Tuesday, April 21, 2009

First Start for Brad Bergesen (April 21, 2009 vs. Chicago)

Taking a break from a full article to do some live blogging! Since we were foiled in our attempt to follow Wieters/Price, I'm gonna hop on and give some live commentary on Brad Bergesen in his first ML start against the White Sox. Just got home, so we'll pick up the action in the second inning...


Second Inning
Thome - soft groundout to Roberts

Dye - Four-pitch walk; Bergesen working outside and was unwilling to give in once he fell behind.

Konerko - Started out with a fastball outside, good placement; 2-seamer started on the black and ran inside, solid second pitch after FB away; way up an in with his 4-seamer, took off on him a bit; good 2-seamer with late life at the knees (swing and miss); 2-seamer started off on inner-third and ran in (weak foul ball 3B side); 2-seamer middle-down (GB to third, 5-4-3), caught too much of the plate but had enough run/depth to produce the grounder

Inning summary - Bergesen worked quickly and stayed around the zone. He's establishing his fastball and finding a rhythem. As he works through the order a second time, he'll need to mix in more offspeed/breaking stuff as Konerko had him pretty well measured. I think we'll move to a more traditional charting of his pitches next inning and see how that goes. We'll use this summary form: Pitch number, location, result (note, if any).

Third Inning
P1 - 2S, low-out, strike
P2 - 2S, low, ball (might be CH -- interviewing his dad so delayed coverage of pitch)
P3 - 2S, low, 4-3 

P1 - 2S, low-out, 5-3 (still interviewing dad so they aren't showing the full pitch)

P1 - 2S, low-out, ball (opened early -- overthrew a bit)
P2 - 2S , low-out, strike (good run, stayed closed in hips; pitch started outside of the zone and came back)
P3 - SL, low-out, ball
P4 - 2S, low, foul (good timing)
P5 - 2S, low-in, strikeout looking

Inning summary - Strong inning from Bergesen. Again, he worked quickly and attacked the zone with his fastball. Since MASN was interviewing his father, I only caught part of the pitch for a few pitches (you can check against gamecast to see what, if anything, I missed). Again, look for him to mix in more offspeed the second time through, but so far he has been impressive. He certainly isn't intimidated, and he's maintaining the same pace and approach that has made him successful in the minors. It's also worth noting that he isn't overthrowing -- he knows his game plan and is sticking to it (props to Zaun in this department; the two are working well).

Fourth Inning
P1 - 2S, low-out, ball
P2 - 2S, low-out, ball
P3 - 4S, inside, ball
P4 - 2S, low-out, strike (looking)
P5 - 2S, up-out, ball (walk)

P1 - 2S, low-in, bunt foul
P2 - 2S, low, bunt foul
P3 - SL, low-out, ball
P4 - (good delay in stretch to disrupt batter timing) SL, low-out, ball
P5 - 2S, low-in, swinging strike (terrific placement, good compliment to looking strike in same location previous inning)

P1 - (good delay in stretch almost leads to pick-off of Getz) 2S, low, swing and miss (good depth)
P2 - 2S, low, ball
P3 - 2S, middle, foul back (missed his spot but enough movement to prevent Quentin from squaring-up)
P4 - 4S, up, ball
P5 - 2S, inside, E5 (good pitch should have been DP, but Quentin hit it hard)

P1 - 2S, outside, foul left field (Thome had it measured but good life prevented squaring)
P2 - 2S, low-out, ball
P3 - 4S, up, ball (pretty clearly a strike)
P4 - 2S, out, foul 3B side (should follow with offspeed down-in)
P5 - 2S, in, strikeout looking (set up well by working out and up prior four pitches)

P1 - CH, low, ball
P2 - 2S, low, foul
P3 - CH, low-out, ball
P4 - 2S, out, single CF

P1 - 2S, low, single RF

Inning Summary - As warned against, Bergesen was better timed by the White Sox hitters this time through. He didn't mix in his slider enough in the middle of the order, and Dye/Konerko were ready for his 2-seamer the second time around. We'll see how he bounces back next inning. So far, the outing has to be considered a success, but there aren't any surprises as far as how Bergy's stuff is playing against a veterean ML lineup. 

Fifth Inning
P1 - 2S, low, ball
P2 - 2S, low-in, ball
P3 - 2S, low-in, ball
P4 - 4S, low-out, strike
P5 - 4S, in, foul 3B side
P6 - 4S, out, single RF

P1 - 2S, low, strike (looking)
P2 - SL, low-out, strike (swinging)
P3 - SL, low-out, ball
P4 - SL, low-out, ball
P5 - 4S, in, foul
P6 - 2S, up-in, single LF (missed up in the zone - target in)

P1 - 2S, low, 6-4

P1 - 2S, low-away, strike (looking)
P2 - 2S, inside, strike (looking)
P3 - SL, low, foul 1B
P4 - SL, low-in, hit-by-pitch

P1 - SL, low, F9

P1 - 2S, middle-in, strike (looking)
P2 - SL, low-out, 6-4

Inning Summary - All-in-all, not a bad inning from Bergesen. Chicago is, again, much more patient this time through the order -- as expected, Bergesen's margin for error is minimal. He didn't miss over the plate, and when he fell behind he was around where he wanted to be. Our book on him based on his MiL performances is right on with how he looks tonight. He has a chance to be successful when he's spotting his 2-seamer, but there just isn't any room to miss. His slider is an okay change-of-pace pitch, but the velocity differential isn't really there to throw-off hitters. He did a better job mixing the breaking ball this inning, but he needs to throw it for a strike more often to help his 2-seamer play multiple times through the order.

Sixth Inning
P1 - 2S, away, foul back
P2 - 2S, low, foul 1B
P3 - SL, out, ball (Zaun set up in -- great call but missed)
P4 - SL, low-in, ball (this was supposed to be the pitch before; executed this time)
P5 - 2S, out, ball
P6 - 4S, out, F8 (Thome didn't miss it by much, ball to warning track)

P1 - 2S, middle, strike (looking)
P2 - SL, low-middle, foul (back)
P3 - 2S, in, ball
P4 - SL, out, 6-3 (AVG depth on SL but set it up well; without previous pitch, Dye probably gets better wood)

Bergesen pulled.

Inning Summary - Bergesen executed his pitches well against Thome and Dye with the exception of P3 to Thome. His slider isn't a plus pitch, which means he needs to set it up for it to be effective. We see this in the Dye at bat, and likewise we see that Thome wasn't fooled in P4 after seeing the SL on P3. 

Overall Impression - Good outing for Bergesen. This offseason, at CamdenDepot.com, we had Bergesen pegged as a leading candidate to be the first called-up and a decent bet to produce back-end quality outings. His first start fits right into that projection. There is lots to be excited about, including a terrific pace, generally good pitch location and a fine execution of a game plan. Things I'd like to see next time around? More sliders for strikes and changeups. It could be that some of his 4-seamers were changeups, but honestly it looked like he pretty much steered clear of that offering for the evening.

One last note, on a couple of occasions, Bergesen delayed in the stretch. One time, this was clearly to try and throw off the batter; the other led Getz to jump in his lead, almost creating a pick-off. Bergesen was poised and in reasonably in command of his arsenal. Baltimore fans should be pleased.

Final line: 5.2 IP, 4 SO, 3 R, 1 ER, 4 H, 2 BB, 95 pitches