Results tagged ‘ Brad Bergesen ’

Bergesen on his outing

Orioles starter Brad Bergesen allowed two runs on eight hits over five innings this afternoon against the Rays. His line was much improved from his previous spring performances and Bergesen was happy with his progression overall this spring.

Here’s what he had to say about the outing.

[on how he felt]
“I was much more pleased with how I worked my fastball. More down in the zone, when I was missing, I was missing down rather than up, right over the plate. That was positive. The slider wasn’t there for me. Need to work on it. I talked to [pitching coach Mark Connor] afterward and there are a couple adjustments we want to make with that but as far as overall feeling, I felt better with the previous adjustments I made. My mechanics felt a little more natural today.”
 
[on it being a relief to see a better line]
“Absolutely. Early on, I think some of you guys stressed a little bit (with the results), but it really is getting our work in early on. Not worried about the results, not panicking, but as we do get closer to the season, like we are, for me it is nice to have the results there and to try to keep going now into the season and carry that through.”
 
[on retiring Manny Ramirez to end the fifth with the bases loaded]
 “That’s a test I would always like to pass there. The guy is a future Hall of Famer. Again, it is only spring training, you are not too excited or, if things don’t go right, you are not too down. But to get in that situation and do damage control early, like I did, and getting in a situation like that and being able to get out of it, could help confidence at this point.”

Here’s what manager Buck Showalter had to say about Bergesen…

“He had some counts in his favor and couldn’t quite finish it off,” Showalter said. “He had 0-2 count, two outs and nobody on and gave up one and borderline two runs. I’d like to see, when he gets himself in some good counts, and not necessarily strike the guy out, but make a quality pitches.

There were some firm balls hit off him today. Hopefully, we’re getting there. I thought his plane was a little better. I’ve seen him more crisp, which is normal. He’ll get the ball at least a couple more times and we’ll see where we are with it.”

Bergesen on his rough start

Orioles starter Brad Bergesen, who entered camp projected to
be in the back end of the team’s rotation, hasn’t done much to help cause.

Bergesen, who allowed three runs over three innings in his
last start, didn’t make it out of the third against the Pirates Thursday night.
Instead he exited after 2 1/3innings, giving up four runs (three earned) on six
hits and two walks, and falling well short of his slated four-inning mark.

 It’s a small adjustment, I just have to make it,” said
Bergesen, who admitted he started to fly open in his delivery, causing the ball
to flatten out and the Pirates to pound the ball down the first base line.

 “Just a little more deception. Today was just
bad. When I got into trouble, I didn’t make pitches. Lesson learned.”

An already-quick worker on the
mound, Bergesen tried to speed things up too much on Thursday to try to regain
form, despite the best efforts of catcher Craig Tatum and pitching coach Mark
Connor.   But while his early spring
starts haven’t gone smoothly, Bergesen -who had two separate stints in Triple-A
twice last season – doesn’t think it’s time to panic.

“For me, it’s way too early,”
Bergesen said when asked if he was concerned about losing what seemed to be a
solid grip on a rotation spot.

 “Obviously, I’m a competitor. I never like
going out there and having an outing like that, but at the same time, it’s
early, I’m still working on things. Outings like this are unacceptable, but I’m
not getting down on myself or turning into a mental head case by any means. I
just know what I need to work on.”

Bergesen on his outing

Orioles starter Brad Bergesen talked about his second start this spring. Here are the highlights.

[on his outing]

“As far as right now, it’s where I want to be. It’s tough to convince people of that after an outing like that, but it’s really about getting our work in, getting our innings up. Really what it amounted to me, was pitch selection today. I just threw away, away, away and finally they started looking for it. I just needed to throw more inside.”

[on what he's working on this spring]

“For me, this year it’s really just about getting myself ready as far as the feel of all my pitches. I can’t sit here and say it’s my two-seam, my fastball my changeup. It’s about trying to hone in on everything.”

Bergesen labors through second outing

Orioles starter Brad Bergesen struggled in his second spring outing.

The right-hander, facing a split-squad Red Sox squad without most of their regulars, allowed three runs on six hits and a walk. He struck out two and was over the 40-pitch mark after the second inning,but was able to get a quick third under his belt, starting a 1-6-3 double-play.

He threw 46 pitches total, 31 for strikes.
 

More pregame notes

*The Orioles have not received Dr. Lewis Yocum’s opinion on Jake Arrieta’s bone spur, so right now the surgical procedure remains on hold. As a quick recap, Arrieta has a spur in his right elbow area that he’s hesitant to remove given that he hasn’t been bothered by it in the past.The O’s have taken the approach that they’d rather be safe and get the procedure done, instead of worrying about it down the road. Yocum is providing a second opinion on Arrieta’s MRI.
*Kevin Millwood will make his final start Wednesday with Thursday and Friday’s starters up in the air. One of those will be Jeremy Guthrie but if the O’s tab Chris Tillman to start, they will give him Thursday. If they go Rick VandenHurk, he will go Friday and Guthrie will go Thursday since VandenHurk pitched on Sunday in Toronto. Tillman will not pitch out of the bullpen if the Os elect to give VandenHurk another start.
*Brian Matusz and Brad Bergesen will be the last two games, with Bergesen finishing up the season.
*Jim Johnson is not campaigning to start. He was asked if he liked starting better than relieving, which is a fairly obvious answer for most pitchers. Who wouldn’t like to get four days off and pitch one day? But he is not going to approach manager Buck Showalter about wanting to start. It’s also important to keep in mind Johnson has elbow issues and was available to avoid surgery with rehab. Having him serve as a bridge in the bullpen instead of a starter throwing over 100 pitches an outing, is probably best for the O’s – and JJ – long term.

Tillman on his way, Os will go to 6-man

BALTIMORE — Chris Tillman is expected to arrive in Baltimore on Friday night and he will likely make his next scheduled start on Sunday for the Orioles.

Manager Buck Showalter said Friday afternoon that plan is not definite yet, but acknowledged it was what would probably happen. Given that the Orioles have several young arms reaching their innings limit, inserting Tillman in the rotation would give the team a chance to go to a six-man rotation to help get through the season’s final month.  It would also move the rest of the current rotation back a day, putting Brian Matusz, Jake Arrieta and Brad Bergesen in line to pitch next week’s series in New York, which starts on Monday.

Long reliever Rick VandenHurk is also someone the organization wants to get a look at in a starting role, and he could make several spot starts in September.  VandenHurk was acquired for the Marlins in a deadline deal with the Marlins and the O’s could chose to skip a starters schedule turn entirely or just push back the rotation again to give VandenHurk a look.

The 22-year-old Tillman went 1-4 with a 7.92 ERA in two separate stints with the Orioles this season. He pitched to a 3.34 ERA for Triple-A Norfolk, posting an 11-7 record in 21 starts.

What do you do?

I’m off this series in Toronto with a prior engagement, but I’ve gotten a bunch of emails and questions on Twitter –enough to make me check out the remnants of last night’s game via the box score.

The question is, what do you do with Brad Bergesen? Should you have left him in longer? Do you call up Zach Britton in his place? Do you let Britton continue to develop?

Like I said, I’m not with the team and I don’t play couch-GM nearly as good as my friend/colleague MASN’s Roch Kubatko. I’ll be back with the O’s for Kansas City on Thursday, and by then I’m sure we will know Bergy’s fate.

The thing is, I’m not sure what the right move is here. It’s hard to punish a guy who is far from alone in his struggles. Do you send all the young guys back to Norfolk? Or do you let them develop in what is essentially a lost season ? Do you weigh each particular case in terms of who can maybe work through their issues up here and who can’t?

I wasn’t covering the Orioles last year and only vaguely remember Brad Bergesen when I covered an Os-Yanks series. I’ve heard he was great, a pleasant surprise for Baltimore. I’ve seen flashes of it (like that game at Fenway Park), but for the most part Bergy’s been ineffective. Is it mental or mechanical? Is the League catching up to him?

I’m just as perplexed/astounded as most of you are. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion of president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail, interim manager Juan Samuel and pitching coach Rick Kranitz. But I certainly wouldn’t want any of their jobs right about now.

I will say this: I’ve done a lot of talking, mostly off the record in the visitors’ clubhouse and on the road. The general consensus about the Os young arms is they’re talented but the expectations placed on them this spring were incredibly unrealistic.
 
“Everything had to go right for those guys to have a chance,” said one rival GM. “And everything has gone wrong.”

None of these guys are even 25 yet. And most of them have about a year of service time -Bergy’s a little more, Jake Arrieta’s a little less, etc.  Will they all be as good as hyped? Probably not. But they aren’t this bad, either.

If they were scattered about other organizations maybe they’d still be in the Minor leagues or be a fifth starter with far less expectation. Instead, they are all up here together, pitching in the AL East with the general consensus being that they are the “Calvary” that will restore the O’s to prominence.

This spring, I spoke with an opposing pitching coach who watched Chris Tillman throw a Grapefruit League game and marvel at the possibilities. “They’re talented,” he said of the O’s young arms. “But they’re still a couple years away.”

The problem with relying on growing the young arms is the O’s don’t have any veterans or journeyman pitchers in the organization, or at Norfolk, who can come up and serve as filler. 

Look at the Tides rotation, or most of their roster in general. It’s a youth movement. I acknowledge that they’re trying to restock their farm system and really build a nice young core, but I think the element of adding a sprinkling of veterans, especially at Norfolk, was incredibly overlooked. Even the guys who are older, so to speak, don’t have years of League experience.

I know several AL teams overpay their Minor League veterans when they’re free agents to get them to stay in the system. The benefits are two-fold : first, you get a solid backup option if your prospects aren’t ready and you need a guy to come up for a quick stint. Two, you get veterans who are generally in good spirits about the organization and willing to help foster a positive, learning atmosphere. You get enough of these guys –particularly those who have been in the bigs — and your Triple-A team also starts to win a lot more games than it loses. In the Triple-A International League the top three teams are the Yankees and Rays affiliates, with Cleveland’s Columbus squad leading the West division. I’m not saying winning in the Minor Leagues is everything, but it’s certainly something.
  
The O’s lack of these types of veterans has also handcuffed them to an extent. It’s hard to trade away Jeremy Guthrie when you can’t think of a guy to take that roster spot. I know Kevin Millwood has come under fire, but he’s usually good for at least six innings.

People are clamoring for Britton to come up, but is he ready? He’s only made a handful of starts since being promoted from Double-A. He’s a guy you don’t want to have to shuttle back-and-forth, like they’ve done (erroneously in my opinion) with guys like Tillman and Bergesen.

This was supposed to be the year they all stood on their feet, so to speak. But having no backup option in case they didn’t, no Plan B, was risky. And now, you’re seeing just how dangerous it is.

****
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It starts with the starters

Orioles rookie Jake Arrieta became the latest promising young arm to labor through an ineffective and entirely too short start on Sunday, a one-time anomaly that has become a cause for increasing concern.

During the 65-minute rain delay, I got a little bored and was combing through stats and compiling numbers and sharing them with my fellow reporters. Here are a few stats that stand out.

*Excluding Jeremy Guthrie -who has posted two quality starts on the homestand – the Orioles starters have worked just 36 1/3 innings over eight games, allowing 41 earned runs on 54  hits for a 10.10 ERA.

*The starting staff has pitched  a combined 50 innings on the homestand, just six more than the bullpen, and only the 4-10 Guthrie has an ERA under 5 at this point of the season.

*This is why I have a hard time pinning the blame of guys like Jason Berken, Mark Hendrickson and Matt Albers - they are all in the top 8 in the American League as far as innings pitched out of the bullpen. When speaking to pitching coach Rick Kranitz the other day, I asked him if it was a concern that these guys were being used so much, in particular Berken and David Hernandez. Kranitz said they would try to start limiting those guys, but honestly when your starters are averaging 5 innings a game, it’s impossible to do that.

*Here are the ERAs for each starter in the second half. The O’s just wrapped a 2-8 homestand so each starter has had two outings, except for Kevin Millwood who came off the DL to replace Chris Tillman.

Jeremy Guthrie (1-0):
13 2/3 IP, 13 H, 3 ER, 1.98 ERA
Brian Matusz (0-2): 6 2/3 IP, 11 H, 9 ER, 12.15 ERA
Brad Bergesen (0-2): 11 1/3 IP, 18 H, 9 ER, 7.15 ERA
Jake Arrieta (0-1): 9 1/3 IP, 11 H, 10 ER, 9.64
Kevin Millwood (0-1) (one start): 6 1/3 IP, 7 H, 5 ER, 5.77

*Including Tillman’s loss on Monday, the starters are 1-7 to start the second-half and continue to rank last in the Majors in total staff wins with 17. Yes, they should have more wins but they have posted a AL-low 42 quality starts in 98 games, so they aren’t helping their cause quite as often as other teams.

*And to continue to “beat a dead horse” as Samuel put it when asked about the team’s woeful productive hitting here’s a final stat for you. The Orioles two hits with runners in scoring position in the ninth inning on Sunday matched their total for the entire four-game set against the Twins

*In their two wins this homestand, they went 6-for-19 (.316) with RISP. In their 8 losses they were 8-for-69 (.116).

Odds and Ends….

*Corey Patterson (bruised heel) is available to play tonight off the bench.
*Juan Samuel said Josh Bell hasn’t been playing much because Miguel Tejada was brought here to play third base. (Or perhaps they are trying to shop him and want him to play as much as possible.)
*The Orioles roster situation is going to get a lot crazier later this week. You can read about today’s moves here. Besides Bell, I can’t think of a front runner roster casualty. The team could go about 10 different ways and it will be interesting to see what Andy MacPhail does…
*On the move to send Chris Tillman to Norfolk…I’m not sure about this one. While Tillman is inconsistent he has proven to be dominant at Triple-A. It’s the easy choice to get Millwood back in the rotation, but sooner or later it’s going to mess with these young kids heads to keep sending guys like Brad Bergesen and Tillman back-and-forth. Not sure I agree with this move or how the young pitchers are being handled. As a key part of the O’s future, they have to tread carefully.
*Tillman will likely start Saturday in Norfolk. 

Samuel said no demotion for Matusz

Interim manager Juan Samuel said there has been no talk of a demotion for 23-year-old Brian Matusz, who lasted a season-low 1 2/3 innings on Sunday afternoon. Matusz allowed six earned runs and threw just 52 pitches to mark the shortest stint of his career.

Samuel said sending Matusz to Norfolk –which is what the team has done with Brad Bergesen and Chris Tillman at different points this season — is not in his mind, and he made it clear on a follow-up question that the case was closed.

As for the long chat he had when he removed Matusz, Samuel said it wasn’t injury-related. He just wanted to know how Brian was feeling.

“I was basically asking him if he was uncomfortable on the mound today,” Samuel said. “He said he felt like he was yanking, pulling the ball too much there.”

Matusz joins teammate Jeremy Guthrie for the most losses in the American League, and is now 3-10 with a 5.21 ERA. It’s a far cry from the predictions this spring, with scouts raving about his Grapefruit League showing and several national outlets pegging Matusz as a leading candidate for American League Rookie of the Year.

Matusz has lost more games (12) in 27 outings for Baltimore than his entire collegiate career at the University of San Diego, where he lost just nine games in 45 starts (48 total outings.) Samuel said the Orioles hope the losing won’t have any damaging mental effects on Matusz in the long term.

“Well we are hoping that will not be the case,” Samuel said. “He’s a tough young guy, he’s got a lot of confidence.”
 

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