Orioles look for some Chen music


First off, one last tidbit from last night’s 6-2 loss to New York. In this story written by Roch Kubatko of masnsports.com, Robert Andino and NY catcher Russell Martin exchanged words following the game. Martin was apparently accusing Andino of stealing signs after his double off of Mariano Rivera in the 9th inning. Let me be frank; baseball’s a gentleman’s game, and I feel that stealing signs is dirty. HOWEVER, this is not the first time that Martin has pulled this stunt. Last year he accused the entire Toronto Blue Jays team of doing it after an eight-run first inning. Toronto has a reputation for stealing signs, however in that case he might well have had a point given the circumstances (eight runs in an inning). That certainly wasn’t the case last night. Furthermore (according to Kubatko’s article), Martin seemed to conveniently forget why he was angry after the game when asked by reporters. Was he lying, severely mistaken, or perhaps realizing that he might have put a teammate at risk of being plunked? (As I said, sign stealing is wrong; but I would also say that a quick glance towards home doesn’t indicate someone is stealing signs.)

Tonight at Camden Yards the Birds will debut Taiwanese southpaw Wei-Yin Chen against NY. Chen’s most recent outing was the Grapefruit League closer against Tampa in which he gave up six runs (two earned). Overall, Chen was 2-2 in the spring with a 3.60 ERA. My personal opinion is that like most pitchers from the Japanese League (where Chen played the past few years) he has pinpoint accuracy. My question is whether or not his endurance is up to snuff. I’ve noticed over the years that many former Japanese League pitchers seem to fall apart after about five innings or so. Why is this? Survey says: conditioning in the Japanese League doesn’t necessarily translate directly over to MLB. By this, I mean that regardless of the schedule pitchers in Japan pitch once a week (every seven days). So when the creme de la creme of that league comes to MLB and they’re suddenly throwing every five or six days (with bullpen sessions on the side), their arms aren’t conditioned for it at first. The Orioles saw this with Koji Uehara, and we’ve seen it with some other Japanese League alumni across MLB.

In last night’s game the Birds came across as the exception to the Moneyball rule; generally three base runners equals a run. The Orioles put 13 hits on the board last night, but couldn’t muster more than two runs. Again, that’s the exception to the rule. The exception won’t rule the roost every night. The Orioles will face Freddy Garcia who was 2-0 with a 4.35 ERA against the O’s last season. While NY had debated having Garcia on the roster in some capacity to begin with, he’s only in the starting rotation now due to the fact that Michael Pineda is on the DL.

Last night being no exception, the Orioles have proven that they could get on base thus far this year. That needs to continue, especially against the Yankees tonight. As I said above, Garcia is only starting this game because of an injury in their rotation, so he could be a guy that the Birds could beat around a bit. Furthermore, if Robert Andino is a guy that the likes of Russell Martin thinks he can intimidate, I think he’s severely mistaken. Another thing I wanted to mention about last night was that I felt Mark Reynolds had a great game at third base. MLB.com’s Oriole beat reporter Brittany Ghiroli sent out this tweet after an exceptionally good play by Reynolds. He’s a guy that’s been almost maligned after the first few games for a few mishaps. There’s certainly improvement that could be made, however as Ghiroli said let’s give credit where it’s due. Don’t jump off a bridge Baltimore, last night was only one game. Tonight’s a whole new ballgame!

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