Berken aims to silence critics vs. Marlins

Berken aims to silence critics vs. Marlins

MIAMI -- Take the ball, make a statement.

Jason Berken has a chance to answer his critics on Wednesday, when he'll attempt to snap a three-decision losing streak and keep his name in the mix for future starts. Berken threw well in his last outing, but he's allowed at least four earned runs in three of his five starts this season.

"What I see from him is what I see from a lot of the young guys -- the ability to make an adjustment," said manager Dave Trembley. "They haven't panicked. The thing with Jason, his last start, I think [pitching coach Rick Kranitz] got his attention after the first inning and got his delivery in the direction that it needed to go."

That kind of learning curve has to be expected, especially when you consider Berken's minimal experience. The former sixth-round draftee spent all of last season for Double-A Bowie and didn't even spend Spring Training with the parent club, but after a hot start, the Orioles elected to promote him from Triple-A Norfolk.

And right away, it seemed to be an inspired decision. Berken won his debut and then went seven innings and allowed just two earned runs in his second start, a 3-0 loss to Detroit. Berken got knocked out before the fifth inning in each of his next two starts before redeeming himself last time out in a no-decision against the Mets.

Now, Trembley wants to see him repeat the things he considers keys for Berken's success.

"He needed to get his fastball down. He needed to back up his changeup when he missed with it," he said. "He was able to go deep into the game and it was nice to see, especially coming off a disappointing outing for him."

Berken is hardly alone in his struggles. Baltimore's three homegrown rookies -- Berken, Brad Bergesen and David Hernandez -- have combined to go 6-6 with a 4.59 ERA through their first 19 starts. And if you throw in Koji Uehara, the Orioles are the only team in modern history to have four rookies win their debut in the same season.

Pitching matchup
BAL: RHP Jason Berken (1-3, 6.84 ERA)
Berken started off well in his last outing, but it wasn't enough to net the right-hander his second career victory. Berken lasted 6 2/3 innings, giving up four runs on seven hits but registered a career-high eight strikeouts. He had a 2-0 lead entering the sixth, but two runs in both the sixth and seventh innings led to a no-decision in the Orioles' 5-4 comeback win over the Mets.

FLA: RHP Ricky Nolasco (3-6, 7.15 ERA)
In a rain-shortened game at Fenway Park, Nolasco won for the first time since May 8 at Colorado. The right-hander worked five innings, giving up one run on one hit. He struck out five and only allowed two baserunners. The lone hit Nolasco yielded was a first-inning home run to Kevin Youkilis. In terms of pure stuff, it was an encouraging performance for the right-hander, who had command of four pitches.

Bird bites
The Orioles are now 1-9 on the road against the Marlins in the team's history, and their lone win came all the way back in 1999. ... Aubrey Huff snapped his eight-game hit streak Tuesday night. Baltimore's first baseman has batted safely in 11 of his past 14 games. ... The O's had just five pinch-hits before Tuesday's game but added three more Tuesday night. ... Matt Wieters homered for the second time in five games on Tuesday night, aiding Baltimore's late comeback. ... The Orioles are 21-17 at home and 11-21 on the road this season. ... Baltimore is 14-10 in the first game of a series and 6-17 in the finale. ... The Orioles are 2-35 when trailing after eight innings and 26-1 when leading at that point of the game.

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On the Internet
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television
• MASN 2

On radio
• 105.7 The Fan

Up next
• Thursday: Orioles (Rich Hill, 3-1, 5.18) at Marlins (Sean West, 2-2, 3.97), 7:10 p.m. ET
• Friday: Orioles (Brad Bergesen, 4-2, 3.94) vs. Nationals (Ross Detwiler, 0-3, 4.76), 7:05 p.m. ET
• Saturday: Orioles (Jeremy Guthrie, 5-7, 5.09) vs. Nationals (TBD), 7:05 p.m. ET

Spencer Fordin is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.