Is Chris Young a keeper?

BALTIMORE -- I was joking with Chris Young when he came into the visiting clubhouse at Camden Yards before the start of Friday's doubleheader against the AL East leading Baltimore Orioles.

"You like that American League pitching, huh?"

"A little bit, yeah," he said, stifling a grin.

Young had been the hero Thursday night, his three-run homer off Tampa Bay Rays closer Jake McGee providing the Yankees with a dramatic, walk-off win -- arguably the biggest of the year -- and the one that would surely spark this team to the kind of winning streak it desperately needed to put together if there is to be any baseball in the Bronx this October.

Five hours later, it looked as if Young had done it again, his solo home run in the top of the 11th inning off Brad Brach seemingly having given the Yankees what they needed to take the first game from the Orioles and keep the dream alive.

But, of course, there was a bottom of the 11th to be played, a game to be blown and a dream to be deferred, if not destroyed.

If there was still an argument about what constitutes the Yankees' biggest win of the year, there could be no dispute about what was their worst loss. At this point in the season, considering their situation, every loss replaces its predecessor for that dubious honor.

But even without the qualifiers, losing that first game on Friday afternoon was a heartbreaker, a soul-crusher, perhaps a season-ender. Having burned through the two livest arms on his staff, those of Dellin Betances and David Robertson, earlier in the game, manager Joe Girardi had to trust in Adam Warren, which turned out to be unwarranted. Two walks, a hit batter and a double roped down the right-field line later, in a matter of moments, Young was relegated from star to footnote.

Still, even if his heroics could not save this day, what Young has done in a short time as a Yankee might wind up earning him a job for next year.

Yes, it's a small sample size, and yeah, the baseball season is a 162-chapter marathon, not a four-snapshot sprint. But in four games as a Yankee, the numbers Young has put up make you wonder if there really is some kind of curse on the Mets, if Citi Field was built on some ancient Brooklyn Dodgers burial ground or something, because the difference between the two players, Flushing Young and Bronx Young, is startling.

In 88 games with the Mets, Young batted .205 with eight home runs and 28 RBIs. His on-base percentage was an anemic .283, his OPS a laughable .630.

In four games as a Yankee, Young has eight hits in 17 at-bats (.417). Six of his eight hits have been extra-base hits, and three have been home runs. His OPS is a ridiculous 1.651.

Of course he won't keep it up. Nobody could, not even Babe Ruth or the steroid-fueled Barry Bonds.

But it certainly makes you wonder if there is more to Young than the Mets were able to bring out of him, for whatever reason. Citi Field is notoriously unforgiving to hitters, especially right-handers -- ask David Wright the next time you see him -- and, while Yankee Stadium is a lot more friendly to lefties, it is a much better environment to hit in overall.

And while money is rarely an object for the Yankees, Young could turn out to be a very affordable alternative in right field for next year, when there are a number of pressing issues that will need to be treated with large doses of cash. Young signed a one-year deal with the Mets for $7,250,000, or just slightly more than the Yankees paid for Ichiro Suzuki, who will not be back next year.

It would seem to be worth general manager Brian Cashman's while to kick the tires on Young, especially if he plans to spend big bucks on a starter such as Jon Lester or Max Scherzer. He also needs a shortstop and a second baseman. If he can get a power-hitting outfielder like Young on the relative cheap, why not?

Right now, the Yankees are more concerned with unraveling the mystery of Bronx Young, who looks like a different hitter from Flushing Young.

Girardi had no logical explanation for it and even hinted that none might exist.

"It’s the game," he said. "Sometimes, struggles don’t make sense. Sometimes, years are tougher than others. You can be in an 0-for-25 slump and you come [out of it] and go 10-for-15. It's just the game of baseball."

The manager speculated that perhaps Young and hitting coach Kevin Long had had a session or two but admitted that was just a guess.

"I’m not sure what they've talked about," Girardi said. "Sometimes, as an organization, we kind of want to see what we got before we make changes."

From what Young has showed so far, changes do not appear to be necessary.

Asked what changes he has made in his swing since joining the Yankees, Young said, "Nothing huge. Nothing I can really put my finger on. Just trying to really lock in on the strike zone."

He also said something about learning from all the guys with great swings on this team, which tells you he really hadn't seen much of the Yankees before coming over on Sept. 1.

"I've felt pretty good so far," he said. "I'm just pretty much in the mindset to try to do whatever I can to win a game."

He has done that so far, and since he has seasons of 32 and 27 home runs for the Arizona Diamondbacks on his resume, clearly there is ability there. No way he is as good as he has looked with the Yankees so far, but by the same token, neither is he as bad as he was with the Mets.

As with most things, the truth probably lies somewhere in the middle, and, even though it's been only four games, it might be a good idea for the Yankees to find out exactly where the truth about Chris Young lies.