Sometimes when you get to talk to the Orioles players as much as we do, you find out there are some good guys in that clubhouse. Guys any fan would want to root for.
Jason Berken is one of those guys.
Right now he is having a tough time getting people out and it got worse for him in the loss to the Nats when he gave up six runs and two homers in one inning. Berken has allowed 14 earned runs over his last 8 2/3 innings.
He was sent to the minor leagues after Friday's loss to Washington.
There is one thing I know Berken won't do. That is give up or get down on himself. When he first made the majors in 2009 he went 6-12 as a starter with an ERA of 6.54. A lot of fans wrote him off.
Berken kept working to get better and then he did, thriving in a bullpen role last year and for much of the season in 2010, he was the Orioles' best reliever.
If any fans had the chance to interview and talk with Berken, they'd find out he is approachable, articulate, funny and just a good person to be around. As Buck would say "he cares." About that there can be no question.
None of this helps his ERA right now. But because we are humans and humans have feelings, I feel for the guy right now as he tries to regain his form from last year.
He rehabbed a torn labrum over the winter and worked very hard to make it to spring training healthy. He did and he has said as recently as this week that his shoulder feels great and he is fine physically.
Whatever the issue is that has him pitching poorly right now, I give him a pretty good chance to fix it. He's done it before. He'll get back and pitch well again for the Orioles is my guess.
Sometimes nice guys don't finish last.