Pirates’ Nick Kingham will start Wednesday, return to his comfort zone
During his rookie year in 2018, Nick Kingham did what he believes he does best – make 15 starts.
But, with the Pittsburgh Pirates adding veteran Jordan Lyles to the rotation. he was forced to settle for a relief role this season.
That will change Wednesday against the Texas Rangers. He will make his first start since Sept. 28 to help the Pirates fight through injuries to pitchers Chris Archer and Jameson Taillon.
In four of his last five starts in 2018, Kingham failed to get out of the fourth inning. For the season, he was 5-7, with a 5.21 ERA.
He prepared in the off-season to resume his starting role, just like he does every winter.
“Tweaked it a little bit with the understanding that I might pitch out of the bullpen,” he said. “For the most part, (starting) is where I’m most comfortable.”
How long can Kingham (1-0, 6.39 ERA) last after pitching only 12 2/3 innings in his eight relief appearances this year?
“I feel like I know my body enough and I know the game of baseball,” he said, ”that I can hopefully manipulate a lineup enough to where I can put myself in a position to go three, four, five innings, if I need to.
“I’m not concerned about the length of my outing.”
He said he likes the idea of knowing when he’ll pitch, rather than wondering if he’ll pitch.
“You wake up that morning and you know you’re getting in,” he said of starting. “That whole day is preparing for your work.”
He said relieving is more like, “Boss is going to come in and talk to you or maybe he doesn’t come at all.
“You have to keep your mind fresh, but at the same time don’t exhaust yourself when you’re in the bullpen. You can’t be engaged 100 percent all nine innings. Mentally, you can’t do it.
“Starting is a little more mentally relaxing just in the fact that you know 7:05 you’re getting the ball and you have to get ready to attack at that point.”
Jerry DiPaola is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jerry by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .