In 2010, Trevor Cahill went 18-8 with a 2.97 ERA for the Oakland athletics.
In three seasons since — one more with the A’s and two with the Arizona Diamondbacks — he has gone 33-36 with a 3.98 ERA.
Despite the fact that Cahill, 25, has what’s considered to be the most lively repertoire of pitches on the team, he has struggled to command it. Last season, the right-hander led the National League in wild pitches, with 17 in 25 starts, while walking 65 — one fewer than Wade Miley, who tossed 56 more innings than Cahill.
This season, the pitcher will look to simplify things and “trust his stuff,” as manager Kirk Gibson constantly encourages him to do.
“I think Trevor sometimes gets over-analytical and we’re trying to minimize that,” Gibson said over the weekend while discussing Cahill’s outlook this season.
“We’re trying to get him to just stay focused on his next pitch.”
Last season, the pitcher’s seeming lack of confidence manifested in his delivery during some points of the season, as he dropped his arm slot lower to his side in order to “manipulate the ball”, according to Gibson, when throwing his signature pitch — a sinking fastball.
After tweaking that, though, and relying more on the natural movement in his pitches, Cahill got results down the stretch.
Despite finishing sixth in the NL in walks-per-nine-innings, with a rate of 3.99, Cahill went 4-0 after Aug. 17, logging a 2.20 ERA over 45.0 innings pitched.
Headed into 2014, Gibson’s advice to his pitcher is pretty straightforward: “Try and keep it just simpler.”