Michael Young Is Posting Some Silly Numbers in 2013

Michael Young Is Posting Some Silly Numbers in 2013

Let me preface this by admitting up front that I liked the addition of Michael Young to the Phillies during this offseason. The club had a hole at third base that the front office was able to fill temporarily with a seven-time All Star for the low-price of two minor-league relievers, while the Rangers are paying all but $6 million of his salary no less.

Young leads the team with a .392 on-base percentage – good for 12th in the National League – and he’s been better than advertised at the hot corner at well. But damn, has he hit into a ton of double plays, or what?

After Young grounded into his league-leading 11th GIDP on Sunday, Gary Matthews remarked during the Phillies telecast that the 14-year veteran has had his share of them in 2013. That’s not entirely accurate, Sarge. He’s hit into several players’ shares of double plays so far this season. Erik Kratz and Ben Revere are second in the clubhouse with five apiece, or one less than Young between the two of them.

The single-season record is 36, set by Hall of Fame Red Sox slugger Jim Rice in 1984. Young has 11 through 44 games, putting him on pace to shatter Rice’s mark by five with 41.

Of course, grounding into the occasional routine double play is nothing new to the 36 year old. He finished in the top 10 in the AL five times since 2005, including as high as second in ’06 and ’12, the latter of which was among Young’s worst seasons in the big leagues. That said, he’s nearly halfway to his career high of 27 already barely a quarter of the way through the current campaign.

Part of the problem has been Young’s waning power. His penchant for making contact has led to a solid .294 batting average, but with just nine extra base hits – including a lone home run – he’s posting a .385 slugging percentage that ranks 56th out of 77 qualifiers in the NL.

Given the information, it might be time if not long overdue for Charlie Manuel to reevaluate where Young bats in the order, which has been in the two-through-five spots up to this point. It’s not so much his lack of power that’s the issue, although yeah, but how many potential rallies must be laid to rest before Jay-Z’s Heart of the City drops to track six or seven on the Citizens Bank Park set list?

Or maybe Young should hit number two more often, where he’s only made three starts this season. From there he could sacrifice Jimmy Rollins, allowing Chase Utley and in particular Ryan Howard to get more chances with runners on. Manuel has avoided stacking the two lefties back-to-back, but it’s another option at least until Young begins driving the ball a bit more.

With the 27th-ranked offense in Major League Baseball, the Phillies have to figure out ways to get more consistent production at the plate. When you have a player in the middle of your lineup getting doubled up once every four games, that’s the kind of thing that is sapping offensive potential.

Young has gotten a little better of late. Prior to Sunday, he had made 10 straight appearances without a GIDP, his longest such stretch in ’13. However, it reared its ugly head again in the sixth inning while the Fightins were struggling once again to light up the scoreboard. One batter later, Utley singled to left, which likely would have been enough to plate the speedy Revere had he been moved to second.

Would sacrificing Young have been the right move? The third baseman himself has discussed the benefits of bunting runners over in the past, as recently as the past two weeks actually in a story at MLB.com.

"At the end of the day, the game is played by guys with heartbeats," Phillies third baseman Michael Young said. "And a sacrifice bunt puts pressure on the defense and the pitcher. Maybe it's not always the right move, but I have a problem with saying it's never the right move. There are no absolutes in this game. If you're playing against a team that's struggling and you put a runner in scoring position late in the game, they're going to feel it a little more."

Obviously he means situationally, but I would describe Young’s historic GIDP rate as a situation of sorts. And while I honestly don’t believe he is destined to keep the current pace over the full 162, it’s not some minor detail the Phillies should continue to overlook, either.

NHL Notes: Islanders fire head coach Jack Capuano

NHL Notes: Islanders fire head coach Jack Capuano

The struggling New York Islanders fired coach Jack Capuano on Tuesday, ending his tenure in the middle of its seventh season.

General manager Garth Snow named assistant GM/coach Doug Weight as Capuano's interim replacement. Snow told reporters Tuesday that the Islanders weren't where they wanted to be in the standings and that everyone's disappointed in their performance his season.

"At the end of the day organizationally I don't think Jack was probably going to be a coach that we were going to bring back," Snow said, adding that the team will begin a full-time coaching search now.

Snow said the halfway point of the season played a role in the timing of firing Capuano a day after beating the Boston Bruins 4-0. The Islanders were 17-17-8 and are in last place in the Eastern Conference with 42 points (see full story).

Predators: Hunt claimed, Fiala sent to AHL
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Nashville Predators have claimed defenseman Brad Hunt off waivers from the St. Louis Blues.

In other moves announced Tuesday, the Predators assigned forward Kevin Fiala to their American Hockey League affiliate in Milwaukee and have placed defenseman Petter Granberg on injured reserve.

Hunt had one goal and four assists in nine games for St. Louis this season. He has appeared in a total of 30 NHL games over parts of four seasons with the Edmonton Oilers and St. Louis. He has two career goals and six assists.

Fiala has six goals and three assists in 32 games for Nashville this season.

Granberg has played in 10 games for the Predators and has 10 penalty minutes.

NFL Notes: Tomlin says Antonio Brown 'foolish, selfish' for live stream

NFL Notes: Tomlin says Antonio Brown 'foolish, selfish' for live stream

PITTSBURGH — The father in Mike Tomlin regrets the language he used to describe the New England Patriots during the postgame speech Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown's opted to livestream on social media after a taut playoff victory over Kansas City.

The coach in Tomlin has just as big an issue with one of his team's biggest stars forcing the Steelers to talk about something other than trying to find a way to finally beat Tom Brady when it counts.

A characteristically blunt Tomlin called Brown's decision to broadcast more than 17 minutes of Pittsburgh's giddy locker room to the world -- a move that caught Tomlin using a handful of profanities -- over Kansas City "foolish," "selfish" and "inconsiderate."

"Not only is it a violation of our policy, it's a violation of league policy, both of which he knows," Tomlin said Tuesday.

"So there are consequences to be dealt with from his perspective. We will punish him. We won't punish us."

Tomlin took responsibility for his choice of words, though he was unaware of being filmed as he spoke.

During Tomlin's brief remarks he attached an expletive to the Patriots, who earned a full day's head start on the Steelers by virtue of beating Houston on Saturday night, 24 hours before Pittsburgh outlasted Kansas City 18-16.

"The responsibility associated with being in this thing, just from a role model standpoint, it's something that I personally embrace," Tomlin said.

"It's something that we as a team and organization embrace. So that's why the language, specifically, in terms of the content, is regrettable," (see full story).

- The Associated Press

Report: Former Eagles DL Clyde Simmons joining Browns' staff
The Sporting News' Alex Marvez reported that the Browns are hiring Clyde Simmons to coach their defensive line.

Since 2012, Simmons has worked as the assistant defensive line coach for the St. Louis/Los Angeles Rams under head coach Jeff Fisher and defensive coordinator Gregg Williams. Fisher was fired by the Rams with three games left in the 2016 season and Williams left Los Angeles for Cleveland, where he will also be the defensive coordinator.

Filling out his staff in Cleveland, Williams appears to be bringing Simmons with him from the Rams. Cleveland.com reported that Williams is also hiring his son, Blake, as the linebackers coach and Jerod Kruse as the defensive backs coach. 

Simmons spent the first eight seasons of his 15-year NFL career in Philadelphia, starting 108 of the 124 games he appeared in. Simmons recorded 76 of his 121.5 career sacks with the Eagles and also forced 12 fumbles, recovering 10, and scoring two touchdowns with the Birds.

- CSNPhilly.com

Broncos: Joe Woods promoted to defensive coordinator
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Broncos coach Vance Joseph has promoted secondary coach Joe Woods to defensive coordinator, replacing Wade Phillips, who left for the Los Angeles Rams.

Woods, 46, was in charge of the Broncos' "No Fly Zone" secondary that led the league in pass defense each of the last two years behind All-Pro cornerbacks Aqib Talib and Chris Harris Jr., safeties T.J. Ward and Darian Stewart and nickel back Bradley Roby.

Woods has a quarter-century of experience coaching defensive backs including the last 13 seasons in Denver (2015-16), Oakland (2014), Minnesota (2006-13) and Tampa Bay (2004-05).

Joseph said Woods "is ready for this opportunity" and "no one will outwork Joe."

Harris said, "If we had to lose Wade at least we get to keep Joe," (see full story).

- The Associated Press