Brett Cecil was available out of the Blue Jays’ bullpen last night against the Yankees after taking five days off to rest a groin injury, but the former All-Star setup man walked the first batter he faced and then allowed a bases-clearing triple to Brian McCann.
He was then removed from the game and immediately afterward told reporters that he’s headed to the disabled list, saying:
It stinks, but I said I was ready to go today, everything felt good, but I also said I don’t know how it’s going to hold up under the adrenaline of coming out of the bullpen, especially in Yankee Stadium, bases loaded. If I can’t deal with that, then I need to get it taken care of.
It’s a little odd that the Blue Jays would throw Cecil into such a difficult spot if his health status was still in any sort of question, but Gregor Chisholm of MLB.com reports that he’d had problem-free bullpen sessions earlier this week.
Cecil hasn’t allowed a home run this season and his strikeout rate is a career-high 12.3 per nine innings compared to 10.4 per nine innings last season, but he’s walked 16 batters in 26 frames to be much less reliable than in his All-Star campaign.
Christian Yelich simply can’t be stopped. The Brewers outfielder (and defending NL MVP) entered Saturday’s game with a league-leading 11 home runs after swatting two against the Dodgers on Friday night, then clubbed another two homers in the first six innings of Saturday’s game.
The first came on a 2-1 pitch from the Dodgers’ Hyun-Jin Ryu, who lobbed a changeup toward the bottom of the strike zone before it was lifted up and out to center field for a solo home run in the third inning.
While Chase Anderson and Alex Claudio held down the fort against the Dodgers’ lineup, Yelich prepared for his second blast in the sixth inning — this one a 421-foot double-decker on a first-pitch curveball from Ryu.
Yelich’s 13 home runs not only gave him a stronger grip on the league’s leaderboard, but helped him tie yet another franchise record, too. Per MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy, he’s tied with Prince Fielder for the most home runs hit by a Brewers player in a single month, and sits just one home run shy of tying Álex Rodríguez’s 2007 record for most home runs hit within any club’s first 22 games of the season.
It may be far too early to predict which players will finish first in the MVP races this fall, but there’s no denying Yelich has already set himself apart from the competition. Through Saturday’s performance, he’s batting .361/.459/.880 with a 1.329 OPS and MLB-best 31 RBI across 98 PA so far.