He gave up a season-high seven earned runs on eleven hits in just four innings in Fort Myers last Wednesday before giving up five earned runs in five innings in Monday's loss at home.
The culprit has been the big inning. He gave up six runs in the first inning in last week's loss to the Miracle and had a four-run inning in the fifth against Charlotte on Monday, and each time Bleich came back out on the mound in the following inning.
It's not all bad news, however. Since he's tweaked some of his delivery techniques, Bleich said he's throwing harder — up to a 93 to 94 fastball. His increased velocity is apparent in later innings, but it's attacking the hitters at the start that Bleich is attempting to improve.
He said last Wednesday's performance was a "combination of things", including a failed double-play opportunity and tough calls at the line.
"Usually I go after guys first pitch fastball and then guys are swinging, because they feel comfortable," he said. "It just kind of snowballed a little bit. I didn't cut it off as quickly as I would have wanted to, but you kind of got to learn from those things."
His changeup and curveball have maintained in the upper 70's, lower 80's range. Bleich has 43 strikeouts in eleven appearances and said despite slow starts he is feeling comfortable with his new mechanics.
"I started going over my head when I start my delivery," he said. "Make sure I follow through, getting through the ball when I release it. Just making it more consistent, not doing it every fifth pitch, not doing it every third pitch. Trying to make it really consistent pitch to pitch."
Monday's loss was just the third time this season that he had given up more than three runs in a game. As the season progresses, Bleich said he needs to adapt to facing hitters for the second or third time.
"Guys have seen you, guys have seen how you're trying to get certain guys out, what you throw with two strikes, those types of things," he said. "So you just have to mix up your game. If they make an adjustment, you've got to make an adjustment."
Tampa Yankees catcher Austin Romine has watched Bleich play since the two played together in Hawaii this past offseason, and he said he thinks Bleich's slow starts are just the results of Bleich focusing more on the development of his pitches rather than on the outcomes.
"He's still got the command out there," Romine said. "I mean I'm not worried about it. I don't think anybody is worried about it. He's showed that he can be a top of the line pitcher."
Bleich Showing Resiliency
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