BALTIMORE -- The Orioles' bullpen has been both a problem and a disappointment this season. But it's also where the team has found one its most pleasant surprises.
Baltimore moved Jason Berken to the bullpen this year, and the right-hander has been arguably the team's best relief pitcher. He's 0-1 with a 2.27 ERA in 18 games and is now being used at the back end of the bullpen.
Berken has been a starter throughout his Minor League career and made 24 starts in 2009, posting a 6-12 record with a 6.54 ERA. He lost nine in a row at one point and gave up 19 homers in 119 2/3 innings, but he started to find his way toward the end, winning four of his last five decisions.
But the Orioles decided to try him in the bullpen. He's done both long and short work and had given up only eight runs in 31 2/3 innings entering Sunday's action. He's struck out 20 while walking only eight to give the Orioles a boost.
"The biggest thing for me is trying to be more consistent than I was last year, Berken said. "Last year was too many ups and downs. The good ones are the ones that are able to do it every day and able to be consistent every time out there."
Berken threw a scoreless ninth inning in Saturday's 3-1 loss to the Mets.
"The biggest difference that I've noticed is as a starter you have your five-day routine ... where as a reliever, you come to the park every day, and you have a chance to pitch," Berken said. "That has been a nice change for me. You could be in there any time."
Arrieta builds confidence from first start
BALTIMORE -- After giving up three runs to the Yankees and winning his Major League debut on Thursday, Jake Arrieta now is ready for start No. 2.
The right-hander will pitch Tuesday night in San Francisco against the Giants a little more relaxed, a little more confident and feeling ready to go.
"Adrenaline was through the roof my first outing, but now I feel a lot more relaxed -- kind of laid back," Arrieta said Sunday morning. "I know a little bit more of what to expect in the starts to come."
Entering Sunday, Arrieta's victory against the Yankees was the only win by an Orioles starter in the past 16 games. He held New York to three runs on four hits in six innings.
The right-hander struck out six and walked four and clearly settled down as the game went along.
"I learned a lot," he said. "My stuff really plays at this level, and it's good enough to pitch well and win. I can go out there and trust my stuff and be confident that it's [going to] give the team a win. That's the biggest thing I could have taken out of my first start."
All-Star voting moves online for O's fans
BALTIMORE -- Sunday's game against Mets at Camden Yards was the last chance for Orioles fans to vote in-stadium to send their favorite players to the 81st Major League Baseball All-Star Game. The Orioles do not have any players currently in the top five in voting at any position.
Fans still wishing to submit a ballot can do so online. They can cast their votes for starters up to 25 times at MLB.com and all 30 club sites using the 2010 All-Star Game MLB.com Ballot sponsored by Sprint until July 1 at 11:59 p.m. ET. Sprint subscribers can now vote on the go with select Sprint devices. They can learn more about how to vote on their smart phones at MLB.com/Sprint.
Starting rosters will be announced during the 2010 All-Star Game Selection Show on TBS on July 4. Baseball fans around the world will then be able to select the final player on each team via the 2010 All-Star Game Final Vote sponsored by Sprint.
And the voting doesn't end there. Fans will have the opportunity to participate in the official voting for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet at the Midsummer Classic via the 2010 All-Star Game MVP Vote sponsored by Sprint.
The All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX and around the world by Major League Baseball International on July 13. ESPN Radio will provide exclusive national radio play-by-play, while MLB.com will offer extensive online coverage.
Jeff Seidel is a contributor to MLB.com. Noah Rosenstein, an associate reporter for MLB.com, contributed to this article. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.