There are unsolved mysteries of the universe that have baffled scientists and astronomers for centuries.
How does gravity work?
What came before the Big Bang?
Why do we need sleep?
The Marlins have their own version. Why is Wei-Yin Chen exceptional when pitching at home while abysmal when he’s on a road mound?
“Obviously if we could have figured it out, we would have tried to,” said manager Don Mattingly. “Anytime I try to answer it, it just doesn’t make any sense.”
They’ll have an entire offseason to ponder that one. Making his final home start of the season, Chen on Friday delivered another gem at Marlins Park, throwing seven shutout innings in the Marlins’ 1-0 win over the Reds in 10 innings.
Isaac Galloway’s RBI double off David Henderson won it for the Marlins, giving them their first 1-0 win in extra innings since May 23, 2015, against the Mets.
Chen, though, remained an enigma.
His latest effort lowered his home ERA on the season to 1.62 -- best among National League pitchers, including Cy Young Award favorite Jacob deGrom of the Mets (1.66). If only Chen could figure out a way to take his home ballpark with him when the Marlins are out on the road. His road ERA is an unsightly 9.29 -- the worst road figure in the majors.
One of Chen’s teammates even offered him a suggestion following Friday’s outing on ways to even out the home/road disparity.
“I just talked to (Dan) Straily, and he said during spring training next year I should probably pitch all my games on the road,” Chen said with a smile.
In other words, if Chen can figure out his road woes in the Grapefruit League, he should have it all worked out before the start of the regular season.
Chen allowed just three hits, struck out eight and didn’t issue any walks. The performance followed back-to-back duds on the road in which he took a pair of losses against the Pirates and Phillies, ones in which he gave up a combined eight earned runs in the same number of innings.
When he faced the Reds in Cincinnati back in May, they tagged him for four runs in four innings. They had no such success against him Friday.
While Chen was up to his usual home cooking, Reds starter Luis Castillo was just as magnificent, holding the Marlins scoreless over 8 1/3 innings. Castillo once belonged to the Marlins before they traded him to Cincinnati two years ago for Straily. He looked like someone who belonged at Marlins Park himself on Friday, limiting the Marlins to four hits and no walks.
Neither team was able to score, and for first time in more than three years, the Marlins took a 0-0 game into extra innings.
But it didn’t take long for the Marlins to put an end to it when Brian Anderson doubled with one out and Galloway followed with the game-winner to deep right.
“I’ve hit a couple of walk-offs in the minors in big games,” Galloway said. “But this one was pretty special.”
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