Brothers looking for right balance on mound

Brothers looking for right balance on mound

CLEVELAND -- Rockies left-handed pitcher Rex Brothers is searching for the right combination of intensity and tranquility when he enters the game.

Brothers' walk to Jason Kipnis to open the eighth inning Saturday afternoon set up the Indians for the winning run in their 7-6 victory over the Rockies. It's part of a pattern that has seen Brothers give up a .385 on-base percentage to the first batter he faces.

Last season, part of it spent as the Rockies' closer, Brothers was 2-1 with a 1.74 ERA and 19 saves in 72 appearances, and he had 76 strikeouts to 36 walks in 67 1/3 innings. This year, the ERA is 3.70, and he has 21 strikeouts and 15 walks in 24 1/3 innings. Putting himself in a bad spot at the start of innings has been a major reason for his struggles.

"It's a fine line, going in there and not being high enough or not being pulled back enough to be able to do my job," Brothers said. "I've talked to several older guys about how they've done it throughout the years. What is too much and what is not enough? It's just finding that line and doing it on a daily basis.

"Any time you let leadoff guys on at a high rate, it's hard to have way too much success."

Manager Walt Weiss said pitching coach Jim Wright and assistant pitching coach Bo McLaughlin have worked with Brothers' mechanics, and there aren't major flaws in that area.

"Sometimes it just takes getting on a roll, having a good outing, having two good outings and the confidence soars, and things come easier for you," Weiss said.

Brothers has given up runs in two of his last three outings. Before this stretch, he had thrown nine straight scoreless outings, but had to pitch through seven hits and five walks in nine innings to do it.

Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, and follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.