NEW YORK - The smile disappeared from Wei-Yin Chen’s face tonight. So did most of the words in his vocabulary.
Chen was brief in his postgame comments following the Orioles’ 3-0 loss to the New York Yankees. He was clearly upset with his performance and his 10th straight regular season start without a win.
“I feel like it’s an OK performance tonight,” Chen said through his interpreter, Tim Lin.
All the damage against Chen occurred in the fifth inning, including Brett Gardner’s two-run homer.
“On the mound, I was thinking too much and that caused the big inning,” he said.
It would be understandable if Chen felt additional pressure with the Orioles struggling to score runs for him. One mistake can be fatal, especially with New York’s Hiroki Kuroda dealing tonight.
“Not at all, because I can only compete with myself,” he said. “I’m not competing with anyone. This is what it is. I didn’t do my job today. Today was not my day.”
Kuroda shut out the Orioles on five hits. He didn’t walk a batter.
“He was throwing all of his pitches for strikes, getting ahead,” said Chris Davis, who struck out three times. “It seemed like every time we had a guy up to the plate, he was getting ahead with strike one. He was throwing his off-speed for strikes, mixing his fastball. He was tough to hit tonight.
“The best thing I can say is he was mixing all his pitches well. Seemed like everything he threw up there was a strike. And when a guy is that dominant, he’s tough to beat.”
Davis said the club is excited by the way Chen has been pitching.
“It’s what we want out of him,” Davis said. “Go out there and eat up innings and give us a chance to win. But we’ve got to do our part as an offense. It’s tough to win when you don’t score any runs.”
It’s also a challenge when you’re never home. Finally, the Orioles will return to Camden Yards on Tuesday.
“It feels like we haven’t played at home since last year,” Davis said. “We had a brief three days there and it was kind of chaotic. It’ll be nice to be back home and sleep in our own beds.”
Though Chen was displeased with his results, manager Buck Showalter offered praise.
“He pitched really well,” Showalter said. “Wasn’t much margin for error. We just didn’t do much off Kuroda. There’s not a whole lot else to critique, but I’ll try.
“(Kuroda) had a good slider working, late life on the fastball. He just worked both sides of the plate. That’s pretty much the way pitchers have success. That’s the way he did it tonight.”
Chen blanked the Yankees for five of his six innings.
“He gave us another really good chance to win,” Showalter said. “We just weren’t able to score any runs. We didn’t make a couple plays behind him we should have made and we didn’t take advantage of the scenarios they made.
“We like him a lot. He pitched really well again. He’s pitched well every time out this year. I was looking today. He’s the last guy to win 12 games since 2007 for the Orioles. We’re pretty excited that he’s on our side.”
Rule 5 pick T.J. McFarland tossed two more scoreless innings, raising his total to 5 1/3 in two outings. He’s surrendered only two hits and struck out eight.
“He pitched well again,” Showalter said. “I think he threw three strikes that were called balls, too, so that’s even more impressive. He worked his way through it. He’s had two good outings. We feel comfortable pitching him. It’s just the situation hasn’t been there every night out and also with some of the options we have.”
The Orioles are back in Baltimore Monday with a scheduled off-day, and it can’t come soon enough.
“We won’t get there until tomorrow, but we’ve been on a tough two month-plus road trip,” Showalter said. “After being in Tampa, Boston and New York, we’re looking forward to seeing some friendly faces.”
I guess the local media doesn’t count. Fair enough.