Serfass Looks for Consistency

After a serviceable performance in St. Lucie to start the year, he earned a promotion to Binghamton. With a steady rise through the ranks, Serfass continues to push for improvement as he harnesses his repertoire. Inside Pitch caught up with the B-Mets' reliever, discussed those factors, and his thoughts on how he needs to grow.

As the season wears on, arms are needed across the ranks. The starters rack up innings, the games tighten and bullpen efficiency is needed. In Binghamton, the starting rotation endured many rocky times in the season's opening months. The B-Mets have relied heavily upon their middle relievers to keep them in games.

On May 3rd, Binghamton called on Joe Serfass to provide more stability out of the bullpen. Before then, he did not exactly light up the board in St. Lucie during April. He posted a 0-2 record, a 7.88 earned run average, and a .361 opponents' batting average in eight innings pitched. Despite the sub-par numbers, he took the opportunity in stride and welcomed the new challenges Double-A ball would produce.

"Getting that call was a great feeling," he said of his promotion. "I know I did not start the season off as I would have liked or the coaches would have liked, but going up to Binghamton gave me even more reason to turn it around."

His current 4.50 ERA may not catch one's eye. Where his turnaround is most evident resides in his improved opponents' batting average and opponents' batting average with runners in scoring position. The former number has dipped 123 points against stiffer competition, down to .238. Eastern League hitters, with runners in scoring position, have hit even lower. He attributes the difference to his work with pitching coach Ricky Bones and a more concerted effort to mix his pitches.

"Coach Bones got me back to working on my strengths. Mostly, he pressed it upon me that I should use my fastball to set up my other pitches. My fastball is strong, but I've started throwing it in unpredictable counts which makes my breaking and off-speed pitches more effective," Serfass explained.

His repertoire, although not overpowering, is sturdy. The development of his slider and changeup is what has carried him from Hagerstown at the beginning of 2006 to this point. That work will need to continue if he wishes to maintain his spot on the Binghamton roster.

"I've been using my changeup more since I came up to Binghamton. My changeup has definitely seen a higher percentage of my pitches thrown. The coaches have definitely emphasized it," he said.

The adjustments paid off quickly in his first appearances with the B-Mets'. He settled firmly into his role and escaped relatively unharmed through May when he posted a 1.69 ERA. Recently, as the calendar flipped to June, his fortune has diminished. This month to date, he has surrendered eight earned runs in six innings pitched. Yet, his latest struggles have not caused his confidence to waiver.

The instability in the Binghamton bullpen has left the door open for many suitors. For Serfass to remain in the Eastern League, he must recapture the fleeting success he found in May. As the All-Star break nears and the dog days of summer lie ahead, he knows that he has many chances to turn his season in a positive direction.

"It's just ups-and-downs. I started off slow, turned it around in May and now I'm experiencing another tough stretch. I keep working hard and I just need to straighten out some kinks," he closed.


Amazin Clubhouse Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\nAs the season wears on, arms are needed across the ranks. The starters rack up innings, the games tighten and bullpen efficiency is needed. In Binghamton, the starting rotation endured many rocky times in the season's opening months. The B-Mets have relied heavily upon their middle relievers to keep them in games.
\r\n
\r\nOn May 3rd, Binghamton called on Joe Serfass to provide more stability out of the bullpen. Before then, he did not exactly light up the board in St. Lucie during April. He posted a 0-2 record, a 7.88 earned run average, and a .361 opponents' batting average in eight innings pitched. Despite the sub-par numbers, he took the opportunity in stride and welcomed the new challenges Double-A ball would produce.
\r\n
\r\n\"Getting that call was a great feeling,\" he said of his promotion. \"I know I did not start the season off as I would have liked or the coaches would have liked, but going up to Binghamton gave me even more reason to turn it around.\"
\r\n
\r\nHis current 4.50 ERA may not catch one's eye. Where his turnaround is most evident resides in his improved opponents' batting average and opponents' batting average with runners in scoring position. The former number has dipped 123 points against stiffer competition, down to .238. Eastern League hitters, with runners in scoring position, have hit even lower. He attributes the difference to his work with pitching coach Ricky Bones and a more concerted effort to mix his pitches.
\r\n
\r\n\"Coach Bones got me back to working on my strengths. Mostly, he pressed it upon me that I should use my fastball to set up my other pitches. My fastball is strong, but I've started throwing it in unpredictable counts which makes my breaking and off-speed pitches more effective,\" Serfass explained.
\r\n
\r\nHis repertoire, although not overpowering, is sturdy. The development of his slider and changeup is what has carried him from Hagerstown at the beginning of 2006 to this point. That work will need to continue if he wishes to maintain his spot on the Binghamton roster.
\r\n
\r\n\"I've been using my changeup more since I came up to Binghamton. My changeup has definitely seen a higher percentage of my pitches thrown. The coaches have definitely emphasized it,\" he said.
\r\n
\r\nThe adjustments paid off quickly in his first appearances with the B-Mets'. He settled firmly into his role and escaped relatively unharmed through May when he posted a 1.69 ERA. Recently, as the calendar flipped to June, his fortune has diminished. This month to date, he has surrendered eight earned runs in six innings pitched. Yet, his latest struggles have not caused his confidence to waiver.
\r\n
\r\nThe instability in the Binghamton bullpen has left the door open for many suitors. For Serfass to remain in the Eastern League, he must recapture the fleeting success he found in May. As the All-Star break nears and the dog days of summer lie ahead, he knows that he has many chances to turn his season in a positive direction.
\r\n
\r\n\"It's just ups-and-downs. I started off slow, turned it around in May and now I'm experiencing another tough stretch. I keep working hard and I just need to straighten out some kinks,\" he closed.
\r\n
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