Cecil might have been stopped already if he had been able to go farther in his starts. But in his past five appearances, he has pitched 4 1/3 innings three times, 3 1/3 once and has reached five innings just one time in an Aug. 31 18-10 victory over the Texas Rangers, when he gave up seven runs.
His last extended start was seven innings against the Oakland Athletics on Aug. 1, when he allowed four runs in the second inning and didn't yield another run to get the win in a 6-5 game.
Cecil remembers that game fondly as an example of how he was able to make adjustments. But he has not been able to duplicate it since.
"Up here, you've got to make adjustments in the game, pitch to pitch," he said. "A good game up here is when you only have to make a couple of adjustments.
"My game in Oakland, I gave up four runs in one inning. I went out the next inning, and I didn't throw a fastball. I threw all changeups and curveballs and sliders and stuff, and had a real quick inning, a 1-2-3 inning.
"I think I retired like 14 of the next 15, something like that. That was a good confidence booster for me. I just gave up four runs in one inning and then to realize, hey, they are sitting on fastballs and I was throwing fastballs every first pitch.
"I think that in itself was a huge learning curve for me, just to be able to make adjustments during the game and be able to start throwing my off-speed for strikes from one inning to the next. It's definitely a game of adjustments, especially when you get up here."
Manager Cito Gaston would like Cecil to show more confidence in his curveball, but most importantly, he needs to throw strikes down in the zone.
"He's another kid that needs to throw strikes out there and use all his pitches," Gaston said. "Sometimes he's a little hesitant about using his curveball. I've said to him, 'You don't have to throw it for a strike, just let them know you've got it because it puts more pitches into a hitter's mind.'"
When he's pitching well, Gaston said, "He gets his fastball down in the strike zone, it runs and sinks and he's got a pretty good changeup down there too. When he gets in trouble, he pitches up."
Gaston feels that Cecil is dragging his arm on his delivery because his body is too far in front and that causes him to leave his pitches up at times.
Cecil said he wants to more consistently be able to repeat the delivery he has when he is throwing well.
TOR: LHP Brett Cecil (6-4, 5.46 ERA)
This is scheduled to be Cecil's final start of the season as the organization wants to keep the rookie's innings pitched under control. After going 4 1/3 innings in a loss to the Yankees on Sept. 5, he has 136 1/3 innings between Toronto and Triple-A Las Vegas. He pitched 118 2/3 innings last season at three different Minor League levels. He hasn't pitched more than five innings in his past five starts. He is 2-4 with a 6.98 ERA in eight starts against AL East teams and 4-0 with a 4.22 ERA in eight starts against other teams. He had trouble keeping the ball down in his loss to New York and gave up seven hits, three runs, three walks and struck out four. He is seeking consistency with his delivery that would allow him to keep the ball down, because when he does that, he has good sink and his changeup is effective.
MIN: RHP Scott Baker (13-7, 4.34 ERA)
Baker pitched well once again Saturday in a win over the Indians. The right-hander has been the Twins' best pitcher over the past two months, having not lost a game in his past 11 starts, which includes four no-decisions. Baker has been particularly tough against the Indians this season, and it was no different Saturday. He pitched six innings, allowing just one run on three hits with four walks and four strikeouts, despite not having his best stuff. The right-hander will try to continue his winning ways on Thursday against the Blue Jays.
Josh Roenicke hasn't pitched since Aug. 28. Gaston said he had a sore elbow, but is available to pitch now. ... The Blue Jays are 20-13 against teams from the AL Central and 16-14 against the West, but are 19-39 within the AL East. ... On Wednesday, the Blue Jays missed a chance to win consecutive games for the first time since they won three in a row Aug. 8-10. ... Travis Snider started in left field on Wednesday and in his 21 games since being recalled from Triple-A Las Vegas, was batting .190 with three homers, four RBIs and 12 walks. ... After Thursday's game against the Twins, the Blue Jays travel to Detroit for a four-game series against the Tigers. ... For the record: After the Blue Jays lost, 6-3, to the Twins on Monday afternoon and the New York Yankees won a doubleheader from the Tampa Bay Rays on Monday, Toronto was officially eliminated from contention in the AL East.
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Official game notes
Friday: Blue Jays (Brian Tallet, 6-9, 5.31) at Tigers (Nate Robertson, 1-1, 5.40), 7:05 p.m. ET
Saturday: Blue Jays (Scott Richmond, 6-9, 4.76) at Tigers (Edwin Jackson, 12-6, 3.10), 7:05 p.m. ET
Sunday: Blue Jays (Ricky Romero, 12-7, 4.14) at Tigers (Rick Porcello, 12-8, 4.26), 1:05 p.m. ET