Before this West Coast road trip started, many, including me, were telling ourselves that if the Orioles could only go .500 over those ten games, that would be a good outcome. Through six games, they are 3-3, on track to do just that. It's one thing to think that ahead of time, but when you get into specific games that are lost for specific reasons, 3-3 feels very disappointing, especially considering the rest of the division has decided to never lose again, even the heretofore bottom feeder Red Sox and Rays.
No big deal, though, because now they just get to face two of the top pitchers in the Cy Young voting from last season over the next two games.
How is it even possible for a pitcher to have fewer than ten walks with over a hundred innings pitched? And he gets over 50% ground balls! With a sub-1.00 WHIP. That's actually ridiculous. The silver lining for the O's tonight is that, since they never walk, it won't matter that Iwakuma never walks anyone.
He's quietly been among the league's best pitchers for the past three seasons, probably because the Mariners weren't very good for two of those seasons. Now that the Mariners are good, perhaps people will notice there's someone other than King Felix in that rotation.
LHP Wei-Yin Chen, Orioles
2014: 19 GS, 109 IP, 4.21 ERA, 79 SO, 19 BB, .281 BAA, 1.30 WHIP
Last start (at Athletics): 5 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 1 HR, 1 BB, 4 SO
The home runs... so many home runs. He's given up about one home run for every five road innings. Chen has only made it through six full innings in one of his last five starts. But he's 10-3, so he knows how to win! No, I had to vomit just after typing that sentence, even with a ladle of sarcasm poured over it like delicious gravy. Mmm, gravy.
As a team, Seattle has hit 81 home runs this year, which is 41 fewer than the league-leading Orioles. That's in spite of the fact that, according to ESPN's park factors, Safeco Field has been the 11th-friendliest environment for home runs, whereas Camden Yards ranks a surprisingly low 24th.
|BALTIMORE ORIOLES||SEATTLE MARINERS|
|Nick Markakis - RF||James Jones - CF|
|Delmon Young - DH||Stefen Romero - RF|
|Adam Jones - CF||Robinson Cano - 2B|
|Nelson Cruz - LF||Corey Hart - 1B|
|Chris Davis - 1B||Kyle Seager - 3B|
|J.J. Hardy - SS||Jesus Montero - DH|
|Jonathan Schoop - 2B||Dustin Ackley - LF|
|Ryan Flaherty - 3B||Mike Zunino - C|
|Caleb Joseph - C||Chris Taylor - SS|
|Wei-Yin Chen - LHP||Hisashi Iwakuma - RHP|