(Busch Stadium) It has been a rough stretch for St. Louis Cardinals left-hander Brett Cecil, who has allowed eight hits to the last 17 batters he’s faced. He’s also allowed four earned runs, plus three inherited runners to score in that span. And of the 33 total bases he’s allowed, 16 of them have come in the last seven games.
“I’d say it’s more embarrassing than anything,” said Cecil before today’s game. “I know I have a good track record. Obviously, I know I can get guys out. These are struggles I’ve dealt with before. But…coming to a new team, nobody really knows you. Especially coming from a different league, nobody really knows you. Had I been in the NL before and played St. Louis a couple of times and people had seen me at my best, it might be a little different. But right now, it just feels embarrassing. You sign that contract and you’re expected to come here and fill a role, do a job. You’re not able to do it, it’s embarrassing.”
The 30-year old reliever was signed to four year worth a reported $30.5 million this off-season by St. Louis. Left-handed batters in particular have been successful against him this year, batting .464 (13-28).
“I can’t really put my finger on it,” said Mike Matheny after last night’s game. “We’re seeing some really good outings and then some others that don’t look like what we’ve seen from in the past and what we knew he was doing before in Toronto. So just trying to get him right. He’s going to get lefties out in big situations, just right now it’s just a little hard to come by.”
Embarrassed or frustrated as he may be, Cecil believes that the problem can be corrected. He’s been opening up his front shoulder.
“Stay closed a little bit longer,” Cecil explained. “It just makes every pitch, whether it gets hit whether it doesn’t, it makes it more effective and a better pitch.”
Studying video illustrated the flaw, though Cecil pointed out that sometimes the feel of his mechanics betray what he is actually doing.
“A little bit of it I can feel, sometimes I don’t feel it and I throw a great pitch,” he said, citing a curveball in last night’s at-bat against Kyle Schwarber as an example.
That being said, Cecil is confident the issue will not be hard to fix.
“Not difficult at all, I’ve just got to be able to slow the game down when I get out there,” he said. “I can do it in the bullpen all day, but you let the game speed up on you and then you just fall right back into place where you were. So it’s really up to me to slow the game down and really, really focus on just staying back. It’s not something that’s going to bother me thinking about while I’m out there in the game, it’s just me doing it.”
Prior to this spell, Cecil had appeared to have been getting on track–he allowed only two hits and one run crossed the plate in a nine game stretch the middle of April.
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