There’s a lot of pressure, to say the least, on Oriole starting pitcher Wei-Yin Chin tonight after the O’s heartbreaking loss to the Yankees yesterday.
We’ve got a couple of staff members here at Baltimore magazine just going to tonight’s game and the tension in the office has been palpable all day. We can’t imagine what the O’s clubhouse feels like right now and the anxiousness the 27-year-old Taiwanese southpaw is facing.
But if the O’s tie the series this evening as we fully expect despite our butterflies — game time is 8 p.m. — they’ll head to the Bronx even at 1-1. The Orioles split the season series with the Yankees and with Miguel Gonzalez, who has been pitching well, slotted for a Game 3 start, there’s no reason the Orioles can’t take two out of three in New York.
No one wants tonight to be the season’s last home game.
Although Chen, a Major League rookie this season, tailed off at the end of the season, he’s had a very solid campaign overall. He pitched 192 innings this season for the O’s, logging a 12-11 record and a 4.02 ERA. He throws his fastball in the low-90s, mixing in a slider and curve.
The spin? He should be tough on the Yankees' lefty batsmen, like Robinson Cano and Curtis Granderson, and he’s pitched well on six days rest this season. According to ESPN.com, “Chen had an ERA of 2.28 on the season when starting after six or more days off compared to a 4.39 ERA when starting on regular rest.”
By contrast, Chen’s counterpart tonight is a left-hander with an extensive Major League postseason resume. Andy Pettitte, a potential Hall-of-Famer, has won more postseason games than any other pitcher in baseball history. He's also won five World Series with the Yankees, which is probably enough.
Pettitte, of course, is also 40 years old now. The time is ripe for the Oriole hitters to rediscover their home run strokes.
Let's go O's!