The Blue Jays lead the majors with a .313 average and .876 OPS vs. left-handed pitching. If the Orioles were going to remove Wei-Yin Chen from the rotation for one start, this weekend seemed like the opportune time.
Chen owns a career 3.25 ERA in 20 starts on six days’ rest or more. His ERA is 3.93 in 49 starts on four days’ rest and 3.70 in 30 starts on five days’.
As I wrote earlier, Chen will pitch three or four innings Saturday at Single-A Frederick and start for the Orioles on June 26 against the Indians.
“The No. 1 thing was Wei-Yin and making sure he’s around in September and October and pitching at the level he pitched last night,” Buck Showalter said. “We also found out through the years with him that after he’s had an extended outing, you get to know the guys, pitch counts, innings, what usually follows. And each guy is different, but Wei-Yin, we’ve got a pretty good sampling.
“Really didn’t like the description of some of the things he was feeling after his start on the 10th. He felt a lot better last night, but we’re trying to get ahead of some things with him. And a byproduct of that is it allows us to manage the roster with Chris (Parmelee). And a couple other factors, too.”
It also makes sense for Chen to avoid the Blue Jays.
“They’re hitting everybody,” Showalter said. “It doesn’t matter if it’s right, left or ambidextrous guys. But there’s a lot of factors that figure into this decision. But the most pressing one is his health.
“I thought last year even lent more credence to doing it because we looked at the history after his long outings. He’s got a number there that he’s pretty close to every time. You’re pushing the envelope at a certain number with him. A lot of guys I don’t pay a whole lot of attention to with that. With him, it’s a pretty long track record, and then the response he gets from that outing next time out is a pretty good sampling of it.
“I just think from his description of how he felt on the 10th, I felt like the time was right. And it managed a lot of other things. But that was the biggest priority.”
Watch for more maneuvering around the All-Star break.
“These guys have been grinding it out every fifth day for quite a while now and I don’t want to assume something,” Showalter said. “I want to keep them performing at that level and hope we have all our bullets available to us in August and September and hopefully October.”
Showalter said the Orioles considered sending Chen to short-season Single-A Aberdeen before deciding on Frederick.
“It fits better,” he said. “It doesn’t really matter. He’s only going to go four innings at the most, maybe three. Before his last outing, not this one, he was complaining of overall body fatigue. We’ve tried to take a little break with everybody during the year. And he’ll get an extra day. He may not even take a work day. We’ll shorten up his outing in Frederick.”
Chen apparently took the news in stride instead of expressing outrage over being sent down to the Carolina League after eight scoreless innings last night against the Phillies.
“He understands completely,” Showalter said. “Especially, we’ve done it with him once or twice and we’ve done it with Miguel (Gonzalez), we’ve done it with (Kevin) Gausman, we’ve done it with a number of guys. And we’ve got a real good return from it.
“He’s pitching well and will again, but the whole idea is to have him pitch well again and again and again.”
The Orioles will have a six-man bench this week for the two games in Philadelphia, where the pitchers must bat.
Adam Jones is “kind of banged up,” according to Showalter, who explained why his center fielder is on the bench tonight.
“Hopefully, it’s just a day,” Showalter said. “Talked to him a little bit after lunch today. Won’t get into the various toes, ankles, fouls balls off, dive, shoulders. Just want to give him a day or two and see what tomorrow brings.
“They were going to look at him. I don’t know if there are any plans to do any testing yet, but we’ll see. Make sure that everything we’ve X-rayed is still the same.”
Showalter interrupted Jonathan Schoop’s card game to let him know about the move to the 60-day disabled list.
“The good news is it’s up tomorrow,” Showalter said. “That’s pretty convenient. I was trying to explain that to him while he was playing cards. ‘Hey, you’re on the 60. You’ll read about it or hear about it.’ He said, ‘Sixty more days?’ I said, ‘No, you’re eligible tomorrow.’ It’s a great world.”
Left-hander Wesley Wright will throw one inning tonight at Triple-A Norfolk. Ramon Martinez will watch Gausman pitch two innings at Frederick.