Do Orioles fans have reason to be concerned about Wei-Yin Chen?

I'll join the chorus of players and fans who have sent their expressions of concern and good wishes to Manny Machado. While that knee injury looked serious, here is a hope that we get better-than-expected news today.

Even if surgery is needed, here's hoping the young man has a quick and full rehab and recovery and fans see him back in the lineup come opening day 2014.

Beyond his talents on the field, which are there for all to see, Machado has been impressive from the day the Orioles took him in the draft. He handles himself so well on and off the field, and is a player fans can really root for and be proud of.

I'm sure Manny knows Birdland is wishing him well and supporting him all the way.

We should also remember that Alexi Casilla got hurt going all out for that ball in the seventh inning. Here's hoping he will be fine and return to the field soon, as well.

Now on to another matter from Monday's game.

With his latest outing where he didn't even get through five innings, should O's fans be concerned about lefty Wei-Yin Chen?

For the second season in a row, Chen has struggled as the year has gone on. He is also once again having issues the deeper he gets into games.

In 2012, in 10 starts over the last two months, Chen went 3-4 with a 5.15 ERA, allowing 12 homers in 57 2/3 innings. In 2013, in 10 starts over these last two months, Chen has gone 1-4 with a 5.59 ERA and has given up 12 homers in 56 1/3 innings.

In 2012, Chen's ERA in the sixth through eighth innings was 5.14 with seven homers allowed over 35 innings. This season, his ERA is 6.66 with seven homers allowed in 25 2/3 innings in the sixth through the eighth.

We can't really say Chen is tiring late in the year since he missed time between May 14 and July 9 with a right oblique strain. He threw 192 2/3 innings last season and is at 131 2/3 now.

Maybe the fact Chen struggles later in games is not really that strange. Many pitchers have a hard time their third time through a big league lineup.

Buck Showalter often has remarked that Chen is among the best conditioned O's players, so is fatigue really a factor here for the season or even later within individual starts? If it is, maybe Chen needs to improve or tweak his conditioning program. You can't have a starter you rely on that can't pitch into the sixth or seventh inning every start.

If not conditioning, what is the issue?

Maybe teams are just learning better how to hit Chen the more they see him. Sometimes, I think he throws too many fastballs and hitters are waiting for them.

Plenty of theories, but what are the answers?

Chen is signed through next season with a club option for 2015, so he figures to be a key member of the rotation again next season.

Now he needs to figure out how to pitch better in the later innings of his starts and in the later stages of the season.


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