Orioles Card "O" the Day

An intersection of two of my passions: baseball cards and the Baltimore Orioles. Updated daily?

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Bruce Chen, 2006 Topps #342

In 2005, Bruce Chen won 13 games for the Orioles with a better-than-league-average 3.83 ERA. In his previous seven seasons in the major league, his single-season high in victories had been seven. Now, he'd probably kill for just one.

Tomorrow night, Bruce makes his return to the city where he had his greatest success. He's riding a personal losing streak that has reached twelve games and spanned nearly four years. Since his last big league victory on October 2, 2005 (the final day of the season), the Panama native has gone 0-12 in 51 games with a 6.88 ERA and a 1.69 WHIP. He did most of that damage in 2006, when O's manager Sam Perlozzo was sadistic enough to pitch him in 40 games. Most of those were in the bullpen following an 0-5, 7.71 performance in his first nine starts, or else there's no telling how many more L's would be sprinkled across his record. He surrendered an astounding 28 home runs in just 98.2 innings; if he had made it to the 197 innings he'd reached the previous year, he could have served up 56 homers!

Texas picked him up in 2007, but had the good sense to allow him to pitch only five times. While his ERA was an unsightly 7.20, at least he didn't pick up any losses. He appears to have been out of baseball last year. But of course, you can always count on the Kansas City Royals to prolong the misery. They picked up the journeyman for 2009, and he joined the big league club a month ago. He's proceeded to lose all five of his starts, with a scoreless inning of mop-up relief as the only respite from the "L" train. He's almost halfway to Anthony Young's MLB-record 27 straight losses as a pitcher.

Of course, if he's ever going to win a game, he may not get a better chance than tomorrow night's game (if you believe in jinxes and reverse jinxes, make of this what you will). Bruce faces off against the quickly-unraveling Rich Hill, whose 7.64 ERA and 1.825 WHIP are even worse than his opponent. You'd have to look long and hard to find a worse pitching matchup.

Strap in, kids. It's the Resistible Force vs. the Movable Object. Bring your gloves and you just might catch a souvenir!


Jim said...

I'm completely shocked that Bruce Chen is still pitching, and I hadn't heard the Royals had picked him up. Wow, just wow.

Commish said...

Bruce Chen=further proof that if you are lefthanded, can stand on the mound without falling, and can lift your arm above your waist you can make a living in baseball.

Kevin said...

Jim - Yeeaahhh. KC is where good baseball goes to die. They also have Sidney Ponson in their rotation, and Ryan Freel on the roster.

Bob - No kidding. If only my parents had tied my right arm behind my back as a kid.

William said...

I met Bruce Chen a few years ago and got his autograph. He was better then. Much, much better.

Dave said...

I agree with Jim. I can't believe he is still pitching either. By my count, he has now played for 10 different teams which is pretty good.

Brian said...

Thank god the royals are in town after getting slaughtered after that road trip.

Stacey said...

Bruce Chen didn't pitch last year because he had TJ surgery.

I really really really hope his losing streak doesn't end tonight.

deal said...

Ok I am checking out that box score and I think only 2 Orioles are still w/ the team (Mora and Ray) and I am pretty sure none of those Rays are still Rays. pretty high turnover for those two squads.

Kevin said...

William - It's still gotta be more valuable than the O's hat I have signed by Sam Perlozzo, Brandon Fahey, Brian Burres, Hayden Penn, Jeff Fiorentino, Terry Tiffee, Kurt Birkins, and Freddie Bynum. I think eBay would ban me if I tried selling it.

Dave - Ten it is, and that doesn't even count a minor league stint with the Blue Jays!

Brian - I've been reading enough Joe Posnanski to hope for 3 out of 4 here.

Stacey - Thanks for the info!

Deal - You're right, although I can't help but wonder where Carl Crawford was that day.