Cecil ties record for outings without earned run

Cecil ties record for outings without earned run

ST. PETERSBURG -- Brett Cecil added his name to the record books on Monday night by tying a Major League record for consecutive appearances without allowing an earned run.

Cecil tossed a scoreless seventh inning in the Blue Jays' 5-3 win over the Rays to extend his stretch of games without an earned run to 38. That ties him for the most in big league history with Craig Kimbrel, who didn't allow an earned run from June 14 to Sept. 8, 2011.

Cecil's streak began on June 24 of last season and he proceeded to toss 31 2/3 innings without allowing an earned run. The stretch then carried into 2016.

"No. I just wanted to stay in my groove and keep pitching well," Cecil said when asked if he was aware of the streak. "Obviously, there's a level of confidence and a level of awareness that goes along with it.

"The confidence just builds up in you every time, and that's kind of what fuels the fire. It's a little bit different getting into the beginning of the season, but it's nice to get off to a good start."

Cecil has been one of the top relievers in baseball over the last three years, and he'll look to continue that stretch into 2016 as well. He's eligible for free agency at the end of the season and should be in line for a lucrative multiyear contract if his performance is similar to years past.

The most encouraging thing is that Cecil is fully healthy to start the season. That wasn't the case in 2015, when he missed most of Spring Training because of a shoulder injury. He did start the year on time but clearly wasn't himself, with decreased velocity and an ERA that sat at 5.96 a day before the streak began.

Since then he has been lights out. He finished the 2015 season with a 2.48 ERA and appears to be carrying some of that momentum in to 2016.

"It's night and day from last year," Cecil said. "I didn't have any troubles in Spring Training, knock on wood, nobody is in midseason form, but it's a good building block for sure."

Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.