Chen recorded his first career quality start Sunday in Anaheim, pitching a season-high 6 1/3 innings. He has a 15-to-6, strikeout-to-walk ratio in 17 1/3 innings.
There are certainly some things to like about Chen. They include the fact he is left-handed, is just 26 years old, has some solid experience from pitching in Japan and he seems to have a real clue out there.
His fastball has been sitting around 90, 91 mph and seems to sneak up on some hitters. Whether it has some late life or there is deception in his motion that helps him, I’m not sure, but his fastball has seemed quite solid. Manager Buck Showalter has talked a few times already about the work Chen is doing with pitching coach Rick Adair on his changeup and no doubt that will become a key pitch for him.
Chen doesn’t seem timid at all out there and the challenge of pitching all year in the American League East may not turn out to be too much for him. I don’t think we can plan on him pitching to a 2.60 ERA this year, as he has so far, but he might put up better numbers than many expected him to in this division.
There is clearly something to work with there and Chen gets good grades so far in 2012.
Mark Reynolds, meanwhile, is off to a poor start on both offense and defense. He needs to improve at third base but we’ve been saying that all winter. He looks like a player that lacks some confidence with the glove right now, and if that is the case, has to figure out a way to overcome that.
As for his offense, I think some fans have forgotten about his home run power because he hasn’t hit one yet. But the longball will be coming for a player that has averaged 37.6 homers the past three seasons.
In 2011, Reynolds hit just .169 with two homers in April, but he had hit 20 out by the All-Star break. The only month in his career when he has hit fewer homers than April is September.
He looks real bad at the plate right now and anyone can see that. But he looked real bad at times last year on his way to 37 homers, which ranked fourth best in the AL. The homers should be soon coming and maybe that will take some of the heat he is getting right now from some fans off him a bit.
Until then though ...
Bundy set for Tuesday: Even though the Single-A Delmarva Shorebirds got rained out on Sunday and Miguel Chalas was the scheduled starting pitcher, when the Shorebirds next play, tomorrow night, Dylan Bundy will make his fourth start for Delmarva as planned.
That game should feature a marquee pitching matchup with Bundy squaring off opposite Greensville’s Matt Barnes, a pitcher taken in round one last year with the 19th overall selection by Boston.
Barnes has pitched 16 shutout innings so far in the South Atlantic League allowing six hits with two walks and 25 strikeouts. Bundy has pitched nine hitless and scoreless innings allowing just one walk with 15 strikeouts.
Left-handed batters are 0-for-11 with seven strikeouts against Bundy and right-handed batters are 0-for-16 with eight strikeouts against the Orioles 2011 top pick.
Tomorrow’s outing is scheduled to be the first of three starts where Bundy pitches four innings after going three innings in each of his first three pro outings.
I will be Salisbury-bound for that game to provide coverage of Bundy’s start tomorrow here on MASNsports.com.