The Boston Red Sox are indeed struggling, but their matchup on Friday against Brett Cecil could be exactly what they are looking for. 

Brett Cecil, the Jays’ team leader in wins last year with 15, is a major cog in the “Hustle and Heart” campaign the club is running with, yet Cecil is struggling mightily with no explanation as to why. 

Last year’s success was not all that surprising when you think about.  Cecil started 17 games in 2009 and racked up seven wins. His high ERA (5.30) was expected, considering that he was roughed up a little in his three Triple-A seasons and his BABIP and BAA have risen significantly each time he moved up. 

While competition improves, so do you, right?   

Cecil, who regularly posted K rates of 10 plus per nine innings in the minors, saw that number drop to six in his final minor league warmup in 2009. That number remained steady when reaching the big club, meaning his secondary pitches are improving. 

Batters averaged a mediocre .265 against Cecil last year—unfortunately, this season is another story altogether. 

The lack of velocity (nearly a two mph loss) and an abnormally high BABIP of .412 are a recipe for disaster. Cecil is relying less on his fastball, for obvious reasons, and falling back in his secondary pitches, especially his slider. 

Those two pitches, as of right now, are not the ideal pitches for someone struggling to be fooling hitters with.   

With an obvious issue with velocity, the same problem is almost guaranteed with his slider, something that the short porches of Fenway and a Red Sox lineup will find very tempting. 

A flat fastball with a loosely wound slider is disastrous unless Cecil pitches backwards against his formidable foe. 

If he can work his changeup in fastball counts and keep them off balance, he should buy himself enough time for the Jays to take advantage of Clay Buchholz, who is having his own issues. 

It will be interesting to see what game plan the coaching staff has in place, because if they’re hoping the mid-90s fastball miraculously returns, it could be a very long night.

Devon is the founder of The GM’s Perspective

You can follow The GM’s Perspective on Twitter and facebook

Read more MLB news on