In a 5-2 win last night, Brad Bergesen improved to 3-2 on the season and continued his recent improved stretch of pitching. He only allowed one run in 7.2 innings, and there's no question that he had his two-seamer working. He allowed five hits and walked two batters while recording 15 ground ball outs, five fly ball outs, and three strikeouts. The performance lowered Bergesen's ERA to 5.76.
In his last start, against the Twins on May 6, Bergesen pitched 6.2 scoreless innings, though he did so without striking out a single batter. On May 1, in his first start back after a tune-up start at Norfolk, Bergesen wasn't as great, lasting only five innings while giving up four runs, including two homers. Nevertheless, he's pitched much better in his last three starts than his first three on the season. Here's some proof (via FanGraphs):
First three: 10.1 IP, 14 ER, 5 Ks, 6 BB, 4 HR, 16 ground balls, 24 fly balls, 6 line drives
Last three: 19.1 IP, 5 ER, 5 Ks, 4 BB, 2 HR, 41 ground balls, 21 fly balls, 6 line drives
Much better, right? More innings, fewer runs allowed, and more ground balls being hit. The lack of strikeouts is a bit disconcerting, especially since he's walking nearly a batter more per game. But, then again, maybe he's starting to shake off some of the rust that came with missing several starts last season because of an injury.
Overall, Bergesen still has plenty of work to do. His ground ball percentage is right around where it was last season (50.0% to 50.1%), but more fly balls are being hit off of him (39.5% to 32.4%) and his home run to fly ball ratio is also higher (13.3% to 8.3%). However, he does appear to be getting more comfortable with his two-seamer and has been spotting it much better recently. And it's also worth noting that not as many line drives are being hit off of him compared to last season (10.5% to 17.5%).
Bergesen still may not be the pitcher that he was in 2009, but as his last two starts have shown, he may be getting closer. And for the Orioles, that would be a huge upgrade.