After a slow start in his rookie season at Triple-A Norfolk, right-hander Brandon Erbe is starting to pitch much better.
Thursday afternoon he pitched seven shutout innings of four-hit ball vs. Syracuse. He walked one with six strikeouts.
On May 2nd, Erbe allowed just one run, then had a start where he gave up six runs followed by today's outing.
Erbe in 2010 at Norfolk:
First four starts: 8.35 ERA and .342 opponent batting average
Last three starts: 3.37 ERA and .225 opponents batting average.
One club official told me today "Erbe has not been overmatched at all at Norfolk and he should be fine there."
While his overall numbers on the year are now 0-6, 5.84 through seven starts, his last three outings do show progress for the 22-year-old from Baltimore.
Erbe told me tonight he never felt that he was pitching poorly, but he is sure seeing better results now.
"At the beginning it was a bit of a learning curve. I didn't feel I was pitching that bad. It was my first time with Triple-A and I made some mistakes in terms of not knowing the hitters. I didn't know any of them.
"It's been a learning curve and I've made some adjustments. I worked on some things between starts.
"I'm getting ahead of more hitters now. That is a huge, huge thing for me. I threw a ton of strikes (today). Especially early in the count.
"Sometimes your first time at a new level you try to be better than you need to be or better than you are really. You tend to try do stuff that's outside of the pitcher you are. You can't be Greg Maddux, when you are not."
Erbe will want to improve on one stat. He has allowed nine of his 24 runs this year in the first inning.
A third-round pick in 2005, Erbe went 5-3, 2.34 in 14 starts at Bowie in 2009 and expectations were high for him entering this year.
It appears now he is beginning to live up to some of those expectations at Norfolk and today had his best start of the season.
Coming Friday: More quotes from Erbe as he talks about one pitch that he is now more confident with and the difference between Double and Triple-A hitters.
Baysox moves: The Bowie Baysox made some roster moves today. As we reported here yesterday, Paco Figueroa has moved to Triple-A Norfolk from Bowie. Catcher Phil Britton has been placed on Aberdeen's roster and OF Matt Angle was activated off the Baysox disabled list.
Figueroa played in 175 games for the Baysox over three seasons. This year, he led the Baysox with a .306 (33-108) batting average in 28 games with four doubles, two triples, one home run and 10 RBIs.
Britton played in 10 games for Bowie, batting .167 (6-36) with three doubles and two RBIs. Britton is in his first season in the Orioles organization after signing as a minor league free agent in January.
Angle has been on the disabled list since the beginning of the season. He spent eight games with the Baysox last year, batting .357 (10-28) with one double and one RBI. He also played in 123 games for Frederick last year, hitting .289 (138-478) with 17 doubles and 40 stolen bases. In his three year minor league career, he has successfully swiped 113 bags in 140 attempts.