Brown Fighting Back

Brown has been tested this season

It has not been smooth sailing for the Binghamton right-hander this season, but Eric Brown will not let any bumps or change in roles slow him down. Following rough outings in April and May, he was temporarily moved to the bullpen before pitching his way back into the rotation. Brown explains what is behind his game this season and what he continues to work on.

When assigned to Binghamton this spring, the plan was for Eric Brown to be an anchor in the rotation behind former St. Lucie teammates like Jonathon Niese and Bobby Parnell. Though his April did not go as planned as he posted an 0-2 record and 4.97 ERA in five starts, Brown remained positive and stuck with what succeeded.

However, his season continued to unravel and he was ultimately moved to the bullpen after seeing his ERA push 6.00 by the end of May, eventually ending his first half with a 5-6 record and 5.76 ERA in 20 appearances [12 starts]. Yet, Brown did not get down on his assignment and turned it into a positive.

" I'm not going to make any excuses for myself. I was doing the best I could but I was just getting beat," he said. "I knew I wasn't getting the job done and I figured it was a matter of time before I was moved to the bullpen with the guys who were in St. Lucie pitching so well."

" I understood the coaches decision behind it, but I think it was actually a good thing because it helped me out a lot. That's when I started pitching well and things started coming together and helped me understand one batter at a time, one inning at a time."

For Brown, most of the issues he battled were mechanical. With a delivery led by a uniquely long stride and reliant on closing his front side quickly, when his motion is off even just a bit he loses the movement on his fastball and slider needed to stay ahead of batters.

Thanks to close work with Binghamton pitching coach to tighten up his delivery, Brown is now seeing the results of his work both in effectiveness and on the stat sheet. Though 2-3 in his last ten starts, he boasts a 3.57 ERA and has surrendered one earned run or less in seven of those outings.

"Not having the same mechanical patterns was causing me to rush and not stay back. I've been working on my front side because I was dropping it and caused my arm angle to drop and throw a bunch of things off."

"Ricky and I have been working a lot on mechanics, getting more extension and more life and sink on my fastball that I normally have. I'm throwing my slider a lot sharper and keeping it down in the zone to finish hitters. For me, it's about throwing quality strikes down in the zone and going right after guys," he explained.

Yet despite his struggles, he continued to limit his walk totals which is a trait he has carried with him throughout his career. After walking just 30 batters in 143 2/3 innings pitched last year, he has issued just 24 walks in 113 1/3 innings pitched this season. It is a stat he prides himself on and knows it has helped him survive in the more hitter-friendly Eastern League.

"The biggest thing is telling myself that hitters will beat me by hitting the ball and not by me putting them on base. I want to make hitters earn their hits. I want to go right after guys so that if I lose the game it's because I got beat and didn't give them an advantage by walking guys."

"I don't have the type of fastball that's going to fool anyone, so I can't make any mistakes and it starts with not walking guys."

Brown has experienced more trials and errors than he would have preferred during his first Double-A season, but his early season struggles and subsequent move to the bullpen do not faze him. He heads into the season's homestretch understanding the benefit of all he has been through and what he would like to achieve with the rest of the schedule.

"The move to the bullpen was actually a good thing because it helped me out a lot. That's when I started pitching well and things started coming together and helped me understand one batter at a time, one inning at a time which is important even as a starter."

"I'd just like to finish the season strong, get myself on the map and show some people I can handle this level because I know I can."

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