With the Orioles offense being unexpectedly TERRIBLE so far this season a lot of pressure has fallen on the starting rotation to carry the team to respectability. For the most part, they have done their job. Guthrie has been solid as always, Arrieta seems to have taken a step forward and Zach Britton has been as good, if not better than you can expect a rookie to be through a month of his MLB career.
Those 3 starters have an obvious stranglehold on a starting spot and give me hope for the rest of the season. This offense can’t be this bad over a whole year, can it? Plus, hopefully in a couple of weeks time we get back last years best O’s starter, Brian Matusz, to add into the mix. Yes, I expect him to be at least very close to the quality he was last year if not a little better. Guthrie, Matusz, Britton, Arrieta and one of Tillman or Bergesen. If you read the headline, you know which way I (and the O’s) should lean. For those of you who still love you some Bergey and consider him a good pitcher…this blog post is dedicated to you.
Brad Bergesen has started 6 games for the Orioles this season. He has 4 losses, 0 wins and 2 no decisions (both of which he was losing when taken out of the game.) The Orioles as a team have won zero of the games he has started. In Brad’s defense the Orioles give him zippy run support. 2.3 runs per 27 outs while he is in the game. To call that “meager” just doesn’t go far enough, it is like calling Luke Scott a “right wing, gun toting nutbag” (I love him, by the way.) But, in the offense’s defense…they suck and it doesn’t really matter what run support he gets, it probably wouldn’t be enough. Bergesen has given up at least 3 runs by the 5th inning in every start this year except two. One of those starts was his only quality start of the year in which he had his longest outing of the season at 6 innings and gave up only 2 earned runs. Yes, that is his BEST outing of the season. Drink it in, 6 IP, 2ER. Barely qualifying for a quality start. The other start that he didn’t give up at least 3 runs it was only because he was pulled after 3.2 innings and giving up 4 runs total, 2 of which were earned. So, while the run support has been awful it still isn’t the reason Brad has not won a game this year.
I honestly had no idea how bad he actually is until I looked a little deeper in preparation for this post. In addition to being 0-4 this season without going past 6 innings he has a 5.57 ERA. That isn’t very good. He also has a WHIP of 1.515, terrible. He has faced 144 batters this season in only 32.1 innings pitched. That is 4.5 batters per inning. That doesn’t sound like a lot until you think about it a little bit and realize that it means if he ever did make it through 9 innings in a game that would mean he would face 40 batters in that game. Considering you need to get 27 outs to win a game, he is facing 13 extra batters per game. That is atrocious. Opponents are are hitting .301/.347/.519 against him so far this season. Even the O’s could mash this guy, probably. He has an unusually high BAbip (.324) which usually indicates a bit of bad luck. Not in this case. He is getting hit HARD, a lot. He is giving up extra base hits at an alarming rate. 14.6% of all plate appearances versus Bergey result in an XBH. Every 6.84 batters that walk up to the plate against him get an extra base hit. The league average for pitchers is 7.7%. It doesn’t really get any better when you look at what percentage of all hits he gives up are for extra bases. 53% of all hits given up by him this season are for extra bases versus a league average of 33%.
He also lacks the ability to strike batters out or even make them swing and miss in general. 5.3 strikeouts per nine innings. Of his 572 pitches this season, 375 have been strikes. 10% of those strikes have been swinging strikes. 37 swinging strikes over 572 pitches is 6% of his total pitches have been whiffed at. There is pitching to contact, and then there is just inability to get it by anyone. When you are giving up an OPS of .866 you should not be pitching to contact anyway. Even though he gives up a single less than half the time he gives up a hit he still has had 21 opportunities to have a batter ground into a double play. He has converted just one of those chances. Again, unacceptable. He is consistently below league average in any way you can measure a pitchers positive performance and yet there are tons of O’s fans that think this guy is good. At least while Tillman’s layman’s stats are comparably as bad as Bergesen, he has shown the ability to be better this season although inconsistent. Brad has been nothing but consistent this year, unfortunately for him it is consistently bad.
See you (unless #35 is pitching) at the yard.