Two starting pitchers down, three to go for the Toronto Blue Jays.
First, the Blue Jays optioned Litsch to Triple-A, and on now, on Thursday, Cecil suffered the same fate as Litsch.
This comes as a surprise considering Cecil had a breakout season in 2010. However, things really weren’t clicking for Cecil in 2011.
His problem through his first four starts was keeping the ball down. He’s elevating the ball, which would explain why Cecil’s ground-ball percentage has decreased from 44 percent in 2010 to 30 percent in 2011. Cecil also has given up a four HRs in 21 innings. His 1.71 HR/9 is almost double what it was from last season (0.94).
I guess if you leave the ball up and your velocity has decreased by two mph from last season (90 to 88), bad things are going to happen.
While Cecil might think this is the end of the world, he can look to Florida Marlins RHP Ricky Nolasco for inspiration. Like Cecil last season, Nolasco won 15 games in 2008 and then, in the following year, was demoted to the minor leagues.
In his first nine starts of 2009, Nolasco had a 9.07 ERA and hitters had a .984 OPS against him. He was demoted to Triple-A and his demotion lasted two starts. Nolasco came back strong after he was promoted back to the big club and had a 3.82 ERA in 22 starts.
Cecil will get a chance to figure things out against Triple-A hitters, and odds are he will correct his mistakes. I would expect him back with the Blue Jays in the not-so-distant future.
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