Wei-Yin Chen had a confession to make after tonight’s 5-4, 12-inning loss to the Yankees.
He was nervous.
Chen calmed himself after a rough beginning and held the Yankees to one run going into the sixth inning. He was charged with two earned runs (four total) and seven hits in 5 2/3 innings, with one walk and six strikeouts.
“To be honest with you guys, this is my first major league outing. I was so nervous. But after the first inning everything was fine for me,” Chen said through his interpreter.
“Jeter and A-Rod, they are really great players to me, but I want to be better than them. I want to prove I can be here.”
Manager Buck Showalter removed Chen after Brett Gardner’s RBI single with two outs in the sixth tied the score, 4-4.
“When Buck walked to me, I was pretty upset about myself because I didn’t have command tonight,” Chen said. “I didn’t help the team get a win tonight. This is the reason I’m here, to help the team get a win. I’m not satisfied.
“This is a new experience to me. I pitched in Japan before, but this is a totally new experience for me. The New York Yankees are a real tough lineup and a really good team, but tonight I realized our team is better. We have a good offense and defense. We have a really great team here.”
Asked if he began to tire in the sixth, Chen replied, “Physically, I’m not tired at all. Mentally, I got tired. First inning, I throw probably 20 or 30 pitches, but I felt like I threw 40 or 50 already. So by the sixth inning I was mentally tired.”
Two of the runs off Chen were unearned after Mark Reynolds’ error in the sixth.
“Yeah, you know we never should have been in that situation,” Reynolds said. “Chen pitched his tail off out there, and I boot that ball. That’s a play that’s got to be made. They capitalized on it and we really couldn’t get anything going after that. It’s very, very, very frustrating.
“It’s real tough. It’s tough having your own fans boo you - and deservedly so. It’s a play that has to be made. You can’t give teams extra outs. And I did that. And they capitalized. It’s very frustrating.
“(Chen) pitched real well. Rough first inning, but he settled down and threw lights out. He was very impressive. He got out of the first and didn’t let that bother him and settled in and threw a great game. It’s just unfortunate that it pretty much came down to a ground ball and I didn’t get it done.
“It’s done. I can’t do anything about it. I’m going to just keep puttering along, just keep working and trying to get better and just trying to forget about it. That’s easier said than done, obviously, but I’ve got to put it behind me. I know these guys in here are behind me and I’ve just got to forget about it and move on.”