Manager Buck Showalter has referred to Taiwanese left-hander Wei-Yin Chen as an unknown.
So what exactly does Showalter know about Chen after seven starts?
“Obviously, he’s pitching as well as any of our starters, and very early in the season he’s doing quite well for us. He seems very poised. But there will be some adversity during the season. It’s a long season. We’ll see how that goes. But adversity, too, is going through some of the things he’s gone through in his life in the last three or four months. He’s been in a lot of different venues and tonight was another one that he’s exposed to and handled well.”
Chen held the Rangers to one earned run over 7 2/3 innings in his last start, and he made sure the Yankees didn’t sweep this two-game series. He looks like he’s got stopper tendencies.
“You’re kind of cautious,” Showalter said. “I don’t say that to him before the game. I think we made a mistake that... They have those same situations in Japan and those same situations in Taiwan. We don’t have the market cornered on those types of situations. He’s been competing for quite a while. I think sometimes we lose sight that he’s only 26 years old.
“There’s no secrets in baseball. After a guy cocks his arm in spring training and 15 scouts were watching him, things get around. Ryan Flaherty had two at-bats in the big leagues and he’s seen nothing by X kind of pitches since then. Maybe the presentation the first time you see him in the box might be a little different, but if you pitch well and you can locate...
“He located really well. Command of the fastball was really key tonight. Once he showed them that he could do that on both sides of the plate, the whole world opened up for him.”
Chen faced the Yankees for the second time this season - his first repeat opponent.
“He was crisp,” Showalter said. “He had good command of all his pitches from the get-go. One inning we had a fly ball to left that we didn’t get much cooperation from... X (Xavier Avery) had a bead on it and was going to catch it and it kind of got them back in the ballgame there a little bit.”
Showalter could have requested a review on the Curtis Granderson home run, claiming fan interference, but he didn’t do it.
“I knew what the answer was going to be,” he said. “The ball would have carried out of the ballpark if nobody’s standing there. I don’t know if it was somebody in midnight blue or black and orange there. I’ve got an educated guess, so our goal was to play well enough so they can’t get a ticket.”
Avery impressed again tonight with a bunt single in the third inning following Steve Tolleson’s double. He also walked.
“I told him even before the inning started, Tolly’s on base here, we’re going to bunt for a hit,” Showalter said. “He’s worked very hard at that, and our player development people have, and he’s a weapon there. He’s the type of guy that if you’re going to be on top of him, and if he gets it in the right place, he’s still going to be able to beat it out, which helped us because you want to get ahead of these guys because then they can’t go into the four-corner and slow the game down and grind. If you can stay ahead of them, it keeps the tempo. It’s no accident that with the length of their games, they get ahead and it’s a Dean Smith special.”