Miami Marlins starter turned reliever Wei-Yin Chen has looked noticeably better in his last two outings for the organization. Is this a sign of things to come?
I am sure there are plenty of Miami Marlins fans out there who hoped the organization had sent reliever Wei-Yin Chen packing long before the 2019 season began. The 33-year-old lefty was abysmal in camp, and wasn’t much better when he took the mound in Spring Training games. The thought of him starting games, keeping Caleb Smith off the 25-man roster was enough to make fans lose sleep.
Yes, it’s true.
Now, as Chen settles into his role as a long reliever and works on his fundamentals in the bullpen, there appears to be a ray of light and hope on his career coming into games in certain situations rather than be a table setter for this organization.
It must also be a sigh of relief for the front office and a manager Don Mattingly who both have addressed Chen’s woes as he has battled through the first six weeks of the season.
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"“He’s showing up and he’s making himself valuable to us, from the standpoint of using him in different areas,” Mattingly said."
The numbers don’t lie. There is an improvement in his pitching and how he is battling on the bump rather than having to deal with lost opportunity.
"“Chen has now gone four straight appearances (six innings) without allowing a run. It’s a big improvement since he was tagged for 10 runs in two innings on April 9 at the Reds,” writes Joe Frisaro. “Since that miserable night at Cincinnati, Chen has given up three runs in nine innings over his last six outings.”"
When putting together his pitching staff this year Don Mattingly, had planning to use Chen as a potential spot starter with a young rotation that was very inexperienced. Then the wheels came off for Chen, who was dreadful for the better part of April. Now, with May in full swing and Chen’s confidence re-emerging, this could be a good thing for the pitcher and the Marlins.
"“Thus far, Chen has been used primarily for multiple-inning opportunities,” Frisaro added. “It’s possible he could also be called upon more situationally, against tough lefty hitters.”"
Those numbers I mentioned earlier have painted another picture of how Chen has bounced back from adversity. His ERA was 24.75 on April 9. But after his two innings on Thursday, it’s down to 9.69.