LOS ANGELES — Part of the reason why the Phillies have yet to establish any semblance of consistency is because the lineup cannot sustain two or even three hot hitters at a time. When Domonic Brown pummeled the National League, there was little help. Chase Utley would catch fire when no one else did. So would Ryan Howard for a brief time.
Everyone looked good in a 16-1 drubbing of the Dodgers because 16-1 drubbings tend to do that. But one of the more positive developments for this team is that a handful of players are hitting with success, whether it be Brown, Utley, Ben Revere, Michael Young or Delmon Young.
The last name on that list drove in a career-high six runs Friday. Afterward, in a corner of the cramped visitors clubhouse at Dodger Stadium, Delmon Young philosophized.
"This is usually about the same time every year, right around 150 at-bats, everything starts clicking," Young said. "I've still been getting the opportunity to play, so, it was just a matter of time for it to click."
That opportunity was in danger. When this road trip began, Charlie Manuel said Young needed to display results. The grace period for a player returning from ankle surgery had expired. It was time.
"Maybe he heard me," Manuel said.
So Young is 9 for his last 14 with two doubles, a homer, and eight RBI. Three games, of course, a season does not make. But Young's theory in interesting.
Here are his numbers from each of the previous five seasons from before and after roughly the 150 at-bat mark. You can quibble with the sample sizes and the science. For now, let us simply evaluate Young's statement. The lines are (BA/OBP/SLG/OPS):
2013: .230/.284/.419/.703 (148 AB) VS. ???
2012: .252/.301/.377/.678 (151 AB) VS. .272/.294/.423/.717 (423 AB)
2011: .225/.256/.278/.534 (151 AB) VS. .289/.324/.447/.771 (322 AB)
2010: .265/.314/.450/.764 (151 AB) VS. .310/.340/.508/.848 (419 AB)
2009: .258/.288/.291/.579 (151 AB) VS. .299/.320/.508/.828 (244 AB)
2008: .263/.309/.296/.605 (152 AB) VS. .300/.346/.444/.790 (423 AB)
Baseball is littered with slow starters, this much is true. Young's production is better in every season after the 150 at-bat mark than it is before. In some seasons, like 2009, the difference is quite noteworthy. In others, like 2012, it is not.
The data supports Young's claim. Time will tell if the Phillies are rewarded for sticking with him.
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