Orioles lefty Wei-Yin Chen is coming off arguably the best start of his young Major League career, a dominant eight-inning performance in which he gave up only two hits, walked two and struck out five against the A's on Friday.
That start gave Chen his second straight win and lowered his April ERA to 2.53, and he'll look to ride that momentum into Wednesday night's series finale against Aaron Harang and the Mariners at Safeco Field.
"It was the best start I had mentally," Chen said Friday through an interpreter. "The last couple of outings I was thinking too much. ... I just wanted to throw the ball and not think."
"He seemed like he was in a groove no matter what he did," added Orioles manager Buck Showalter. "It was great to see that, especially on the road."
Wednesday will be Chen's fifth road start in six outings to begin the year, but that hasn't proven to be much trouble for him, as he's posted a 2.77 ERA in his first four road outings.
Chen has had some success in Seattle as well, posting a 2.84 ERA in two career starts at Safeco Field. He had a perfect game through six innings last July against the Mariners before Casper Wells broke it up with a homer with one out in the seventh.
Seattle, meanwhile, will send Harang to the mound for his fourth start since being acquired via trade in the second week of the regular season. The 34-year-old right-hander owns an 0-3 record and an 11.37 ERA after giving up five runs in three innings against the Angels on Friday.
Harang, who went 10-10 with a 3.61 ERA in 31 starts for the Dodgers last year, said he worked on a few things between starts with pitching coach Carl Willis and expects better results this time out.
"I've gone back and looked at some video with Carl, and I was kind of flying out early with my hip, so pitches weren't being as effective," Harang said. "You don't get the turn and twist and torque that you should. We were wondering if it was being off for the little bit of time that I was and picking up some bad habits, so I wasn't as sharp as I was in spring. We really focused on fastball location and the mechanical part. I think it was productive.
"I've had some streaks like this before. It's not something I'm panicking about, but I feel confident I've got things back where I need them. We'll see how things go the next start or two, and hopefully I was able to get things back in line."
Orioles: Britton optioned to Triple-A
• The Orioles optioned left-hander Zach Britton to Triple-A Norfolk and added right-hander Zach Clark to their bullpen Tuesday. Baltimore also officially added catcher Chris Snyder and designated catcher Luis Exposito for assignment to clear a spot on the 40-man roster.
Britton was recalled last week and started Monday's game, taking the loss after allowing six earned runs on 10 hits and two walks over six innings. Britton said he would have liked a longer look and more time to get into his routine in the Majors, and he wasn't told whether the decision was based on his performance or simply a need for a fresh arm.
"It's just frustrating," Britton said. "I felt like I threw well enough [for Triple-A Norfolk] that maybe I'd get an opportunity if there was a need. There was a need. Like I said, I would have liked to have maybe get a couple more starts and give it an opportunity. ... It was disappointing not to get an extended look."
• Second baseman Brian Roberts (hamstring strain) hit soft tosses and threw from 75 feet at the club's Spring Training facility in Sarasota, Fla., on Tuesday. The Orioles are optimistic that Roberts won't have to be moved to the 60-day disabled list.
Mariners: Andino to start against former team
• Manager Eric Wedge said Robert Andino will be back in the starting lineup at shortstop Wednesday night to face his former club. Andino started at second base in Monday's 6-2 win, going 1-for-3 with an RBI single. Seattle acquired Andino in an offseason trade for outfielder Trayvon Robinson, and Wedge indicated that Andino will continue to get the majority of starts at shortstop for now, although Brendan Ryan will get playing time as well.
Andino insisted that facing his former team isn't a big deal, however.
"Just another game," Andino said. "You've still got to hit it, still got to bring in runs, the bases are still 90 feet away. And if you score more runs, you win. That's the name of the game."
• The Mariners signed 33-year-old outfielder Corey Patterson to a Minor League contract on Tuesday and sent him to Arizona for extended spring workouts. A 12-year Major League veteran, Patterson hit .251 with 10 homers and 18 stolen bases last year with the Brewers' Triple-A club. Patterson was in camp with the Mariners in 2010.
"He's a guy with some experience and we've seen a lot of over the years," Wedge said. "He's looking for another opportunity to play, so we'll take a look at him."
• The Mariners have the fewest off-days in the Majors this year, and they had only one day off in April. But after Wednesday night's game, they'll have four off-days on the schedule between Thursday and May 13.
• Since April 18, the Orioles are batting .354 (40-for-113) with runners in scoring position. Before that, Baltimore was hitting just .224 with runners in scoring position.