Evan Grant's game story today features a lot of praise for the performance of the Rangers' rookie pitchers during this past week, and in particular, hits on something regarding Chris Young I wasn't aware of.
According to Grant:
When he compiled a 10.18 ERA in five July starts, the Rangers wondered if it might not be wise to consider shutting him down for the year. Young responded by taking a page from pitching coach Orel Hershiser's book of 101 catch phrases for young pitchers.
Hershiser is fond of telling the pitchers they need one pitch to compete, two to win and three to dominate. Young spent much of July trying to find the third pitch and went backwards. He's stopped trying so hard to establish a breaking ball and has gone back to a fastball-changeup combo. Sure enough, he's winning.
Young was clearly bad in July, and I knew quite a few folks whose opinion I respect -- Will Carroll, for one -- suggested that Young looked like he was wearing down. But this is the first I had heard that Young was truly to use his breaking ball more in July, and that that was a major contributing factor to his bad month.
I'm a bit confused about why Young, in the middle of a pennant race, would start experimenting more with a third pitch, given the amount of success he had been having with the approach he had been taking. And I'm a bit curious about whose idea it was to use the breaking ball more -- Young's, Barajas's, Hershiser's, or someone else's.
But regardless, the fact remains that Young appears to be back on track, and has gotten his ERA down to 4.32, something that has to be considered a success for a first-year pitcher pitching half his games at TBIA.