Electric right-hander Jose Berrios is having a turnaround season.
However, the 23-year-old has struggled over his last nine starts, sporting an ERA over 6. Most of his problems have come in the first inning.
Or as Twins fans call it, he has Brad Radke disease.
Radke was a great pitcher for the Twins, but he was notorious for giving up early leads only to settle in thereafter. And that's been the case for Berrios lately.
In 17 starts this season, Berrios has allowed 14 runs in the first inning, which is an ERA of 7.47 – his worst ERA of any inning this season.
He allowed five runs during the first inning in each of his past two starts, with most of the damage coming through the long ball. He surrendered a grand slam to James McCann last Saturday and gave up a three-run shot to Adrian Beltre in his start on Aug. 6.
Radke played his entire career with the Twins and owned a career ERA of 5.05 in the first inning.
He gave up 76 home runs in the first inning, which was by the far the highest mark for any inning during his MLB tenure. To be exact, 23 percent of the 326 home runs Radke surrendered came in the first inning.
Berrios has more electric stuff than Radke, and is averaging 8 strikeouts per nine innings where Radke averaged just 5.4.
If the young up-and-coming pitcher can figure out his first-inning woes, he'll have the makings to be a successful pitcher for a long time. Until then, he's suffering from a disease that's very familiar to Twins fans.