Wei-Yin Chen left yesterday’s start with an oblique injury and Rich Dubroff of CSNBaltimore.com reports that the Orioles left-hander is expected to be placed on the disabled list.
As usual Chen and the Orioles initially hoped he would only be sidelined for a few days, but almost no player avoids the DL with an oblique strain.
Baltimore already has Miguel Gonzalez on the DL, so Steve Johnson or Jair Jurrjens are the likely fill-in candidates for Chen, who has pitched very well with a 3.04 ERA through 47 innings.
This little story about Orioles pitcher Steve Johnson’s trip to the dentist– and especially the picture that accompanies it — is fun.
But it does make me wonder: do all teams make shirseys for swingmen with 38 innings under their belt? Like, could I theoretically buy a David Phelps shirsey right now?
UPDATE: Sure enough, the Orioles just announced that they’re going with Saunders over Johnson against the Rangers. Showalter indicated that Johnson’s knee injury played a factor in the decision.
Yu Darvish will start the Wild Card playoff game for the Rangers, but the Orioles remain undecided on who they’ll have on the mound. Or at least manager Buck Showalter hasn’t made his choice public yet.
It will either be left-hander Joe Saunders, who was acquired from the Diamondbacks on August 26, or right-hander Steve Johnson, a 25-year-old rookie who made just four regular season starts.
Based on experience and track record Saunders would be the obvious pick and he’s pitched pretty well since joining the Orioles with a 3.63 ERA and 23/8 K/BB ratio in 45 innings. On the other hand the Rangers are a very right-handed heavy lineup aside from Josh Hamilton and led the league in OPS versus left-handed pitching. Not surprisingly Saunders has pretty brutal career numbers versus Texas.
Johnson was excellent in 38 innings split between the rotation and bullpen, posting a 2.11 ERA and 46/18 K/BB ratio, but he’s been dealing with some knee problems and … well, trusting an unheralded rookie with four career starts in the team’s first playoff game in 15 years would certainly be a gutsy call by Showalter.