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A's 1, Orioles 6: That really was a Hattori Hanzo fastball

I am finished doing what I swore an oath to God 28 years ago to never do again. I've created 'something that kills batters.' And in that purpose, I was a success. I've done this because, philosophically, I am sympathetic to your aim. I can tell you with no ego, this is my finest fastball. If on your journey, you should encounter God, God will strike out.

Back in May, Jack Moore of Fangraphs wrote an article titled, "Wei-Yin Chen’s Surprising Fastball," where he noted that Chen's fastball has been effective in generating swings and misses. Moore concludes, "A new and perhaps greater challenge begins as he starts to make his second rounds across the league, but his fastball is a great weapon." Today, Chen faced for the A's for the second time and his fastball cut down hitters like Uma Thurman cut down Crazy 88 goons. During Chen's first meeting with the A's on April 28th, he allowed one run in seven innings while striking out four batters. Today, Chen struck out 12 batters with every A's hitter striking out at least once. Unfortunately, such slaughter carries unintended consequences. The strike outs inflated Chen's pitch count leading him to complete only 5.2 innings. But Chen only allowed one run and recorded the most strike outs in less than six innings since the days of Easy E. Word up my ninja.

Today, Chen's fastball sat in the low 90s and he used a ton of them to get batters out. Out of his 108 pitches, he threw 72 four-seam fastballs and 7 two-seam fastballs. Putting the two together, he threw 79 fastballs, 57 for strikes and induced 13 swing and misses. According to the strikezone plot, Chen generated a ton of misses in the inner, middle high half of the plate. He ran into trouble in the 6th inning after allowing a walk to Jemile Weeks and then an error by Omar Quintanilla allowed Johnny Gomes to reach base. Chen then struck out Josh Reddick before Yoenis Cespedes hit a single to allow Weeks to score. Chen then struck out Chris Carter, but he couldn't finish off Brandon Inge leading Buck Showalter to bring in Darren O'Day to finish out the inning. Troy Patton, Pedro Strop, and Luis Ayala managed to pitch 2.1 scoreless innings to preserve a 5 run lead and Chen's 9th win.



On the offense, the O's took a 4-0 lead after Adam Jones doubled in Quintanilla for the first run. Then Matt Wieters blasted a three run shot to bring home Jones and J.J. Hardy. With that hit, Wieters managed his first home run since July 5th. The O's would later add insurance runs in the 5th and 6th innings, the later being a home run from Quintanilla off of Jim Miller. Overall, A's starter Travis Blackley pitched 5 inning and give up 5 runs. And for the second series in a row, the O's took the last game of the series to avoid the sweep. Currently, the O's are two games behind the Angels for the second wild card spot. But that's irrelevant as the O's are gunning for the division title with the New York Yankees coming up next.