When a pitcher has a record of 0-9 and ERA of 6.23, it seems it would be hard to find some progress that pitcher is making.
Those are Brandon Erbe’s numbers right now for Triple-A Norfolk.
While Erbe has made two starts without giving up a run since May 13th, he has also allowed four runs or more in four of his last five starts.
Despite the numbers, Norfolk pitching coach Mike Griffin remains upbeat about Erbe and his progress.
“Brandon is learning how to pitch at this level. Brandon, his last three outings so far to date, have been good. He had a rough first inning in his last start, but rebounded well and went out and pitched five plus strong innings.
“He’s making the progress he needs to make. He’s learning how to pitch at the Triple-A level. It’s like what Jake (Arrieta) had to do last year.
“What I like about Brandon, like with Jake, is that he is very strong minded and he does not back down. Brandon is very confident in his ability to make adjustments, to continue his development and to get better. He has not wavered one bit in his outings here.
“He is looking forward and at the big picture down the road. He knows what he has to work on and continues to work on it. His last three outings have been pretty good. He’s pitched some good games for us, but we have not scored him a lot of runs,” Griffin said.
I asked Griffin if there is concern that having a 0-9 record would hurt Erbe’s psyche and/or confidence?
“Nope. He and I have talked a lot about that. He knows that the wins and losses don’t get you to the Major Leagues. Consistency does. That’s what he is striving for right now.
“He just needs to continue with the consistency of all his pitches. He’s working on all of them. He’s learning how to use his fastball to both sides of the plate. He’s learning how to get better tilt on his slider downwards and he’s learning how to use his changeup behind in the count and trusting it. Those are three things he is working on here.”
Griffin knows fans and media will see Erbe’s numbers and form a different opinion of his progress than he may form.
“We always have to remember one thing. We are here to develop. We’re development. That is one word that we preach to our pitchers in Norfolk. We are here to develop you to pitch in Baltimore.”
I asked Griffin if there was any thought that Erbe would benefit by a move back to Double-A Bowie?
“That’s not my decision right now. I don’t even think about that right now.”
The 22-year-old Erbe, the Birds third-round pick in 2005, will make his next Norfolk start on Sunday at Columbus.