Bruce Chen gets the nod for the visitig Royals in the final game of a three-game series, as the A’s look to avoid the sweep. Let’s take a look at Chen and put together a plan of attack.
6’2″ 210 pounds
34 years old
Pitches: Four-seam Fastball, Sinker, Curve, Change, Cutter
History vs. Athletics:
Pitches (Listed by frequency)
Within the last couple of season Chen has added a cutter to his list of pitches. He likes throwing it early in a count and off of his fastball. His fastball averages 87 MPH, and can top out at 89 a times. It has a little wiggle back to the arm side, but nothing special. His cutter will average close to 84 MPH. It has some glove side run and will dive hard at the end, just like a cutter is supposed to do. He will use this to keep hitters off balance but also to try and keep the ball out of the middle parts of the plate. Between those two pitches, you comprise a little of 60% of the pitches he will throw.
His changeup is his is third most frequent pitch. It averages 77 MPH and he likes to roll it over, causing it to fade hard in on lefties, almost a Braden-like screwball/changeup hybrid
He will also throw in a sinker now and then. It is nothing all that outstanding and he tips off his use by drastically changing arm angle, going from a high 3/4rds to near sidearm arm slot. It averages 85 MPH.
Very infrequently he will use his curveball. It is slow and big. Not exactly like Livan Hernandez’s, but it is very much along those lines. This one will come in at 74 MPH.
He induces a lot of foul balls but not a whole lot of whiffs. And that is his game. Much like the other pitchers the A’s have seen, Chen wants you to put the ball in play and induce weak contact.
Chen trusts all of his pitches in all counts. He works strictly away to LHH and will throw the cutter in on the hands to RHH to set-up the changeup away. Chen is unusual, however, in that he owns reverse splits. It is not a massive split, but still one either way and interesting to see:
|vs RHB as LHP||306||3742||3347||450||855||184||11||158||316||662||2.09||.255||.322||.459||.780||52||.273|
|vs LHB as LHP||295||1313||1151||155||318||52||6||43||130||224||1.72||.276||.351||.444||.795||20||.306|
As mentioned earlier, Chen’s desire is to keep the ball out of the middle of the plate and induce weak contact. If the Athletics stay back and look the other way (man this sounds awfully familiar) they will be fine. If the A’s hitters come out over aggressive like they have tended to the last few game, well, it will be another long game. Chen obviously does not have the stuff to blow any of our batters away, they just have to be patient. He is not going to walk guys so you can guess with a certainty that you will get something you can handle in the at-bat.