Michael Young and the Terrible, No Good, Very Bad Playoff Game

Friday night, former Phillies infielder Michael Young entered Game 1 of the NLCS in extra innings. He would have two plate appearances.

The first one, with one out and men on first and third in the 10th, went like this. The second one, with one out and men on first and second in the 12th, also ended in a double play, although of the more conventional variety.

Young hit into 18 double plays with the Phillies – 21 for the whole regular season – but those two double plays tonight were the most crushing of all. Young amassed a -.527 WPA for his efforts, which amounts to the sixth-worst WPA of any postseason game, and the second-worst of any player who had just one or two plate appearances. The worst belongs to Cliff Bolton, who did this in 1933, his second and final playoff PA.

Rk Player Date Series Gm# Tm Opp Rslt PA WPA
1 Felix Millan 1973-10-14 WS 2 NYM OAK W 10-7 7 -0.563
2 Cliff Bolton 1933-10-06 WS 4 WSH NYG L 1-2 1 -0.547
3 Reggie Sanders 1995-10-10 NLCS 1 CIN ATL L 1-2 5 -0.543
4 Jeff Kent 2004-10-10 NLDS 4 HOU ATL L 5-6 5 -0.542
5 Ron Gant 1993-10-10 NLCS 4 ATL PHI L 1-2 5 -0.532
6 Michael Young 2013-10-11 NLCS 1 LAD STL L 2-3 2 -0.523
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 10/12/2013.

Sorry, Los Angeles.

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23 comments

  1. Pete

    October 12, 2013 04:47 AM

    If I were a Dodger’s fan, my hatred of the Phillies would be endless. Even now, the Phillies have some hand in their post-season woes.

  2. LTG

    October 12, 2013 08:25 AM

    To say MY entered the game as a defensive replacement is misleading. He entered the game because Dee Gordon pinch ran for Adrian Gonzalez. I mean, Mattingly is not crazy enough to think MY is a better defender than anyone in his starting lineup.

  3. pond_scum

    October 12, 2013 08:46 AM

    Don’t let the facts get in the way of a good story!

  4. Finn44

    October 12, 2013 11:15 AM

    As someone who is now living in LA (not my firs choice but the best of bad options), do I have to apologize to every Dodger fan? I did resist the urge to shout “Double play coming!” at the bar during both at bats.

  5. Paul Boye

    October 12, 2013 12:12 PM

    While you’re right, nitpicking the details of his entrance into the game is making a correction just to make one. It’s not the point.

  6. Nick

    October 12, 2013 01:53 PM

    Not to continue to wander off the facts of the article, which is interesting, but this casual and condescending wave-off of essentially misleading information is the dividing line of performance critics point to between journalists and bloggers.

  7. LARRY LAFITE

    October 12, 2013 02:30 PM

    i think a better response would have been “Thanks for the correction.” Being defensive about it doesn’t really help. Just get it right! BTW, didn’t every phillies fan see that coming…MICHAEL YOUNG = 6-4-3.

  8. jauer

    October 12, 2013 02:45 PM

    Actually, he did enter the game as a defensive replacement. Dee Gordon entered to pinch-run for Gonzalez. Young then entered to play DEFENSE to REPLACE Gordon. You know, because Gordon isn’t a first baseman.

    Not only was Boye not condescending, he wasn’t even wrong to begin with.

    Don’t let the facts get in the way to rip a writer for no reason!

  9. jauer

    October 12, 2013 02:51 PM

    For the sake of argument, Nick, let’s say Young DID enter as a pinch-runner instead of as a defensive replacement. How the fuck would that qualify as “essentially misleading” given that the remainder of the post stated nothing about either Young’s defense or baserunning? It was simply about his two ABs resulting after his entrance.

    It’s like someone writing, “Jimmy Rollins was late to Shea Stadium because he was out drinking the night before,” and then you correct him by saying, “Wrong, he wasn’t OUT drinking, he remained at the hotel bar until 4am getting shitfaced and never left the premises. MISLEADING!”

    If something like this is the “dividing line” between journalists and bloggers, then it’s no surprise that bloggers are systematically destroying the typical journalistic occupations.

  10. Francisco (FC)

    October 12, 2013 03:12 PM

    It’s incomplete because it gives the impression Mattingly replaced the regular first baseman Gonzalez with Young because he’s a better defender and that’s not the case.

    When you use a term like defensive replacement, it’s to provide context for a given game situation. The way we use defensive replacement is usually to say Player A was substituted for Player B because of his better defense. Which doesn’t make sense here.

    It’s more accurate to say he came in substituting pinch runner Dee Gordon.

    Is it a nit? sure. Not really the point? Nope. But it doesn’t mean we can’t point that out so long as we acknowledge that it doesn’t invalidate the bigger picture. This is a case of constructive criticism (at least on my part).

    Also considering how bad Michael Young is at fielding, Dee Gordon may well have been a better option, the man is a Shortstop and second basemen, I’m sure he can fill in at 1st in a pinch.

  11. Paul Boye

    October 12, 2013 03:21 PM

    This really is just silly, but if it’ll help keep comments focused on what this little blurb is actually about, you have your change.

  12. jauer

    October 12, 2013 04:13 PM

    “it gives the impression Mattingly replaced the regular first baseman Gonzalez with Young because he’s a better defender and that’s not the case.”

    It does not give that impression at all. It gives the impression that Michael Young entered the game because he was a better defender at the position than the person he replaced. This is undeniably true.

    “When you use a term like defensive replacement, it’s to provide context for a given game situation. The way we use defensive replacement is usually to say Player A was substituted for Player B because of his better defense. Which doesn’t make sense here.”

    It makes 100 percent sense here, because Player A is Michael Young, and Player B is Dee Gordon, and Michael Young was substituted because of his better first-base defense.

    “It’s more accurate to say he came in substituting pinch runner Dee Gordon.”

    It would also be more accurate to list the Eastern Daylight Time at the point of the substitution, Michael Young’s middle name, and Don Mattingly’s ancestral lineage, but it’s completely irrelevant to the discussion at hand.

    “Also considering how bad Michael Young is at fielding, Dee Gordon may well have been a better option, the man is a Shortstop and second basemen, I’m sure he can fill in at 1st in a pinch.”

    This is irrelevant, because it doesn’t change the fact that Young replaced Gordon defensively.

    Is this Crashburn Alley, or an episode of the Twilight Zone?

  13. jauer

    October 12, 2013 04:18 PM

    Just so you guys know, baseball terms can be accurately used in contexts other than how Chris fucking Wheeler uses them.

  14. DG

    October 12, 2013 06:34 PM

    What Larry said. <3 this post though.

  15. Larry

    October 12, 2013 08:46 PM

    LTG is an unintentional troll lol. See what you started?……….but really these comments are so funny.

    We all know that Michael Young is not good defensively, but I know you believe in the UZR stat.

    The last 3 years Dee Gordon has logged 1301.4 innings as a ss and has a UZR of negative 23.3/150…..So let’s look at his defense as a 1st baseman as a Major Leaguer which was…..uh….well he never played 1st base. So let’s look at his defense at 1st base as a minor league player…………Oh wait, he never played that position ever. Maybe he played 1st base in T-Ball, but I’m not sure I can find out that info.

    So Paul was right, not just technically right, he was absolutely right and should have never changed his post. What kind of manager would put Dee Gordon at 1st base in a playoff game when he has never played that position in his professional career??? Also his other defensive stats have been bad at his prime position.

  16. jauer

    October 12, 2013 09:57 PM

    It wouldn’t matter if Dee Gordon was the best first baseman to ever walk the Earth, and it wouldn’t matter if Gordon’s substitute had zero arms — the zero-armed man would still be a defensive replacement.

  17. Larry

    October 12, 2013 10:43 PM

    Yeah Jauer I get the technical aspect of the position change and I’m sure LTG did as well. He just thought the post was misleading which was wrong. Gonzalez was gone, out of the game. Dee pinch runs and becomes the automatic replacement for Gonzalez. LTG believes this defensive replacement doesn’t have merit, which it does. MY has a negative 6.1/ 150 UZR as a 1st baseman over the past 3 seasons, which isn’t good, but it’s not pathetic.

    Dee Gordon has a negative 23.3/ 150 UZR at his prime position in the past 3 seasons which would be considered very bad. He has also never played 1st base in his professional career. So the move wasn’t just technically correct, it was justified defensively as well. Any manager would have to be an absolute idiot to put Gordon at 1st base in a playoff game when you have Michael Young on the bench. Dee Gordon has 1 tool, which is his speed. Michael Young is a better defensive 1st baseman than Gordon.

    “I mean, Mattingly is not crazy enough to think MY is a better defender than anyone in his starting lineup.”

    No…..Gordon is not their starter…..forget about Gonzalez, he was out of the game, leaving a bad defensive player who would have to try a new position in his career in a freaking playoff game, when an experienced 1st baseman was on the bench.

    “and it wouldn’t matter if Gordon’s substitute had zero arms — the zero-armed man would still be a defensive replacement.”

    Yes technically it would be, but that’s not reality. An armless man would not be a Major League baseball player playing in a playoff game. That was an obvious joke by you, I am on your side Jauer, this debate should have never happened. The sad part was that Paul was bullied to change his post, when he was 100% correct.

  18. DG

    October 12, 2013 10:50 PM

    “I always want to stay in the game, but I understand where Donnie’s coming from,” Kershaw said. “I get it. We can’t give up any more outs and Michael Young is one of the best players the last 10 years.”

  19. LTG

    October 13, 2013 03:12 PM

    Oh shit, Paul, I’m sorry. I thought articles like these were, at least partly, to help inform readers–some of whom weren’t able to watch the game (me for instance)–of what happened. I didn’t realize they were just vanity projects. My sincere apologies for misunderstanding your private intentions.

  20. LTG

    October 13, 2013 03:34 PM

    And since it seems like there has been a discussion about the nature of misleading statements:
    Misleading statements need not be false in order to mislead. In fact, it is plausible to classify a statement as misleading rather than a lie precisely because it is true. A misleading statement licenses false inferences in the context of its use, whether the statement taken out of context is true or false: for instance, that Mattingly believes MY is a better defender than Juan Uribe or Adrian Gonzalez. (This account needs precisification because most likely every statement licenses at least one false inference in any foreseeable context. We all have lots of false beliefs with which statements interact and produce bad results. But I’m sure you all get the point.)

    I also didn’t “rip” Paul (at least in my original comment). I simply marked what I perceived to be an error so that other readers wouldn’t be misled as I had been.

  21. Paul Boye

    October 13, 2013 05:09 PM

    You perceive me as far more vicious than I could ever hope to be. Count it as a mistake, one that I corrected, and quit while you’re ahead.

  22. dennis boznango

    October 14, 2013 07:30 AM

    I presume that list is for batters only, otherwise you’d have a bunch of blown save pitchers on top of the list.

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