ARLINGTON -- Michael Young just completed his sixth 200-hit season and finished tied for the MLB lead in hits with 213, but that success hasn't translated in the postseason yet.As long as the team keeps winning, Young refuses to let that bother him. "I think this team is a bunch of forward thinkers," said Young, who's 2-for-18 in five postseason games this year. "The last thing you want to do is think about past at-bats, especially when you win those ballgames. We have tons of opportunities ahead of us and that's what we're focusing on." The team has won four of their five playoff games, despite getting little in the way of production from Young and reigning American League Most Valuable Player Josh Hamilton.
"At some point, you've got to imagine Josh is going to start getting some hits to fall in, I'll get some hits to fall in. I don't worry about stuff like that," Young said.
The silver lining of Young's performance is he has struck out just three times, a rate consistent with what he put up during the regular season -- suggesting that he is getting unlucky on the balls he has been putting in play."He's had some at-bats where he hit some balls hard right at people," Rangers hitting coach Scott Coolbaugh said. "You look at his at-bats in Tampa Bay, he lined out to first base and he lined out to center. You face a guy like [Justin] Verlander, he's pretty tough. I don't think there is any reason to worry. He'll get a couple of breaks and he'll break out. He is his own best hitting coach. He knows what he needs to do to prepare." Young, as his own hitting coach, concurs. "I'm not a results guy, I don't really wait around for results," Young said. "If I keep my approach, I know the results will be there. In the first series I made a lot of hard outs, that's all I really care about. When I go to the plate, I'm trying to hit the ball as hard as I possibly can. If I do that I know that hits are around the corner." While hitting in the playoffs is much the same as hitting in the regular season, the importance of every at-bat is magnified by the fact that a team's postseason hopes can turn on any at-bat. "In the playoffs, your adrenaline starts to flow and you have to slow it down," Coolbaugh said. "Control yourself and your breathing and relax as much as possible. Michael Young is a professional. I don't see anything I didn't see all year." One of the main reasons the Rangers haven't felt the sting of Young's lack of production is because they have gotten big contributions out of the bottom of their lineup. In Game 1 of the American League Championship Series, the bottom of the lineup contributed to all three runs scored, as seven-hole hitter Nelson Cruz homered, and hitting behind him, David Murphy tripled home a run and scored on Ian Kinsler's single. "That's why you have nine guys in a lineup, and that's why you have 25 on the roster," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "At this point of the year, you are facing the best that the league has to offer. As I always say, good pitching will stop hitting. You try not to have that good pitching stop every hitting possibility you have throughout your lineup. Right now other guys are picking it up."
Louie Horvath is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.