Game 83, Orioles at Mariners

marc w · July 3, 2012 at 5:52 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Felix Hernandez vs. Wei-Yin Chen, 7:10pm

Happy Felix Day!

Wei-Yin Chen is a lefty out of Taiwan whom the Orioles signed out of the Japanese league. He had a remarkable 2009 season for the Chunichi dragons, posting the lowest ERA in decades, but he was released by his club after 2011 meaning that the Orioles didn’t need to navigate the posting process. Some reports after his signing had his fastball in the 92-94 range, but that hasn’t materialized thus far. He’s averaging 91 on both his four- and two-seam fastballs, and also throws a slider and a curve (to left-handed batters) and a change-up (to right-handers). Through three months of the season, Chen’s been an above-average starter, posting 1.2 fWAR and 1.7 rWAR. Chen’s a fly-ball pitcher, so he’ll probably enjoy pitching at Safeco. He gets an above average number of swinging strikes, and it’s his fastball that’s doing the heavy lifting. It’s only 15 starts, but Chen’s getting more whiffs with his four-seam fastball than King Felix.

Today’s line-up marks the return of Mike Saunders from what sounds like a particularly nasty stomach flu. Smoak and Montero are back after yesterday’s night off, so Ackley slides back to second.
1: Ichiro
2: Wells (LF)
3: Seager
4: Montero (DH)
5: Olivo (C)
6: Saunders (CF)
7: Smoak
8: Ackley
9: Ryan
SP: King Felix

Danny Hultzen starts tonight’s game in Tacoma. The July 3rd game’s the biggest of the year for the Rainiers, with a huge fireworks show afterwards. Thus, while we’ve had quite a bit of rain and wind today, there’s essentially no chance the game’s getting rained out. I haven’t seen what direction the wind’s blowing, but tonight could get wacky.
James Paxton’s on the hill right now for Jackson, and he’s been solid through three scoreless innings – striking 1 and, most importantly, not walking anyone.


202 Responses to “Game 83, Orioles at Mariners”

  1. marcus_andrews on July 4th, 2012 7:25 pm

    I actually think it’s partially the eye closing thing that he does. I know it’s hard not to do it, but other catchers don’t and it allows them to make those miniscual adjustments that turn a ball of the facemask into a ball off the end of the glove. It’s not a major issue on the surface but if he keeps having these issues than something needs to be done.

  2. msfanmike on July 5th, 2012 9:37 am

    Having taken a few like that off the grill – myself – the best way to deal with them is to have your teeth clenched and your face squared up toward the pitcher. A mouth guard would help too. The worst thing to do is to have your jaw slightly ajar. It’s like football – if you see it coming and have time to “clench” it will hurt less. The involuntary eye closure cannot be remedied. Head square and clinch your teeth -is about as good as you can do. It also helps to have an Olivo esque cement head. Umpiring school technique. I was not dumb enough to play catcher. I was dumb enough for the former.

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