Tonight’s game between the Orioles and Phillies started after a 27-minute delay due to an approaching storm.
Left-hander Wei-Yin Chen wasn’t fazed by it. He retired the Phillies in order on 12 pitches in the top of the first inning, including a strikeout of Maikel Franco. He threw 14 pitches in the second and survived a two-out walk to Chase Utley.
Before tonight, Chen was averaging 15.7 pitches per inning over his 12 starts, the fewest among Orioles starters with at least five outings. Chen averaged 16 pitches per inning last season, fewest among the club’s starters and 21st in the American League.
Chen has lost his last three starts when working at least seven innings after entering the season with a 17-1 record in those situations. Over his first three major league seasons, Chen’s only loss when working at least seven innings came against the Mariners on Aug. 4, 2013.
Chen is 24-12 with a 3.59 ERA in 53 starts outside the American League East. He’s 13-16 with a 4.02 ERA in 45 starts within the division.
The Philles have lost six in a row and 16 of 19, which could explain how they own the worst record in the majors at 22-42.
Still not to be taken lightly.
“You look at the track record of the guys. somebody’s going to catch them when they get it going and the challenge is to not let your guard down,” said manager Buck Showalter. “We had six real emotional, highly charged games and these are the type of games where your competitive maturity has to be there. I have confidence our guys will be ready.
“There’s such a fine line up here. It’s so hard to win a major league game, consistently win major league games. It’s hard. The difference between this team and that team is always very ... You watch the games. There’s a play or two each day that’s just a little bit of difference. That’s why pitching is such a premium because that can offset some of those things. So, you’ve got to pitch as well as they pitch.”
“I’m not touching him,” Showalter said of Machado.
“He’s running better than he ever has as an Oriole. I think he is, anyway.”
Showalter was asked whether he thought about lowering Machado in the lineup in an attempt to increase run production.
“Then what if we score even less runs? Why would I do that? Because then somebody in front of him has to get on. You’re robbing Peter to pay Paul,” Showalter said.
“You’re never going to have nine guys clicking. It just doesn’t happen. I wish it would. It would be real easy. So many times that pitcher over there doesn’t cooperate. These are the best pitchers in the world, man. It’s hard.”
In case you missed it earlier, the Orioles placed Single-A Delmarva third baseman Jomar Reyes on the seven-day disabled list with a sprained thumb. An MRI didn’t reveal a break.
Chen has faced one batter over the minimum in five innings and thrown 61 pitches.
Update II: Matt Wieters hit a three-run homer off Harang with two outs in the sixth to increase the lead to 4-0.
Jimmy Paredes singled with one out and Chris Davis walked with two outs. Davis reached on a bunt single in the second.
Wieters has two home runs and seven RBIs since coming off the disabled list.
Update III: Chen tied his career high with eight innings for the second time this season. He blanked the Phillies on four hits, walked one and struck out nine. He threw 106 pitches, 75 strikes.
The nine strikeouts tie his season high.
Nolan Reimold moved to right field and registered the Orioles’ 21st outfield assist, tops in the majors.
Update IV: The Orioles won for the ninth time in 11 games, defeating the Phillies 4-0 before 23,730.
Zach Britton recorded the last three outs, and the Orioles (32-31) moved above .500 again.
Chen’s ERA is down to 2.89 in 81 innings. He’s walked two batters or fewer in 10 consecutive starts.
The Orioles have four shutouts this season.