Brian Flynn’s phone rang around 11:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 26.
Already back in his Nashville hotel, Flynn was suddenly being told he was heading to Miami to join the Marlins’ bullpen.
On that Friday, he pitched three innings in relief. On Saturday, he was back in Nashville with the New Orleans Zephyrs.
It was a whirlwind experience for the 6-foot-7 left-hander from Owasso as he looks to find his rhythm when he starts Wednesday night against the Oklahoma City RedHawks at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark.
“You’re always happy for any day up there, even though the travel’s hectic and it throws your routine off,” said Flynn, who was The Oklahoman’s All-State Player of the Year in 2008. “It’s still a day in the big leagues and still a day you’ll never forget.”
The quick trip to Miami gave Flynn a chance to show off his refined changeup at the big league level for the first time after making four starts for the Marlins last September, going 0-2 with an 8.50 ERA
He was impressive in Triple-A, as he was named a Pacific Coast League Post-Season All-Star with a 6-11 record and 2.80 ERA over 23 games.
This season, Flynn decided to add a changeup to his arsenal, and it’s had mixed results. He has not won back-to-back starts since the end of May.
“It’s tough when it’s a feel pitch,” he said. “It’s not one where you can grab it and chuck it. There’s a lot of touch and feel, there’s a lot of precision in it, so that’s usually the last one to come along.
“Consistency is the key because one start you can go out and it can be amazing and you can go to it a lot. The next start you may throw it three times because you can’t even have any idea of where it’s going.”
With a 7-6 record and a 3.62 ERA, Flynn has impressed New Orleans manager Andy Haines this season. He also believes Flynn has yet to reach his potential.
“He was having a really good year and I don’t think he’s really scratched the surface of how he can pitch,” Haines said. “He hasn’t really gotten on a good run and he’s still having a good year. That speaks to his ability.”
Flynn said he traditionally finds his stride in the second half of the season.
He’s hoping that starts Wednesday against the RedHawks.
“Coming back for another year, you expect to blow through it and just pick up where you left off,” he said. “For whatever reason, usually it’s taken me a little bit to get going. Obviously, that’s not the way you’d like and it’s something I’m working on really hard.”