Kunz Back To The Bullpen

BINGHAMTON, NY - Right-hander Eddie Kunz has seen a little bit of everything this year. The fourth-year pitcher began the year in the rotation and since returned to the bullpen. Both roles have come with their challenges this season, but that does not have Kunz who down. He continues to work and harness his game in an effort to become more consistent.

After spending roughly the first seven weeks of the season as a starter for the first time in his professional career, Eddie Kunz has transitioned back to the bullpen.

Kunz pitched to a pedestrian 5.28 earned run average in his nine starts for the B-Mets, compiling a 4-3 record during that span, but exited the rotation on a high note. In his final start on May 25 versus Richmond, he hurled 7.2 shutout innings and struck out five in his best outing of the season.

Starting for the first time since high school, a lot wasn't expected from Kunz, as the plan was always for him to return to relief pitching. Kunz feels his experience as a starter, albeit short lived, was advantageous.

"I enjoyed it," he said. "It definitely helped me out a lot. It helped me develop my pitches a little bit and kind of figure out some little things that I really need to work on. Within the month and a half stint that I did it in, it helped me repeat my delivery a lot more and it helped me work on my fastball."

Over the course of his tour of duty in the starting rotation, the pitch that Kunz thinks improved the most is his slider.

"(My slider) was something I really needed to develop a little bit more and be able to control a little bit more," Kunz said. "One thing that's really helped me out in coming back to the bullpen has been my slider; it's been helping me out a lot more."

The changeover from starting to relieving could pose problems for a pitcher physically. However, Kunz has plenty of experience as a relief pitcher, spending his entire career in the bullpen prior to 2010. At 6-foot-6, 260 pounds, he has a strong arm that is able to recover swiftly.

"It's really not that bad," Kunz said. "My arm usually bounces back pretty quickly, especially if I only throw 10 or 15 pitches in one inning, I can bounce back pretty much the next day. It's been something that I've really liked about my arm; I don't really get sore and stuff like that so that's been helping me out a little bit."

Pitching coach Mark Brewer believes Kunz' performance through the duration of the season will demonstrate if the experiment of putting him in the rotation was worthwhile.

"He understands mentally and physically how to make the adjustments," Brewer said. "Whether or not it gets done all the time, that still remains to be seen. I think the second half of this season in Double-A will give us an indication of whether he took from the starting role what he needs as a reliever."

Inconsistency has been a problem for Kunz since he's switched back to his traditional bullpen role; he's made 12 appearances as a reliever since his final start, during which he has a 6.14 ERA in 22 innings. He's also sporting an ugly 7-to-19 strikeout-to-walk ratio in that stretch.

Kunz' erratic performance hasn't been more evident than on Tuesday night against the Western Division leading Altoona Curve. Entering the game with a six run cushion, Kunz pitched a perfect sixth inning in relief of Eric Niesen.

Returning to the mound for the seventh, Kunz promptly hit the lead off batter, walked the next one, and gave up an RBI single to the third hitter of the inning. He ended up being charged with two runs (one earned) in 1.1 innings of work.

"He didn't make the adjustment after hitting the first hitter," Brewer said. "He probably got a little emotional, getting pissed off after hitting the batter, knowing that we're up by six runs. I think he allowed the emotion of hitting the first hitter and the scoreboard to delegate how to pitch and he didn't get it done and he allowed it to leak into the next hitter."

Despite the mixed results, Kunz is pleased with how his conversion back to relieving has gone thus far.

"It's going pretty well," he said. "It's a different mentality a little bit but it's still the same thing; just throwing strikes and getting ahead of hitters. My biggest thing right now is the transition, only going out there for one inning rather than going out there for the first six or so. It's slowly but surely coming back to me."


Amazin Clubhouse Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\nAfter spending roughly the first seven weeks of the season as a starter for the first time in his professional career, Eddie Kunz has transitioned back to the bullpen.
\r\n
\r\nKunz pitched to a pedestrian 5.28 earned run average in his nine starts for the B-Mets, compiling a 4-3 record during that span, but exited the rotation on a high note. In his final start on May 25 versus Richmond, he hurled 7.2 shutout innings and struck out five in his best outing of the season.
\r\n
\r\nStarting for the first time since high school, a lot wasn't expected from Kunz, as the plan was always for him to return to relief pitching. Kunz feels his experience as a starter, albeit short lived, was advantageous.
\r\n
\r\n\"I enjoyed it,\" he said. \"It definitely helped me out a lot. It helped me develop my pitches a little bit and kind of figure out some little things that I really need to work on. Within the month and a half stint that I did it in, it helped me repeat my delivery a lot more and it helped me work on my fastball.\"
\r\n
\r\nOver the course of his tour of duty in the starting rotation, the pitch that Kunz thinks improved the most is his slider.
\r\n
\r\n\"(My slider) was something I really needed to develop a little bit more and be able to control a little bit more,\" Kunz said. \"One thing that's really helped me out in coming back to the bullpen has been my slider; it's been helping me out a lot more.\"
\r\n
\r\nThe changeover from starting to relieving could pose problems for a pitcher physically. However, Kunz has plenty of experience as a relief pitcher, spending his entire career in the bullpen prior to 2010. At 6-foot-6, 260 pounds, he has a strong arm that is able to recover swiftly.
\r\n
\r\n\"It's really not that bad,\" Kunz said. \"My arm usually bounces back pretty quickly, especially if I only throw 10 or 15 pitches in one inning, I can bounce back pretty much the next day. It's been something that I've really liked about my arm; I don't really get sore and stuff like that so that's been helping me out a little bit.\"
\r\n
\r\nPitching coach Mark Brewer believes Kunz' performance through the duration of the season will demonstrate if the experiment of putting him in the rotation was worthwhile.
\r\n
\r\n\"He understands mentally and physically how to make the adjustments,\" Brewer said. \"Whether or not it gets done all the time, that still remains to be seen. I think the second half of this season in Double-A will give us an indication of whether he took from the starting role what he needs as a reliever.\"
\r\n
\r\nInconsistency has been a problem for Kunz since he's switched back to his traditional bullpen role; he's made 12 appearances as a reliever since his final start, during which he has a 6.14 ERA in 22 innings. He's also sporting an ugly 7-to-19 strikeout-to-walk ratio in that stretch.
\r\n
\r\nKunz' erratic performance hasn't been more evident than on Tuesday night against the Western Division leading Altoona Curve. Entering the game with a six run cushion, Kunz pitched a perfect sixth inning in relief of Eric Niesen.
\r\n
\r\nReturning to the mound for the seventh, Kunz promptly hit the lead off batter, walked the next one, and gave up an RBI single to the third hitter of the inning. He ended up being charged with two runs (one earned) in 1.1 innings of work.
\r\n
\r\n\"He didn't make the adjustment after hitting the first hitter,\" Brewer said. \"He probably got a little emotional, getting pissed off after hitting the batter, knowing that we're up by six runs. I think he allowed the emotion of hitting the first hitter and the scoreboard to delegate how to pitch and he didn't get it done and he allowed it to leak into the next hitter.\"
\r\n
\r\nDespite the mixed results, Kunz is pleased with how his conversion back to relieving has gone thus far.
\r\n
\r\n\"It's going pretty well,\" he said. \"It's a different mentality a little bit but it's still the same thing; just throwing strikes and getting ahead of hitters. My biggest thing right now is the transition, only going out there for one inning rather than going out there for the first six or so. It's slowly but surely coming back to me.\"
\r\n
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