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Chen seeing downward trend; hasn't won since mid-August

This was not a good sign for the Orioles.

Lefty Wei-Yin Chen again did not pitch on Monday night the way he did earlier this season.

The rookie from Taiwan has now not won since Aug. 19, a span of six starts. He’s made it through seven innings just once in his last nine outings. And he has now allowed 28 home runs in 31 starts after serving up two Monday night.

“I can just tell you I [didn’t] have very good stuff tonight. I really don’t feel like I pitched well,” Chen said through interpreter Tim Lin.

Chen lasted five-plus innings in the nightcap of the doubleheader, allowing nine hits and a walk while giving up five runs.

Four came in the first two innings.

“After the first batter in the first inning, I walked a guy, I started feeling like, ‘Wow. This is not the day for me,’” Chen said. “I tried to fight, fight through it. It definitely was not my day, things went a different direction.”

Chen’s not one to talk about whether he is feeling the grind of  a long season, but the numbers support that theory. In April he was 2-0 with a 2.22 ERA; in May, 2-1, 4.20; June, 3-3 4.34; July 2-2, 3.44; August, 3-1, 4.40 and September, 0-3 with a 5.90 ERA.

Orioles manager Buck Showalter has been prudent in giving extra rest between starts to Chen, who is used to pitching every sixth or even seventh day in Japan.

“He spoiled us at a very high level this year and will again. You've been here. You've seen all the extra rest we've done with him,” Showalter said. “Looking today, he's one of the league leaders in starts, which tells you how hard it is to do. And that's why they're in such demand, guys that can do the things that he's capable of. But he gave us a chance to win. He didn't give in. Threw some zeros up there afterward and allowed us to have our chances."
   
Chen averaged six innings per start in April, May, June and July. He hasn’t done that in August or September.
 
“I feel like I am still good, I still feel like I can go deep, like seven innings,” Chen said. “I don’t think that’s a problem for me.”

If he can’t, that’s a major problem for the Orioles as the postseason nears.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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