May 5, 2014; Oakland, CA, USA; Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Chris Young (53) throws to the Oakland Athletics in the first inning of their baseball game at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Lance Iversen-USA TODAY Sports

Chris Young Earns His ERA As M’s Win


Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Chris Young was rather dreadful through the season’s first month, a fact that you’d never guess if you were to look at his ERA. That number masked maybe the worst prognosis for a guy with middling stuff: more walks than strikeouts, lots of hard contact. Young was getting really, really lucky with men on base, and his run prevention could be almost entirely credited to random chance. He’s been a constant candidate for serious regression, and this week he regressed. Positively regressed.

Over eight innings, Young struck out three and walked none, allowing a run on three hits. Now that’s more like what you’d expect to see from a guy trying to sustain a 2.63 ERA. The lack of free passes is particularly pleasing, as no starting pitcher can get away with walking the world when he doesn’t also blow past most hitters. Young allowed only one extra base hit, and that was a triple that might not have been had Michael Saunders not hurt himself trying to make the play. Young was legitimately good, and seemed even dominant at times.

Given Brandon Maurer, Young isn’t even the rotation’s weakest link, and stuff like this really preserves his spot for when either Taijuan Walker or James Paxton is ready to come back. Good stuff, Chris Young. Well, not literally, because his stuff is still weak, but good pitching. It’s cool when Mariners players play at a reasonably exciting level. Before the season started Young identified himself as a guy who could come out of nowhere and make a difference for a contending Mariners team. “Why not me?” he said. True. Why not Chris Young?

On the other side of the ball, the M’s offense did good things against fireballer Yordano Ventura. Justin Smoak hit a two-run homer in the fifth, and Dustin Ackley hit a solo shot in the sixth. Okay, so that was it for run-scoring, but two homers off Ventura! The young Royals starter, of course, had been preventing dingers pretty well so far this year until this game. It’s cool that the Mariners did something about that little problem. Robinson Cano had two singles and a walk, and his ISO is .077. I’m so sorry. As mentioned earlier, Michael Saunders left with what’s being called a hyperextended knee. He’s day to day, but yikes, that sounds awful.

The fourth and final game of this series is today at 1:10 on what’s supposed to be a gorgeous Seattle day. Roenis Elias takes on Jeremy Guthrie, and hey, that pitching matchup probably favors Seattle! Elias is really something! Maybe Cano will hit a dinger today. Maybe Cano will hit TWO dingers today! With a win the M’s will be three games over .500 and even more securely in second place. It’s a beautiful thing, this game of baseball. Sometimes.

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