Young's woes reach record level: 24 losses in row

June 28, 1993|By Steve Jacobson | Steve Jacobson,Newsday

NEW YORK -- Destiny awaited Anthony Young like a pit full of ground balls with eyes, like an evil fly waiting to bite him on the seat of his pants. Call him A. Y. with an exclamation point! Now he belongs to the ages.

Poor Anthony Young. It's not all his fault.

What Anthony Young needed was a triple play in the fourth inning. An out at third, an out at second; if only the umpire at first had seen it that way.

It was close yesterday, but he and the New York Mets fell, 5-3, to the St. Louis Cardinals yesterday, his record 24th straight loss.

Poor Anthony Young. Take an infant from "A" ball and run him out there in turn and logic says he couldn't lose 24 games in a row. A pitcher would come to bat with two on and two out. Somebody would swing and miss when he was in trouble. Somebody would hit into a triple play to get him out of trouble.

"It seems like the ball's got eyes when I pitch," he said. One more time. Poor Anthony Young.

The record is all his now, 24 in a row. It's the longestpitcher's losing streak since they began keeping records in 1876. It's all his; no more ties with Cliff Curtis of 1911. There's Cy Young at one end of the scale and Anthony Young at the other.

In a game where the essence is wins and losses, it's the worst pitching record in 117 years. Surely, he's not the worst pitcher in history.

"If you were sitting up in the stands evaluating arms," Mets manager Dallas Green said, "you'd say, 'Hey, he's got an arm.' "

The record is not all Young's fault, but a lot of it is.

Fresh from an ovation at the start of the game, Young struck out two Cardinals in the first inning, and the Mets gave Young a lead of 2-0 in the bottom of the first.

With two on and none out in the Cardinals' third, Todd Zeile grounded to Bobby Bonilla, trying third base, who stepped on the base and relayed to Jeff Kent, trying second, who relayed to first. "It was close enough to ring it up," Young said. "I thought he was safe. I wish he had rung it up."

Mark Whiten then grounded wide of first base, too wide for Eddie Murray. Young bore down and Brian Jordan popped to shallow right, near the line. Dave Gallagher got a good jump, dived, got his glove on the ball but couldn't hold it.

Almost every game is decided by a tiny handful of pitches. "I got the ball in when I wanted to get in; I got the ball away when I wanted to go away," Young said. By his count, he made two bad pitches. In the cruelty of baseball, it is said some pitchers pitch well enough to lose.

Rod Brewer hit one of the bad pitches into the left-field corner for two bases, two runs and a 3-2 St. Louis lead. If only the triple play had been turned . . .

Poor Anthony Young. Sometimes a pitcher has to rise above the flaws. Cardinals were on first and second with two out in the sixth and Young got a two-strike count on Tom Pagnozzi, batting eighth.

Pagnozzi fisted the ball over Bonilla and it was 4-2. OK, the pitcher was next. Young still had a chance. He had struck out Joe Magrane twice. Magrane singles for 5-2.

"I stayed with him because he pitched decent," Green said. He also said he was "committed" to Young through the All-Star break as a major-league starting pitcher.

And now Young is part of history.

"I done got in the record book," he said. "I hope y'all can leave me alone."

Poor Anthony Young.

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