(Sabermetricians: Tune out.)
(Appropriately) lost in what was an energizing win was a feeling I had early in the game about a possibly significant moment for Michael Young.
After Young, who came into the game mired in a 1-for-20 skid since a home run off Randy Johnson on Friday, had bounced into a double play and walked in his first two trips tonight, he extended the rut to 1 for 22 with a one-out comebacker in the fifth, with Ian Kinsler on third (after a double and an Omar Vizquel sacrifice bunt). A bad at-bat, with one of several pitches down and away that Young had unsuccessfully offered at on the night, trying to jerk it instead of going with the pitch the opposite way like Young always does when he's locked in.
Right after Young's tapper to the mound, Andruw Jones delivered a mammoth two-run blast over the left field fence, extending what had been a one-run Texas lead to 5-2.
Here's an Instant Message conversation I had with someone the moment after the Jones home run:
[22:07] gjsneaker1: prediction: Michael gets hits in his next 2 AB
[22:08] gjsneaker1: I just know that there can be a cloud lifted in someone really hard on himself (I can relate on my much smaller level) when a teammate picks you up like that
[22:09] gjsneaker1: I bet he goes to the plate in a much better frame of mind than he's had in a while
[22:14] _________: you could be right
[two innings later]
[22:38] gjsneaker1: there's 1 (infield single rifled up the middle, deflected by pitcher Jon Garland)
[two innings after that]
[23:23] gjsneaker1: there's 2 (opposite-field double to deep right center)
What followed for Young was the opposite-field flare to right in the 11th, caught by Justin Upton, that Vizquel or third base coach Dave Anderson chose not to attempt to score on, and a 12th-inning strikeout. But I have a good feeling about the chances that Young is about to get on a very good roll.
Speaking of which, tonight was obviously Chris Davis's night. Single the opposite way with a man on first. Double to deep left center on a full count. Single to center. Strikeout looking. Five-pitch walk with a man on first. And the big two-out, two-run shot on a 2-2 count in the 12th, crushed to straightaway right.
Davis filled the box score with those four hits, two RBI, and two runs, and only two of his teammates saw more than the 27 pitches he saw on the night. He got himself into good counts, and good things happened.
Why did the Diamondbacks call for an Esmerling Vasquez changeup on the home run pitch, considering Davis's season-long trouble with the fastball? He'd swung over a Vasquez change earlier in the count, and had fouled off a fastball on the previous pitch. He was ready for Vasquez to come back with the change, and punished it.
Nice couple wins, this time with the offense carrying its weight. If Young is ready to get hot, and if Davis, five spots down in the order, can get into a groove where he's not an automatic out, those two things could make this lineup work a good bit better, and maybe the offense can start to get healthy with these three against San Diego before the Angels get to town.
Millwood and Holland the next two nights. I've got a good feeling about this series.
OK. You can let the sabermetrics camp back in.
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(c) Jamey Newberg
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