Delmon Young hadn't started a game since June 15.
So after cracking the Orioles lineup Monday, in part because of first baseman Chris Davis' recent struggles but also because of Young's prior success against Chicago White Sox starter Chris Sale, the designated hitter made the most of the opportunity.
Young went 3-for-4 in the club's 6-4 win over the White Sox, grounding two singles off of Sale and later lining a double to left field. The start impressed Orioles manager Buck Showalter.
“Delmon did a good job for us again tonight,” Showalter said. “I can’t tell you how hard that is to sit around like Delmon has and come in there and face Chris Sale and get two hits off of him.”
Showalter has admitted to having difficulty making room in the lineup for Young. But Davis, who is still bothered by an oblique strain, didn’t start Monday, forcing the manager to explore his club’s depth.
Monday’s performance raised Young’s batting average to .314. He has also become a keen base runner, and he correctly read a wild pitch in the seventh inning to take third base.
But almost halfway through the season, Young has played in just 36 games. And with two runners on and one out in the ninth inning Monday, Showalter elected to pinch-hit Davis instead of letting Young swing the bat with the game on the line.
“It’s not a bad decision,” Showalter said. “Chris and I talked a little bit about how much I wanted to get Delmon in there for some at-bats. From like the fifth inning on, [Davis] was up the runway preparing for an at-bat.”
Seven pitches later, the game was over. As Young watched from the dugout, Davis worked a full count and then hit a walk-off home run.