The Orioles were swept at home in a three-game series for the first time since Buck Showalter took over as manager. They haven’t held a lead for 35 straight innings.
Brad Bergesen is 0-5 with a 9.13 ERA in five career starts against the Rays. He allowed five runs and nine hits in 4 2/3 innings today.
He’ll need to do a lot better or he could lose his rotation spot when Brian Matusz and Alfredo Simon are ready. The same is true for Chris Tillman, who starts again on Wednesday.
“(Bergesen) was very wild in the strike zone and we’ve had this problem with two or three of our pitchers,” manager Buck Showalter said. “We get a lot of counts in our favor. You go back through - 0-2, 1-2 - and we make a mistake. He’s pulling some balls across the plate and missing his location by a good margin, even though it may end up being a strike, especially when it’s 0-2, 1-2. You’re trying to go down and away and keep it middle, middle, you’re going to pay a price there.
“Being that wild in the strike zone with the approach that he features is a challenge for him.”
The rotation has allowed 23 earned runs over 18 2/3 innings in the last four days.
“It shouldn’t matter mentally, but it’s a challenge to be mentally disciplined and not let that be a, ‘Here we go again’ mentality. And that will change, too. We’ll pitch better,” Showalter said.
How do the Orioles get out of this offensive funk?
“Just like they’re trying to right now,” Showalter said. “Not many people can identify what they’re going through except each other and the staff and everything. I know people outside the locker room are trying to identify it and so are we. There’s a lot of that going on. We had some opportunities again today and couldn’t cash them in. We’ve got the winning run at the plate there. Just keep grinding. What do you do, give in? Pull the dirt around you? That’s not going to happen. I was proud of the effort. They’re pitching well and our bullpen came in and gave us a chance to get back in there. It just didn’t happen.”
What are the hitters failing to do?
“We hit about five balls right on the button today. I think six exactly, and that will change, that worm will turn,” Showalter said. “They’ve just got to trust each other and keep trying to put good at-bats together. I thought we were a lot more selective today. A little different approach with the pitcher that was pitching today because he’s a little different than the first two guys. It’s a game of constant adjustments. What’s tough is when you make those adjustments and work hard and you hit two or three balls on the button and they’re right at somebody. You can’t steer them around very often. That’s why baseball is the ultimate team sport. You don’t always have your best hitter hit when the bases are loaded, and you can’t make the ball be hit to your best defender. You can’t steer the ball around out there. That’s why power is at such a premium, because nobody can catch that ball.”