When Brett Cecil was lifted in the Blue Jays' 5-3 victory over the Rays on Monday night, he completed his 38th consecutive regular season appearance without allowing an earned run, tying with Craig Kimbrel for the major league record.
Not to take anything away from Cecil's accomplishment, but of the pitchers 31 pitchers who have pitched 30 or more consecutive games without an earned run, all but three did so in the 21st century, averaging fewer than one inning per outing. Before 1990, when one-inning relievers were rare, James Sambito (1979) and Steve Mingori (1971-1972) shared the record at 27 games.
But the record does highlight Brett Cecil's tremendous turnaround since he was dismissed as the Blue Jays' closer in June last year. His ERA had peaked at 5.96 after a horrific week:
- June 15: 0.2 IP, 2 ER, blown save and loss
- June 19: 1.0 IP, 2 ER, save
- June 21: 0.2 IP, 4 ER, loss
After those games, manager John Gibbons told the media that he decided to "see if we can get [Cecil] back on track." And so Cecil logged a scoreless inning in the 11th on June 24 and has not allowed an earned run since, good for a streak of 38 regular season outings. (Postseason games do not count, but he did not allow any runs in the two appearances before his injury.) During this period, of the 119 batters who faced Brett Cecil, only 17 got a hit and only four walked while 46 went down on strikes.
Lights. Out. pic.twitter.com/vuiCaZ88ko— Gideon Turk (@GideonTurk) April 5, 2016
Cecil also owns the club record for consecutive batters faced without allowing a hit at 40 BF (May 28 to June 21, 2013).
Sources: Baseball-Reference.com Play Index, Toronto Blue Jays 2016 Official Guide