Young works on deception

Chris Young seems to have found the secret. The 6-foot-10 right-hander held the Pirates scoreless on two hits over eight innings Sunday in Pittsburgh -- marking the second consecutive start that he has thrown eight shutout innings.

And both times, he took a no-hitter deep into the game.

Last Wednesday in San Diego, Young didn't allow a hit in the eighth and turned over a one-hit shutout to Trevor Hoffman.

Sunday, he threw 5 1/3 hitless innings before pinch hitter Jose Hernandez singled.

Young has discovered that the better his low fastballs are, the better his high fastballs are. And, as a flyball pitcher, he depends on the high fastballs for outs.

"He's been keeping the ball down when he needs to," Padres pitcher coach Darren Balsley said. "That allows him to go up when he wants to. And his height and deception forces hitters to continually change their eye level. The popout is as good as a high fastball strikeout. Probably better in that it doesn't take as many pitches."

Young needed only 91 pitches Sunday while recording 16 popouts and flyouts.

"Deceptive," was the word chosen by the Pirates' Jeromy Burnitz to describe Young. "It might be only 90 or 91, but he's right on top of you when he releases. We were continually late against him."

The Pirates hit only three groundballs against Young. And only two of the flies were hit hard -- both by Jason Bay, who twice came within feet of a game-tying homer.

"The stat they don't keep is popups vs. flyballs," Young said. "I'm a flyball pitcher. That's who I am ... what I do."

REPLAY: Sunday marked the second straight game that Chris Young and Trevor Hoffman worked an 8/1 inning ratio in a shutout, this time blanking Pittsburgh 1-0.

"I'll turn every game over to Trevor," Young said. "He's one of the best in the game's history at getting the last three outs."

Padres manager Bruce Bochy said Young was still going strong, but he had a well-rested Hoffman. "I've got a guy who is experienced at that last inning and was fresh," Bochy said.

Hoffman retired the Pirates in order in the ninth to preserve the two-hit shutout.

MadFriars Top Stories