Royals lean on Young for Game 1 victory
Right-hander still slated to start Game 4 despite three relief innings
KANSAS CITY -- On a night when Royals starter Edinson Volquez took the mound in Game 1 of the World Series hours after his father passed away, it was Chris Young, who also lost his dad three weeks ago, who got the win in relief.
"Every time I feel like I lose focus, I hear my dad saying, 'Concentrate. Focus on what you need to do to help this club win,'" Young said after the Royals' 5-4 walk-off victory over the Mets in 14 innings. "He's with me constantly. It's still fresh for me, and tonight brought back a tough time that I went through a month ago. Words can't describe my pain for Eddie tonight."
Young, a former Met, delivered three scoreless innings for Kansas City. Trouble is, he was slated to start Game 4 on Saturday in New York. Royals manager Ned Yost, though, thinks it's no trouble at all.
"It really doesn't affect our plan," Yost said. "Our plan going into it was we could go 45 to 50 pitches with Chris and bring him back a day early, and he'd be fine with that. Once it got to the 50-pitch mark, it was OK; we were going to go all-out to win this game, and Chris was going to go as far as he could go. But we ended up winning the ballgame at kind of our threshold there."
The outing was an impressive one for Young. He threw 53 pitches, 34 for strikes, and struck out the side in the top of the 12th. He has now struck out the side in each of the three postseason rounds: in the top of the third and top of the fourth in Game 1 of the American League Division Series against Houston and in the bottom of the first of Game 4 of the AL Championship Series against Toronto.
Young first took down red-hot second baseman Daniel Murphy on a dropped third strike that required a throw down to first. He then fanned outfielder Yoenis Cespedes and first baseman Lucas Duda. The 6-foot-10 right-hander, not known for a lights-out fastball, threw eight pitches at 90-plus mph in the 12th inning. According to Pitch-f/x, Young hadn't hit 90 since April 7, 2009.
"It's World Series adrenaline, I guess," Yost said. "We felt good about bringing Chris into the game because nothing affects him, nothing. He's just going to come in and make pitches and hold the fort until we could find a way to win."
In the 13th, Young got catcher Travis d'Arnaud to ground out and got a fourth strikeout against center fielder Juan Lagares before walking shortstop Wilmer Flores and retiring pinch-hitter Kirk Nieuwenhuis on a popout to third.
In the 14th, right fielder Curtis Granderson grounded out to first, third baseman David Wright flied out to left field and Murphy popped out to second.
The 36-year-old Young last pitched on Oct. 20 in Game 4 of the ALCS, when he allowed two runs over 4 2/3 innings. He threw 78 pitches and did not get the win, but the Royals defeated the Blue Jays, 14-2, in Toronto. Should he start Game 4, he will be pitching on three days' rest.
"Look, it's the World Series, whatever they need," Young said. "We're leaving it all out there at this time of year. I've played my whole life to get here. Whatever this team needs, I'll give them."