When the St. Louis Cardinals had a sudden need for left-handed relief help back in November, they wasted little time inking free agent Brett Cecil to a four-year contract. Citing his effectiveness against hitters from both sides of the plate, he was to be a “key person” in the strength of the bullpen moving forward.
That said, after allowing the first four runners he inherited to score and being charged with another five of his own earned runs, there was some unrest amongst Cardinals Nation.
But Cecil said something interesting a few days back as he shared his side of the sticky-ball incident.
Looking back at last season, Cecil did indeed get off to a slow start as opponents hit .350 (14-40) and scored 7 runs in his first 13 games of March-April. He then pitched three scoreless outings in May before going on the disabled list with a strained left triceps.
After a couple of rough outings when he returned, Cecil finished up the season strong by holding batters to .188 (32 ABs) in August and .161 (31 ABs) in September/October.
As Cecil outlined, the pattern does seem to be following suit this season.
Since allowing two inherited runners to score on April 10th, Cecil has allowed just one of six inherited runners to score. During this stretch, he has held opponents to a .077 batting average and has struck out five of the 16 batters faced.
Before the team left for Milwaukee, Cecil shared that he was “very” close to being where he needed to be with his pitching.
“It took a while last year and even longer in 2015,” he said. “I feel like that window has gotten shorter. It has a lot to do with experience and going through it a few times. Knowing the changes I made in the past, I can do that a little bit quicker now.”
“A little bit of a feel thing, with the curveball especially but mechanics wise, I’ve just got to stay back and the rest will take care of itself. Pretty simple.”
–A pair of doubles last night from Randal Grichuk gave him 120 extra base hits in his first 300 games with the Cardinals, which ranks 7th in franchise history. He trails Albert Pujols (156), Joe Medwick (149), Johnny Mize (143), Stan Musial (135), Jim Bottomley (130), and George Watkins (129).
–On the road this season, Jedd Gyorko Â is batting .407 (11-for-27) with 7 runs, 2 doubles, a triple, 3 homers, 4 RBI and 2 walks in 8 games.
–With the pinch-hit home run from Aledmys Diaz last night, te Cardinals have hit a home run in 24 straight games at Miller Park, dating back to September 5th of 2014. It is the longest such streak by any team at Miller Park or County Stadium.
photo credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
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