With all of the struggles that the Orioles’ pitching staff has suffered in the first month of the 2009 season, many have wondered if there was any hope in sight. The newly acquired Adam Eaton’s numbers through two starts and the bullpen’s lack of success in the recent four-game series against the Red Sox are perfect examples of this. On Tuesday night, a gleam of hope appeared in the person of Baltimore’s 2008 minor league pitcher of the year, 23-year-old Brad Bergesen.
Bergesen made his first major league start in game one of the three game series against the Chicago White Sox, which is part of the first series on the O’s current nine-game homestand. Even though a rain delay caused everyone, including Bergesen himself, to wait for his much anticipated debut, it proved to be worth it by the end of the night. He hurled 95 pitches (58 of which were strikes) over 5 2/3 innings while allowing three runs (only one of which was earned), four hits, two walks and four strikeouts, resulting in a spectacular 1.59 ERA after only one appearance. Coming from someone who was pitching for Triple-A Norfolk just a couple of days ago, this is a much needed breath of fresh air for this organization and its fans. The Orioles pitching staff got a needed lift thanks to Bergesen’s strong outing Tuesday night.
With the news that fellow pitcher Alfredo Simon will miss the remainder of the season to undergo Tommy John surgery, we will now get a better look at this young man to see if he is the real deal. Bergesen’s next start will occur on Sunday, April 26, against the Texas Rangers. As most already know, the last time these two teams hooked up, the O’s yielded 19 runs at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington while only managing six in their favor. Will this young diamond in the rough be able to handle big bats like Josh Hamilton, Ian Kinsler and Hank Blalock? Is Brad Bergesen’s successful first outing a sign of good things to come? Only time will tell.