It's no secret that the Orioles starting rotation has struggled to go deep into games, forcing the bullpen into action early.
But Chen is starting to buck that trend. In Friday’s 4-3 win over the Houston Astros, he allowed just two runs and five hits. He also allowed two runs over seven innings two starts ago against the Kansas City Royals.
After he allowed eight earned runs in his first two outings of the season, Chen has yielded 10 earned runs in his last five starts. He hasn’t allowed more than three runs in last five starts.
“It’s always there,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “It’s not like it’s something he never shows. He had a good spring. He’s had an extra days rest today. We’re getting ready to get in a stretch where guys are going to be taking the ball every fifth day, so didn’t want him to go much more than 100 [pitches]. Wei-Yin had a good look.”
Chen, who is now 4-2 with a 3.95 ERA, said he had a meeting with coaches before the game in which keeping the ball down was discussed.
“We had a meeting before the game, and that was the point I tried to focus on, and I was able to do it, and I was able to get a good result out of it,” Chen said through interpreter Louis Chao.
“In the previous outings, I was trying really hard [with my breaking ball], so [pitching coach] Dave Wallace told me I should not try to overthrow my curveball, just go with it. I tried to do it, and tonight the result was pretty good.”
After Chen allowed a game-tying solo homer to Chris Carter in the top of the seventh inning, the Orioles tacked on two runs in the bottom half of the frame on Jonathan Schoop’s RBI single and Nick Markakis’ run-scoring double.
“Of course I was happy,” Chen said. “In the top of the inning, I allowed a tying home run, so I was kind of upset about that, but they had a timely offense, and Nick and Schoop had big hits, and we were able to get the go-ahead run and got the win. I was happy about that.”