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Reliever Jason Berken, part of a bullpen that has allowed 22 earned runs in its last 22 1/3 innings over four games, met with the media tonight before the Orioles optioned him to Triple-A Norfolk.
He spoke of having to "figure it out."
He'll make that attempt against International League hitters.
"It's just been up in the zone," he said. "It's been a problem for me as of late and it's going to be a problem for anybody. I've got to figure out why I've been up in the zone, I got to make the adjustments, but I'd like to get better. This is the way it's been lately, and tonight especially hasn't been good, so I have to continue to plug along and get after it.
"It's frustrating. I think I'm better than what I've shown. I know I'm better than what I've show, so it's frustrating at times, but I just have to stay positive and find ways to get better. I have to do that, no question. There's nobody to blame but myself. I'm not going to sit here and make excuses. It was what it is at this point. I have to pitch better, so that's the main thing here.
"My situation coming in there, I come in and need to keep us where we're at. At that point, you want to eliminate (their) runs and give us a chance to win and I didn't do that tonight, so it's frustrating."
Jake Arrieta turned in his second-shortest outing of the season, allowing five runs and six hits in 3 2/3 innings.
Jake Arrieta talks with the media about his rough outing in the O's 17-5 loss to the Nationals
"Any time you have a short start like that, you feel bad because you put pressure on the bullpen and the offense, especially with giving up runs early and putting the team in a hole," he said. "It felt off tonight. Pretty much the first time this year I've felt this way. Just really feel like my arm slot and mechanics were just real sloppy and inconsistent. Search for answers and tried to make the adjustments, (but) just wasn't able to do that.
"The walks before the home run hurt. Command was an issue tonight and I had trouble with it.
"It's real tough. They swung the bats well. Got into some deep counts, though, and gave them some hittable pitches. They still got to put good swings on the ball in order to score that many runs. It's not a great feeling. You can't take credit away from those guys. They hit the ball real well tonight.
"Things collectively aren't going very well. I'll take the blame for it. I didn't set the tone like I should have. I feel like I could have figured it out, but I guess it's part of the continued learning process on a day where you're not feeling very good at all, you've still got to be able to find some way to limit some damage. I wasn't able to do that. I'm confident that I'm going to have a good work week, a good 'pen on Sunday and then right the ship."