"When the game gets fast, you're out there looking at what the catcher is flipping down, and you're just throwing it," Grimm said. "I think that's something I need to learn. It's part of the learning curve."
Grimm plans to focus on something in the ballpark so he can take mental breaks between pitches in his next start. He learned the concept from McClellan, who learned it during his time with the Cardinals. McClellan said Chris Carpenter would stare at the Hardee's sign at Busch Stadium and think about what he would order from the restaurant.
"The hardest thing for a pitcher is to stay mentally locked on for that long," McClellan said. "It's not physical tools; it's not the stuff. It's the mental side. To stay locked in for two hours is tough at this level, and you need little tricks like that to help."
Grimm is 0-2 with an 11.40 ERA in three June starts. He allowed seven runs on 10 hits in 7 2/3 innings in his last start, Friday against the Blue Jays. Grimm's big inning came in the fourth, when the Blue Jays quickly scored four runs on four hits.
"Without those innings, those would've been real solid outings," Grimm said. "I've been dominant, and I'm going to give up hits here and there. I got to learn to minimize it.
"That's the thing: I haven't been thinking with men on. The game has really sped up on me. Early on, I was good at minimizing the damage, looking at the situation that you're in. Any time you give up a couple hits, I need to be slowing it down, realizing the situation, having a plan and executing it."
Master Tesfatsion is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.