This time last year, O’s pitcher Brad Bergesen was 5-2 with an ERA of 3.53. He was a rookie pitcher on a roll.
Now he is 3-4, 6.83 and struggling to find consistent mechanics and solid results.
Twice this year he has been sent back to Triple-A to try to find his sinker and iron out his mechanics. Riding the Norfolk-to-Baltimore-and-back shuttle is not what he had in mind for this season.
“It’s been very tough,” Bergesen said. “It’s something that I’ve had to deal with for the first time in my career. You know, it’s something I’ve learned how to deal with.
“You’ve just got to keep persevering and keep looking ahead and working hard and not sit back and feel sorry for yourself.”
Has going back to the minor leagues been good for him or has he not stayed long enough to fix whatever the problem was?
“Mechanically or pitching-wise, I’ve never been down long enough to decide that. The first time it was one start and this last time it was truly just one start, since that first one was just 60 pitches.
“I think the thing that helps sometimes is just getting out of the stressful atmosphere. That’s the biggest difference. Sometimes it’s just nice to get a quick breather for a little bit.”
Bergesen said it can be hard to work on things like your mechanics at the Major League level.
“It’s very difficult to work on things up here. The hitters you are facing are the world’s best hitters and those guys don’t let up. Down there, there is a difference in the level of play. They are still very good hitters, but there is more room for error down there to be able to work on something.”
Bergesen, who is set to start tonight at Boston, gave up five runs over four innings in his last start, last Saturday versus the Nationals. He made one start in Norfolk on April 25 and then went back recently for outings on June 17 and 20.
Some fans think he would benefit more if when he was sent to Norfolk, he stayed there for four or five starts in a row to really have time to work on things.
Spending any length of time in the minors is not exactly appealing to Bergesen.
“I haven’t had that, nor do I want to. My last outing I talked it over with Kranny. It was not a good outing whatsoever, but I felt good. He said it was the best arm angle he’s seen all year. You have to take those positives sometimes. I was getting my ground balls and I felt pretty good last time.
“I just need to simplify things and not start thinking too much or worrying about this part or that part of my mechanics. For me, it’s just tempo. Tempo and arm angle, those are my two things.”
Bergesen admitted earlier this year that his confidence had taken a hit, but says that is not true anymore.
“I’m out there pretty confident right now, thinking it’s a fresh start every outing. I’m not carrying my last one with me, whether it was good or bad. Just constantly looking ahead and working hard right now.”