Good job, bad luck for Young 26th straight loss the toughest yet National League

July 08, 1993|By Newsday

NEW YORK -- He assumed a low crouch, head down, with his hands raised over each ear. Anthony Young was in perfect position to protect himself in case the sky fell, which, at this rate, wouldn't be such a long shot.

And at this rate, it might be an improvement in Young's luck.

The Mets right-hander has had to deal with bad defense, bad weather, bad timing and bad pitches. But none of them compares to his bad fortune. It has nipped him a little at a time, 26 times in a row, including a 2-0 defeat to the San Diego Padres yesterday that again suggested his run of poor luck is a matter of location. It strikes him whenever he goes to the pitcher's mound.

"It was one of the best games I've pitched all year, probably in two years, but I came away with a loss again," said the man who just can't lose the longest string of defeats in big-league history.

Maybe the only time he was off target yesterday was when he said it was his best game of the season. It was possibly the best game of his life. He nearly upstaged Andy Benes, who nearly pitched a no-hitter through eight innings, allowing only Jeff Kent's infield single in the second.

Young retired 23 straight batters between Padres singles in the first and eighth.

"He pitched smart, he used all his pitches, and he used them in the right situations," catcher Todd Hundley said.

"He pitched his heart out," said manager Dallas Green, who will meet with general manager Joe McIlvaine to decide if Young will stay in the rotation.

"He was electric," said Benes.

Young (0-12) struck out seven, walked none, threw 74 strikes out of 100 pitches and dominated the heart of the Padres order -- Tony Gwynn, Derek Bell and Fred McGriff.

Then he gave up a two-out, opposite-field home run in the eighth to Archi Cianfrocco, the eighth-place hitter who had started the year in the minors and entered the game batting .196, with eight career homers.

Funny, isn't it? Not to Young (0-12), who felt he made a good pitch -- fastball, outside -- to Cianfrocco with Kevin Higgins on first. "I was always taught if you're going to get beat in the late innings, make them go the other way," Young said.

Cianfrocco's shot traveled an estimated 364 feet, but had it gone perhaps 363 feet, 10 inches, it would have been thwarted by right fielder Bobby Bonilla's big leap. "He got up high. It was a great effort," said center fielder Jeromy Burnitz, who had the best view.

Amusing, huh? Not to Bonilla, who slammed the wall, then kicked it. Nor to Young, who performed his "Oh no!" cringe on the mound.

"All I can do is go out and throw the ball, and that's what I did," the pitcher said, echoing the sentiment he has held since his last win, April 19, 1992. "I pitched well, but I can't do anything about it. I've just got to go out there and, hopefully, I'll win next time."

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