Game 99 wrapup: Young always a star in Houston

This season has been like none other Chris Young can remember.

It’s late July, the All-Star break has come and gone and he’s still hitting under .200.

He doesn’t play every day for Oakland, and he’s not a center fielder any more. He’s the A’s primary backup in left, right and center.

In one aspect, however, things are as right as ever. In Houston, Chris Young is an All-Star.

Young tripled and hit a solo homer in Monday’s 4-3 Oakland win over Houston. That’s pretty typical for Young when playing in his hometown. His career batting average in Minute Maid Park is .404.

He typically has between 20 to 60 friends and family members watching him from the stands when playing at home or, as he puts it, “every game here can be like a mini-family reunion.’’

So what gives when he plays in Houston? Young said he used to have a pat answer, but now he’s backing off from that.

“It was the same as always,’’ Young said after his 2-for-5 night. “I used to say it was a coincidence (that he hit so well in Houston), but now I don’t know. Maybe it’s the support I get from my family and friends. Maybe it’s because I like the batter’s eye here.

“The thing is, I try not to think too much about that when I’m at the plate. I just want to make good at-bats.’’

That may explain why he hits well in Houston, but it doesn’t address the sub-.200 batting average – .195 heading into Tuesday’s second game of the series in Houston.

“It’s a different situation than any I’ve ever been in,’’ Young said of his 221 at-bats this season. “Not playing every day has a lot to do with it. In most other years, I’d be in the mid-300s or might even have 400 at-bats by now.

“When you aren’t playing all the time, that changes things a bit. But it’s something I have to deal with. When I step into the batter’s box, I am not thinking about that.’’

And Young said the season still has plenty of time left in which he could make a nice rally over the final 10 weeks of the season.

“I know the numbers are how you are judged in this game,’’ Young said. “But I look at how each at-bat can be approached. That’s all you can ever do.’’

John Hickey

A longtime baseball writer three years into in his second go-round covering to the Oakland A's beat after a dozen years covering the Seattle Mariners. Covered the A's through the late 1980s and 1990s.