Wei-Yen Chen’s lousy road fortunes took a turn for the better Monday.
Chen lost and he gave up five runs, including a pair of homers. But his road ERA actually dropped to 10.27.
That’s how bad it’s been for Chen outside of Marlins Park. And the Marlins’ 5-3 loss to the Braves provided more evidence of Chen’s problems on the road, where his record sits at 1-6.
“He just doesn’t seem the same on the road,” said Marlins manager Don Mattingly. “Not sure why.”
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On Monday, Brian Anderson gave the Marlins an early lead in the first with a two-run shot off Julio Teheran. It was the first home run for the Marlins since Starlin Castro took Teheran deep in Miami six days earlier.
But Chen couldn’t make it hold up. After the Braves scored on Ender Inciarte’s sacrifice fly in the second, Chen couldn’t take care of Teheran to polish off the inning. Teheran battled Chen through an 8-pitch at bat before driving in the tying run with a single.
“We get him two (runs) early, and you’re kind of hoping that’s going to take a little edge off there,” Mattingly said. “But after three we’re down a couple. Just a lot of early runs.”
Chen said he struggled with his command, which led to his latest road downfall.
“I missed my spots,” Chen said. “I faced them last week (a win in Miami) and they probably made some adjustments. Today, some of the pitches I didn’t execute well and they made me pay.”
The Braves added two more runs in the third, with Freddie Freeman going deep. Ronald Acuna Jr.’s shot off Chen in the fifth gave the Braves all the runs they needed.
“It was good to get on the board early,” Mattingly said. “It looked like Teheran was having trouble finding the zone.”
While Chen has put up solid numbers in South Florida (2-2, 2.18), it’s been a different story for him elsewhere. Mattingly has mentioned juggling the rotation to ensure Chen receives more home starts and avoid using him on the road. But so far he’s stuck with a conventional rotation.
That could change once rookie Sandy Alcantara returns from the disabled list, perhaps as early as this week. There’s always a chance the Marlins could move Chen to the bullpen.
On the offensive side, the Marlins went quiet after Anderson’s ninth home run in the first. They scored only once again, on J.T. Realmuto’s RBI double off Teheran in the fifth.
“We’ve done a really good job of battling in these games,” Anderson said. “We’re in all these games. It’s just a matter of finishing these games off.”