For the second straight series, the Orioles failed in their attempt to sweep a divisional rival. On Sunday, the O’s lost 11-3 to the Rays behind a terrible performance from Adam Eaton. Eaton went 4 innings, allowing 10 Rays to reach base, while throwing a staggering 100 pitches.
Watching the game, I couldn’t help but notice that the air was completely sucked out of the ballpark while Eaton was in full meltdown mode.
Eaton is a guy that is 31 years old, and has no future with the Orioles. He is coming off 2 miserable seasons with the Phillies; so miserable that the Phillies are paying him over 9 million dollars to NOT pitch for them. Eaton was so bad that he was booed at the Phillies’ ring ceremony last week.
The seasons during which Eaton had an ERA under 5 came as a member of the Padres, who play in a terrible hitting division and ballpark. Eaton is making the transition from the National League to the American League East, where he will be facing the best hitting teams in baseball on a daily basis. Eaton will be lucky to pitch to an ERA under 6 in 2009 if he is getting consistent starts in the O’s rotation.
Hopefully for O’s fans, he won’t be.
In a year in which the Orioles are not expected to contend, and a year in which the O’s are suppose to be looking ahead to their promising future, there is no reason why a 31 year old pitcher with no future on the team should be getting the ball every 5 days
Luckily for the Orioles, they have alternatives. Most notably, Brad Bergesen.
Bergesen was the best starting pitcher for the O’s this spring, pitching to a 3.09 ERA in 11.2 innings, with 11 K’s and just one walk. Bergesen is 23 years old, and has been in the system for 5 years, and has exhibited exceptional control, giving up less than 2 walks per 9 innings throughout his minor league career. Certainly, he would be a welcome addition for Dave Trembley and Rick Kranitz.
In his first start in AAA this season, Bergesen went 5 innings, giving up 1 ER, with 4 hits, 1 walk, and 6 strikeouts.
Bergesen has now pitched at every level of the minors, and is no doubt ready for a chance to pitch in the O’s already depleted starting rotation.
Bergesen is younger, and is going to be part of the next Orioles’ winning team. Adam Eaton is not. The Orioles next will need a 5th starter on April 21st. By then, Bergesen will have stayed down in the minors long enough to get the extra year of service time, meaning he will be under control for the next 7 years whether he comes up April 21st, September 1st, or anytime in between.
Hopefully, the Orioles will realize that starting Bergesen over Eaton is not only beneficial to the future of the Birds, but will also help them win more games this season, as Eaton is one of the worst pitchers in baseball and only figures to get worse in this league and division.
Bergesen gives the fans a reason to come to the ballpark, while also giving the team a better chance to win. Sounds like a no-brainer to me.
Here’s to Brad Bergesen taking over the 5th starter’s role before O’s fans have to witness another pitiful pitching performance like today.