find yourselves daydreaming about trading teams before 4 p.m., just close your eyes, click your heels together and  repeat after me.

There’s no place like home, there’s no place like home, there’s no place like home…..

Phillies Seeing Double

14 Jul

Wow!

Wow!

What a crazy night of baseball.

What a crazy night of baseball.

Two extra inning games, each running 3 hours and 53 minutes.

Two extra inning games, each running 3 hours and 53 minutes.

Will someone please slap me?

Will someone please….

Thanks.  I needed that.

No, you’re not so hung over you’re reading double.  Those games last night were so eerily similar, it’s got me writing double.  Sorry about that.

Lucky for the Phillies the endings were not the same.  After losing game 1 of yesterday’s doubleheader to the Chicage White Sox although they had the winning run on third base with less than two outs in the ninth and 10th innings, the Phillies were desperately in need of a win in the nightcap.

And thanks to a liner to right from Michael Young and a  head-first slide at home plate by Jimmy Rollins in the 13th inning, they did salvage the second game 2-1.   A win in today’s series finale and the Phillies could actually enter the All-Star Break with a .500 record, something that seemed unlikely only several short weeks ago.

Unfortunately they will also have to deal with a break of a different kind.  Phils center fielder Ben Revere broke his right foot in the 11th inning of Game 1 of the doubleheader after fouling a ball off it.

The timing couldn’t be worse for both the Phillies and Revere.  The Phillies have been on a roll and Ben Revere’s hot bat hitting lead-off has been a big part of their recent success.  Revere has raised his batting average to .305 and he entered the doubleheader hitting .347 since the end of April, the sixth-best batting average in baseball during that stretch.

The players will all return to Citizens Bank Park for today’s afternoon finale after barely enough time to grab a quick nap.  A win for the Phils and they’ll be at .500.  They have been above .500 only once all season, at 31-30 on June 6. But win or lose, the All-Star Break will mean a rest for most of the team although not for Domonic Brown and Cliff Lee who will be representing the Phillies in the Midsummer Classic.

And manager Charlie Manuel won’t be getting much rest, either.  He’ll be spending his All-Star break shuffling his line-up once again to figure out “Who’s up first?”

Last Night I Had the Strangest Dream…

29 Jun

Last night I had the strangest dream

I ever dreamed before

I dreamed the Phils had 21 hits

and 16 runs did score.

◊          ◊          ◊

I dreamed I saw a mighty team

A team that knows how to win

The pitcher even had three hits*

And the Young’s* drove eight runs in.

       ◊          ◊          ◊

Plus Utley, Rollins and Revere,

they all had multi-hit games

I dreamed the Phillies did everything right

They kicked ass and took names.

◊        ◊          ◊

And the fans in Philadelphia

Were dancing round and round

Although it was for just one night

Their baseball team was found.

         ◊          ◊          ◊

Last night I had the strangest dream

That the Phillies would contend

It was a dream so wonderful that

I never want it to end.

 A girl can dream, right???

 *John Lannan went 3-for-4, the first Phillies pitcher to have three hits in a game since J.D. Durbin on July 17, 2007, against the Dodgers

*Delmon Young was 3-6 with a career-high 6 RBIs

*Michael Young went 4-6 with 2 RBIs and a home run

Cliff Lee: The Numbers Tell the Story

19 Jun

I haven’t done one of these numbers posts in a while and if anyone deserves a closer look at his numbers,  it’s Cliff (“I want to win.”) Lee.  So here we go.

  • 9  Lee got his ninth win last night to improve to 9-2 on the season with a 2.53 ERA.  (He also struck out 9.)
  • 5  The number of hits Lee allowed in eight innings against the Washington Nationals.
  • 110   The number of pitches it took Lee to go eight strong innings to beat the Nationals 4-2.

But check out this next one.

  • 82   Of those 110 pitches he threw, 82 of them were strikes.  (You might want to read that one again.)
  • 0    The number of walks Lee gave up.
  • 24  Now this one could be scary if the Lee trade talks ever really heat up because so far this season Cliff Lee has 24% of the Phillies wins.
  • 1  The number of three ball counts Lee had last night.
  • 11, 13  Lee retired 11 of the first 12 batters he faced and 13 of the final 15.
  • 98   The number of strikeouts Lee has this season with only 17 walks
  • 5   It’s Lee’s fifth win in a row.

OK, let’s let some other guys play.

  • .408  Michael Young’s batting average in the last 12 games.  He tied a career high with 3 doubles last night
  • .375   And let’s not forget Kevin Frandsen’s batting average either.  He has gone 9-24 in his last 22 games providing some big hits while Chase Utley remains on the DL.
  • 957   Ryan Howard got his 957 RBI with a sacrifice fly.  That ties him with Sam Thompson for fifth on the Phillies all-time list.
  • 999 While we’re talking about RBIs, Michael Young drove in one run last night.  His next one brings him to 1000.
  • 1 1/2  The Phils actually picked up a game and a half over the Atlanta Braves who lost a double-header to the Mets. (The Mets??)  They’re now tied with the Nationals for second place 7 games back of the Braves.
  • 7    Carlos Zambrano (who?) a pitcher who the Phillies signed recently to a Minor League contract, threw seven scoreless innings, striking out six  for Triple-A Lehigh Valley.  The next start Zambrano makes could be for the Phillies.
  • 0   (take 2) The number of rehab starts Carlos Ruiz had before re-joining the Phillies last night.  ‘Atta boy Chooch
  • 2  And I can’t leave this one out, perhaps the most impressive of all.  (Sorry Cliff.)  With last night’s stand-up triple, Ryan Howard, bum knee and all, has hit 2 triples this season.  He only had 1 triple in 2011 and 2012 combined.
  • 38, 188   Number of fans at Citizen Bank Park who enjoyed cheering on Cliff Lee and booing Jayson Werth.  (Also the number of razors it would take to give Werth a badly needed shave and a haircut!)
Jayson, Jayson, are you in there???

Jayson, Jayson, are you in there???

Philadelphia Phillies: How Sweep It Is

29 Apr

Is it just me or have the Phillies been resembling a pretty good baseball team lately?

I don’t know about you but I wasn’t sure they had it in them.

Now sweeping the New York Mets might not seem like something to get too excited about but if you’ve been watching this Phillies team play this season (and if you have, consider yourself a diehard fan or a glutton for punishment) getting swept would seem the more likely scenario.

But here the Phillies sit, having leapfrogged over the Mets into third place only 1.5 games behind the second place Washington National and 4.5 games behind the division leading Atlanta Braves.

Again, this may not seem like news to celebrate but after the red-hot Braves streaked to a 12-1 start while the Phillies were, well let’s just say ‘not so hot,’ things could be a lot worse as we finish April and head into May.  As Phils radio analyst Larry Anderson (LA) likes to say,

“There’s still a lot of baseball left to play.” 

And one big reason for this recent turn in Phillies fortune is none other than the ‘Big Piece’  himself,  Ryan Howard.  The Phils slumping slugger had been stuck on one home run and six RBI’s and struck out in many key situations.  But in the last week Howard has started to deliver with runners in scoring position (not a team strength to put it kindly.)

In fact, in the last five games Howard’s RBI total jumped to 16.  For the math-impaired among us, that’s ten ribbies in just the last five games.  During this stretch he also has three doubles and two home runs, five runs scored and after today’s game-winning pinch hit double Howard extended his hitting streak to ten straight games.

Yes, these Phillies are slowly and quietly gathering some steam.   Four of the starters in their lineup have batting averages over .265 including Michael Young batting .352, Chase Utley .295 and Howard at .286.

And most fans would agree that this team really hasn’t put it all together…..yet.

No, one three game sweep of a not so great Mets team does not a season make.

And yes, this is the same team that just lost three out of four games to the Pittsburgh Pirates.

But we can all use one day to look back and savor the just completed sweep and look forward to what lies ahead.

phillies-sweepAfter all:

 “There’s still a lot of baseball left to play.”

 

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