PITTSBURGH -- Left-handed reliever Rex Brothers spent the long moments after the Rockies' 5-4 loss to the Pirates -- partly brought on by his seventh-inning meltdown -- staring into his locker as Colorado general manager Dan O'Dowd spoke encouraging words.
All four batters Brothers faced reached, and two of them scored on Andrew McCutchen's double. Brothers' struggles prevented starting pitcher Jamie Moyer from earning a win for his six strong innings. Brothers has struggled for a while now, having given up three runs, seven hits and four walks in just three innings over his last five appearances. He has not retired any of the six batters he has faced in his last two outings.
But Wednesday morning, before the opener of a doubleheader with the Pirates, Brothers, 24, smiled and said he was ready to return to the effective, hard thrower he has been much of the time since being called up from Triple-A Colorado Springs last June 4.
"I haven't done very well for a week and a half now, but I've just got to start making pitches -- it's as simple as that," Brothers said. "It'll come sooner than later. That's the nature of this game. It can be cruel sometimes and just as good in the others.
"After I talked to several people last night, I kind of put things into perspective. I was trying to force the issue and correct things in the wrong way. Today's a new day."
Brothers possesses a fastball capable of reaching 97 mph, but he is overthrowing early and falling behind in counts. Four of the eight first batters he has faced this season have reached. Brothers has given up a .400 average to right-handed batters and .286 to left-handers, but when he's right, it doesn't matter from which side the hitter swings.
"I wouldn't say it's mechanical; it's upstairs," Brothers said.
Manager Jim Tracy expressed confidence that Brothers will calm down and control his recent habit of overthrowing. The only break Tracy is giving him is having Matt Belisle shift to the eighth inning, with Brothers working the seventh.
"It's more a get-over-the-hump type thing, and we'll be where we need to be with him," Tracy said.