In 19.2 innings this season, Kintzler has given up eight earned runs on 22 hits including three home runs for an earned run average of 3.66. He clearly hasn’t been the pitcher he was a year ago, something Kintzler readily admits, but thinks he can improve quickly and has cited bad luck as the cause of his struggles.
“I can easily turn it around,” Kintzler said via Adam McCalvy of MLB.com. “I feel like I’m one pitch away or one break. … I’ve had so many bad breaks it’s unbelievable. It’s been happening for a month.”
According to manager Ron Roenicke, Kintzler is not locating his fastball down in the zone, something he did consistently in 2013.
“That also comes with confidence,” Roenicke said. “If it’s got more life, it may show up 92-93 [mph], but there’s a difference between when you’re really trying to pump and get it there, and when you’re confident it happens. There’s more life on the ball.”
Kintzler has been doing mechanical work with pitching coach Rick Kranitz to improve the sink on his fastball.
“It’s mechanical,” Kintzler said. “I’ve done some timing stuff and drills with Kranitz trying to slow things down instead of forcing the issue. I’m trying to force the sink instead of letting it happen. … You see the alignment, you repeat the delivery and hopefully you can take it into the game. It’s always different when the hitters get into the box. You have to be mentally confident in the process. This game is a process and will definitely test you. I’m being tested. Last year was a breeze; this year is testing me.”
The 29-year-old reliever made a strong step in the right direction Tuesday night. He pitched a 1-2-3 eighth inning.