He is Wei-Yin Chen, Hero of Taiwan. A great burden rests upon his shoulders. This afternoon, he shall carry the hopes of Birdland with him to the mound. Mandatory Credit: Joy R. Absalon-US PRESSWIRE
With Doug Fister on the mound for the Tigers today, you may think it's time to unleash your best/worst jokes along the lines of, "Fister? I barely know her!" You should not do this, however, because you will strike out, just like the Orioles will strike out. It's surprising that Fister has a career high strikeout rate going right now. Well, maybe not so surprising considering he has an 8.1% swinging strike rate on the year, whereas for his career it's 6.7%. He's not a guy who's going to blow a fastball by anyone, so there have probably been some pathetic hacks taken at his off-speed offerings.
Fister has an average fastball velocity, this year, of 88.7mph. And we know how the O's do against those junkballers. Fister has made leaps with his stuff recently - or at least he's made leaps with his results. Prior to 2011, he'd never had an ERA below 4, then last year he had a 2.83 between Seattle and Detroit, with his strong outings in Seattle probably being why Detroit traded for him. This year, his ERA is 3.24, and he missed some starts due to injury so he doesn't qualify for the ERA title. If he did, he'd be tied for 9th, which isn't getting you a Cy Young but is still pretty good.
Still, maybe they will make a game out of it this afternoon. My perception is that the O's have done much better in series finales where they still have a chance to win the series rather than finales where they can go for the sweep. This would not be the first time where I was completely wrong about something. Whatever. Please win, O's!
The good news is Wei-Yin Chen gets the start. He feels like the one Orioles pitcher we know we can count on right now, even though 20% of the time we can't count on him. But that's okay, because 80% of the time, we can! 80% is okay. You wouldn't want to be launched into space on a rocket ship designed by an 80% student, but for the most part in baseball, any time you succeed four out of five times, you are doing pretty good. Except fielding chances. You might want to get a bit higher than 80% if you want to keep your job. Or else be Wilson Betemit, but even then, sooner or later, a Manny Machado will come along and unseat you.
Texas awaits after this game. It's not gonna get any easier for the O's, so hopefully they can come out of this afternoon victorious. They certainly could. We've seen many times this year where the O's won when we believed it impossible. Whether or not they will is another story.