playoffs 2015: KC's resident genius sets team postseason record for relief Ks

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Chris Young is a smart dude.A couple years ago, Sporting News ranked the smartest athletes across sports, and Young’s inclusion was a no-brainer. Young finished his Princeton thesis — titled “The Impact of Jackie Robinson and the Integration of Baseball on Racial Stereotypes in America: A Quantitative Content Analysis of Stories about Race in The New York Times” — while he was playing in the minor leagues.  MORE: Top ALDS photos | David Price's playoff struggles continue with JaysY’know, because he had the time.  On Thursday, he had the time to inject a little life into the Royals’ ALDS hopes. He entered in the third inning, relieving starter Yordano Ventura after a 49-minute rain delay, with the Royals down 3-1 and the Houston offense humming along, with five hits in those first two innings. Young struck out six of the first seven batters he faced, with only a walk mixed in, much to the delight of the capacity crowd at Kauffman Stadium. Young strikes out the side again, establishing a #Royals postseason record with six strikeouts by a relief pitcher! #TakeTheCrown— Royals (@Royals) October 9, 2015Young, an imposing figure at 6-10, gave up three hits — a single to 5-5 Jose Altuve, a home run by George Springer and a single by Chris Carter — but only allowed the one run in four innings of relief. He wound up with seven strikeouts. MORE: postseason scheduleY

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oung’s baseball journey has been interesting. He was one of the National League’s best starting pitchers for a couple years with the Padres, posting a 3.44 ERA and averaging 8.4 strikeouts per nine innings in 79 starts from 2006-08. Then, shoulder injuries derailed his career. He appeared in a total of 42 games — coincidentally, the uniform number of Jackie Robinson, the guy he profiled in his thesis — from 2009-12, then didn’t appear in the majors at all in 2013 (and had a 6.81 ERA in nine minor league starts). He finally got back to the bigs in 2014, posing a 3.65 ERA in 165 innings for the Mariners, and was named the AL Comeback Player of the Year for his efforts. Even with that performance, he didn't sign until spring training,  when Kansas City gave him a shot. He has been invaluable as a reliever and starter; Young had a 2.59 ERA in 16 appearances as a reliever and a 3.18 ERA in 18 starts.This is your regular reminder that Chris Young couldn't get a job until March.— Rany Jazayerli (@jazayerli) October 9, 2015On Thursday, he was brilliant again when the Royals needed him most.