TORONTO -- Tuesday marked Brett Cecil's fourth start of the season, and the fourth with backup catcher Jeff Mathis behind the dish.
Mathis has turned into Cecil's personal catcher, and it's something Mathis thinks can only be a positive for the gameplan they are looking to execute.
"Any time you get to work with somebody on a consistent basis, you are going to figure out some things, realize and recognize things that you may not if you're not in there," Mathis said. "It's an advantage, for sure."
Manager John Farrell has to find ways to get Mathis in the lineup, so pairing him with Cecil has become one way to ensure that.
Like Mathis, Farrell likes the idea of having the two together, and has been pleased with the initial dynamic between the two.
"I think Jeff has got, not only a current reference, but a feel for what pitch in what situation works best for him," Farrell said. "He has an understanding of what the capabilities of a given hitter are, but more importantly, what the strengths are of the guy on the mound to attack those. I think there has been a good rapport there between the two."
Mathis said he isn't too much into watching video, but rather picks up tendencies when he is on the field and remembers them, a paramount ingredient for a catcher. They also pick each other's brains during off-days, and when the two aren't starting is key, according to Mathis.
"We are both in the dugout for nine innings and seeing what guys are doing," Mathis said. "There are many conversations we have about different guys."
Cecil has an upper-'80s fastball, which Farrell said means he doesn't have the same margin of error as some of the flamethrowers around the league. Mathis feels that his velocity doesn't matter, because it's Cecil's entire repertoire that allows him to excel on the mound.
"Just mixing up his pitches as he has been doing, throwing them all for strikes," Mathis said. "Keeping guys off-balance, with him, I think that's a really big part of his game."