There are 178 players with at least 150 plate appearances against right-handed pitching this season. Michael Young ranks 172nd in the group in OPS:
169. Rickie Weeks (Mil): .580
170. Sean Rodriguez (TB): .576
171. Danny Espinosa (Was): .575
172. Michael Young (Tex): .566
173. Jamey Carroll (Min): .565
174. Orlando Hudson (SD/ChW): .562
175. Brendan Ryan (Sea): .530
176. Alexei Ramirez (ChW): .520
177. Clint Barmes (Pit): .493
178. Kurt Suzuki (Oak): .492
It’s safe to say no one else in that group would be hitting fifth for the Rangers ahead of Nelson Cruz and Mike Napoli. Ron Washington keeps batting Young there, though.
Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News supplies some reasons for the Rangers to stick with Young as a No. 5 hitter.
Personally, I’m not buying it. Young is coming off an excellent 2011 season, but he’s 35 and barring a remarkable turnaround, 2012 will be the fourth time in six seasons that he’s finished with a sub-.800 OPS. That doesn’t mean he’s useless. He’s still hitting lefties very well this season (.361/.393/.458), and he seems like a fine choice to bat fifth against them. Versus righties, though, the Rangers are hurting themselves by continuing to bat him in the heart of the lineup. It’s past time for Washington to turn to Napoli.
The Yankees guaranteed their place in the postseason with a 5-1 win over the Blue Jays on Saturday. Sonny Gray led the charge against their division rivals, clinching his 10th win of the season with six innings of four-hit, one-run, four-strikeout ball.
Gray worked into a little trouble in the first inning, putting runners in scoring position after Josh Donaldson drew a four-pitch walk and Justin Smoak advanced him with a single. The Yankees’ ace induced two quick outs to end the threat, but was overpowered by a Teoscar Hernandez home run in the third inning, the rookie’s fourth blast of the season:
Thankfully for the Yankees, that was the only run that slipped through the cracks. Gray finished the remainder of his outing with two hits and two walks and was backed by another three scoreless innings from the bullpen. Greg Bird supplied the go-ahead run with a three-RBI shot in the fifth inning, plating Chase Headley and Starlin Castro to give the Yankees their first lead of the night.
Todd Frazier tacked on another solo homer in the eighth, while Starlin Castro returned in the ninth to cap the win with an RBI single. Aroldis Chapman did the rest, wielding just 10 pitches to get three straight outs from Kendrys Morales, Kevin Pillar and Rob Refsnyder.
Following Saturday’s win, the Yankees have at least secured one wild card berth, though they’re not out of the division race just yet. They still sit a full four games back of first place in the AL East, with eight games left to play.
Brian Dozier had a bonafide Little League moment during Saturday’s contest against the Tigers. In the first inning, the Twins’ second baseman squared up a bunt against Detroit left-hander Matt Boyd, which was scooped by Jeimer Candelario halfway up the third base line. The throw to first skirted the bag, allowing Dozier to touch all the bases and slide home to score the Twins’ first run of the game.
In other words, it was just your run-of-the-mill bunt home run:
Officially, the play was scored as a single and run scored on a throwing error. Still, if this is a sampling of the kind of plays we can expect to see from the Twins this October, it’s shaping up to be one wacky postseason.