Three encouraging performances: Bergesen, Fox and Reynolds
It’s foolish to look at one game and think that struggling players have turned around their seasons.
So we won’t go there.
But it is worth acknowledging that the three biggest contributions in Saturday night’s 6-0 win against the Tampa Bay Rays came from guys who have struggled this year: Brad Bergesen, Mark Reynolds and Jake Fox.
You could make the argument that Bergesen and Reynolds are among the bigger disappointments of this Orioles’ season. And Fox hasn’t hit in limited action after a big spring.
Bergesen, who won his first game of the year, looked shaky early. He had runners in scoring position in each of his first three innings, but no one scored. And he didn’t allow a hit after that.
Bergesen commanded his fastball better on Saturday. And he was using his changeup a whole lot to attack the strike zone.
Remember, this guy hadn’t won since last September. He had never beaten the Rays. So this has to give him some confidence.
“It was a really good feeling,” he said. “To have those couple pitches go your way, or to be able to make those crucial pitches, especially early on, and getting out of a couple jams, it is a huge momentum shift that goes in your favor. And to be able to put up zeroes after we score, it’s just the little things that make the difference.”
Then there is Fox, who had made just eight starts this season in 37 previous games, before getting the call behind the plate on Saturday. Not only did he hit a homer – his second of the season and first since April 16 – but he did it on the 10th pitch of an at-bat against Wade Davis.
He took three balls and then kept battling and fouling off pitches until he got the one he wanted.
“I got myself in a 3-0 count because I went up there looking for a specific pitch in a specific spot early and he didn’t throw it there and I found myself up 3-0. And then it became a battle because I knew he was basically going to throw me everything he had. I just kept telling myself, ‘Square it up. Square it up any way you can,’ and finally he made a mistake and I got it.”
Adam Jones was on third at the time and Fox said he was just trying to get him in. The homer chased Davis and put the Orioles into Tampa Bay’s bullpen.
“When you go up in that situation, it’s more than just for you. It’s for the team because there’s a runner on third base,” Fox said. “You know if you get that run across, it’s going to help your pitcher settle in more and feel more comfortable. I knew in that situation, I had to put the ball in play and square it up any way I could.”
Reynolds had just two hits in his last 21 at-bats when he absolutely crushed a Davis pitch in the fifth, a 395-foot shot. Reynolds also struck out, flied out, hit into a double play and made an error. This wasn’t a banner day for him, but he did homer – only his second of the month and fourth of the season.
He is with the Orioles to provide power. And he did that in the fifth.
“I’m seeing these guys again, second time around. Hopefully I can just keep hacking away at it and keep working with (Jim Presley) and not get too down on myself and just keep playing,” said Reynolds, who is batting .180. “Buck has really shown some confidence in me, by keeping throwing me out there and I want to reward him and go out there and play the game that I know I’m capable of.”
Here’s what Showalter had to say about the encouraging day from Bergesen, Fox and Reynolds: “They are capable of it. That’s why they are big leaguers and that’s why we took them. And it was nice to see them get a return for a lot of the work they do behind the scenes.”