The Orioles won for the ninth time in their last 11 games tonight and handed the Phillies their 17th loss in the last 20.
I try to avoid the cliche about two teams heading in opposite directions, but man, this is a prime example of it.
Wei-Yin Chen turned in a masterful performance, tying his career high with eight innings and his season high with nine strikeouts in a 4-0 victory over the Phillies at Camden Yards.
“That was good, obviously,” said manager Buck Showalter. “He threw 75 strikes out of 106. Sometimes, guys throw too many, but he was in attack mode. Last two or three times he’s had a good slider. Had some depth to it. We talk about it a lot. Instead of the side to side. He was really good.”
The slider has become an important pitch for Chen.
“He can command his fastball to both sides of the plate, but it gives him something that’s not on the same plane,” Showalter said after the Orioles moved above .500 again. “When you can go a different speed and a different plane, it bodes well for you.”
Chen has pitched much better than his 3-4 record, another indication that wins and losses are deceiving. His ERA is down to 2.89 in 81 innings. He’s issued two walks or fewer in 10 consecutive starts.
Three wins in seven decisions aren’t a true indicator.
“Sure, you could make that case,” Showalter said. “It’s one of those things that if you’re consistently pitching well, then those things work themselves out. That’s why some relief pitchers who end up 7-1 are with another club next year.
“Over the long haul, you’ll get rewarded for it. He’ll have an outing when he goes five and isn’t real crisp and we’ll score some runs and he’ll get a W for it. You’ve just got to keep grinding through it.”
“I thought one of the key plays of the game was Adam Jones beating out the double play ball that kind of goes unnoticed,” Showalter said. “That’s Adam, though. Not sure many guys ... There’s a lure to take a little spot off here or there and he doesn’t. He’s one of our best players, obviously, and it makes my job a lot easier when your best players play the game right.”
Wieters is batting .333 with three doubles, one triple, two homers and seven RBIs in eight games. He received plenty of at-bats at extended spring training and during his rehab assignment.
“It’s a different level of pitching, a different level of intensity, but I thought that would be something that should come fairly quickly,” Showalter said. “Matt, especially a couple games, you could tell he was getting the bat to the right places.”