Chris Young and the six-man rotation

In last night’s 9-5 win over the Phillies, Chris Young allowed five runs with three walks and two strikeouts in 4 1/3 innings.

Young allowed a grand slam to Ryan Howard in the first inning, and a solo home run to Chase Utley in the fifth inning.

“It’s been seven days between starts, so I’m not sure if maybe that was too much for [Young],” Collins explained. “Obviously, his command wasn’t very good in the first inning, which is very much unlike him. He’s usually right on top of it. So, we need to take a look at that and see if that was an issue.”

Young took a no-decision but saw his ERA rise to 4.64 for the year – he has a 5.59 ERA in nine starts since the All-Star break and has allowed 12 home runs in only 85 1/3 innings this year.

“I had a little trouble finding my rhythm in the first inning,” Young told reporters after the game. “I settled down for a little bit, but made a bad pitch to Utley after that. But, I had a few good innings there in the middle. I dug us in a big hole early, and the guys picked me up. They were awesome.”

Michael Baron, Contributor

Young clearly was not sharp to start the game. Howard’s grand slam was the first hit Young allowed in the inning – he walked Jimmy Rollins to start, hit Kevin Frandsen, and then walked Chase Utley for Howard. Can it be attributed to rust as a result of not pitching for seven days? Maybe, although the first inning hasn’t always been pretty for Young this season. On the other hand, it’s hard to say as a matter of fact the extra rest benefitted Young, either. Either way, Young has proven his margin for failure is very thin due to the fact he’s mostly a one-pitch pitcher who relies on locating at the top of the strike zone for success.

Ironically, the six-man rotaton was designed partially to aid Young and his recovery from start-to-start. And, Terry Collins has said previously he didn’t want his starting pitchers pitching on the seventh or eighth day between starts – here’s an example where that has taken place, and the results were not good in the end. That’s a consequence of adding another starter to the rotation and dealing with off-days on the schedule, which is why I am not a fan of using a six-man rotation. Nevertheless, perhaps Terry would consider going back to a five-man rotation when an off-day is is in play and skip Jeremy Hefner’s spot in the rotation. That way, Hefner can work out of the bullpen in between starts and everyone else would pitch on the sixth day.