Tim Berry is trying to get zen between pitches in the Arizona Fall League.
"Having that clear mind on the mound as I deliver the pitch is really a deal-breaker," he said. "If I'm not there and I have thoughts in my head, I'm not going to execute."
Lately, it would appear he's managed to attain a Himalayan mountaintop quality meditative state.
Baltimore's sixth-ranked prospect unfurled four shutout innings, permitting three hits and striking out two without issuing a walk in Surprise's 3-1 win at Scottsdale on Friday. Berry threw 55 pitches, 35 of which were strikes.
The 22-year-old lefty has now strung together 10 scoreless innings over his last three appearances for the Saguaros, and he's 1-0 with a 1.64 ERA.
"It's been different the last couple starts. The changeup has been useful in tight situations. My curveball has been on and off and my fastball command has been fairly decent," Berry said. "I've been mixing pitches. Trying to read hitters and having a good tempo out there is what I'm out here to do. It's been working the last couple times."
The only two runs he's surrendered in the AFL came in his first game, on Oct. 10, when Glendale got to him with two hits and a walk during a relief outing. After working out of the bullpen in his first two games with Surprise, he's made back-to-back starts.
"I'm a lot more comfortable starting," he admitted. "It was a challenge at first to see if I could prepare myself in the bullpen, but it's a different animal."
Berry gave up a single to No. 2 Yankees prospect Mason Williams to start the game. But with one out, Berry's batterymate and top Rangers prospect Jorge Alfaro fired down to first to notch his first of two pickoffs in the game.
Berry struck out the third hitter of the frame and worked around a two-out walk in the second. After an error allowed a runner aboard to start the third, Berry induced a double play. Elmer Reyes (Braves) opened the fourth with a single, but Alfaro picked up Berry with his second pickoff, and the San Diego native worked an otherwise uneventful inning.
"It's an awesome experience," Berry said of his time in the AFL so far. "To see how people do things in other organizations is pretty cool. Getting to talk to different coaches, different perspectives, it's been a learning experience. Hopefully it continues like that for the next three weeks."
Three Saguaros relievers combined to carry the shutout into the ninth, and Brewers prospect David Goforth allowed a run but stranded two runners to nab his second AFL save.
Alfaro doubled and walked in the win. Cleveland farmhand Joe Wendle tripled, doubled, scored a run and knocked one in, and No. 5 Tribe prospect Tyler Naquin had two RBIs. Naquin has tallied at least one RBI in each of his five most recent games.
Giants prospect Angel Villalona plated the lone run for the Scorpions.