After last night’s 3rd inning, it became obvious to me that Brad Bergesen is just a tad off. Ever since he was hit by a line drive last season, then hurting his shoulder again in his commercial shoot for MASN this offseason, Bergy just doesn’t have the zip on the ball that he showed last year. His mechanics look normal compared to his rookie campaign, but what’s not right is the control he is lacking and the overall stature he shows up on the mound.
The Orioles need here is to send him down for a few starts in AAA to see what he can produce at a less stressful level. The move was announced this morning of his being optioned to Norfolk, so now the issue became what to do in his absence. Here are the options that I had theoretically come up with last night before the Orioles made their official move:
-Bring up Jake Arrieta. The thought would be to give the kid a few starts in the majors to test him out a little and get that first start out of the way during a time where we aren’t expecting a win streak constantly. If he came up, it would mean he would first start at Fenway. That would be an interesting debut for him, but then again, probably a little more stressful of a situation than what the Orioles want to put on his shoulders at this point. He has been stellar in Norfolk so far this year, throwing with an ERA of 0.50 in 3 starts so far, 18 IP. He would only stay up for a few weeks until Bergy was ready to come back or another guy like Tillman was ready to step in. I have no doubt that Arrieta still needs a bit more time in AAA, but a start or two in the majors can never hurt, especially when the expectations are low right now in the organization just wanting to stop this losing streak but not expecting 10 wins in a row.
-Bring up Chris Tillman. Now, he is 0-3 with an ERA of 8.38 and in his three starts only lasted a total of 9.2 innings. This might not be the best option until he can have a good outing in the minors.
-Shift Berken or Hendrickson into the 5th spot. The issue here is that neither are stellar in starting spots, but both have been fantastic in long relief roles this year, and I don’t think it would be in the best interest of the club to mess with what is working in the bullpen. Hendrickson has racked up 7.0 IP in 5 appearances with only 3 H and 1 ER (1.29 ERA). Berken, who saved Bergesen’s butt last night until later in the game when the bullpen usually steps in, has appeared in 4 games, throwing 12.0 IP and only allowing 2 runs total (1.50 ERA).
-An odd one: Go out and make a trade. Go see what low end starter you could get at this point for cheap, even a few lower level prospects. If Bergesen continues like this in AAA, Tillman never gets his stuff together, and MacPhail believes Arrieta needs this whole season before the promotion, then this option seems totally viable.
What the Orioles did: Bring up Alberto Castillo, and not make an announcement yet as to the rotation. Castillo adds another arm to the bullpen (lefty specialist), which is needed right now since the bullpen has been burned out by Bergesen’s latest stints. In terms of the rotation then, the Orioles schedule finally has an advantage to it. Earlier in the year, it looked horrible that the O’s had to play 16 in a row with no off days. Now, two off days are coming up (this Thursday and the following Monday). This means that the rotation has time to reset on those days, giving the 4 guys time to rest, therefore relying on a solid 4 man rotation for a few weeks until we make a move. Bergesen isn’t available to come up for at least 14 days now, and unless we make a trade, it seems like there are no other moves that will be made in the next few weeks for this ordeal.
Hopefully, Brad can find his stuff back in the more relaxed atmosphere of AAA and bring that back to Baltimore to have a good comeback year from injury. All I can say is: Damn you Billy B!