Results tagged ‘ Brad Bergesen ’
Both of the Norfolk Tides’ games this weekend were decided in the late innings, and both featured solid early starting pitching. On Saturday, the Tides lost 9-2 when starter Brad Bergesen tired, relief pitcher Willie Eyre was wild and ineffective, and Steve Tolleson made a crucial error, and Louisville scored six runs in the 7th inning. On Sunday, the Tides won 7-4 when Louisville relieved starting pitcher Chad Reineke with Carlos Fisher, Travis Webb, and Bill Bray, who were wild and ineffective.
Saturday, the Tides and the Bats were tied 1-1 after six innings, having traded solo home runs. Bergesen, who had thrown 73 pitches in his six innings, walked the first batter on five pitches and hit the second batter on his next pitch. The next batter singled in the go-ahead run and, after a sacrifice bunt, the Tides relieved Bergesen with Willie Eyre. who walked the first batter he faced and then gave up a sacrifice fly. With the score 4-2, Denis Phipps hit a ground ball up the middle. Shortstop Tolleson thought he would make the force play himself, then changed his mind but dropped the ball when he tried to take it out of his glove for the flip to second. After another walk, Neftali Soto cleared the bases with a double to right-center and it was all over but the shouting.
On Sunday, the Tides were trailing 4-2 when the Bats relieved starter Chad Reineke, who had thrown 96 pitches, with Carlos Fisher. who had walked 11 batters in 11 2/3 innings. He retired the first batter on a fly out before walking Jai Miller, who advanced to third on a stolen-base-plus-throwing error. After a strikeout, Fisher walked Xavier Avery. Matt Antonelli singled to right, scoring Miller, and Jamie Hoffmann doubled, scoring Avery. Travis Webb came in to face the lefthanded-hitting Joe Mahoney. During the at-bat, Webb uncorked a wild pitch, allowing Antonelli to score the lead run. Bill Bray came in to pitch the eighth and surrendered two more runs.
One of the most difficult parts of a manager’s job is running the pitching staff. It’s a challenge to determine whether or not a pitcher has anything left; if the manager gets it wrong, or brings in a pitcher who doesn’t have it, a game can be lost. We don’t know if the Tides and Louisville managers made the right decisions or not; but those specific decisions didn’t work and their teams lost.
The Tides open their season at Charlotte tonight, and as of this morning the final roster had not yet been set. We do know that Brad Bergesen will be the starting pitcher tonight, and that Chris Tillman will be starting sometime in the series. The best guess is that Jason Berken will start the home opener on Monday.
For yesterday’s exhibition game, the Tides roster was at 28, which increased to 29 when Zach Phillips was optioned to Norfolk. So four players still need to be assigned elsewhere. The Tides won the exhibition against the Orioles, 6-4, but don’t read too much into that. Although the Orioles did start their regulars, they weren’t exactly going all-out, as it was more important not to get hurt than to win. The Orioles gave all their starters two at-bats before a parade of reserves and low-level minor leaguers finished the game.
It appears that Xavier Avery, whom I thought would go to Bowie for more seasoning, will start the season with the Tides. He dropped a very nice bunt that he beat out for a single, and showed good speed. It remains to be seen if he has the drive and all-out effort of Kyle Hudson, but he’s the same type of player.
Finally, an inside note for you minor-league geeks. It’s fairly well-known that Dave Rosenfield, former general manager and current holder of a position roughly equivalent to “semi-retired legend”, makes out the International League schedule every year. The original draft schedule had the Tides opening at home tonight, but when it became clear that the Orioles would be visiting he switched things around, moving the Tides to a road start and bringing Charlotte in some other time.
The Orioles optioned Chris Tillman to Norfolk, where he’ll join Brad Bergesen and Jason Berken in the Tides’ starting rotation. Although Tillman pitched reasonably well in spring training, it was more of a case where he was pitching well compared to how he had pitched in the majors over the past three seasons, rather than truly pitching well. He’s still only 23, and getting regular work in the rotation will be better for him than inconsistent work as a long man. I’m hoping that he’ll adjust and return to what he was three seasons ago.
Also, the Tides and the Orioles will play an exhibition game Wednesday at Harbor Park. Brian Matusz and Jason Berken will pitch, although it’s not clear who’ll pitch for whom and even if they’ll pitch on different teams. Expect the position players to play five or six innings, but don’t expect the pitchers — especially the relief pitchers — to pitch much if at all.
Yesterday, the Orioles optioned three players to Norfolk, reassigned five others to the minor-league camp, and essentially placed two other players on the disabled list. With just over a week to go before the Tides’ season opener, I can make some guesses about who will be on the Tides when they play at Charlotte on April 5.
The Orioles optioned pitchers Brad Bergesen and Jason Berken to Norfolk, and announced that both will be used as starting pitchers. I expected both to be with the Tides, and Bergesen to be a starter. I am surprised that Berken will be used as a starter, as his only major league success was as a relief pitcher. This tells me that Berken isn’t really in the Orioles future plans, and that they’re just hoping that lightning will strike.
The Orioles also sent Dontrelle Willis and Armando Gallaraga to minor-league camp. I’d be surprised if Gallaraga is in the organization and not with the Tides, and in the Tides’ starting rotation. He has 518 innings of major-league experience and hasn’t been below AAA since 2007. Willis, on the other hand, is being groomed as a left-handed spot reliever. The Orioles may want to stash him at Bowie so he can be more easily available for a quick call-up.
John Hester was sent to minor-league camp, which can’t have been much of a surprise after going 0-for-14 in spring games. I’d have to say he’s headed for Norfolk. Even if Caleb Joseph is heading for Norfolk, there’s still a need for another catcher. Taylor Teagarden is recovering from injury and Ronny Paulino is the only other backup catcher in camp, so there won’t be another catcher coming down. That means Hester should be here.
Matt Antonelli was optioned to Norfolk, and Steve Tolleson and Scott Beerer were sent to minor-league camp. That makes for some interesting possibilities. Antonelli, Ryan Adams, Josh Barfield, and Josh Bell have all been second basemen or third basemen in their careers. There’s no way you can get all four players into the lineup at second, third, and DH. Even assuming that Jai Miller and Scott Beerer end up in Norfolk, that still leaves the third outfield spot uncertain. I still think L.J. Hoes will start the season in Bowie, so that might mean that either Adams or Bell will get a look as a corner outfielder. Tolleson is a career utility player who would be welcome in Norfolk, playing six games a week at five positions.
Brian Roberts was put on the Disabled List, which means that Robert Andino will start the season as the Orioles’ second baseman and that Ryan Flaherty will make the Orioles as the utility infielder. Zach Britton was also put on the Disabled List, which probably slots Brian Matusz into the Orioles rotation but doesn’t really clarify Chris Tillman’s status.
It should be clear that the pitchers on the 2012 Tides will be determined, in large part, by the pitchers who win spots on the 2012 Orioles. Going into spring training, no one had a spot in the Orioles starting rotation locked up. With two weeks left in spring training, there’s been a little bit of clarification, but there is also still a lot of uncertainty.
- Zach Britton is suffering from “arm inflammation” and is almost certainly not going to be in the rotation at the start of the season.
- Tommy Hunter, another rotation candidate, is making his first spring appearance today. There’s not going to be enough time for him to get ready to be in the rotation by the start of the year.
- Jake Arrieta has pitched more in minor-league games than in big-league spring games, but seems likely to be ready by opening day.
- Brian Matusz hasn’t pitched all that well, but he has a 16-1 K-BB ratio in fifteen innings and looks to be back in the rotation.
- Jason Hammel and Wei-Lin Chen have pitched well enough to solidify spots in the opening-day rotation.
- Alfredo Simon is still hanging around, but hurt his cause by not telling Buck Showalter that he had hurt his groin. That’s yet another reason why I wouldn’t want him around.
- Despite Zach Britton’s unavailabilty, Chris Tillman hasn’t really pitched well enough to seize a roster spot. Because he has an option year remaining, I think he’ll start the year at Norfolk.
- Brad Bergesen has been pitching out of the bullpen and not pitching very well. He’ll likely begin the season at Norfolk.
- Dana Eveland has pitched slightly worse than Brian Matusz.
Summary — we still don’t really know who’ll pitch for the Tides in 2012.
Is he a starter? Is he a reliever? What’s his future?
Like Jason Berken, with whom he shares the first three letters of his last name, he shot to the major leagues in 2009 because the Orioles’ starting rotation was crumbling and because he had pitched well in his first starts at Norfolk (in his case, two.) Bergesen had an impressive-looking 2009 before getting hurt (7-5, 3.43 ERA in 19 starts) but his underlying statistics weren’t that good. He struggled as a starter in 2010 (4.98 ERA in 28 starts) and was bad as a swingman in 2011 (5.70 ERA). He went to Norfolk for three starts, one a four-hit shutout.
Bergesen is very similar to Jason Berken, actually, in that there’s no real reason to believe that he can be an effective starting pitcher other than his 2009 season. On the other hand, Bergesen’s strikeout rates even in the minor leagues are too low to signify future success — his best full-season rate was 6.5 K / 9 IP. I think Bergesen is, like Berken, near the bottom of candidates for the Orioles starting rotation, and probably the Atlantic League is in his future.
Will he bounce back to his 2009 form?
Brad Bergesen’s had an interesting career. Promoted to AAA for the 2009 season, he was called up to Baltimore after a couple of very solid starts because one of the Orioles’ starters got hurt, and pitched surprisingly well before being shut down. In 2010, he was in the starting rotation; pitched poorly; was sent down to Norfolk for a couple of starts; and was recalled and pitched somewhat better the rest of the year.
Before I saw him pitch — I hadn’t seen him pitch in 2009 — I thought he had a good chance to be a John Burkett, Rick Helling-type starter. That is, someone who would never be a star but would be a solid innings-eater (with luck, of course, these innings-eaters have an occasional big season.) When I saw him pitch, I was not impressed. Then, I looked at his career statistics, and realized that Bergesen has no chance of being a successful starting pitcher. In the majors, he has averaged 4.1 strikeouts per 9 innings, and no right-handed starter has had a career of any length or consistency striking out so few batters. And it’s not a matter of needing to make adjustments — Bergesen didn’t strike out batters in the minors. He’ll likely improve his strikeout rate a little bit, but not enough to where he can be successful. Unless he learns a new pitch or radically changes his mechanics, he’ll never match his 2009 success.