On Monday night Andrew Cashner recorded a career high number of strikeouts against the New York Mets. Believe it or not, this was the only positive to be taken from his outing. Cashner’s pitching line ended up looking like something straight out of a bad baseball movie — the type of movie where it is painfully obvious the screenwriter has never watched a baseball game in his life.
When the 6′-5″ righty came out of the game with two outs in the fifth inning he had given up five earned runs (six total) on 11 hits. Terrible, right? Definitely, except that he also struck out 12 Mets and walked none. This outing was mind-blowing from start to finish; it was actually historic.
After the game Cashner said, “It was a weird one. I thought I had some of the best stuff I’ve had this season. Some balls just fell in. I think the main mistake was the home run on a hanging slider. … I just couldn’t stop it after that.“
While strikeouts alone are not indicative of success for a pitcher at the Major League level, 12 strikeouts in half a game with no walks is something special. Either this was not Cashner’s night or something else was off. According to Fangraphs the Mets were squaring up all the pitches they did hit. They had no soft-hit balls against Cashner and hit more than half (53.9%) of them to centerfield. The Pads coaching staff will undoubtedly look at yesterday’s tape to make sure Cashner wasn’t tipping his pitches.
Yesterday’s game was reminiscent of Cleveland Indians starter Danny Salazar‘s April 10th outing of last year. Salazar’s stuff was electric, striking out 10 of the first 11 White Sox he faced. However, he was unable to make it out of the fourth inning and allowed five earned runs in the loss.
Cashner is not a bad pitcher by any stretch of the imagination, but his season hasn’t gone according to plan, either. Despite a very respectable 3.46 ERA, Cashner has a league worst eight losses. However, it’s not all his fault. The San Diego offense isn’t helping any either. In seven of his last eleven starts the Padres have not managed to score more than one run.
Yesterday was no different. The Friars walked into a buzzsaw operated by Mets starter Jacob deGrom. The 26-year-old Met mowed down the San Diego offense allowing just two hits through eight innings of work and striking out eight in the process.
We’ve seen great pitchers get off to rocky starts this year. Andrew Cashner is the latest to be added to that list. His stuff is better than the numbers indicates and if he can maintain the control we saw last night some big outings lie ahead.