Today is one of those games that fit into Earl Weaver's maxim, "Momentum is only as good as your next day's starter." The Orioles won in dramatic fashion yesterday, coming back to tie in the ninth and then winning in extra innings, but that won't help them any today, unless Wei-Yin Chen pitches well. I am heartened, or at least I will be until the sixth inning when Buck takes way too long to yank Chen from the game for inexplicable reasons.
I have to imagine Brewers fans feel about Garza the way we feel about Ubaldo Jimenez. He was supposed to be something good, they signed him for a comparable amount of money (four years, $50 million) although they didn't sacrifice a draft pick, and he's... this. It's a small sample size for both, but Garza is getting lit up on the road while performing capably (3.55 ERA) at home. After watching that game yesterday, you can guess why. That outfield is huge, and Carlos Gomez is everywhere.
LHP Wei-Yin Chen, Orioles
2014: 9 G, 53 IP, 4.08 ERA, 34 SO, 10 BB, .298 BAA, 1.42 WHIP
Last start (vs. Indians): 6.2 IP, 8 H, 5 ER, 1 HR, 0 BB, 1 SO
Chen is perplexing. His ground ball rate is up at 46.4%, the highest of his career, which you would think would translate to a better batting average against, and particularly a lower BABIP, but that isn't the case. He's also cut his walk rate significantly from an already-low amount. He has walked 4.4% of batters this season. His rotation-mate Jimenez has walked 11.3%. He isn't giving up a lot of home runs either, which has been a problem for him in the past.
What is it, then? Probably something to do with whatever about his stuff makes him struggle the second and third time through the batting order. Batters have a .568 OPS against him the first time through, .921 OPS the second time, and .833 OPS the third time. MLB hitters will adjust. MLB pitchers have to adjust to the adjustments. This is not a strong area for Chen.
Only two Orioles hitters have faced Garza more than ten times, and only two Brewers hitters have faced Chen at all. So, looking at the batter-pitcher matchups would be more useless than usual. Here are your game lineups:
|BALTIMORE ORIOLES||MILWAUKEE BREWERS|
|Nick Markakis - RF||Jean Segura - SS|
|Manny Machado - 3B||Ryan Braun - RF|
|Adam Jones - CF||Jonathan Lucroy - 1B|
|Chris Davis - 1B||Carlos Gomez - CF|
|Nelson Cruz - LF||Rickie Weeks - 2B|
|J.J. Hardy - SS||Khris Davis - LF|
|Nick Hundley - C||Mark Reynolds - 3B|
|Jonathan Schoop - 2B||M. Maldonado - C|
|Wei-Yin Chen - LHP||Matt Garza - RHP|
Chris Davis is back after his wife had a baby girl. Steve Pearce will probably go back to being buried behind Delmon Young. So it goes.