It was rock bottom for Brackman, the Yankees' first-round pick in 2007, seemingly having forgotten how to throw a strike four years after inking his contract.
"I got hot in the bullpen, it was a close game, and I think I threw maybe six or seven balls over the catcher," said Brackman, who was recalled from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Tuesday. "I had to stop the game."
By the time Brackman's June 26 outing was complete, he had been charged with five runs and three walks, recording just one out in what would end as an 11-3 loss.
Making matters worse, Durham Bulls Athletic Park is close to Brackman's alma mater, North Carolina State.
"I was getting Brackman chants while I was warming up," he said. "I couldn't throw a fastball for a strike, so I kept on throwing curveballs. It was awful. I think I probably didn't shower after the game, I just left with my friends, it was that bad."
Brackman, 25, said he even called home to his father, Mark, asking if he should keep going.
"I had some conversations with my dad talking about what to do after baseball. It was definitely the lowest point of the season for me," Brackman said. "We didn't come up with any Plan B's. He yelled at me and told me to get on the bus."
Brackman believes he turned his season around late by changing his mechanics on his own, holding his hands higher to his chest the way he did in college.
He was 1-0 with a save and a 2.35 ERA in 12 appearances after the All-Star break for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, finishing the year 3-6 with a 6.00 ERA in 33 games (13 starts).
"After the game in Durham, it was hard to get on the bus, to tell you the truth," Brackman said. "It was very hard to get on the bus. I just stuck with it and have been getting better ever since."
Brackman still sees himself as a starter someday, though he hopes to get into a game with the Yankees out of the bullpen this month. He spent September with the club last year and warmed up once in a game against the Red Sox, but his number wasn't called.
"I finished the season pretty strong," Brackman said. "It was a rough season again, but I feel pretty confident with where I'm at and how I'm throwing the ball."