Mechanical flaws are a tricky lot for pitchers, often taking a number of starts before a certain tick in the delivery can be corrected.
Sometimes, though, it fortunately can be a relatively quick fix.
The Rockies assigned their No. 2 prospect Drew Pomeranz to Triple-A Colorado Springs so he could work on repeating a more over-the-top delivery. Colorado's staff had noticed he was throwing across his body a bit, cutting into his velocity and leaving his stuff a little flat.
On Sunday, Pomeranz said he'd thought he accomplished coming over the top more cleanly, and the results bore it out. The left-hander tossed six scoreless innings for the Sky Sox, scattering five hits and striking out five as Colorado Springs topped Memphis, 3-0.
"I knew coming in what I needed to do. It's something that was a minor problem before [in Spring Training] and I knew how to fix it," said Pomeranz. "They wanted to take the pressure off me a little bit, send me down for a couple starts so I don't have to work on things up there.
"I felt great. My fastball had good downward angle and my curveball was the best it's been. I had been cutting it, making it a little slurvey. Everything was kind of flat, but I got on top of it today and it was a lot better."
Pomeranz has made five starts for the Rockies this season, posting a 4.70 ERA while striking out 20 and walking 15 in 23 innings. In addition to sharpening his pitches, the downward angle he created with a more straightforward over-the-top delivery brought his velocity back to its customary 91-92 mph. It had been sitting in the high 80s.
"It's a different game. Before my velocity never really mattered because the ball had good rise and angle, and I got away from that in some of the starts early on," said Pomeranz. "Getting back on top of it will make it a lot easier to pitch."
Incidentally, the 23-year-old was making his first Triple-A start, having jumped from Double-A directly to the Majors last season when Colorado gave him a brief taste with the big league club in September. If he can continue repeating the mechanical form he flashed Sunday, he shouldn't have to make too many more starts in the Pacific Coast League.
"I have no idea when I'll be back up, I'm just down here to get better," noted Pomeranz. "I'll fix what I had to fix and repeat it as many times as I can, the other part is out of my control.
"I just have to do the best I can to repeat my mechanics and show that I'm ready."
Mike Ekstrom, Adam Ottavino and Zach Putnam combined for three one-hit innings to complete the shutout. Brandon Wood and Wil Nieves contributed RBIs.