For Nick Kingham, the results have been a bit crooked the past four times out since opening day. In those four starts, he allowed at least three runs each time out, going four innings once, five twice, and six once.
However, for a majority of those outings, Kingham has been very strong. It is just one big inning that has done him in each time. Kingham allowed nine runs in three different innings in three of those outings. He has only allowed 15 runs all season long in 26 innings.
On Wednesday, he allowed four runs in the second inning. On April 25, he allowed two runs in the second. On April 20, there was an exception, as he allowed one run in each the second, third and fifth. On April 15, he allowed three in the fifth and was not able to make it out of the inning.
As for how to fix the issue, Kingham is still looking for solutions.
“I know what wasn’t working and that was the one big inning every time,” Kingham said. “I need to keep those to a minimum and focus on the first hitter and just not allow that big inning to happen.”
Indianapolis manager Dean Treanor points to fastball command as one of the aspects that Kingham needs to improve on.
“His biggest thing is his fastball command,” Treanor said. “He has to get that better. He knows that and it is something that we are working on. He is at the top of our rotation and he has done a nice job for us.”
Along with trying to avoid the big innings, Kingham has also been throwing drastically more off speed pitches, by mixing in his curve and changeup more often. For Indianapolis manager Dean Treanor, the realization has sunk in that in order to succeed long-term, these pitches are needed.
“The changeup is going to have to be a big pitch for him,” Treanor said. “It’s going to be a very big pitch for him. He has to keep working with it.”
While Kingham did not want to call it working on something new, he instead preferred to call it fine tuning an aspect that was there.
“There is not so much work, just some fine tuning and trying to polish everything, from the fastball to the curveball and changeup as well” Kingham said. “It is about fine tuning and making them as good as they can get right now.”
Over the last few starts, Kingham has seen times where the fastball has been elevated. One constant has been keeping the breaking ball and changeup down in the zone.
He said that this is mostly done with the grip, rather than putting too much work into it.
“I think that it is about letting the grip do the work and keeping it the same,” Kingham said. “I don’t want to manipulate it. You put the hands on the ball a certain way for a reason, so I just allow that to work.”
As far as mechanics in the early season, Kingham said that the work is just about trying to repeat the delivery and be as consistent as possible. He said that the work is to keep the ball below the knees and get the ball on the ground.
He also said that the big goals this season revolve around consistency. He knows that if he is able to find that, he will find his ultimate goals in Pittsburgh.
“[Getting to Pittsburgh] is the goal,” Kingham said. “I feel like I am trying to be as consistent as possible every day and go out there and do what my team needs me to do. I want to go deep in the game and keep as few of runs on the board as possible and repeat that every five days.”