Brad Bergesen will make his fourth appearance and third start of the new season tonight versus the New York Yankees here at Camden Yards.
Bergesen said this week he continues to work on his sinking fastball and perfecting the pitch that was a key reason he went 7-5 with a 3.43 ERA over 19 starts in 2009.
He said that last year he struggled so much with the sinker that he turned more to his four-seam fastball as the year went on. Now he wants to get back to being more of a sinkerball pitcher who also could turn to the four-seamer at times.
“All pitchers need to know who they are,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “We’ve had this conversation with him. It’s kind of like two different pitches for him. It’s like Britton knowing when to go two-seam and four-seam. The tiebreaker is what pitch? There are so many pitches in the course of a game with the catcher and you, you are in between. What’s your tiebreaker without getting into too much predictability factor with the hitters?”
Bergesen felt he threw some sinkers that reminded him of his 2009 sinker effectiveness in his last start. He gave up two earned runs over five innings last Sunday at Cleveland.
“Bergy is capable of throwing multiple pitches with one pitch if he’s right. He’s worked hard at getting some of the velocity off his change-up and breaking ball where he’s got three seperations of velocity,” Showalter said.
“Last year, in looking at some film early on, he’d gotten into a same plane, same speed type of thing that major league hitters will make the adjustment to. He got a lot better at that the last couple months.”
Bergesen was 5-3 with an ERA of 2.85 over his last 12 starts of last season.
Tonight, he will make his fourth career start against New York. He is 0-2 with a 6.60 ERA over the first three outings, which all came in New York, but he did allow just one earned run over 6 1/3 in his most recent game against the Yankees last Sept. 8.
Yankees hitters vs. Bergesen:
Granderson: 3-for-6 with three RBIs
Rodriguez: 3-for-9 with a home run
Swisher: 2-for-8 with two RBIs