One of the biggest surprises of a stunning 93-win season for the
Chen started 32 games -- 12 more than
Chen started to struggle as the season wore on, as he had an ERA of 3.64 and a WHIP of 1.22 through July and a 4.75 ERA and 1.35 WHIP in August and September. (He did pitch well in his lone playoff start, allowing two runs, one earned, in 6 1/3 innings of a 3-2 win over the
Now as he prepares to face the
More specifically, now that teams like the Rays and other
Chen, who turns 28 in July, went 4-6 against divisional foes during the 2012 regular season, including a 1-3 record against the Rays, but he did have a 3.92 ERA within the division, per
He lost his final four decisions against the AL East before shutting down the Yankees at
This spring, the Orioles kept Chen (and fellow surprise 2012 starter
The Rays will get a more extended look tonight at
Of course, one could make the argument that Chen, who is still fairly young, is bound to be better in his second season in the big leagues (the culture shock of coming to the United States has also probably subsided). He was 12-11 a season ago with a 4.02 ERA, a number that could dip if he continues to keep hitters on their toes, which won't be easy in the wide-open AL East, a division with no clear favorite or cellar-dweller.
Chen matching his fine rookie season is no sure thing, though.
That's not to say that he can't or that he won't; just that there are no guarantees, especially when it comes to inexperienced pitchers.
Tonight’s start should be the first of many this year for Chen, who will be matched up with another talented youngster in Tampa Bay’s