10/06/06 6:51 PM ET
Young faces tall order in Game 3
Facing elimination, Padres start 6-foot-10 righty in St. Louis
By Lyle Spencer / MLB.com
"It's hard to go through all the hypotheticals right now. I'll go through it once the game is going on and decide -- talk to the pitching coach [Darren Balsley] and Boch and see what we want to do."
Pujols had some flattering things to say about Young after his first look at the Princeton man who joined Adrian Gonzalez and Terrmel Sledge in the six-player winter swap with Texas that paid enormous dividends for San Diego."That guy is amazing," Pujols said. "He's tough. Now I can see why people around the league have problems beating this guy. He's real tough. He mixes his pitches really good. He doesn't throw a hard fastball, but it looks like 95 mph when he has his good stuff like his changeup and curveball." Young has been in a dominant groove over his past three starts, yielding a total of five hits in his last 21 1/3 innings to finish the season as the most difficult pitcher in the league to hit. Opponents batted .206 against him. In five starts in September, covering 31 2/3 innings, he gave up 13 hits and fashioned a 2.56 ERA -- yet won only one game, with four no-decisions. His road work has brought him attention he isn't particularly comfortable with, but it's hard to overlook 24 consecutive starts in unfriendly environments without a loss. Only the Yankees' Allie Reynolds more than a half-century ago, in 1948-49, did better, going to the post 25 times on the road without losing a decision. Young is 6-0 on the road this season and 9-0 with 15 no-decisions since he lost to Houston as a member of the Texas Rangers in 2005. He led the league in road ERA this season at 2.41. "There's no real thing that I can identify that has helped in this streak that everybody has made a big deal about," Young said. "I think a lot of it is just luck. There have been games where I haven't pitched too well on the road and the team scored a lot of runs, so really, I don't attribute anything aside from luck to it." Whatever it is that makes him a dynamic road character Kerouac would have admired, Young hopes to add a memorable adventure to his travelogue on Saturday.
Lyle Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.