Monday, July 9, 2012
Michael Young key to Rangers' offense
By Clint Foster
ARLINGTON, Texas -- When David Murphy crossed home plate with the winning run in the Rangers' 4-3, 13-inning win against the Minnesota Twins, all eyes were on Ian Kinsler, who was being mauled by his teammates after hitting the walk-off single.
Although Kinsler may get the credit for his late-game heroics, it was Michael Young, Mr. Ranger himself, who led the Rangers' offense and made the win possible.
Young, who has made a career as a reliable contact hitter, was 3-for-28 in his last eight games. He broke out of his slump in a big way Sunday night with a season-high four hits in six at bats.
"I'm just happy to contribute to a win," Young said. "When the game starts I like my chances. I've been working hard, I'll continue to work hard and I expect to go out and have a great second half."
Young hit lead-off singles in the fifth and eighth innings and was never brought home. But his biggest hits came late. With the score 3-1, he hit a two-RBI single to tie the game with two outs in the bottom of the ninth.
Ron Washington was not surprised.
"Y'all seen Michael do this before," the Rangers' manager said. "In this game sometimes you struggle. And when you're a certain age in this game people want to say you're through. People here in Texas have been watching Michael for a long time. I wouldn't bet against him and tonight he came out and showed you exactly what he's all about."
Kinsler also gushed about his teammate.
"He’s done a lot for us," he said. "In the postseason or regular season, you like seeing him at the plate in those situations."
Young's recent struggles have been indicative of the struggles of the entire offense. As Young's numbers have steadily declined, so has the Rangers offensive production, particularly with runners in scoring position. The Rangers are 19-for-83 with RISP in their last 10 games. But if Sunday is any indication, if Young can stay hot, so will the Rangers.
"Mike's a class act," Washington said. "He can hit. He can play baseball. What he needs from us is just to continue to back him, and tonight he proved that."
Washington has been preaching patience and trusting his starters ever since the Rangers first started struggling in June. And perhaps that really is all it will take to right the ship.
After a much needed All-Star break, Texas will begin the second half with three straight division series on the road. It will be a true test as to whether or not the Rangers have things back on the right track. If Young can stay productive, perhaps the Rangers offense will follow suit.