Wei-Yin Chen said something after last night’s 2-1 victory that really struck me. He told Steve Melewski of masnsports.com of a tragedy that had occurred in his hometown back in Taiwan:
"Unfortunately back in my hometown, there was a horrible accident – a gas explosion which took away thousands of lives. Today, this win I would like to give out to my home people and I want to send out my best wishes. Hope everyone is all right there."
I echo Chen’s sentiments; I hope that that all of the affected people are doing as well as can be expected. I think that sometimes we take for granted how difficult it might be for someone like Wei-Yin Chen to have to come to America and not only be expected to pitch at the highest level but also to learn our culture and be so far from all of the people he knows and loves.
Ultimately, baseball’s just a game. What happened in Chen’s hometown is real life.
In a game that he dedicated to folks back in his homeland, Chen didn’t disappoint. Chen’s line:
Courtesy of Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports
7.1 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 8 K. Those eight strikeouts were a career-high for Wei-Yin Chen, who seemed to mix his pitches very well throughout his outing last night. He’s never been the hardest thrower in the world, but the way Chen gets hitters out is through late movement in the strike zone, which if applied correctly can be deadly. Seattle saw that first hand last night.
Unfortunately for the Baltimore Orioles, Seattle starter Roenis Elias was almost just as good. He stymied Oriole bats for most of the night. Seattle has one of the best starting staffs and bullpens in the league, so I wouldn’t be overly concerned about Oriole bats. In fact, it should be duly noted that the Orioles won this game without the benefit of the home run ball.
The O’s took a 1-0 lead in the third when Manny Machado singled home Delmon Young from third base. Young had led off the inning with a double, and he went to third on Nick Markakis‘ infield single. However Seattle came right back in the fourth. Robinson Cano reached on a one-out single, and he was doubled home by Kendrys Morales. There was a close play at the plate, and for a split second it appeared that the Orioles might have Cano nailed at home. However catcher Caleb Joseph dropped the ball, and the game was tied.
Machado led off the sixth with a double off the scoreboard in right field, which came mere feet away from leaving the yard. However Machado also got a pass in a sense when he made a mental mistake a few moments later. On a grounder that was hit by Adam Jones to Machado’s right, he broke for third. However shortstop Chris Taylor misplayed the ball, allowing Jones to reach (on an error) and allowing Machado to get to third. Base runners are taught to stay on second base if a ball’s hit to their right side; it’s also very possible that Taylor was so surprised to see Machado in motion that he misplayed the ball.
Either way, the O’s had runners at the corners after Taylor’s error. J.J. Hardy ran the count full (with two outs) before singling up the middle into center field. Machado touched home, and the O’s held a 2-1 lead.
The Orioles’ newest acquisition, Andrew Miller, recorded the final two outs in the eighth inning to bridge the gap to Zach Britton in the ninth. Miller received a great ovation from the faithful at Camden Yards, which really took him for a ride if his postgame comments are any indication. He seemed to really appreciate the fact that the Orioles’ fans were happy to have him on the team for the rest of the way; these types of situations can be awkward (coming to a new team mid-year) especially given the fact that Miller came from a division rival, but Miller seems to have had no trouble fitting in thus far.
Britton sent Seattle down 1-2-3 in the ninth, and the Orioles had themselves a 2-1 win over Seattle. Boston also beat NY while Houston beat Toronto, putting the Orioles back up by 2.5 games in first place. The series continues this evening with Miguel Gonzalez taking to the hill for the Birds. He’ll be opposed by James Paxton.
Before yesterday’s game the Orioles also announced that they had signed LHP Joe Saunders (a former Oriole in his own right) to a minor league contract. Saunders formerly pitched for Texas, but was released earlier this year. It’s unclear how, if at all, the O’s plan on using Saunders (at the big league level, that is), but either way it’s a move to shore up organizational depth. Furthermore, if Dan Duquette had been considering trading for a starter on waivers this month, the signing of Saunders might in effect fill that gap and save the Orioles a prospect.