For all the talk about Michael Young‘s “leadership” abilities, and I’m sure they are a valuable commodity, what will really make Michael Young valuable to the Phillies are more games at the plate like he had in last night’s 8-3 drubbing of the Mets.
Young went 3 for 4, finishing a double short of the cycle. He’s now batting .345 with a .424 on-base percentage and a .552 slugging percentage on the young season. He went back-to-back with Ryan Howard in the third inning with a solo home run and even legged out a triple thanks to a fair amount of hustle and aggressiveness. Or, a little something he called, “energy.”
“A lot of times you can set the tone on the bases for sure,” Young said. “Just small things like that. Even if I get thrown out, it just kind of sets the tone of this is how we’re going to play. We’re going to be aggressive and stay in attack mode. The one thing you can control out there is your energy level. Go out there. Attack the game. Play with some enthusiasm. I’ve never been a part of a team where good things didn’t come right after that.” – quotes per MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki.
Young said the team talked about needing an energy boost prior to last night’s game. I use Mio, some people like Five Hour Energy, others Red Bull. But I’m not sure what’s allowed in baseball anymore.
Anywho, energy can be a tough thing for a veteran team to sustain. It’s one of the things Charlie Manuel has lamented about over the last few years. When the core of this group was younger, when Howard, Utley, Victorino, Rollins and Werth were all in their mid-to-late 20s, it seemed the team emanated energy on a nightly basis.
To say that’s been lacking in recent years is putting it mildly.
Still, “energy” in and of itself, is not the be-all, end-all to winning games. You have to have good starting pitching and a good approach at the plate.
Cliff Lee handled his half of the equations just fine last night.
With the win, Lee now sits at 2-0 with a 1.08 ERA. In 16 2/3 innings, he has walked none and struck out 14. Last year, he didn’t win his second game until July 31.
Were you aware Lee went so long last year without two wins? I know, it was HARDLY talked about!
Lee almost managed to go the distance last night, but at 106 pitches, with two runners on base in the 9th, Charlie Manuel removed Lee to a cascade of boos from the 38,305 in attendance. But, it was the right move, as Mike Adams struck out Ruben Tajada on three pitches to end the game.
“We might be 1-7 without [Cliff Lee],” manager Charlie Manuel said after the game.
Where It All Went Right
In the third inning when, after establishing the dreaded 4-0 lead that has become the bugaboo of this team so far this year, the Phils added three more runs, thanks to homers by Howard, Young, and John Mayberry. In the previous two blown 4-0 leads, the offense went into a coma after getting those early runs. Last night’s shelling of Dillon Gee was important in that, for the first time this year, it showed the Phils stepping on the neck of an opponent.
Cliff Lee, who once again is the only one of the Phils’ three $20+ million a year pitchers who is actually doing his job so far in 2013. You can bet he wanted the complete game, but 8 2/3 innings kept Chad Durbin away, which is really all anyone cares about.
Charlie Manuel, for removing Lee from the game in the 9th. Sure, it was absolutely the right thing to do, but sometimes doing the right thing can make you the villain.
What? That makes no sense? I… um…
Cliff Lee, making American League teams rethink using the DH on a once-every-5-days basis #phillies
— Ben Horrow (@Summerpastime) April 9, 2013
— Stupendous Man (@cachristy1) April 10, 2013
Thank goodness it looks like Lee is going to have that BOUNCE BACK YEAR we were all hoping for. After being so TERRIBLE last year, amirite?
— John Stolnis (@FelskeFiles) April 10, 2013