Wei-Yin Chen came out of tonight’s game after five innings and 90 pitches because he cracked a nail on his left index finger while fielding a comebacker from Nationals catcher Jesus Flores in the fourth.
Also, Showalter wanted to place a stricter limit on Chen’s pitch count if he’s going to make his next start Thursday on regular rest.
Chen was charged with three runs (two earned) and six hits in five innings, tying his second-shortest outing of the season.
“I think he pitched pretty good,” Showalter said. “He should have given up, what, one run? He pitched well enough to win. We just couldn’t do much with (Edwin) Jackson. He had another good outing in my mind.”
The offense didn’t offer much support, which is becoming the norm.
Is it because the Orioles are facing good pitching - Jackson is 4-0 with a 1.02 ERA in six starts against them since the beginning of the 2009 season - or are their hitters just struggling?
“Both,” Showalter replied. “Good pitching... you see it every year in the playoffs. A pitcher’s on top of his game, a hitter’s on top of his game, the pitcher’s going to win that battle. That’s why it’s in such demand, and it’s the reason Washington’s having such a good year. And their bullpen’s doing well, too. That’s a good team, and it starts with their starting pitching. Some of our improvement has been because of that, too.”
Chris Davis is really struggling, with no hits in his last 28 at-bats.
“He’s not by himself,” Showalter said. “We see things. You work on it every day and you try to shorten it. Nobody wants to give in to it. He’s certainly not the only one. We knew Jackson was going to be a tough matchup. We haven’t had much success against him as a team.”
The Orioles have one hit with runners in scoring position since Saturday - a span of six games and seven days. Are they pressing?
“I’m sure they are to some extent,” Showalter said. “Sometimes the want-to can get in the way. But, a little overanxious, but also some really quality pitches when they’ve had to make them. It’s like they say about command of one pitch to compete, two to win and three to dominate. Jackson had three pitches at his disposal tonight. Makes it a tough proposition to hit. But we’ve had people do that and we’ve grinded them out.
“I have a lot of confidence that we’ll get back on track with that starting tomorrow. That’s the way I look at that. I understand it’s part of the game, but it doesn’t make it any less frustrating for our players because we know that we’re capable of better. But you do have to tip your hat to them now and then. Just like they had to last night with Hamm (Jason Hammel) and probably to some extent tonight with Wei-Yin.”
After scoring 27 runs in a three-game series against the Pirates, the Orioles have totaled 15 runs in their last eight games.