DENVER -- Rockies left-hander Rex Brothers shook off a recent slump by simply relaxing his mind.
In his last four outings, covering 3 1/3 innings, Brothers hasn't given up a run, has yielded two hits and has eight strikeouts with no walks. This was after a period when he struggled to retire the first batter he faced, fell behind in counts and was hit hard because hitters knew he had to bring his 95-97 mph fastball into the strike zone.
Brothers has hit his spots with his fastball and used his slider as either a strike or a chase pitch in his last four outings -- including Monday, when he struck out the Dodgers' Andre Ethier with the bases loaded in the seventh inning of an eventual 6-2 Rockies victory.
At no point during his down period -- three earned runs, seven hits, four walks in three innings over a five-game stretch -- did Brothers feel there was a problem with his delivery. He said he was just putting too much pressure on himself.
"I was really disappointed in myself for letting things go the way they did for that long," Brothers said. "Sometimes that's what it takes, you hitting stinkin' rock bottom. Unfortunately it did take a week and a half and blowing a couple of leads, but I'm confident in my stuff."
Brothers throws a fastball and a hard slider. When he's struggling, the question becomes whether he needs an offspeed pitch. He said during Spring Training he was thinking of eventually adding a changeup, a pitch he used in the Minors but didn't stick with because it wasn't effective.
Now, Brothers realizes that if he spots both pitches properly, he has enough to be effective.
"The answer to that would be throwing my offspeed pitch, my slider, for a strike," Brothers said. "That would fix all that. That is a good pitch if I can throw it for strikes, and throw it for a strikeout pitch that hitters can chase. The slider can be a third pitch if I can throw it for a strike."