By Jack Etkin
At this time last season, Bryan Shaw was a bullpen dreg, an undependable Rockies reliever who was not living up to the expectations that came with signing a lucrative free-agent contract. Worse, he was headed toward a late-June stint on the injured list.
Shaw had come from Cleveland. Indians manager Terry Francona is a good friend of Rockies manager Bud Black. In an effort, to get Shaw back on course, Black called Francona. His advice about Shaw was to pitch him every day. No help there, since Black was already using Shaw heavily. Indeed, at this time a year ago, Shaw had appeared in 34 of Colorado’s 65 games.
Things are happily different for Shaw, 31, this season, thanks to changes in his mechanics and his pitch mix. He is a very useful bullpen piece. In a team-leading 33 games, Shaw is 2-1 with a 3.65 ERA.
“Last year, when Bryan came to us,” Black said, “basically switching leagues, trying to do some things he’s done in the past, maybe trying to overdo it. Free agent, new team, multi-year contract. Getting off to a tough start, I think things compounded on him.
“And now I think he’s simplified a few things mentally. I think he’s done a few things physically with his delivery that has helped him. And I think there’s a confidence and momentum to his pitching.”
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