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May 27, 2017

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Chen's marvelous MLB debut season ends with Orioles loss

Taiwanese pitcher Wei-Yin Chen's rookie season in U.S. Major League Baseball (MLB) ended Friday after his team, the Baltimore Orioles, suffered a 3-1 American League Division Series loss to the New York Yankees.

But for the local lefty, his professional baseball career in the world top-level league is just about to take off following a tremendous debut year in the MLB.

Speaking to Taiwanese media following Friday's season-ending game, Chen admitted that he was somewhat upset in failing to advance to the AL Championship Series.

"I did feel somewhat disappointed (by the loss) but this is baseball," Chen said.

The left-hander, however, said the whole team has done its best in facing the traditional powerhouse Yankees, while giving his highest regards to his teammates throughout the whole season.

"No one believed that we can make it that far to the playoffs at the beginning of the season, but we made it together," he said.

Commenting on his remarkable outing Monday when he outdueled the top pitcher in MLB playoff history, Andy Pettitte, to help the Orioles clutch a 3-2 win over the Yankees, the 27-year-old said the game has taught him an important lesson in overcoming pressure.

"I enjoyed the game a great deal. I felt relaxed pitching in the game, especially when I saw all the fans cheering for me," he noted.

Looking back at the past season, the Kaohsiung-born southpaw said he had an "acceptable" rookie year in the MLB. But most importantly, he learned how to enjoy baseball in the U.S.

Happier in US than in Japan

Making the jump from Japan's pro league to the U.S. earlier this year, Chen said he felt different playing in the majors.

Even with the language barrier, he had a happy year with the Orioles, he said.

Chen has played for several years under the banner of the Chunichi Dragons of Japan Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) since his pro-baseball debut in 2005.

In January, the Orioles signed Chen to a three-year contract with a club option for 2015, making him the first Taiwanese player to play for Japanese professional baseball before signing with a U.S. Major League team.

Chen said he likes playing baseball in the U.S., as there is less pressure in America than when he was playing in Japan.

"I don't have to think too much, (I just have to do) my best on the mound and enjoy my time with teammates."

During the 2012 regular season, Chen was 12-11 with a 4.02 ERA. He had 154 strikeouts and just 57 walks.

Looking forward to the next season, Chen said he hopes he can become a more mature and solid pitcher, and even more important, he hopes to contribute more to assist his team in an even better season with many more to come.

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