Marlins pull Wei-Yin Chen in the middle of his bid for a no-hitter after 100 pitches
Should Don Mattingly have let Chen chase history?
In a move we've seen become more common in recent years, another pitcher has been pulled from a game with a no-hitter intact. This time around, it was Marlins starter Wei-Yin Chen in Seattle. He weaved through the Mariners order through seven innings, allowing no hits. It took him 100 pitches, which isn't terribly efficient but isn't awful, either.
Still, Marlins manager Don Mattingly went to the bullpen after the seventh inning, removing Chen during a no-hitter. Brad Ziegler kept the no-no going in through eight and the Marlins took a combined no-hitter into the ninth before Mitch Haniger's one-out double to right-center off Kyle Barraclough ended the bid. The Marlins won 5-0.
We've recently seen this happen to younger guys who teams don't want to work into high pitch counts, but Chen is a veteran of six years in the majors and is 31 years old. He does not, however, go very deep into the game. He's never had a complete game at the big-league level and has only gone as many as eight innings six times in his career, with the most recent coming in July of 2015.
Chen has gone over 100 pitches 52 times in his career, with his career high being 119. Of course, it's only his third start of the season and he only threw 56 pitches his last time out (after an 86-pitch debut), so it's possible Mattingly doesn't think Chen is stretched out enough to have stretched things to the 125-pitch range -- and that would be with two very efficient innings from Chen.
It's worth noting here that Chen did get into a modicum of trouble in the seventh inning. He walked Mitch Haniger and -- after a fielder's choice from Robinson Cano -- hit Nelson Cruz with a pitch. He did get Kyle Seager to strike out swinging and then induce a Taylor Motter pop out to end the inning, though.
"This guy had a UCL tear last year and he's coming back," Mattingly said after the game (Fox Sports Florida). "He's been healthy, but I'm not gonna have him go to 130."
"In our minds, he's got no chance to make nine innings."
Mattingly also mentioned Chen's tough seventh inning in his postgame comments.
This will be a pretty polarizing topic. Chen was pulled from a possible no-hitter at just 100 pitches.