ARLINGTON -- It was shortly after he had exited his Sept. 5 start against the Mariners, a forgettable five-run, two-inning outing, that right-hander Jesse Chavez pinpointed a flaw in his delivery.
As Chavez explained it after Friday's 4-0 loss to the Rangers, a visit to the video room revealed that he was leaning back too much at the beginning of his stride, the effect being two-fold: He was struggling to generate the normal downward movement on his pitches -- notably his changeup -- and he was also offering hitters more time to read the ball coming out of his hand.
Fast forward six days, with Chavez on the bump at Globe Life Park in Arlington, where he was able to recover from a three-run first inning, in which he needed 25 pitches, to complete six frames for the first time since Aug. 19.
"There was that comfortability of being on the mound and staying on the back side and not really falling down the slope and just using it to my advantage and not flying open," Chavez said. "What we worked on during my last bullpen [session] kind of helped me slow the game down a lot."
Chavez (7-15) was knocked around for four hits in that first inning, but he allowed just two the rest of the way, facing the minimum three times in his final five innings and exiting the outing at 91 pitches.
"For a time of the year where a lot of the talk is how worn down he is," manager Bob Melvin said, "he gets off to a tough start like that and recently hasn't been able to recover. I had guys up multiple innings, but he was able to get through it and get big outs when he needed to."
Chavez also found fuel in the opposing dugout. Rangers starter Colby Lewis raced through the A's lineup, firing seven perfect innings before Danny Valencia lined a double to left field to lead off the eighth.
"Unfortunately, he did so well, but it helped me keep going, like it was 0-0," Chavez said. "That's how I was doing it the beginning of the year, regardless of the outcome, thinking it was 0-0 the entire way, and I just went out there and tried to win every inning."
Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Major Lee-ague, and follow her on Twitter @JaneMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.