DENVER -- While most players were busy resting up for the second half, left-hander Drew Pomeranz used his time for a different pursuit -- developing a new pitch.
Pomeranz made a start for Double-A Tulsa on Tuesday, and though his final line was far from dominant, his primary goal was to test out a slider he first learned just two or three days earlier. Even after he allowed seven runs in 5 1/3 innings, he's confident enough in the new pitch to use it in the big leagues.
"I was down there working on a slider and I think that was the main focus more than results," Pomeranz said. "So, felt pretty good with that and try to work that into my next start I think."
Pomeranz, expected to start Monday, admitted it was not easy to break out the pitch in a game so soon after he learned it, but said the adjustment went better than expected.
After spending much of the first half with Triple-A Colorado Springs, the lefty has struggled in three big starts, going 0-3 with an 8.76 ERA. High pitch counts have limited Pomeranz's success and he has not made it through the fifth inning in any of his starts.
But with a new slider in hand to use alongside his usual repertoire of a fastball, curveball and changeup, Pomeranz is trying to look at the second half as a clean slate.
"I just want to reset," he said. "The walks were killing me. I was walking people and thinking too much, trying to do too much out there. Just go out there and throw strikes and pump the zone, I think things are going to play out a lot better.
"I've been doing that all year, just trying to fill up the zone, and I've pitched a lot better and feel like I've gotten a lot better. Then I came up here and didn't really do it."
Pomeranz will try to become one of the missing pieces in the Rockies' rotation as they prepare for a second-half playoff charge. Jhoulys Chacin, Tyler Chatwood and Jorge De La Rosa have proven to be consistent arms at the top of the rotation, each carrying an ERA no higher than 3.50, but Pomeranz knows the Rockies need him and Juan Nicasio to keep them in contention for the National League West crown.
"Those guys have really stepped up and done their job and I think it's time for me -- and Nicasio, obviously, threw very well his last start -- I think it's time for us to do our part in this."
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, and follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb. Ian McCue is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.